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Monday, December 3, 2012

Relationships - Part V


In August of 2007, the summer before my senior year of high school, I visited some schools in California with my parents. First we hit up the San Francisco Bay area and checked out Berkley and Stanford, then down to southern California to see CalPoly and UCLA. While I was over there, I did some soul searching. And by soul searching I mean I snuck out at night and hit up the 18+ bars in San Francisco and LA to see if I really liked the gay scenes on the west coast. It was interesting to see the similarities and contrasts between San Fran and LA. Overall, I liked both, and it seemed both detested the other for one reason or another, almost as if their was some sort of sibling rivalry going on between the two.
While in San Francisco, I went to my first gay establishment. I remember whipping out my dick and showing the drag queen at the front door to gain free entry, but I had taking an Adderall before going out, so her look of approval must have been a lie. Still, I got in for free and saved ten bucks: being a whore in San Francisco, check.
Anyway, I was dancing at this place, and I remember how strange the whole thing was. Random guys were so willing to just grind up on me without asking. And here I was, use to asking girls politely at school formals if they would like to dance before subtly grinding up on them in front of our faculty’s watchful eye. I remember feeling unsure how to decline or get out of a grinding that was not consensual. In fact, I almost left with a guy I had no interest in, but then had a miraculous moment of clarity, just told him off and peaced. I then tagged a long with a bunch of gays and some straights more my type, i.e. under 30. We went to some kind of breakfast place and after that I went home to the Hyatt where my parents and I were staying.
When I was in LA, I ended up befriending a Filipino guy who left a lasting impression on me. He was friendly for the sake of being friendly. He also had an ability, which could have been an act, but felt real as ever to me. After having some drinks and hanging with him for a little bit, he told me how he could sense and communicate with ancestors of individuals. I was game, so I asked him if he could give me a reading. He closed his eyes and held my hand. He said he could sense a maternal spirit on my father’s side. My father’s mother died when he was only 27 of lung cancer and my mother once told me how the only time my father ever shed tears was when he talked about his mother. This grandmother of mine also happen to be the artistic one in the family and several of her paintings still hang in our home, one directly over my bed. In fact, I attribute a lot of my artistic and visual creativity to her. My middle name also happens to be her maiden name. Even though I was far from ever meeting her, I always felt a sort of spiritual connection with her.
What he said next brought tears to my eyes, then and even now in writing these words. He said that she was watching over me, he said that she wanted me to know that I was on the right path in life, and I should keep doing what I am doing. At a time in my life when I was trying to figure out if I really knew what I was doing or not, that message gave me so much comfort. I still wonder whether it was real or not. Nevertheless, the message still stays with me today; just keep doing what you are doing and everything will be okay. I’m naturally inquisitive and sometime question myself too much, and that concept that my grandmother was watching over me in an approving manner as I sat in a gay bar in LA gave me hope and confidence, back then and still to this day, to be who I was always meant to be, me.
Later that night, and after some more substantial under age drinking, I ended up meeting one of his friends. I don’t remember much beside the fact that he was cute. I ended up going home with him to the Chateau Marmont. It was a one-night stand that I will not soon forget… mostly because of the aftermath. I woke up in his bed late, around 10 or 11 am in a daze with a pounding headache and only a few blurred memories from the night before. I remember fucking him for a while, and then him trying to fuck me, but I was in no state to endure that kind of pain willingly. I was also still new to bottoming so I was kind of a bitch about it from what I can remember. But he was a nice enough guy to not try too hard, and so I went back to fucking him. I want to say his name was Jeff, but the only thing I remember for sure was the way he smelt. I think it was some kind of cologne because I will smell it from time to time and think back to him and that night. After I woke up and gathered my thoughts, I hoped in a cab and returned home to the hotel where my parents were staying.
I had snuck out the night before. I also snuck out when we were in San Francisco, and when my mom noticed I was gone and called, I assured her that I was fine and would be back in a few hours, and I was. But this time I missed her calls and I could tell from the voice mails that she would have been frantic over the phone so I decided to just wait to talk to her and my father in person when I got back. When I walked into the room, my mom was crying and my father was livid. They had called the LAPD worried sick about me, thinking I had been kidnapped or raped, or worse. In my hung over state of mind, I thought the whole thing was so ridiculous. I was 18 now and I was more than capable of handling myself in a big city.
Still, I knew that what I had put them through was torture. I also, however, felt a sense of disappointment; disappointment in them for not having faith in my abilities to handle myself. But they were just being my overly loving parents, and looking back now I really can’t hold it against them. I was so ready to break free from their reigns and do it all on my own. I think that was a big part of why I ended up going to college the farthest away from home out of all my siblings. I needed to prove it to myself that I could do it all on my own, but more importantly, I needed to prove it to my mom and dad. I knew I could do it, but they didn’t seem to. In truth, they did an amazing job raising all of us, and I was merely the most stubbornly independent of the bunch.
           
