Category Archives: Video

The Ancient Olympics

ancient-olympics When I took my first history class in college, I did a research project on the Ancient Olympics. I had always been fascinated with the thought of athletes competing in the nude, but I also was in by the Summer Olympics that year, which were being held in Atlanta. My family and I actually went to the Olympics that year since it was close by and had a great time. I was thinking today about doing another history post and I was thinking about all the conversation we have been having about circumcision, and the idea of the Ancient Olympics came to me.

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One of the things I learned during that research project on the Ancient Olympics is that men were not allowed to compete if they were kynodesmecircumcised, which meant that during that time Greek Jews were not allowed to compete in the Ancient Olympics. I also learned that in order to protect their penis during wrestling matches and other contact sports, the men would tie a string around the tip of their foreskin enclosing their glans, thus keeping them safe. The kynodesme was tied tightly around the part of the foreskin that extended beyond the glans. The kynodesme could then either be attached to a waist band to expose the scrotum, or tied to the base of the penis so that the penis appeared to curl upwards.

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The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete, instead of athletes from any country. Also, the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving around to different sites every time.

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Like our Olympics, though, winning athletes were heroes who put their home towns on the map. One young Athenian nobleman defended his political reputation by mentioning how he entered seven chariots in the Olympic chariot-race. This high number of entries made both the aristocrat and Athens look very wealthy and powerful.
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There are numerous myths about how the Olympics began. One myth says that the guardians of the infant god Zeus held the first footrace, or that Zeus himself started the Games to celebrate his victory over his father Cronus for control of the world. Another tradition states that after the Greek hero Pelops won a chariot race against King Oenomaus to marry Oenomaus’s daughter Hippodamia, he established the Games.

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Athletic games also were an important part of many religious festivals from early on in ancient Greek culture. In the Iliad, the famous warrior Achilles holds games as part of the funeral services for his best friend Patroclus. The events in them include a chariot race, a footrace, a discus match, boxing and wrestling.

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The footrace was the sole event for the first 13 Olympiads. Over time, the Greeks added longer footraces, and separate events. The pentathlon and wrestling events were the first new sports to be added, in the 18th Olympiad.
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Click on any of the event names to see a description of a particular sport:

olive-wreath-ancient-olympicsThe victorious olive branch. The Ancient Olympic Games didn’t have any medals or prizes. Winners of the competitions won olive wreaths, branches, as well as woolen ribbons. The victors returned home as heroes – and got showered with gifts by their fellow citizens.
Here are two videos the History Channel did about the Ancient Olympics. Too bad, they have them wearing modesty pouches.

By the way, for those interested, here is an explanation of women’s role in the Ancient Olympics:
Married women were banned at the Ancient Olympics on the penalty of death. The laws dictated that any adult married woman caught entering the Olympic grounds would be hurled to her death from a cliff! Maidens, however, could watch (probably to encourage gettin’ it on later). But this didn’t mean that the women were left out: they had their own games, which took place during Heraea, a festival worshipping the goddess Hera. The sport? Running – on a track that is 1/6th shorter than the length of a man’s track on the account that a woman’s stride is 1/6th shorter than that of a man’s! The female victors at the Heraea Games actually got better prizes: in addition to olive wreaths, they also got meat from an ox slaughtered for the patron deity on behalf of all participants! Overall, young girls in Ancient Greece weren’t encouraged to be athletes – with a notable exception of Spartan girls. The Spartans believed that athletic women would breed strong warriors, so they trained girls alongside boys in sports. In Sparta, girls also competed in the nude or wearing skimpy outfits, and boys were allowed to watch.
Another side note, Spartan marriage rituals are quite fascinating, if any one is interested I will do a straight post about Spartan sexuality and the marriage rituals. It will have some about gay sex, these were the Spartans after all.


In Honor of Memorial Day Weekend

This post is for all the soldiers who died fighting for our freedoms. More than we will ever know, we’re gay soldiers who fought even though they were banned from doing so because of their sexuality. Now soldiers can finally serve open and honestly and those deaths were not in vain.


Footage of a heartwarming reunion between a gay U.S. Navy seaman and his boyfriend is making the blogosphere rounds.

The sailor, identified in the video simply as Trent, had been deployed on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson for nearly six months, according to Towleroad. Waiting for Trent amongst the friends and family at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, Calif. was his boyfriend, Lee.

