Tonight at Eight

You can tell how excited/nervous I am for a date by how much I clean my apartment before the date happens. This is one of those things I do regardless of whether or not I have any expectation that the date will actually see my apartment. It’s a productive way to channel my nervous energy. And if it just so happens that he sees the inside of my apartment, he should see it at its best, right?
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But Alive!

I’ve been busy with a million things lately, mostly good. Work is busy. The freelance stuff I’m doing keeps me busy. I’ve put in a lot of hours at Keshet events and meetings. Somehow I’ve managed to have a social life on top of that. And I picked up a new volunteer commitment, serving on the Diversity Council for The Theater Offensive, a fantastic GLBT theater company in Boston that is looking to bring youth (aged 14-22) into leadership positions throughout their lay (and possibly professional?) structure.

Tomorrow I am guest-teaching a class at Prozdor, my first time back since leaving my full-time job there this past June. My friend Stacey teaches a class on “Hot Topics in Judaism,” and she asked me to come be the guest homosexual for the class. I agreed, but said that the topic couldn’t be “homosexuality.” Continue reading

Sleepy Man

I have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that prevents your air passages from staying open on their own while you sleep. For most people, your body deals with this situation by waking you up every time the passage collapses on itself, which in my case was close to 60 times a minute (that’s once a second!) when I try to sleep unassisted. When you wake up that often, you don’t necessarily feel conscious, but when you wake up “for real” in the morning, you feel as if you haven’t slept at all because, well, you haven’t.

There are generally two reasons why someone develops sleep apnea. Either they are massively obese — viewers of The Biggest Loser are familiar with the condition because it’s frequently listed among the reasons why being fat makes the contestants miserable — or their throats are just made that way. Sadly, I fall into the latter category. Each time I see my doctor, she begins a lecture about how I could lose a few pounds (and I know I could), but she stops herself short once she points her microscope at my throat, realizing that no matter what my weight, sleep apnea is my lot.
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Not On Your Nellie

I don’t believe I have ever voted against a Democratic candidate for office, unless you count the primaries when we choose one over the other. For years I was registered to vote unaffiliated — in part because my parents brought me up to value maximizing my flexibility. In Massachusetts, where the Democratic candidates are often (but, alas, not always) assured victory, it can be strategic to vote in a Republican primary. But several years ago I decided to make my Democratic affiliation official. The party gets my support at the polls, they deserve to be able to count me in their membership rolls.

I did not vote for President Obama in the primaries, but once he became our candidate, I have supported him wholeheartedly. But that doesn’t mean I have supported him blindly. Continue reading

It’s Not Where You Start… (redux)

Sorry that I’ve been quiet this week. I picked up some freelance work that’s taking up my usual blogging time. Plus, I’ve got some heavier topics brewing, but they take a little more thought and craftsmanship to get ready for publishing.

BUT. Today, whilst nursing my Halloween hangover, I found myself watching The Brady Bunch Variety Hour and came across this video.


Prepare yourself.

The Day After That

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be an ally. With the recent surge in online awareness-raising around GLBT teen suicides, I’ve noticed many of my straight friends are hearing the word ally used in this sense for the first time. But I’m going to reflect on myself as an ally, specifically with regards to transgender inclusion and rights.

Some of us in the queer world say “GLBT” out of habit all the time, when the truth is, we often only mean “gay,” or “gay & lesbian,” or somewhat less often, “gay, lesbian, and bisexual.” Gender-variant people — whether they identify as a gender other than the one that usually goes with their biological makeup, or they experience gender in a way that doesn’t fit neatly into the two boxes our society provides — have a lot in common with GLB people in terms of being second-class citizens. But the ways in which transgender, genderqueer, and other gender-variant people are threatened in our society are unique — and often exist within gay/lesbian/bisexual spaces as well.
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By My Side

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, particularly online, for the various movements to stem the tide of GLBT-suicides and anti-GLBT bullying. From It Gets Better to Make It Better to Do Not Stand Idly By to Spirit Day, my Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds have been overwhelmed with friends, acquaintances, and strangers proclaiming their support.

In the past, I have generally been somewhat skeptical about these sorts of campaigns. What real impact do we make by proclaiming our support for something that most people who know us already assume we support?

But this time around, for me, it’s been difference. The recent string of gay teen suicides has really upset me. I’ve been involved in GLBT activism for years now, so the abhorrent statistics about GLBT teen suicides aren’t news to me. But the juxtaposition of these suicides against the news of the day — the battles around Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell, gay marriage, even the publication of gay wedding announcements!! — it was too much for me. It reminded me of the days in 2004 when we waited for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision about gay marriage. Although I felt the arc of history curving in the right direction, I had to stop reading the newspaper every morning. The pages were filled with quotes from the anti-marriage people filled with such hatred — how could I not take it personally?

What has sustained me through this current crisis has been the public support of so many friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Instead of taking the words of the haters personally, I have chosen to take the words of those expressing support personally.
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Grease (Is the Word)

There was a time in my life — probably between the ages of 4 and 7 — when I watched the movie Grease at least once a day. As a member of the first generation to grow up in the age of home video, this put me in a position that few children (outside of those born to theater-folk) had ever previously experienced. But putting aside the historical import of my obsession with Grease (along with Mary Poppins, Star Wars, and The Sound of Music, which all vied for my attention at the time), I wonder what that did to my brain.
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On the Twentieth Century

I took Amtrak’s Acela high-speed, high-priced, “business-class” train to New York this week. Never again.

On the one hand, the trip to New York was fast, comfortable, and featured a fairly reliable internet connection.

On the other hand, I experienced “customer service” so poor it doesn’t deserve the name. I took the bus home.
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With all of the activism I’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks around GLBT visibility and rights, I’ve been thinking a lot about queer ethics. I spent high school figuring out what gay identity meant for myself and how that got negotiated in individual relationships. I was, generally speaking, in the closet.

And yet by the time I graduated I had a close circle of a dozen or so friends whom I had told, and another half-dozen or so guys with whom I had never had a conversation about gay identity, but I assure you they got the message.

I came out to my parents the day they dropped me off at college. A week later, as the period for choosing classes began, I discovered a freshman seminar on the subject of Homosexuality in American Literature and Culture since 18something something. Freshmen seminars were small classes of fifteen or fewer students with one professor. They were highly selective, with an application process that involved writing essays and having a one-on-one interview with the professor. And I knew I had to be in this class. Thus began stage two of my gay-identity formation: understanding who I was in relationship to a community and a history.
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