     My senior year of high school was a busy one. I was student class president, I did the morning announcements every other day, and I had a lead role in the fall musical, Anything Goes. In the winter, I was a captain of the wrestling team.  I also participated in the math team and tutored students as a member of the National Honors Society. I was also somewhat of a rebel without a cause; the snow penis below was made by yours truly. The janitor seemed pretty pleased with it before kicking it over in the middle of first period.

     As I kept myself busy with class and extra curriculars, my relationships stagnated. I developed those friendships made both in and out of class and in my other various activities, but did not pursue anything intimate – besides the occasional internet hook up.
     It was around this time that I started using the internet to meet gay guys. I think it started with something innocent, like Chemistry.com, then I tried RealJock.com, but when I found out about ManHunt.com, well that’s when my sexual activity really took off. Towards the end of my senior year, I began keeping a list of every guy I had sex with (I’m talking full anal penetration). I did it because I wanted to remain conscious of my number, and I had noticed that that number was actually higher than I thought once I sat down and wrote out the names. I had thought I was at around 6 or 7, and it was actually 10 or 11. I won’t tell you what I’m at now, but after 3 years and the 30 some porn scenes, many of which were threesomes, you can imagine it has gotten up there. Not only did I keep a list, I noted the date of intercourse, and sometimes even a grade for his performance, along with his first name or what ever I knew him as.
     The list has also given me a sense of comfort in knowing exactly who I hooked up with and when. I’m not perfect and I would like to meet the gay who claims to be. I almost always use protection, but the few times I haven’t it has plagued my mind until I got myself tested weeks later. Just in case I ever did contract anything, I wanted to be able to know exactly who I needed to contact so they could get themselves tested. Luckily, that hasn’t had to happen.
     I’ve told a bunch of guys and some of my close girl friends about my list and I’m the only person I know to have such a thing. Overall, it gives me solace to know, as exactly as possible, my number. I can also say that it has forced me to pass on hooking up with some guys after I meet them, thinking to myself, “Do I really want to add this one to list when I get home? Is he really worthy of the list?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much a slut, but at least I know exactly how big of a slut I am.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Technology Giveth, Taketh Away


 
Blurred communication at speeds of light,
Unites the willing with a narrow mind.
Eyes extend past the scope of Nature’s might;
Awesome vision to the happily blind.

In sheltered comfort, blissfully confined,
Stifled by the absence of outside air.
Rural independence is left behind,
Hoisted up off the Earth, without a care.

Perchance–achieve the ideal, if we dare;
Perfect the Cure, reach a place of pure grace.
Perhaps–we’re doomed to dig our own despair;
Perfect the Bomb, efface the human race.

Though all of us can find cause to protest,
To muddle along is what we do best.

(c) 2008 


Monday, April 9, 2012

Relationships - Part IV


          Last time I left off, I had just lost my virginity (see Part 3). I was now in the middle of high school, a 16-year-old sophomore with a car, a red Jeep Cherookee, and a group of friends that were united not on common goals and aspirations, but rather a desire to indulge every weekend in drinking and smoking pot. I was always friendly with those that I had honor classes with, but I never hung out with them on the weekend, mostly because while they were doing group projects and study sessions, I was hanging with more social-minded party people. Towards the end of high school, I became closer with my school friends, after having so many shared classes, but in my mind, they just weren’t at my level in terms of wanting to go out every weekend and have fun. My school friends were intellectual and cultured, but were socially immature and just getting around to the whole dating thing. I was not dating anyone, due to the fact that no one I was interested in was “out” in my small suburban high school, but I was still keen on the concepts of sex and dating. So for the most part, I stuck with my sex-drugs-and-alcohol-minded cohorts. There was some cross-over, but the two groups of friends still remain quite separate in my mind.

          The summer of my sophomore year, I finally came out to one of my best friends and long-time crush, Anthony. We were having a fire on the beach, drinking some beers, just me and him. I didn’t have any reason to think he was gay, but I hoped he was. And I had to ask him before anyone else to make sure the feelings were not mutual. As much as I hoped he would say, “I feel the same for you,” I was not disappointed when he didn’t reciprocate. It just reaffirmed that my feeling were not normal and that it was going to be a lot harder to find someone else in my situation; straight-acting yet so gay for some dudes.

          Anthony did, however, do me a huge favor of keeping my secret until I was ready to come out publically a year later. I will always respect him and the maturity he possessed at that age.

          A few months later, I finally got the chance to come out to my parents and older sister. All of them were sitting in the computer room of my house. My dad was at the computer showing us something when a porn ad popped up. It was gay porn. My dad tried to be cute, and said, “Oh, Kevin is this for you.”

