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How do single people buy jeans?

I’m too white and too old for Hip Hop wear.  But right now I’d love a pair of those baggy jeans.

Do you think it would be possible for me to remain in the house until skinny jeans go out of style?

Last week my partner Marcus very sweetly said: “Honey, with your book, THE MARRYING KIND coming out so soon I think we need to update the jeans. The ones you’re wearing are–”

Yes?” I could feel my shoulders rise.

“They’re a little old man. In a bad way.”

As opposed to in a good way?

The jeans I enjoy are baggy and loose. They’re the kind of pants you could pull off without removing your shoes, not that I would ever do that. I like pants with roomy pockets.  Alas, this is not a contemporary look.

So we went to H&M.

Marcus loaded me up with jeans to try on and I felt my heart sink. Have I mentioned I was a fat boy. That I shopped in the husky department.  Despite my dismay, the first pair I tried on felt great!

“That’s because they’re 34,” Marcus apologized. “Sorry I grabbed the wrong size. Try the 32s.”

I didn’t want the 32s but Marcus made me try them on. They fit like gloves, which is a sensation I enjoy on my hands. Not so much on my thighs.

“You look great sweetheart!”

I wasn’t sure I could sit down in them.  I wanted to go home.

“Keep trying on jeans, honey.”

In all I bought four pair.

“That’s what an author looks like!” Marcus assured me when I tried on the Mick-Jagger-skinniest pair.

Funny, I thought authors looked like unkempt alcoholics.

The only reason I’m writing this blog today is so that I can put off leaving the house. Marcus took my old jeans to Goodwill.

Thanks, Honey!

I am grateful to my partner. And I do look good in the pants. And I can sit down. And…

I’d love my old jeans back.

Even in Manhattan

One of the nice things about living in Manhattan is that all Manhattanites support marriage equality. Or at least that’s what I thought, until having breakfast this morning in my neighborhood at the Tanto Dulce Cafe.

I struck up a conversation with the couple (father and daughter, I later learned) at the table next to me. We were talking about the ubiquity of iPhones and Erik (the father) asked me what I did.

GREAT!! I thought.  An opportunity to sell one more copy of my very funny, pro-equality novel, THE MARRYING KIND, coming out in June from Bold Strokes Books.

I gave the brief sixty second pitch–tricky for me. As anyone who follows me on twitter knows, I’m not really pithy. Still, Erika (the daughter) smiled. Erik’s expression, however, was harder to read.

Erik looked at me kindly but there was a somberness behind his eyes.  ”I need to tell you something that I have never told anyone before,” he said.

Eric, no! Please don’t come out to me.

I mean, I really support everyone who is on a journey of self-acceptance to come out of the closet. But probably the first person you tell your gay should not be the guy at the next table who is just trying to finish his egg sandwich. And if it is the guy eating the egg sandwich that you must tell, do you really need to make this declaration while your daughter watches and listens?

I was quickly trying to decide whether Erik or Erika was going to need the most comforting when I heard Erik saying that he didn’t believe in Gay marriage.

Believe?

We are talking about marriage not Santa Claus.

Over the years on Facebook many “Christians” have said incredibly mean and hurtful things to me. And while I don’t enjoy being harangued  on my own fan page I could always dismiss those posters as wacko extremists.  But Erik was funny and charming and most of all, a New Yorker!

Erika’s smile grew unnaturally wide. Her eyes seemed to be saying: Get me outta here.

It occurred to me that maybe it’s a generational thing. Younger people like Erika support marriage equality. Some older people like Erik do not. But I do not just want to wait for an older generation to die off. (Somehow I think that has got to be bad for my karma.)

So I engaged Erik. I was surprised at how charming I was being to the man who does not want me to be able to get married to my partner of nearly fifteen years.

“Is it the redefining marriage thing you object to?”

“Yes”

“You do realize that the fact that Erika can marry the man she chooses and you don’t get to sell her for three cows and a goat means we have already redefined marriage.”

Erika was loving me.

Erik conceded my point but didn’t want to budge. “You should have all the rights but not the word marriage.”

“Sort of like Separate but equal?” I asked.

We continued to talk. I didn’t win him over to my obviously right point of view. But I did make progress. I’m sure of that.

And maybe now Erika will finish the job.  I heard Richard Carlbom of Minnesotans United for All Families speak the other evening. He made a point of stressing the importance of talking to everyone we meet about why marriage matters to us. And why none of us are equal until we all are.

Were it not for Richard’s speech I might not have talked to Erik this morning.

And I guess I better keep talking. Because even in New York not everyone supports equality.

What if no one marched until everyone could?

What if no one marched until everybody could?

Great and Powerful? Who Said?

Remember how the great and powerful Wizard of Oz turned out to not be so great. Power? Not so much, as it turns out. He was just a guy with low self-esteem,  a sound machine and a curtain. But for a long time he managed to instill fear in the citizens of Oz. He kept his people at bay because he was scared. Afraid of change.

Recently it has occurred to me that the group One Million Moms has the same M.O.