As he waits, an “ecstatic” Lee nervously checks his phone repeatedly before finally greeting Trent with a passionate smooch — yet another poignant reminder of the progress made since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” last fall.

When the narrator asks Trent what he plans to do when he retires from military service in 10 months, he gleefully replies, “Go to Disneyland!”


U.S. Air Force Academy Graduates First Openly Gay Cadets

In yet another historic, post-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” moment, the U.S. Air Force Academy graduated the nation’s first group of openly gay cadets this week.

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer caught up with faculty members and some of the graduates, each of which shook hands with President Obama during the ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colo. Aside from the fact that openly gay members were among the ranks, most cadets interviewed said the impact from last year’s repeal was relatively minimal.

“It’s pretty much just like any other repeal,” one cadet said. “We just got told that this is what’s gonna happen, and we all need to be adults about it.”

Though several media outlets have noted the lack of rainbow flags or other obvious lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride-relevant symbols during the ceremony, Trish Heller — who heads the Blue Alliance, an association of LGBT Air Force Academy alumni — said the reason was obvious.

“The whole thing is we don’t want to be identified as anything different,” Heller is quoted by ABC as saying. She noted that her group had connected with at least four members of the class of 2012 who had come out publicly as LGBT, though others likely preferred to keep a low profile. “We want to serve, to be professional and to be symbols of what it means to be Air Force Academy graduates.”


School’s Out by WH Davies

“School’s Out” may have been Alice Cooper’s first big hit single but did you know it’s also the title of a poem by a Welsh poet born in 1871? If you left school a few decades ago, you’re probably more familiar with the poet as the author of “Leisure”, with its famous opening couplet: “What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare.” No doubt “Leisure” was once, for many young people, their first encounter with printed poetry. The author, of course, is William Henry Davies, sometimes nicknamed “the tramp poet”.
Davies began writing after a serious accident in which, trying to jump onto an express train in Renfrew, Ontario, he was dragged under the wheels. His work doesn’t usually dwell on the uglier side of vagrancy, but celebrates the pleasure and joy (two emotions which he was at pains to distinguish) to be had from nature and the simple life. His exuberance seems entirely unforced. There is no self-pity, although he endured a good deal of hardship in prisons and doss-houses before accomplishing his dream of publication, and his “leisure” must surely have been painful at times. Limping on a primitive wooden leg, he had good reason to slow down and gaze around him.
Davies delivers homilies in some of his verses, but he is never pompous or pious. He is the poet as everyman, using his eyes, his humor and his common sense; a natural lyricist with a direct line to the rhythmic vitality of our dear unfashionable old friend, the Common Muse.
As often with Davies’s poems, “School’s Out” is glancingly autobiographical. It is not a child’s-eye view, and it was not intended, as far as I know, to be a children’s poem. But then, I’m not entirely sure what a children’s poem is. Before writing for children became an industry, children simply looked over the adults’ shoulders, and found plenty to enjoy.
This little poem could be a medieval lyric: it could be a nursery rhyme or a carol. It’s as timeless as the liberation it delights in. A wry self-mockery reveals to the knowing reader the poet’s personal story: the “old man” he orders to “hobble home” may well be himself. But the dimeter rhythm gives the poem a gusty, bouncing pace, the staccato verses succeeding each other like short sharp flurries of March wind. Everything is in fugue – the children, the animals and birds as they hasten out of the way – and the tramps, at possible risk from so much vitality. Any hint of darkness is banished in the cheery apostrophe of the last two lines. There’s a lovely contrast between the skippety dactyl of “Merry mites” and the surprising, ceremonious spondee, “Welcome”. Perhaps it’s not strictly a spondee, but, in bagging a line all to itself, the word seems to insist on taking two full stresses: well come!
So this Poem of the week welcomes anybody who can remember what Alice Cooper described as one of the best moments in life: “the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow fuse burning.”
School’s Out
Girls scream,
    Boys shout;
Dogs bark,
    School’s out.
Cats run,
    Horses shy;
Into trees
    Birds fly.
Babes wake
    Open-eyed;
If they can,
    Tramps hide.
Old man,
    Hobble home;
Merry mites,
    Welcome.
I also have to add this cute little poem, though I do not know who it is by:
Great Expectations
It’s time to say good-bye
Our year has come to an end.
I’ve made more cherished memories
and many more new friends.
I’ve watched your child learn and grow
and change from day to day.
I hope that all the things we’ve done
Have helped in some small way.
So it’s with happy memories
I send them out the door,
With great hope and expectations
for what next year holds in store.