          I had been waiting for a chance to shut him up for a while now and finally, here was my chance. So I responded, “Actually, Dad, I’ve been meaning to tell you guys this for a while and, I’m gay.”

          They all stopped dead in their laughter and stared at me. My dad was speechless, my sister’s eyes began to water, my mom asked, “Are you sure? It could just be a phase.”

          I told them, “Believe me, I’m sure, I’ve known since I was twelve and the feelings have not gone away.”

          My mom began to cry and just said, “And you’ve been dealing with this all on your own?” None of them were at all disappointed, my dad was a little confused but my parents were always very liberal and loving and knew that homosexuality was nothing to necessarily be ashamed of. None of them saw it coming, but they really should have; I was obsessed with rainbows and Lisa Frank as a child, I had not had a girlfriend since middle school, and I’m pretty sure that my dad had walked in on me looking at gay porn on more than one occasion. I later realized that, due to my mannerisms, they really just gave me the benefit of the doubt. 

Christmas breakfast at the Schwartz household

          My sister insisted on me telling my brother soon because she didn’t want to have to harbor that knowledge behind his back, and as much as I agreed, I really didn’t want to tell him. I think I was most afraid of what he would think as my older brother, as my childhood mentor. So when I was out to breakfast with him and his girl friend, I let them know. It was hard for him, I could tell. He was pretty silent and made little eye contact. His girlfriend had to ask most of the follow-up questions. I later found out from my mom that he was not as ashamed of it personally, but more concerned with what his friends would think. Luckily, his friends didn’t care, and more importantly, they didn’t blame him for my sexuality. It did kind of irk me that my brother made it about his friends and his situation rather than the struggle I was going through in coming out of the closet. He is an awesome person, even if a little self-centered at times.

At my brother's fraternity family night.

          My junior year, I also made the switch from the football team (running back mostly), to the musical where I had a lead role both my that year and my senior. I still remember the casting director’s reaction to my audition; “Where have you been for the past two years?”

          “Playing football.” I responded with a smirk.

On the right as Prez in "Pajama Game" my junior year.

           I had come to a point where I hated football, I hated practice, I hated getting yelled at, stressing about it, fucking up because I was stressing, and then getting yelled at again. It was a vicious cycle I wasn’t able to break. The moment after practice ended would be the sweetest time of my day because it was the furthest I was from having to put on the pads again, and stress out some more. I use to sit in class and dread the moment where I would inevitably fuck up on the field and get yelled at again. Maybe the coaches thought their screaming criticisms were encouraging, but for me, I pride myself on what my coaches and mentors think, and that screaming only exacerbated the situation.

Moon Face Martin in "Anything Goes" my senior year.

          Anyway, during the musical, I met Calvin. He was a year ahead of me in school, and not obviously gay, but once you got to know him and all his feminism, then it was clear. He sang beautifully, with more vibrato than any straight man could muster, and he was rather soft spoken but enthusiastic at the same time. I went to his birthday party gathering when I made a silly comment to one of the girls about Calvin being cute. She conveyed that to him, and we started talking. It wasn’t long before we were having sex. One time, we couldn't go to either of our houses, so we drove around in that red Jeep until we came to the elementary school parking lot. It was the weekend so there was no cars or people around. This was a good enough spot, so we hopped in the back and started banging. I always associate his smell with his Greek and Irish background - smells are so enduring in memory.

          We had some good times, but as quickly as it started, it ended. I began to lose interest because I couldn’t see myself bringing Calvin around to hang out with my friends. He just wasn’t at our level maturity wise and I felt like it would have gotten awkward for me. I guess, he just wasn’t the best I could do and I wasn’t particularly proud to be with him. It was more a relationship out of convenience.

          One day, I came to get my backpack which I had left at his house. When I got out of the car, he was waiting out side for me. He said, “I can smell the pot on your breath.”

          “Sorry?” I responded in a sarcastic tone.

          “I just wish you spent half as much time with me as you do with your friends,” he said.

          “I guess that’s the problem,” I stated, “I don’t think this is going to work,” and then I left. At that point, it had only been a month, and I had already fallen out of love with him. Although, in my mind, there was nothing really there to begin with. We were two different types.

          Things did get a little weird because we were both in the same class and creative competition team (D.I. – Destination Imagination) together. We used to sit next to each other in class, now he sat away and I migrated towards some of the cooler kids. During D.I. there were times where I could feel him staring at me, longingly, and it just made me even more repulsed by his neediness.

          I’ll always feel a little guilty for chewing him up and spitting him out, but it was an important relationship and milestone for me in figuring out what I was looking for in a guy. Now I knew that if I was going to really date a guy, he would have to be masculine, and he would have to be low-maintenance, but more importantly he would have to be a good friend, someone that makes me laugh, and someone I could feel proud to introduce to my other friends.

