|Me with my 2017 GLAAD Media Award|
On Monday, this blog turned 15 years old.
It's been a labor of love these past 15 years and it came from a lot of pain. My growth as a gay man began in earnest while I was in college in the early 1990s, but it was a stilted growth because of the climate. We didn't have Will and Grace or Ellen DeGeneres back then. Homophobic shame was the norm and even rumors that you were gay would cause you a lot of trouble and even a possible beatdown in some cases. I especially know about the near beatdown. People said ugly things about you behind your back and psychologically put you in some force field of shame which you couldn't penetrate no matter how much of a good person you were.
And above it all was an ugly ambiance created by rumors and lies believed by many and pushed by religious right groups. Gays recruit children, gays have lots of sex, gays have health issues because they love anal sex so much. Gays stuff gerbils up their rectums. It sounds a bit funny now (particularly that last lie) but when you are a gay man in an environment where you have to keep silent for fear of violence and rejection, hearing that stuff damages your soul. Your world stops and you play mental games with yourself in order to stop thinking about what you need to do or how will your future be. The majority of my heterosexuals college mates had dreams about getting married, having successful careers, raising families and such. The only dream I had as a gay man back then was what the hell do I do to get my life on track and how do I not wind up a bitter, lonely old gay man getting my ass kicked by a hustler in a seedy hotel room.
It was inconceivable for me to plan where and how I would end up. Realizing that I'm gay took all control out of my life. It lasted that way until a number of years later due to two reasons. One - I got older and with age came a fuck you world attitude. Secondly with that attitude came anger at all of the time I wasted in fear. And that anger pinpointed to all of the mess I heard from sources like Pat Robertson and The 700 Club and various other religious right groups and individuals.
So, to speed up the story to the present, that was the main reason why I've been here for 15 years writing and pulling out the receipts. When the media implies that this so-called culture war about LGBTQ rights is a religious issue, don't believe their false narrative. It's a lie. The war over LGBTQ rights is about a deliberate slander, a mass stigmatization of an innocent group of Americans through junk science, cherry-picked science and out-and-out lies spewed by a group of religious hypocrites using terms like "religious liberty," "pro-family," and "Judeo-Christian" to hide their basic homophobia.Over the decades, they crafted an ugly narrative that we live "dangerous lifestyles" which are detrimental to our mental and physical health. My goal was to call out and break down this ugly narrative thrown at LGBTQ people by groups like the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom and people like Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, Janet Folger, and 'Porno Pete' LaBarbera. And also to expose them for the liars they are.
To the right of this blog is just a smidgen of the work I've done over the years. I think I've done well for myself. I've gained national and international attention. I've had over seven million hits over the years. Like my bio says, my writings have been mentioned by Americablog.com, Goodasyou.org, People for the American Way, Raw Story, The Advocate, Media Matters for America, Crooksandliars.com, Thinkprogress.org, Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, Melissa Harris-Perry, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, The Washington Blade, and Foxnews.com.
I've won several awards, including the 2017 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog. And I am proud of the friendships I have made with so many other bloggers and writers.
That's not to say that it's all been a little piece of heaven, so to speak. I've sacrificed a lot. My goal was not to monetize this blog so I've made very little money via the posted ads. Sometimes I feel that no one is listening. And as I get older, I get more weary over the entire thing, as if I am a dog constantly chasing its tail. Yes, we know that these groups are homophobic and that they lie, but what can we do about it? How many times can I write about it before it becomes jaded or taken for granted?
I also have primal doubts about this work I've spent a considerable amount of time doing. Primal doubts coming places of selfishness which we all have. Maybe after I stop blogging, I will be forgotten. You will never see my face when montages of LGBTQ historical figures come up. Perhaps I did myself no favors by staying in South Carolina instead of moving to places more prominent in the LGBTQ community. Even in some areas, I get little to no respect. I'm too black, I'm too Southern, etc. etc. To some in the community I'm an outsider and nothing will change that.
But then I remind myself what it's all about - the work and the love. Who I was or am when it's all over is incidental. It's best not to have any illusions that everything will be better for us whenever I stop doing my little bit. LGBTQ equality has been a struggle long before I was here and it will continue even when I'm gone. My job was to come blazing in with an axe and chop up all of the clutter, the weeds, and the thorns which choked the lives and spirit of LGBTQ people. I think the important thing I should always remember is that while I was here, I did my part and I did my best.
That makes me feel contented.