Choosing To Be Gay

A closeted man told me that “coming out” isn’t a thing, and followed up by saying you “choose to be gay.”

I’m going to repeat that, in case you thought you heard wrong…..

A closeted man. Told me: “coming out” isn’t a thing. And then said people “choose to be gay.”

Where does this come from and why did I just hear it roll off someone’s tongue in 2015?

Conservative media? Religious outcry? All of the above.

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There’s something still wrong with what learning centers (child’s home, churches, schools, etc) are spouting to open minds. The underlying theme is to hide, pretend it’s not a thing, that these people don’t matter, that they will go away if we don’t give them attention.

And to all these people, I ask if they have a child, or own a dog. Have you ever kept your dog in the house too long, or shut the door to your child’s room too long? What happens? Do they just sit there and wait? Or do they scream louder every second you choose to ignore them?

That’s what happens with ANY group that is neglected in society for long amounts of time. The longer we pretend “they chose to be gay” or “they chose to be different,” the longer we have to deal with the repercussions of this — as a whole population.

I know it’s gotten better. I know people have paved the walkway I can now stroll and powerful voices have cracked the stained glass windows of religious communities that only know how to spout a verse from the Old Testament.

I know it’s gotten better because when I decided to muster up the small ounce of courage I had to come clean about who my authentic self is, it was widely received by friends and family, and no one really gave a shit. Like it should be.

I know it’s gotten better because, on June 26th 2015,  I cried like a bitch upon hearing the news that maybe someday I could get married to someone I really loved and my country would finally recognize it as legal.

I think I mainly just feel bad for said closeted man. Because I know him, not really personally, but I know the Future Him. I know Him as the sad man who has a beard-of-a-wife (who probably has some type of addiction that plays to his favor because she will never bat an eye at his “late night work things”), he has two beautiful kids that think their Dad is the coolest guy there ever was, and he has the job and the house. And they go to the park, and play catch, and bake cookies. But I learned that every family has their secrets, especially ones that sound too good to be true (thanks, Desperate Housewives). I know that Future Him will maybe hit up a gay bar, befriend someone who’s just in it for the sex, and that’s the end of it. I know that Future Him will be a sinner on his knees Saturday night and a saint on his knees Sunday morning.

Because this is the life Past Him was taught. Somewhere it went wrong, because these things aren’t just thoughts. These ideas are spread, mass-produced, falsities, like flavored soda, but worse for the soul.

This poor guy had the balls (ish) to tell a gay man that he believes I chose to be this way, and he said it with that good Christian boy smirk that makes me want to rip his dick off and feed it to a pack of wolves. But behind all of this negative bull shit, I saw a blank face and sad eyes, almost like he knew what he was saying was wrong, unintelligent and regrettable. It was sad because he had already given up on it — he just wanted the marriage, the kids, the house with the picket fence, and the secret file on his laptop called “Tax Refunds 2018” with all his wildest fantasies.

I didn’t know what to do with him. I lost my cool and told him how wrong he was, but if I had the chance to do it over, I would tell him that he could have the marriage, the kids, the house with the picket fence and he wouldn’t even need the secret file on his private computer.

There’s this misconception about the institution of family…because family is really wherever you feel most at home. And I desperately should have told this dude that he would NEVER feel at home if he was planning on carrying all these boxes of secrets into that house with him and his “family.”  

I was mainly just flabbergasted that someone my age still thought like that and had it in them to tell someone. I’m still not sure if it was to get my exact reaction or if he’s actually seriously convinced you choose to be gay.

I guess I should’ve been better about all of this, after all, you only know what you know, and all he knows is Leviticus 18:22 and his grandfather’s obsession with all things fishing and Fox News. All I know is my mother’s talk about how we can never expect anyone to love and accept us fully if we don’t fully love and accept ourselves.

And that’s the only choice I made. To be me, to let the world hear my voice, and to try and make this place a little easier to navigate.

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Things I Wish I Knew

College is a very transitional period of time for everybody involved. Your intellect is tested, skills are honed, voice is found, and you generally change because of the nature of your position in life–you’re malleable. I came out my Sophomore year of college, almost exactly a year after I had broken up with my beard *cough*….girlfriend from back home (which seems like an eternity ago), and it was probably my proudest moment to date. I know that might sound weird for those who haven’t had the amazingly wonderful opportunity to question their sexuality reading this, but coming out is a lot like that feeling you get when you do something right and your parents are super proud and you’re actually now the CEO/President of Cloud Nine.