          The summer before my senior year, I finally came out to my friends and classmates. I had held off until that point, partly because I was still coming to terms with it myself, but also because I always feared what the upperclassmen would think; I had always looked up to and respected them the most as my mentors and role models.

          But now that I was one of the top dogs, I figured it was my obligation to all the closeted underclassmen to come out and show them that “normal” acting kids like myself, captain of the wrestling team and student class president, could be gay, and it’s okay. No one did that for me, and it made me think being gay was not cool or unacceptable in our town. So I decided during my underclassmen years that I would come out before I graduated in order to be the change I wanted to see.

Me, dominating.

          That night, I was hosting a house party at my place (as usual) and I was sitting with some girls on my couch talking about relationships or something and I remember feeling like this was the time. So I finally told one of my best girl friends, one whom I had known since first grade, “I have to tell you something, I’m gay.” She obviously did not keep this quite and began asking more questions so that when ever anyone else came by and asked what we were talking about, I would simply respond, “I’m gay,” and continue on with explaining how I figured it out and how I had kept it a secret for all these years. I will always remember that night as my unintended, but self-initiated, coming out party. By the next day, everyone in my school knew. Funny how quickly gossip like that gets around...

          Apparently, I was just that kid that everyone needed to know was gay.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Faith

This is an essay I wrote for my Philosophy of Religion class which explores my thoughts on religious faith. If you guys like it let me know and I'll post more of my school work for your viewing pleasure.




The Delusion of Faith


            In The Virtue of Faith, Robert Adams argues that faith is a virtue even when that faith is based on no hard evidence. Although there is a chance that this faith may be correct and justified, the fact of that matter is that, without the use of practical evidence, the individual is merely guessing based on intuition. Although there is an argument for relying on one’s intuition at times, Adams argues that faith in God and faith in our loved ones (especially when they are innocent but accused guilty) is inherently virtuous. Indeed, past events and emotions are all apart of the evidence. Intuitions and gut feelings are a powerful tool humans use to recall and add significance to emotionally charges episodes of our lives, the ones that really impacted our livelihood. This view, that faith is automatically virtuous, is countered by Allen Woods who employs Clifford’s Principle in evaluating Adams’ claim. Overall, Woods demonstrates how blind faith can be just as “sinful,” if not more so than having less than absolute faith in God and those close to us. Without the use of practical evidence, the individual has no way of validating their beliefs, no matter how intuitive those beliefs may seem.
            Early on, Adams admits that he is flawed in that he can’t justify all of his beliefs, but he is nonetheless confident in his moralities, despite the set of circumstances. For example, he states, “I cannot prove that it is unreasonable to regard infanticide as a morally permissible method of population control; but I still think it a sin to hold that belief” (Adams, 6) in an attempt to get the reader to acknowledge that some things, such as the killing of babies, is immoral in all aspects. While this is a gruesome act to visualize and intuitively sickening, there exists in the modern world, circumstances in which baby killing may be necessary for the survival of the humans already alive on this planet. China, for example, has made the decision of limiting the number of children per family in an attempt to reduce population and save the future generations from resource depletion and starvation. In this case, the restriction on children has led to the killing of babies in one form or another, yet this act could very well save the future of China, more so than if they did nothing. Though the act may seem extreme, only time will tell if this restriction on number of children is either sinful or prudential. Intuitively, it may always seem better to sacrifice the life of an adult over a newborn baby, with all its innocence, but what if the adult is the father of five children who all depend on him, including the new born? Then the choice seems intuitively flipped, and sacrificing the father would be senseless. All this shows is that situational factors must be taking into account, as circumstantial evidence, and no generalizations or beliefs should receive absolute faith.
            Language is a specific area of cognition which is discussed by Adams in regards to the importance of having baseless faith in a system. During our childhood development, we are very impressionable. We take what we are told and belief it to be true. It is only around later childhood that we begin to make our own beliefs and correct the ones that were previously established in our minds. In terms of communication, a foundation for language is needed, and this changes very little throughout life. Yes, the meaning of some words will change or be modified, and you may learn other languages all together, but for the most part this foundation remains consistent and unchanged. Overtime, our brains have evolved to learn language in a very specific part of the brain specialized for this type of learning and information. Adams discusses how learning words of language as a baby requires faith in something without reasoning or knowing that it is true;

“Children acquire a large body of beliefs about the meanings of words long before they have either the intellectual capacity or adequate evidence to  justify those beliefs.… Communication among human beings depends on a sort of natural empathy which enables us, with remarkable reliability, to guess each other's meaning from very fragmentary evidence,” (Adams, 7).