Steve Hayes: Not Just Any Tired Old Queen

When I was first coming to terms with my sexuality, I discovered gay cinema at a local video store which had a wonderful selection of foreign and independent movies. The first video I picked up was the 1994 French movie “Wild Reeds.”. I will have to do a post soon about my gay cinema journey to coming out, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about the delightful actor Steve Hayes. The other night I came across a YouTube clip on Joe.My.God of Steve Hayes, an actor who I had first saw in the movie “Trick,” one of the first Fay movies I saw. If you have not seen it, it is a delightful movie and I have included a synopsis below and a clip of Hayes in it.

Trick:

Gabriel, an aspiring writer of Broadway musicals, meets Mark, a muscled stripper, who picks him up on the subway. They spend the night trying to find somewhere to be alone… forced to contend with Gabriel’s selfish roommate, his irritating best friend, and a vicious, jealous drag queen in a gay dance club. The sun rises on a promising new relationship. Steve Hayes sings a memorable and catchy little tune in the movie, and I have to admit, I have loved him since I first saw it. There is a clip below.

Now on to Steve Hayes. As already mentioned, Hayes starred as Perry in the Fine Line Features motion picture “Trick” directed by Jim Fall and starring Tori Spelling and Christian Campbell. “Trick” was nominated for Best Picture at the Sundance Film Festival. He recently completed the film; “The Big Gay Musical,” in which he sings three songs and plays GOD. He won Oustanding Actor at the International New York Fringe Theatre Festival. As a comedian, Steve is a nine time nominee and three time winner of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs MAC Award for Outstanding Comedian and Characterization. He is also the recipient of the Backstage Bistro Award for Comedy Performer of the Year. He is a six time recipient of the ASCAP.

All that aside, the YouTube clip I came across was a series he hosts. Hayes is the host of the information/comedy show “STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies,” which is seen weekly around the world on YouTube. “Tired Old Queen At The Movies” offers the dish on the classic movies we thought we knew and most likely didn’t. How they were made, why they’re classic, and what happens when they become the fixation of a man from upstate New York who was “raised by Warner Brothers.”. From Film Noir to Screw Ball Comedies, Social Dramas to Camp Classics, nothing escapes his scrutiny. Using his vast knowledge of film and Hollywood history, he not only describes the various films, but provides the inside scoops on who got who to do what to whom in order to get what was made, made. With a new segment every week, each two to four minute segment is shot on location in Thornfield Manor, Steve’s overly-opulent , nostalgia filled, sumptuously cluttered, Studio apartment and hosted by fellow actor John Bixler, Steve recommends what classics to see, what to avoid, what to take seriously, what not to and what to run out and rent as soon as the show is over. He also has a sharp, sexy wit that you just don’t find in the many gay men today, the kind where he can be giving you an explanation about why a movie is wonderfully horrible, take a tangent on why one of the actors is so sexy that your boxers will quiver, and then get right back onto the topic at hand without missing a beat.

In short, he really is an old queen, the delightful kind we don’t see often enough any longer. And I love, Love, LOVE that he’s out there making these great little pieces.

I started watching the clips, and before I knew it, two hours had passed and it was well past my bedtime. I couldn’t help myself. He reviewed movies such as “All About Eve,” “Auntie Mame,” “Key Largo,” “Roman Holiday,” “The Lion in Winter,” and so many more of my favorite classic Hollywood movies. It is obvious that his favorite Hollywood icons are Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn and director and producer Joseph Mankiewicz. Then again, they may just be part of my favorite movies, so it seems that they are his favorites. So, if you have ever wished that TCM’s Robert Osbourne was a bit funnier and camper, then you will love Steve Hayes.

P.S. Don’t get me wrong, I love Robert Osbourne and wish I had his job, but Steve is a lot more fun.  TCM really needs to hire him.


The Wicked Witch is Dead (or at least gone)

Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.