Before I came to college, I was closeted. I don’t actually know why I was so closeted–coming from Southern California I knew several out and open gay men, some were even my friends, but there was something deep down that halted me from owning up to who I was and it was actually tearing me from the inside out.

Continuing to grow up in the South has been nothing short of interesting; I hear stories of many who were not well-received when they made the bold choice of owning up to who they are. Luckily, I had a great set of friends who accepted me into their hearts, and family who continued to support my “announcement.” Not a day goes by where I don’t think about how hard it is to figure out your sexual orientation, so I compiled a list of things I wish I knew while I was in that period of questionable discomfort about who I was, both for my own knowledge and possibly to help those who are having a difficult time figuring themselves out. (Bye straight people, thanks for showing up, maybe next week I won’t be feeling as homosexual?)

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First, and most importantly, you have worth. No matter what a Fox News program says, the church billboard down the street, or your dumbass neighbor–you have WORTH. You were meant to be here. You have a purpose here. You have a voice here. I know there are times where you just want to lock yourself in a bathroom and cry out of frustration, (and that’s okay), but know that you mean something to this earth and you have a right to be here. People want to see you succeed. Don’t let spiteful people get under your skin.

Questioning is healthy. In all walks of your life, you will hit forks in the road that will test your once-held knowledge. This is okay. This is meant to happen. Having the courage to be vulnerable to these questions and new experiences will only expand your world. Question your beliefs. Question your standpoints and why you say what you say and do what you do. At the end of the day, you are only responsible for yourself, including your actions, words, thoughts, beliefs, body, etc. Questioning will only help you grow into who you were made to be, but it won’t be an easy thing to do if you’re stubborn.

Be open to change. This is what really kept me in the closet for longer than I had hoped. I thought “Shit, everything is going to change! People will look at me different, assess the way I walk and talk, and who I hang out with.” In a way, yes, this did happen, but we all receive as much judgment from others to the same extent of our judgments of them. Your life will change, as it is constantly doing anyway, so be open to this new era. No 80 year old is the same now as they were when they were 20. Change is good, so stop resisting it.

Honesty with friends and family will only strengthen your relationships. There was a time where I didn’t like talking about myself with a lot of my closest friends and it turned into a joke we would tell about my lack of interest in my own self. Deep down I had so much to say, but was terrified on how it would affect my friendships. Don’t let this happen to you. Those who love you will open their ears and their hearts for something you are deeply wrestling with. Those who truly love you will remain by your side, (This also clears out the shitty people in your life who choose to not accept and love you–a healthy purge, if you will).

Don’t judge yourself for who you are. This is extremely hard to swallow if you are one who is very hard on themselves. When it came to really figure out my sexuality, I had to remind myself to not judge myself for staring at men and wanting to explore those sexual attractions. If I had continued to judge myself, I wouldn’t be writing this today. Go out and experience your life without the fear of disappointing yourself. You’ll miss out on a lot of experiences if you choose to ignore what your mind, body, and self are telling you. (Note: I’m not condoning sexual behavior but if your personality warrants those actions, have at it. Wink.)

Express yourself. I threw out at least 10 trash bags full of clothes this past year. I called them my “straight clothes.” I remembered buying certain clothes to mask my sexuality and make me feel like I could fit in. If I had started expressing myself earlier, through clothing, conversation, etc. it would have been much easier to come out. Let your personality shine. Also I’m laughing at what I just wrote “masking my sexuality”…memory of 17 year old me picking up the house phone and still being asked if it was my Mom or sister on the phone just occurred. Good times, Garrett.

Stop lying and start living. The most important advice I could give to someone who is struggling with their identity is to quit lying to themselves about a made-up man they don’t see in the mirror. Gay is OK. Bisexual is OK. Pansexual is OK. No one will ever be able to tell you who you are except for you, so stop making up lies to portray a different character. You are who you are, and it’s time to wake up to reality. The sooner you come to your senses, the sooner you can take pride in loving the skin you are in. I spent too many years lying about who I was–years that could’ve been spent crafting my voice, helping others in similar situations, and living comfortably in my own skin without wondering what-if’s.