Here, Adams makes a linguistic argument for faith, but this type of “faith” is specialized and only applies to learning fundamental skills such as language which are cultural and not rooted in cold reasoning. The meanings of words and elements of language must become standardized in the individuals of a society in order for them to effectively communicate and relate to one another. This is done at a very young age, in fact, starting before birth in prenatal, but as we age we lose this ability to learn new languages. Psychological studies have shown that it is nearly impossible for an individual to learn a language at all if not introduced to any language before the age of fourteen. So if the ability to learn language is rooted in our childhood, perhaps our ability to have faith in that which we have no evidence is also rooted in our childhood. Indeed, the minds of children are full of false fairytales: the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and of course Santa Claus. While these beliefs are not validated when we get older, the language behind them is; the words and syntax used to convey these fairytales is still as true and functional to us as adults. We simply understand that these concepts were made up for us to keep us in line, just as religion does for adults. We continue to use and adapt our language to be a more accurate working dictionary, while the fairy tale concepts are left behind with their lack of both evidence and plausibility.
            Adams seems to view Woods as asking people to ignore all their emotions and just look at cold hard facts. But Woods counters this notion saying, “If viewing the evidence ‘in a cool and detached way’ means cutting yourself from this kind of evidence, then Clifford’s Principle clearly does not tell you to view the evidence in a ‘cool and detached’ way.” (Woods, 22) The idea is not to cut oneself off from emotions when evaluating a belief, but simply to value the facts over unsubstantiated beliefs. If you fully trust someone because they have always been there for you and never let you down, then these emotions are valid. But if the person has not been so dependable, or even malicious and manipulative, then such
positive emotions would not appear as accurate, and to have faith in that person over the facts would be irrational.
            Adams further discusses the value of faith and trust in our personal relationships. “Sometimes we trust another person on very little evidence indeed; and that is also of great value for human life,” (Adams, 7) but this notion is more of a double edged sword. Indeed, trust in our friends who have proven themselves time and time again is healthy and beneficial, but faith in someone that we love uncontrollably and in spite of sufficient evidence against his or her good nature, that is where we humans get into trouble and are misled by our passions and irrational emotions. Especially in our personal relationships, it is important to take a step back and reassure ourselves that this person is actually good for us and not just playing with our heart for his/her own benefit in the short term. This concept of level-headedness suggests that, yes, our emotions are a necessary part of our psychology and daily lives, but that it must be kept in check by our ability to reason what is best for us and others. It is of great value that so many Americans have faith in the democratic system, but that does not make us blind to the corruption that exists within every level of the government. It is this awareness that makes the system stronger, more responsible, and self-reliant, as opposed to a totalitarian dictatorship, where people simply trust in the ruler, even though he most certainly does not have their best interests in mind.
            Similarly, Adams says that people should believe in God regardless of evidence; “We have to trust His power and goodness in general, without having a blueprint of what He is going to do in detail. This is very disturbing because it entails a loss of our control of our own lives” (Adams, 12). This concept maybe worked for biblical societies where people were clueless about the natural forces at work, and therefore powerless in trying to control them. Nowadays, with television, internet, and social networking, people are enlightened, and as evident in the Arab Spring of 2011, more than capable of taking control of their situation and improving it. Yet Adams suggest that this loss of control is something we should all accept, because God exists and God is great, even though there is no hard evidence that either of those beliefs are true.
            Allen Woods has a different view of the world which is embodied in his interpretation of Clifford’s Principle. Woods values a healthy skepticism over an absolute faith that is blind, and arguably more negligent than pure. Adams may view the faith that Woods imbues as less virtuous and more “questioning” than simply trusting. “The point of Clifford’s Principle, however, is simply we should form our beliefs in accordance with the evidence – neither believing what it does not support nor omitting  to believe what it does support” (Woods, 16). There are some things that we will make beliefs about despite our  best reasoning, for instance, beliefs about race and ethnicity and how they affect behavior. We all subconsciously form generalizations about character and personality based on how we identify people. But to hold these beliefs so strongly that we consistently act on them instead of giving that individual the benefit of the doubt, then that is racist or discriminatory, but above all immoral. One of the main concepts in the study of psychology is about variability within our ethnicity and between these groups. Interestingly, we differ more within a race or ethnicity than between such groupings; our fundamental differences are thus cultural, and not physiological or psychological. Why we find the need to pit one group against another is beyond me. So, because we are more similar than different across ethnic groups, it would be inaccurate to assume certain generalizations are always right. Yet we humans discriminate constantly because of ignorance and egocentrism, both pitfalls of religious fundamentalists.
            As if walking into his own trap, Adams proposes an idea that offers another argument against the morality of unrestrained faith in a higher power. Faith without evidence “seems to free us to be ourselves in a different way -perhaps because do not see ourselves as responsible for the outcome in the same way as if we were clinging to a more controlling role,” (Adams, 14). When people do not feel responsible, however, is when they commit the most heinous acts of cruelty. People in the military learn to take orders from the chain of command, regardless of what the order is. If a platoon is told to wipe out a village, they do so with little sense of fault or responsibility. But if the village happens to be their own, or they are told to kill their own family, well then the soldiers would be far less likely to feel so cold and detached about the mission. And if they did carry out the orders, and became aware of what they had done, they would probably feel far more responsible than they if they were not related to the deceased. This shows the significance of emotional information and how people are willing to do awful things when they are able to remain detached, abandon responsibility, and lay the blame on someone else.
             To keep ourselves in line, we need to take responsibility for our actions and their consequences. Otherwise, “God made me do it,” or “God wanted this to happen,” would be at the root of every murderer’s legal defense. We are logical and adaptive creatures, and if we do not evaluate our actions and the results accordingly, then we will not progress or learn from our mistakes. If we take no action to correct our own flaws, then whose fault is that? In the words of William Shakespeare “Nothing will come of nothing.” Since we all want something out of this world, it would be unproductive and debilitating to put all of ones faith in God, and God alone.
            Overall, Adams is in favor of a blind faith that seems hinder our scientific progress in modern society. Woods suggests through Clifford’s Principle, however, that a more pure and justified form of faith can be attained by logically evaluating the evidence presented to us by our senses and emotionally charged memories. People are flawed, even the ones we are closes to and love the most, so viewing them as perfect and trusting them full-heartedly in any situation is ignoring the fact that we are only human. Each person has a history, and though people can change, we cannot ignore their past, whether good or bad. The main point is that faith and trust must still be founded on something substantial, such as hard evidence, or deep emotions that convey something about hard evidence.