This song from the Wizard of Oz played through my head all day yesterday.  It was made official yesterday that my principal accepted the other job and has left my school.  I will not have to deal with him anymore, at least that is what I was told yesterday.  In the week that he was back after a month of medical leave (due to some mental distress he was having) he only caused chaos and a lot of stress for me and many others at the school.  He was not well enough to come back, and though I hate that I feel so much joy that he is gone and that he was having some mental issues, I can’t really say that I am sorry that he is gone.  I just hope that he doesn’t decide he wants to come back.  The school’s board seems to think that he should not, which should be the final say in the matter.
I truly do hope that he gets back into better mental health, and that he enjoys his new job.  I certainly do not wish him ill will; I am not a spiteful person at heart.  However, I, and many others, firmly believe that the school will be better off without him.  I just hope that whoever replaces him is not worse.  I am in a much better mood than I was in last week.  Unless, he is there today when I get to school, I think my mood will improve and the problems that we had last week will be behind us, and we can correct some issues.


Marriage Equality Ad From Italy

This is refreshing: In a PSA entitled “I Will Marry You,” the Italian LGBT advocacy group Arcigay has no doubt unleashed a finely tuned, almost poetic video on ordinary life and same-sex relationships that looks very much like Australia’s “It’s Time,” which The Advocate called “possibly the most beautiful ad for marriage equality we’ve seen.”

Below, sprinkled with music by Lorenzo ‘Jovanotti’ Cherubini, yellow sunlight and the sound of two men in love flutter all around like snowflakes. In other words, the video might knock your heart out. (via Instinct Magazine)

When I was in Italy conducting research, I actually joined Arcigay because it was the only way to get into the gay bars. It’s a very cool organization, and I think this ad proves just that.


this is our year

Back in I think November, a reader sent me a link to this video.  I have been so busy that I only saw it for the first time a few days ago.  It is quite moving.  They seem to really love each other.  Below the video is Joe’s explanation of the video.