Everyone’s story is different. I don’t think I need to reiterate it enough. You are different from me. Your coming out story, life story, daily events story is so much more different than mine. Remember that. It is okay to be different and being gay doesn’t mean your story sucks. It may mean your story is more difficult to tell at some points or involves a lot of memories of the men’s underwear aisle at Target that advertised bulging men in skin tight briefs (Is that just me?). Some people come from conservative, Southern Baptist backgrounds where their parents will literally kick the shit out of them if they come out of the closet. I get it. The closet is safe from hate. But the closet is also free of light; it’s dark and dingy and only meant to be used for a quick game of hide-and-seek. It’s not meant to be lived in. Look at Harry Potter. That fucker knew he had to get out of the closet. (tldr: Be more like Harry Potter aka un-closeted BOSS)

It won’t always be this hard. I promise. I know what you’re feeling. I know the hardship–the terror–of what it is like to come out. Many before us took brave strides to make this easier for us to do. I know why you are hesitant, I know why you don’t want to make a big announcement, and all of that is perfectly acceptable. But once you come to the rainbow side (kind of like the dark side, but with clothing stores, brunch, and an interior decorator) you will finally feel at ease with yourself and comfortable in your own skin.

Lastly, to conclude this outreach to you all, do not be afraid to ask for HELP or guidance. You can be gay and religious. You can be gay and still like sports. You can be bisexual and still not feel scrutinized. You can be a lesbian and not like Mary Lambert (Re: You’re a bad lesbian but that’s beside the point.). Seriously though, reach out. To your local church, your counseling services at school, your best friend, your Mom (or another person if your Mom is your best friend). People would LOVE to hear what you are thinking about. People would be honored if you ask them for advice on what to do with your thoughts and beliefs and general discomfort. I know this one is hard, but the worse thing you can do is to keep all of your secrets bottled up inside this uncomfortable chamber in your heart. Be vulnerable and let it out. It will make everything so much easier in the long run. I really wish I would’ve talked to more people about my own struggles before just blurting those two words out in a random conversation.

While the words “I’m gay” are hard to say out loud the first 50 times you do it, the more you say it, the more self confidence you will gain. I often think back to my childhood depression where I spent many after school days crying in the backyard and talking to myself about how I knew I was different from all the other boys at school. While I wish I could go back and be who I was created to be back then, this is not the reality of the situation. The reality of the situation is that I wore a façade for many years of my childhood, pretending to enjoy conversations about Mila Kunis and Sports Illustrated, while I was really counting down the seconds to when I could return to my bedroom and sing the entire Wicked soundtrack and dance like my gayness was never an issue—because it wasn’t—and it never will be.

The confusion isn’t permanent. You will figure it out. You will make mistakes, lose sight of who you are, and possibly lose some people along the way, but it’s all apart of a greater story to tell — the story about the next chapter in your life where everything starts to make a little bit more sense.

Let me know if I can help you. Seriously.

-Garrett

And to conclude, ever since I typed Mary Lambert, I can’t stop singing this song. What a badass.

Adam and Steve

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When I see hateful marquees like this advertised at a Nashville church, it only makes my voice louder. I never felt comfortable at churches, probably because finding one that is accepting is difficult as someone who doesn’t fit the norm of church-goers.

He created Adam and Eve. He created Adam and Steve. He created Amy and Eve.

He created us all– gay and straight, bisexual and transgender, white and black. To say that He doesn’t want Adam and Steve or Amy and Eve to express their love for one another is to say that He did something wrong. I’d also like to add that, just like Adam, LGBT people don’t have a choice. He didn’t ask to marry Eve. We didn’t ask to be gay or bisexual or transgender. God just made that choice for us, and just like Adam, we have to go on with life with something that is out of our hands.

Bottom line: Churches, you have an obligation. You have an obligation to teach young children the value in loving thy neighbor, accepting one another for who God made them to be, and to be open to diverse communities. This includes lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and all the orientations in between. You have a duty to your religion and to your country, and most churches are not fulfilling this duty.

Traditionally, churches have been exempt from taxes because of the positive contribution their institutions make towards society. Call me crazy, but hateful words about a government who ALLOWS you to be profitable, does not seem to be a positive contribution to my community. That’s right, if you think same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, then let’s talk about your insane unconstitutional tax breaks, which force every community to pay up on institutions they don’t necessarily believe in. As Mark Twain argued: “no church property is taxed and so the infidel and the atheist and the man without religion are taxed to make up the deficit in the public income thus caused.”

Lastly, churches, tax-exempt status is a privilegenot a right – and you should be held to the same standards as other non-profits – if not higher standards. This country is not run on theocracy. It is run on democracy. The people spoke, and the Supreme Court listened and ruled the Law of the Land was based on constitutional rights, not biblical jargon.