First of all: One Million? Really?

I’m thinking they have to drop a couple of zeros from that number.  Also, they need a name change. How about: Ten Thousand Terrified Women who Never Really should have had Children in the First Place (.com)

I read on Right Wing Watch that these Ten Thousand Women, I guess inspired by their success in getting J.C. Penny to Fire Ellen, have decided to go after Toys ‘R’ Us. I know what you’re thinking the terrified Women are horrified that the toy giant has been teaching American children that ‘R’ is an acceptable substitute for ‘Are’.  Not in fact the reason.

Ten Thousand Terrified Women are horrified that Toys ‘R’ (their spelling not mine) Us is selling Archie Comics right at the checkout stand! Because in January The gay character Kevin Keller got married and then he didn’t kill himself or anything.  He just apparently is going to live happily ever after.

The problem the women face is their unloved and unwanted children might ask them why two men are married and they will be forced to answer them!

It is shocking that Archie actually expects mothers (and fathers for that matter) to talk to their children. Why have an opportunity for sharing when you would rather hide behind ignorance and fear?

Let’s not forget how long this approach worked for the wizard. But eventually the curtain does get pulled back. And the truth is exposed. And fear, that powerful emotion, eventually gives way to reason.

The Colors of the Rainbow

When I was a very young I wanted to be Louis Armstrong–Not just a musician, but actually Satchmo. If that was not possible, I also would have enjoyed being one of Gladys Knight’s Pips.  Most often though, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, quite sheepishly, “An actor. ” Unfortunately, I did not believe that anyone like me could be an actor. I was different.

Actors were strong and heroic and straight.  It is hard for me now to imagine that I thought this about a performing arts profession.  But I did. And if I thought that about acting what were little queer kids who wanted to be an astronaut or athlete or arctic explorer thinking?

Obviously there have been many LGBT actors–even though I didn’t know who they were. But there have been LGBT people in every profession. There have been many LGBT heros. And certainly we’ve had our share of villans, too.

But who are they? Our history, more than any other groups, is invisible. If thirty years ago there had been gay actors that I was aware of, I might have chosen a different path.  For many years I have been a massage therapist. And now I’m a writer (or as I like to think of it, I’m an actor who gets to play every single part and make up the story, too). My first book, THE MARRYING KING, is being published by Bold Strokes Books in June. And maybe someday a young LGBT person will read my book and think, I guess I can be a writer, too.  That would be lovely.  As for all the other jobs we have done and places we have been: what if we had a museum to learn about our history?

Tim Gold the founder and CEO of the Velvet Foundation is working to create and build a National LGBT Museum in Washington DC and a fundraising campaign is underway. Imagine such a museum. I would love to see that happen. To stand in that building. To walk through its corridors. To learn about people I never knew and yet feel a profound connection to. To be able to say, “Here I am,” and “I belong.” Despite our many differences we are part of a unique and accomplished community.

It makes me think of the man I wanted to be when I was five and I find myself singing, What a Wonderful World.

Oh Right, It’s Because I Love Him

A Bipartisan Group is reframing the case for legalizing gay marriage They say we’ll get farther if we stress our desire be married as a way of showing our commitment to each other as opposed to our demand for equality.

I guess it’s easier for some people to wrap their heads around gays wanting to be in a committed relationship than it is for them to think about us wanting to be treated as equals.

I have no problem reframing the message as long as at the end I have equality.  Oops, I’m sorry I mean a commitment to my partner (future husband).  I don’t care about all the rights and being treated like an equal human being because I have love. I’m all for love and commitment.

And, please don’t tell anyone, but when I get my love and commitment recognized by the federal government, I’ll have equality, too!

It’s so Hard to Get Good Help

Sorry. I know I haven’t posted in awhile. I haven’t felt up to it. (Sigh.)

I hurt myself moving a piece of furniture and so I decided to feel sorry for myself and wallow in despair instead of keeping up with my blog. (Sigh.) I never should have moved my desk by myself. That was the problem. Too big a job for one man. I should have gotten help.

But where does one find such help?

Apparently, if you need assistance carrying things, Rentboy.com is a great place to find help.

Who knew?

Well, George Alan Reckers, cofounder of the Family Research Council and anti-gay activist knew. When he was caught returning from a European holiday with an escort, he claimed he hired the well-endowed lad merely to carry his suitcases.

Interestingly, it was Reckers who was photographed pushing the luggage cart through Miami International Airport. The photo and story appeared in the Miami New Times.

Here’s the crazy thing: It never crossed my mind to check Rentboy for furniture movers (Awesome tip, George!) I have been known on occasion to visit the site, but honestly just to look at pictures. Because I was raised Catholic, and because I’m famous, I have always been afraid to procure one of the advertisers. But that’s only because I didn’t realize that men visit Rentboy.com in search of high-quality valets.

Maybe Mr. Reckers will open up a whole new market for rentboys, ushering us back to a more genteel time when every gentleman had a manservant.