(Also, I liked this article by Todd Pettigrew, Do religious universities serve the public good?)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Left-handedness and Homosexuality


Homosexuality is not a rare by any means. There are consistent rates of homosexuality and these differ between demographics, but in North America that rate is around 10-13% (source). So gays are about as rare as people who are left-handed (10% of the general population) but for some reason the former is far more threatening than the later.

When I notice someone is left handed, I don’t judge him and tell him he is wrong and perverted; I find it rather interesting, like a fun-fact about that person. Studies have even found benefits to left-handedness; John Hopkins University found that of college educated people, left-handers earn 10-15% more than their right-handed counterparts, and the brains of left-handed people are structured differently allowing better use of both sides and a wider range of abilities (Chris Mangus, University College London).



So it would be silly to label left-handed people as demented, sinister and wrong for civilized society… yet that is exactly what the church did less then a century ago. In fact, nuns in catholic school had a different name for the left-hand: “sinistra,” the use of which would result in an abusive wack from the ruler. Years later, neuroscientist would discover that the right-side of the brain controls the left side of the body, making the churches belief, that one side is “right” and the other side “wrong,” completely moot. That same ignorance is alive and well in right-wing politics.

Indeed, it would be easier for scissor manufacturers if all people had the same preference for right-handedness, but maybe there are confounded benefits to having a small percent of the population (say 10%) who pursue the contrary, for example left-handeness and homosexuality. Maybe some people are meant to be different for a reason. I think Charles Darwin would agree that a healthy ecosystem depends heavily on its biodiversity. Perhaps, maybe the same can be said about certain in-born behaviors in human beings, or any species for that matter. The success of so many different life forms seems to suggest that diversity, and having variations in behaviors and tendencies, is intrinsically beneficial for the system as a whole.

Close-minded people, however, do not see the potential in diversity, and therefore have no tolerance for what is outside the norm. They feel afraid and fearful of what they do not know or understand. They see all Muslims as terrorists, all Germans as Nazis, and all gays as pedophiles. Have terrorists been Muslim, Nazis German, or pedophiles gay? Yes, but to link all of those people with the worst then you are doing a serious injustice to all those innocent people that are for the most part, good people.

Aight, I’m going off on a tangent, so I’ll rap it up…
Gays are a necessary piece of the pie, even if we don’t know why.
Some of us are meant to be gay, ‘cause baby we were born this way!
Long Live Lady Gaga!

Peace.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Evangelicals Spew Hate, Ignorance, and Intolerance Into Uganda


I watch a good deal intellectual and thought-provoking television, and once in a while a show will come along that really piques my interest. Morgan Freeman’s Through The Wormhole (Discovery Channel) was one of these shows, and I can’t deny watching an entire season of Glee (Fox) in one sitting. Recently I got hooked to a journalistic-type show called Vanguard on Current TV. And one episode in particular struck a chord with my gay-self. The episode was Missionaries of Hate and details the recent anti-gay legislation which has emerged in Uganda as a result of far-right, evangelical influences. So I did a little research.