You don’t pay property tax, you don’t pay income taxes, and any donation made to your institution is all tax deductible. Remember, churches, stay out of politics and public policy, just like your tax-exempt papers states you should do in order to remain a privileged institution in the eyes of the constitution. 🙂

Please, churches, you have it easy compared to the rest of America. All we ask is that you accept everyone. Your behavior turns people away, thus making me question what your real purpose is in my community. Don’t be a dick. Let me love who I want to love.

–Concerned citizen

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” – your words, not mine.

What My Dog Taught Me

July 8th appeared all too normal when my mom sent me a text early in the morning.

Hey Garrett–

My mind raced when I read that text. I got nervous. I knew it meant something, but I never imagined it would be what it actually was.

I thought she was going to tell me Dad was driving her crazy on their New York City trip, which is still probably somewhat accurate.

I thought she was going to call me out on using her debit card to buy cute underwear a few months ago (Thanks Mom, the boys love ‘em).

I thought she was going to tell me something I could handle easily and talk my way out of.

Instead I had no words.

    “Annie died,” her voice whispered on the phone.

Nothing.

Nothing was coming out of my mouth. After what felt like 16 years passed, without my acknowledgement of what she said, my mom kept asking me “Garrett?…..Garrett?”

I hung up the phone, ran to my car, and cried.

I grew up with that dog, and she grew up with me.

So I decided to commemorate her life by sharing what she taught me.

I introduce to you,  “Annie Logic 101: A List of Things My Dog Taught Me.”

  • Productivity is for losers. Yes, it’s true. My girl definitely wasn’t the “go and get ‘em” type, but she taught me the value in sleep.
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“Wait it’s Tuesday? How long have I been sleeping for?”

  • If you don’t like someone you live with, be as passive aggressive as possible and shut that bitch up. My sister has a dog, Bentley, who innacurately thinks he runs the house. Annie had to show him who was queen of the Lee’s. She taught me to start with some accusatory glances, eye rolls, and if they don’t get it, just ignore them. Don’t give attention whores the time of day.
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“Stay on your side, peasant.”

  • If you’re really a Boss, people will take time out of their day for YOU. That’s right, you don’t even have to feed yourself. Just a couple of hard tail wags, paws on the back door, and maybe a half bark and a spin–and the food is all yours. Service at your fingertips….I mean paws. You get the point.
What are you looking at? Go get me my bone.

What are you looking at? Go get me my bone.

  • Think you found a possible best friend? Have you sniffed their ass yet?  No? Well you better go do it. Apparently an ass sniff is equivalent of making sure the people you associate with are the right people for you, and haven’t gotten into some “shit,” if you catch my drift.
  • Never ask, just do. Just do it man. You want that loaf of bread all to yourself? Fucking do it. You want to eat the plastic wrap it comes in, too? DO IT. #NoRagrets
  • Don’t care what people think of you. Even if you’re slightly (definitely, most definitely) overweight, maybe you stink a little sometimes, or enjoy carrying dead lizards in your mouth, you’re still one sexy beast. At the end of the day, those who stick around you and your antics are the ones that matter.
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“Does it look like I care?”

  • If it’s your house, you’re welcome to do whatever the fuck you want. You wanna fart while your family is on the couch next to you? Whatevs. You feel like peeing on your brother’s carpet while he’s watching you squat? Who cares. You wanna poke your nose through a crack in the door and spy on what everyone’s doing? Have it at. Your house, your rules.
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“Gotta keep my pimp hand strong, brotha.”

  • Being a Princess will get you everywhere. People will wash you, feed you, paint your nails, let you outside to pee, and they expect nothing in return except for wet kisses and cuddles. What a bitchin’ life.
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“My nails are pink. Get over it. Hair flip.”

  • Never forget where you came from and never run away from home. Like actually don’t. Because you might think you want to open the back gate and run out to the major street down the block…but like, learn to read your collar or figure out Mapquest. Sniff your way home if you must. There’s people back there who want to keep you safe.
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“I’m staring directly at the camera so I don’t have to look at these two.”

  • And finally, find yourself a best friend. Find someone who will love you, cuddle you, take care of you, and everything in between. Find someone who you can wake up next to, get the “eye crusties” out of when they’re tired, lay in the shade with, and someone who will accept your wet kisses.

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Sweet Annie, you’re my bestfriend. Thank you for breathing life into our house when we needed it.