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This post relates to the video, ‘this is our year.’ I uploaded on to Vimeo earlier this month here. Joe has his own Tumblr page at http://tickingabox.tumblr.com. You can follow Joe & Will on Twitter also (@itsjoemcd & @willrackham) x
My name is Joe, I’m 24 years old, I live in London and work in the not-as-glamorous-as-you’d-expect TV industry. I met my boyfriend of 18 months, Will, through working on the same TV show. We’re a close couple, and we try to spend as much time with each other as we can.
We both have similar tastes in pretty much everything, with only the rare differing opinion when it comes to condiment choice! (Ketchup vs Mayo)
Last year for Christmas, among other gifts, I bought Will a diary. Inside it I wrote dozens of memorable dates from our time together, so he could look through them as they year went on and remember some of the “firsts” we shared. First date, first meeting of the parents, first trip away etc. This year I was keen to be creative again for Christmas and make him a video of moments we’d shared earlier this year, when we went on a weekend break to Manchester Pride in August.
When I told him I was bringing a video camera with us on the trip, I think he was a but dubious at first but I told him I had plans to make a video and he got involved, and to be honest, he’s a little bit of a natural with a camera anyway, so it didn’t take him long to get in to it.
Move forward a few months, to when I edited the video. I always knew it was something I wanted to make for him for part of his Christmas gifts. So I looked through the footage we’d shot and found the bits I thought were a good selection of our trip to Manchester.
Will and I have always had a number of songs, as I think most relationships do, that mean something to us. One of our first and most poignant is “The Only Exception” by Paramore, so when making the video I decided to fit the footage in around that track.
I only spent an hour or so making the video in iMovie. It was never meant to be a masterpiece and was definitely never meant to be shown to an audience of thousands around the world. As many people have commented, the sound mixing on the video isn’t particularly great, people have been disappointed that in parts of the video they’ve not been able to hear the dialogue between Will and I – for me, I never thought to make speech any clearer or reduce the impact of the track because for the intended audience – in other words, Will & I – we had shared memories of what we were either talking about in those scenes, and so hearing the words of the song for me were more important.
When I showed the video to Will. He loved it, I wanted to wait until we exchanged our gifts properly but I was too excited to show him and he was excited to watch it. So I sat him down on my bed, switched the lights off cinema-style and played it to him, glancing over for a positive reaction every now and then. He really liked it and after thanking me, I decided to upload it to Vimeo and give him a private link to it, so he could watch it on his iPad or iPhone over Christmas while we were both away from each other.
As many of you will know now though, that link wasn’t so private after all. I’ve never uploaded a video to Vimeo before, however I selected the correct privacy settings but actually didn’t submit/save them successfully.
Will stayed over that night, and I went to work the next day for the last time before Christmas. Will and I don’t currently live together but Will spends most nights at my flat. This week, as we had both finished for Christmas and because we’d been working so hard recently and not seen each other as much, we agreed to spend the week together celebrating Christmas before we both went our separate ways to spend Christmas with our families.
That night, Will met me after work and we decided to go to Winter Wonderland – a huge Christmas pop-up theme park with rides and festive markets. We had a great night and ironically, took along the video camera as Will wanted us to film more stuff so we could make a video of our Christmas. All this was before we had discovered that the “This is Our Year” video I had made Will had gone not only public, but viral.
That night, when we got back to my flat, I was checking my emails on my phone and saw a couple of notifications from Vimeo informing me that there were comments on my video. I thought, “That’s strange, it’s private.” I walked over to Will who was watching TV and said: “Baby… Don’t be mad at me, but…” and explained that comments had been made on the video.
“What have you done!” he said, with a bit of a chuckle. We went to my room to have a look on my Mac at the comments on the Vimeo website when we then saw that there had been over 20,000 views. I wanted to be sick, my stomach sank. All I could think was: “Oh god, Will’s not been out that long and everyone’s going to see it and he’s going to kill me.” I was panicking. I took it offline immediately, so Will and I could discuss it and so we could look through the coverage online on blogs and social networks.
The comments and reaction were overwhelmingly sweet. We were initially confused why the video had resonated with people. Sure, we both liked it, but it was special to us – we couldn’t work out how it was making sense or appealing to anyone else?
We left it private for pretty much all of the following day, until we realised it had been duplicated and republished on to YouTube. Again, still panicking slightly that the world could see video of us passionately kissing, we submitted a Privacy takedown request with YouTube, who took the copy down after 48 hours.
After reading messages sent to me from members of Vimeo and reading through some of the lovely messages and comments with Will, we agreed on a compromise.
I remember saying to Will something along the lines of: “If we keep it down, duplicates are just going to keep popping up and we won’t have any control of this. Shall we just take a deep breath and embrace it? Everything everyone has said has been really positive. This video, although not intentional, has actually helped some people.”
It hit home to me how the video was appealing to others when someone described it as “the best unintentional-It Gets Better video ever.”
The penny dropped and I realised that although Will and I live in this bubble between us where we do these romantic things and don’t really think about how others would perceive us, there is a common misconception that gay men aren’t successful in relationships. This stigma that they all go out every night, get pissed, do drugs and sleep with strangers. This concept that gay men are inherently inadequate to maintain a loving relationship in the same way heterosexual couples do.
I think, speaking personally, a lot of gay men think that sexual orientation comes paired with a different lifestyle to suit. That if you are gay, you have to live a different type of lifestyle. I think Will and I have always been so compatible because we both want similar things from life, the same things most straight couples want – that idyllic happy life together, in a house we love, with friends and family we care for. The kind of life where we get more enjoyment from cuddling up on the sofa together watching the Modern Family box set, than we do dancing half naked in a sweaty nightclub drunk off our faces.
I should add, this isn’t a judgement, it’s more just our choice. I have plenty of friends who enjoy the latter and I love them for that – you have to choose what you find most enjoyable for you and your partner.
So to conclude, we’ve decided to keep the video online. We did edit it slightly to tone down a lengthy kissing scene, but nevertheless, it’s out there and we’re happy that our video, which started as a romantic gesture from one boyfriend to another, has now developed this added dimension to inspire some people, move others or just to make some people smile. If its taught me anything it’s that the world is clearly looking for more positive representations of a normal gay relationship, and that there’s still progress to be made to prove to the masses that gay or straight – love is love.

It is such a moving and wonderful message, I had to share it.  Thanks Joe and Will. Below is the this is a follow-up to their ‘this is our year.’ video, after some people had commented that they couldn’t hear their dialogue very well, but just to satisfy curiosity, here it is with a less audible backing track. I did watch both out of curiosity, and though it is interesting to hear the dialogue, I find the original with the music incredibly beautiful and moving.