If only I had a gentleman’s gentleman.

At least now I know where to find one. (Thanks again, George!)

That’s all for now. Time for me to begin conducting interviews.

Heading to the Principal’s

I’m always a little nervous when I think back on High School, because I was really unhappy then and sick a lot. I was certainly the kind of kid who would have been sent to a fake prom. I mean if I had gone to the prom, and if my classmates had ever dreamed of doing such a thing. Oh, and if in my Catholic school anyone would have ever dared bring a same-sex date.

Water under the bridge…

Today I wrote to Constance’s principal about the whole mess;

My letter’s below:

Dear Ms. McNeece,

I’m deeply saddened by the events that took place during your school’s recent prom(s). It is always difficult to acknowledge what extreme capacity for cruelty we, as human beings, have. It reminds me how much work we all still have to do.

The events of last weekend can not be altered. Most of your high school’s senior class–with the support of their parents–willfully shunned a small minority of students by their duplicitous act. What they did was perhaps within their legal rights, but clearly it was morally wrong. And not the kind of behavior that should be tolerated.

I am not writing asking you to punish or expel these students–I realize you can not expel an entire graduating class. I am writing in hopes that you will truly seize this moment to educate your students and your community. Perhaps you and your staff will find a gift in this horrific event. You have been given an opportunity to create change. A chance to engage in dialogue. You have this time now to talk to your students. Discover what fears they hold so deeply within themselves that would cause them to act with such disregard toward these few ostracized classmates. Explain to them that it is the acceptance of our differences–not the rejection– that makes us, as a society, flourish.

Right now great leadership is called for. I believe if you take charge and act you will transform this moment.

I have spent the last several years writing a novel about marriage equality called, “The Marrying Kind.” It will be published later this summer. The story is sweet and funny but also challenges us all to stand up against injustice. If you would find it helpful for me to plan a trip to come and talk to your students and staff about equality, I’d be honored to assist you.

Sincerely,

Ken O’Neill

The Stuff of Nightmares

Perhaps because my book is coming out in a few months and so I’m feeling a little more stressed than usual, I’ve been having some unsettling dreams. In addition to being a writer, I am also a licensed massage therapist. The other night I dreamt that a real life client of mine named Paul came over for a session. He pulled off all of his clothes, started to hop up on the table and then stopped. He stood before me naked and said, “I just want to thank you for never once, in all the times you’ve massaged me, ever making an issue out of the fact that I am transgender.

I want to make it clear that I would not find it at all unsettling to massage a transgender person. I did however find the dream unsettling because Paul isn’t transgender. In the dream I became confused. Was this man who I have seen naked multiple times actually born female? Or was Paul just messing with me. I wasn’t sure but I was leaning toward the later explanation.

The dream reminded me of other dreams I’ve had, like when you show up at a party and you’re suddenly aware you’ve gone to the wrong place and you panic because you’re lost and you don’t know how to get to where you really belong. And then, if you’re me, you realize you forgot to wear any pants.

And you wake up. Thank God. And it was all just a bad dream.

Only sometimes it’s not a dream. Sometimes, something terrible has really happened.

On Friday night Constance McMillen– the high school girl from Mississippi who has gotten so much attention for wanting to take her girlfriend to the prom– arrived at the event to discover there were only a few other students in attendance.

The rumors that this event was created to keep Constance from attending the “real prom” have not been confirmed. But as far as I see it there are only two possibilities.

Either Constance was at the real prom but no one else would go because there was going to be a lesbian there.

OR:

There was a real prom some place else that Constance wasn’t told about because she’s a lesbian.

I’m not sure which explanation I find more despicable.

I’ll leave it up to you. Feel free to weigh in.

The Catholic League Prepares for Holy Week.

It’s holy week.

For believers, it’s the most solemn week of the year. A time of prayer, reflection and repentance.

It’s a time to remember Jesus not merely as man, but as God. To think of his death and glorious Resurrection–his gift to mankind.

It’s also a time for the faithful to remember to act like Jesus. To strive at all times to be Christ-like.

And so I was saddened to read in The “New York Times” that Catholic League president, Bill Donohue, chose to run an add blaming gays for the church’s insidious pedophilia epidemic instead of owning up to the Vatican’s shameful attempts to cover up abuse.

Wayne Bessen, Executive director of Truth Wins Outs, had this to say about the ad. “We should remind Donohue that there is no child sexual abuse crisis in gay community centers, neighborhoods, churches or social organizations. This nightmare has to do with Catholic pedophile priests and those who served as their enablers. The Catholic League thinks it is mounting a defense, but it is only exacerbating the pain felt by the defenseless who were taken advantage of by authority figures in the church.”

I believe that It is possible for the church to recover from even this heinous crime. But not without remembering that the church is made up of men, not God. And all men are capable of sin. Even Popes.

After we sin, at least as I was taught in Catechism, we ask for forgiveness. We do not blame others.

We take responsibility. We are humble.

We are penitent.

I hope that someday soon the church will recall its teachings.