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Doggy Heaven gained a pretty damn good one today. I love you.

–Your bro

First Date With A Dude

I was sweating through every nice item of clothing I owned. The more and more I tried on a new shirt, the more and more I hated life.

If you’ve ever been on a date, you know how difficult it is to pick out an outfit. Though I had been on dates before, this one was special. Who’s the lucky person, you ask? It was someone who turned out to be a real douchebag–and that’s okay because this person gave me a really fun story to write.

His name was Mark (not really but go with it). Mark asked me out on a date, and it was going to be the first time I’d be publicly seen with another guy on a date, so I already had the nervous ass crack sweat and felt like I was going to shit a brick.

Mark and I met up at a pretty fancy restaurant that had words like “steak” and “salmon” which was a definite one-up from my usual menu reading from inside my car at Taco Bell. He was tall, handsome, smiled a ton, and I liked his style. I was already picking out our wedding colors and searching for furniture on Craigslist.

Looks can be deceiving.

We talked a little bit here and there while our waitress smiled at us, probably deciding if we were on a date or whether we were just friends getting dinner.

And then something happened.

As much as I’m sure you’re anticipating him getting up and throwing his drink in my face and busting his shirt open like the Hulk, he quietly grabbed his phone from his pocket and laid it next to his plate, clicking the lock screen once.

Here’s the thing: I don’t mind if you check your phone 2-3 times during a meal if it’s buzzing constantly, but when you are on a date, you are present, which this fucker was everything but.

I could tell ten minutes in that it was going to be a hot mess, so I decided to have some fun with the situation anyway. Instead of pardoning myself from dinner due to a deathly illness or a family member in an accident (that one is a crowd favorite amirite?), I simply looked for the most expensive item on the menu. So yes, you bet your sweet ass I ordered that ribeye steak and a loaded baked potato with a side salad, as he continued to look at his phone every 3 seconds.

The conversation was pretty bland, presumably because Dick, excuse me, Mark, was constantly on his phone. I decided to kick it up a notch and make the conversation real interesting, at least for me.

We were nearing the end of our meal when he asked something about California beaches. I took this and ran—no—sprinted, because I saw him about to pick up his phone for 666th time (Yes, I’m making a subtle hint that Mark is the Devil). After all, it was perfect timing. I finished my steak with nothing but a piece of fat hanging on the side of the plate. I made it through dinner with this prick, so I deserved to have some fun.

And it basically went like this:

“So, Garrett, did you go to the beach a lot in California?”

“Well, Mark, thanks for asking that amazing question that had nothing to do with our existing conversation about music.”

I didn’t really say that, but my tone was revealing of my attitude towards him.

“Yeah, I went to the beach a good bit. (MARK PICKS UP PHONE) I actually had some crazy experiences there. One time, I think I was 11 or 12, I went surfing and I was actually attacked by a shark. I was in the hospital for a few months, but I left with just some scars and bruises on my abdomen.”

Mark was glaring at his phone, forgetting all manners of eye contact. He did the occasional “Mhm” and “Wow” as my story came to an end. I might’ve said I lost a limb from the shark attack, but that’s beside the fact.

I looked up at him. “Mark?”

He set his phone down gently and responded, “Yes?”

“What the fuck did I just say?”

Mark was caught off guard with my I’m-going-to-bite-your-dick-off smile and asshole tone.

“Um…you said something about surfing at the beach when you were younger!” he spoke innocently.

All I remember at this point is leaning in towards him and saying, “I told you I was attacked by a shark. Did you not hear my story?”

“Oh my God, Garrett! You were attacked by a shark?”

“No you fucking idiot. You have been on your phone this whole date and you know I was nervous about meeting you.”

I got up and left.

Chivalry has surely depleted but I will never settle for lack of respect.

Moral of the Story: If I can survive a shark attack, I can survive shitty dates, too.

Other Moral of the Story: If I can survive a shark attack, then I deserve a fancy steak here and there

June 26th, 2015

On June 26th, 2015, my life changed. Not only did I gain rights as an American citizen, but my heart grew to accept myself even more than I already had. Before that day, I would joke with friends about my gayness. Countless jokes about “I can’t even get married in this state!” and the likes of it. I think I made those jokes to ease the pain of what I was really feeling. Straight people don’t get it. They might “get it” but they don’t live with it. They don’t have to walk away from conversations where people are talking about “Gays going to Hell,” they don’t live in fear of holding someone’s hand of the same gender, and they don’t know what it’s like to live years of suppression.