According to this NY Times article, three American evangelical Christians are at the forefront of this hate campaign. Scott Lively is a missionary who has written several books against homosexuality, Caleb Lee Brundidge is a self-described former gay who now leads “healing seminars,” and Don Schmierer is a board member of Exodus International (fun fact: this organization was the inspiration for the spoof Rectodus Society episode starring yours truly at NextDoorBuddies.com).

Apparently, these evangelists saw how easy it was to sink their “righteous” claws into the hearts of the Ugandan people. They saw how easily they could coheres them into a state of homophobia in order to secure their power and profits – all of these speakers, by the way, have written short books with their mindless grins plastered all over, and have sold out lectures and sermons in Uganda at the cost of what an average Ugandan earns in a month. These evangelists feel no guilt because they are profiting tremendously from spewing hate and fear, and they have a golden ticket; it’s all in the name of “God.” 

I’m not suggesting that people from Uganda are incapable of thinking for themselves. It is only when an entire nation of people are stressed by famine, poverty, and sickness (namely AIDs), that they become so susceptible to such baseless fears, intolerance, and scapegoating. Just look at Germany post-WWI and in the midst of the Great Depression. We cannot continue to put Hitler and the Nazi’s in a separate box, claiming that the Holocaust occurred under different circumstances. The very same ingredients are all around us and always will be. 

Luckily, the rest of the world is catching on and taking a stand against this anit-gay campaign in Uganda. Donor countries, including the United States, demanded that Uganda drop the proposed legislation which would give repeat offenders of the anti-gay law the death penalty. Uganda has since backed down - a little - replacing the death penalty provision with life in prison.


The main ingredient we have to worry about is ignorance. Unfortunately, people believe what you tell them, and people are not always told the truth. Humans, however, have recently evolved a sophisticated set of skills which allow us to draw worthy conclusions from our own experiences and deductive reasoning. 

In fact, humanity has only done so well in the past few centuries because we have finally harnessed our logical abilities. Thousands of years ago, we didn’t have much control over our fate nor did we understanding how we may better our situation. We lived in the here and now and didn’t think much about the future at all. Coping with sudden misfortune or loss became a necessity, and religion offered a positive method of coping; it brought communities together, gave people hope, and brought closure to those who needed to know their loved ones were waiting for them on the other side. 

But what has religion done for us lately? For the most part, it has separated humanity by waging wars between entire regions of the globe. We must recognize as civilized and intellectual creatures that religion’s time is waning in light of new concepts and technologies. 

Overall, religion is not science. Only science gives us a framework to establish validity and improve upon our theories whenever possible. We cannot look to religious institutions to educate us on subjects which have been studied, documented, and objectively analyzed by academia and the scientific community. 

(For further information, check out this article from the Huffington Post.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Relationships - Part III


            Sometime around 6th grade, I came to the realization that I must be gay. I was a smart kid and knew that, since these feelings for guys were so strong and lasting, something had to be up. It was hard coming out to myself because I knew it meant that my life would not be the same simple path I had envisioned for myself. Basically, ever since I could remember, I had seen myself marrying a nice girl and having a family and kids of my own -- I just needed to have my own kids someday. This mentality explains how I handled myself with girls at a young age (see Part I). Finally, I faced the facts and came to the conclusion that I could either be a miserable fuck, or simply accept my fate and embrace being gay. In case you haven’t noticed, I went with the latter.
            Ultimately, I was more terrified of being a closeted fourty-year-old with kids and an empty marriage than an openly gay fourty-year-old with my man, my soul-mate and no kids… besides, there’s always advances being made in the baby making department; in vitro, surrogates, cloning. I didn’t know what was going to happen in terms of having kids but I knew that I had to focus on being happy, being me, and the rest would fall into place. If I was ever going to find Mr. Right, I would have to ditch these fears of being gay and start looking eventually.
            Still, it was difficult. I didn’t want to screw myself over socially, and I was still coming to terms with the whole gay thing myself. So I kept my mouth shut. Obviously, this took a toll on me psychologically. I became a hypocrite, and I hated myself for that. I would hear people use “gay” or “fag” as a derogatory slurs or to bash some kid for being a wimp, a loser, or an otherwise undesireable person. It killed me to hear the word, my ears would burn, and it always hit a chord.
            “Fagget!”
            'Yep that’s me,' I would think to myself. I even used the words in the same fashion myself from time to time, just to ward off any suspicions. I didn’t do it often though, because it stung my confidence and self-esteem each time. But still, the accusation came up publically one time when I was a freshman in high school. We were hanging out after school behind out town’s center shops, and the moment the kid said it I felt the adrenaline course through my veins, my heart beat through my chest as I felt the lump start to form in the back of my throat.
            “Na man, I’m not gay,” was all I could say. It hurt then and it still hurts now, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Society had convinced me that being gay was wrong and more frowned upon than dishonesty, so I lied and claimed to be straight for as long as I could.
            The summer before my senior year of high school, I came out to my friends and classmates. I planned to come out at that time, when I was at the top of the high school social hierarchy, just to try to change the perceptions of my younger peers and show all the other homos and normies that it's okay to be gay. After all, I was the student class president, captain of the wrestling team, and in the top ten percent of my grade academically, so if this guy’s gay maybe it’s not so bad to be a homo.
            It was a small town and I have yet to see any measurable impact on the younger generation, but I like to think that I changed some perceptions. I guess it’s also part of the reason I brought my act to the internet as a porn star; to change the minds of those closeted gays out there who still think homosexuality is only synonymous with flamboyant fairies who wear make-up and dance around in drag. There are a lot of butch, socially acceptable guys out there who are more attracted to other masculine guys than girls, and I’m just one of them. If you are one of those fairies please don’t be offended by this, because I love you girls and I know how sensitive you can be.