Second Class Citizens

I have a series of posts coming up and I knew that this post could not wait until I had finished those posts. Some of you may have already seen this, but in case you haven’t, it is worth watching. I have been in the process today of catching up on emails and blogs. This was posted Friday on Break the Illusion Blog by Davey Wavey. Here is how he described it:

The clip is a trailer for a film to be created by Ryan James Yezak – with the bulk of the funding coming a fundraising appeal on kickstarter. Ryan set a goal of $50,000 to produce the film – and, to date, he’s raised more than $137,000 from more than 3,300 individuals.
Watching the clip, you can’t help but be in awe of how far we – as a movement – have come. And at the same time, it’s abundantly clear that we still have a long ways yet to go. We’ll get there, one heart at a time.

When I had finished watching this video, I had tears in my eyes. I don’t know how someone could not be moved by this.

Click here to be part of this effort to create change: http://kck.st/zUspXy
Click here to tweet this video: http://clicktotweet.com/fRNEm
http://facebook.com/2ndclasscitizenshttp://twitter.com/2ndclassctzn
If you are currently being discriminated against and would like to be considered as a subject for the documentary, please email Ryan: ryanyezak@gmail.com

Ryan’s Info…Twitter: ‪http://twitter.com/RyanJamesYezak‬Facebook: ‪http://tinyurl.com/yeezy8hGays of the Week: http://youtube.com/gaysoftheweek‬Google+: http://t.co/3iJ39X8


What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Backed by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the Canadian-born vocalist Diana Krall fills up the tempo of the song with holiday cheer. Her sound so intimate that you might swear the sexy singer is crooning exclusively for you at midnight on Christmas Eve. Krall excels with an approach mastered long ago: elegant delivery that gives extra polish to a very familiar global favorite. This segment takes you through a Diane Krall performance of “What Are You Doing New Years Eve”. Credits: http://www.dianakrall.com
I happen to love Diana Krall.  I could listen to her husky, sensuous voice all day.  I guess this post is a bit of a short cut for me, but I have been getting ready for a trip to New Orleans today and will be gone until Saturday.  Don’t worry, I have scheduled posts for the time that I will be gone, as I don’t really know if I would have the time to post while I am in New Orleans.

So as the song says:

Maybe it’s much too early in the game
Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year’s
New Year’s Eve?

I will be driving back from New Orleans some time on New Year’s Eve, so I will probably get home and ring in the New Year by myself.  I have a bottle of champagne just waiting for me when I get back.  I’d love to hear what you guys are doing for New Year’s Eve.  Anything exciting?

What I Am Thankful For…

There are so many things for which to be thankful, and I don’t know quite where to start.

I am thankful for all the friends that I have made as a blogger, though things have been hectic lately, and I haven’t had much of a chance to respond to comments like I would like, you guys make my day when you read my blog, leave comments, and send me emails.  I am very thankful that I have made some wonderful friends while I have been blogging.

I am also thankful for having the opportunity to teach.  Though my high school students may stress me out at times, and the job does not pay that much, I still love to teach.  I am thankful for the rare occasions when the students show a little appreciation for what I am doing.  Often it comes from their parents who tell me how much their kid talks about my class and how much they enjoy it, even though I don’t see the same thing out of their children, it’s nice to know that I can make a difference.

I am thankful for my friends that I have met since moving back and for the friends that I am able to keep in touch with from grad school. They are an important part of life and it’s nice to have someone to talk to about school, life, etc.

I am thankful for my family.  With my grandfather’s passing over a week ago now, the importance of family becomes even more apparent.  This Thanksgiving will be a little sad without him, since it will be the first I remember without him, but as a family we will pull through.

I am also thankful for the small group of close friends who I have been able to come out to since I moved back home and back in the closet.  Those friends mean the world to me, because they get to see the real me. There is no hiding who I am.  I can be me and that is a wonderful feeling.  In rural America, there can be so few gay people, and it can be quite lonely.  However, with a few who I can be open and honest with, it makes the loneliness a little easier.

I am also thankful that on the 30th of this month, I will have another birthday.  Some people fret over being a year older, but I like being a year older a lot better than the alternative.  I am thankful for my health and for the fact that I live in a country where each year I get older the GLBT community continues to gain the rights and struggles for equality that we deserve.

There is so much to be thankful for, but these are the big ones.  For each of you…

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, your a pal and a confidant.
And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.
I have to also mention that I am thankful for my loyal companion, HRH, the Queen.  She may be one of the moodiest cats that I have ever known, but she truly is a wonderful and loving companion.