            Anyways, I know a lot of you gays have been waiting for this, so here’s how I lost my v-card… Before I get into this, I am warning the reader that there is going to be some graphic content in the form of gay butt-sex, so if you are not interested in reading such things, or know me personally, consider this your only warning. To any of my friends that come across this blog, if you do read on and find yourself wishing you hadn’t, then you only have yourself to blame. The following is a true story:

            It was around Christmas time my sophomore year of high school, which would have made me 16. I was at a friend’s Christmas party and some of his extended family was still around drinking J├Ągermeister (I grew up in a town of Irish Catholics and Italian mobster), but the kids from my grade and above were now outnumbering the family members. After a few hours of drinking, kids either left or passed out in the wreck room.              

              I had been drinking, but not as much as Billy. We were in the wreck room watching TV when I suggested we use the out door hot tub. Billy was down. We hopped in and lost the boxers since no one else was around or awake, plus we had been drinking so we were both in an uninhibited state of mind.

            As we were sitting there it got slightly akward, but only in the sense that we were both in a hot tub, naked, and were thinking about making a move, but neither of us wanted to make that move and potentially look like an idiot. Then Billy moved over to the controls, so I followed him, kind of rubbing up against him while pretending to look at the controls. He didn’t seem to mind, so I rubbed his hairy leg and he still didn’t react, so I slid my hand around his thigh and went for the goods.

            He immediately reciprocated, fondling my junk in return. We played with each other’s cock and balls for a minute before I went underwater and began blowing Billy. I guess he appreciated that, because then he went down on me and began sucking my cock. It was all really hot. I wrapped my legs around his body and then Billy did something that I did not expect. He placed his tip against my hole and pop! There went my virginity. He gave it a few good thrusts and it felt awesome. Sure I had played with my hole before, maybe got a finger half way up there in the shower, but this was completely different. Billy was pumping me like an animal, and I was fucking loving it.

            When I tried to get my turn, Billy came to, and realizing something was about to go up his butt for the first time, he backed off and we just left it at that. We hopped out of the hot tub, dried off, put our clothes back on, and went to bed.

            The next day, after I got home, I tried to contact Billy to talk about the incident, but he didn’t respond and seemed distant. When I did finally get a chance to talk to him, he acted like he didn’t remember. But I thought this was bullshit.

            “You put your dick up my ass, Billy,” I reminded him. He reacted with a look of denial rather than shock. While he still claimed to not remember the incident, he did relate how he wondered why us guys couldn’t be more intimate with each other, like lying next to each other while watching TV with our own friends. This open-mindedness to the idea of fraternal intimacy made me sure that deep down in Billy, there was a homosexual yearning that was ultimately suppressed by his heterosexuality and what was socially acceptable.

            I asked Billy if he would be down to mess around again, and he said yes, so we went up to the loft in my house and began playing with each others cocks and blowing one another. After that, I think the sobering idea of being gay freaked him out to much because we didn’t hook up again for a couple years. And when we did, it was forced, and awkward, and nothing really happened.

            I don’t think Billy wanted to admit that he might have been bisexual, or worse gay, but he was just the first of many guys I’ve come across that have in them the potential to be gay. What holds them back is fear, inhibitions, and the overriding idea that society will don’t accept that kind of behavior.

            All one has to do, however, is look at the research of Alfred Kinsey from the 1950’s to see that most guys are essential bisexual, and under the right conditions, will freely participate in acts of homosexuality. In my mind, these conditions are as follows:

1)    One-on-one

2)    With a close friend

3)    Under the influence of alcohol

WARNING: I’m not saying this will work every time, but if it’s going to happen, it’ll probably be under these circumstances.