I dated a girl for over a year of my life. Part of me thinks it was to grow a beard for who I really was, and the other part of me thinks I just didn’t really know myself at that point in my life. I’ve also dated men. There is a big difference being seen holding a man’s hand in public over a woman’s hand, and I’m clarifying this because I’m sure most people were saying “Be proud of holding a man’s hand, Garrett, it doesn’t matter!” –But it does. And it sucks. Because I read stories of people who get the shit beat out of them for acting who they are.

Why does all of this matter? Because up until the morning of June 26th, 2015, I felt like I didn’t matter as much. I’m not trying to be a sob story right now, but it’s true; Up until that morning, I felt like there was a war going on between Love and Hate, and Hate was surely going to win. Up until that morning, I thought the rest of my life would consist of me feeling eerie about holding my significant other’s hand in public out of fear. And I’m not saying I won’t experience closed-minded people because of a Supreme Court ruling, but I think things will get better.

“Loving” Christians are speaking out against the ruling:

  1. “Call it something else–marriage has been defined,” they say.
  2. “I love you, I respect you, but marriage is between man and woman,” they say.
  3. “What does this mean for polygamists? This surely opens the door for them,” they say.
  4. “This is a dark time in our nation’s history,” they say.
  5. “This country does not care about protecting my religion,” they say.

And the rest of us open-minded folks are speaking out for equality:

  1. You have your own definition of marriage. Not saying it is wrong or right, but it is not the same as everyone else’s. THIS WAS A LEGAL CASE. Meaning the Supreme Court justice’s (You know those “unelected lawyers” you refer to as if they are uneducated and small-minded.), had to offer LEGAL arguments in order to further this case. In order to be a voice for the many voiceless Americans, they can’t rely solely on professions of faith as a legal argument. They have to address real life issues that are pertinent to today’s American culture rather than “Here’s these 10 verses from a book written thousands of years ago, passed down through storytelling, and translated several times with a mix of probable completely false accounts of what really happened to these characters” to make their argument. Also, if I’m going to be married to a man, it’s going to be called a fucking marriage. That’s what it is. And I will make dinner like straight marriages, take the kids to soccer practice like straight marriages, have sex like…..wait. Well it’s almost the same as a “traditional” marriage, but better because we are actually good at fashion and interior decorating. Cut the shit with this “civil union” nonsense. Let’s call it what it is. Yes there are two penises. Yes there are two vaginas. No, it doesn’t make it anything less than your marriage because our genetic makeup is different from yours.
  2. Let’s go back to your definition of what marriage really means to you. If I were to ask you, “What does your marriage mean to you?” I would sure as Hell hope you don’t say “My marriage is a doctrine of rights and obligations between me and my wife (or me and my husband).” No. I would hope your definition of marriage extends to something further than the INSTITUTION of marriage, something many are confusing with the DEFINITION of marriage. If you’re going to take the religious route, think about what makes your marriage holy and spiritual: commitment, sacrifice, love, giving, humility, covenant, and trust for one another. If we are going off this definition of marriage, gays and lesbians have been married since the beginning. (Side note: I don’t care if you love me or hate me, but please love me and hate me unconditionally, without giving me caveats as to why I don’t have the right to marry whoever I fucking want. It doesn’t work like that, Christians. I don’t expect you to understand me, but respect me and go with it anyway. See previous blog post on “Unconditional Love”)
  3. Issuing a same-sex marriage license is the same as issuing an opposite-sex marriage license. Nowhere on a same-sex marriage license does it say “Check this box for multiple persons involved in your marriage.” People are equating the Supreme Court ruling to “What about multiple marriages now? If you’re going to bring the word ‘equal’ out then what about making it equal for polygamists?” No no no. No. This ruling basically said “Hey, LGBT community, repressed humans who have been dismissed by the legal system for years and years, WE HEAR YOU, and we know your orientation is something we cannot dismiss, something we understand now, and we are going to do something about your role as an American citizen, and ultimately, a human.” To be told “You cannot get married” is thus to be excluded from one of the defining rituals of the American life cycle, denying LGBT citizens the pursuit of happiness, and that is the voice the Supreme Court finally heard. We are not exceptions to the rule, we are now apart of the rule. And to equate people who CHOOSE to be married to more than one person is a false accusation of the direction we are headed.
  4. To say this was a “dark time” in our nation’s history is to say that bringing families together, uniting citizens of different genders, races, and backgrounds alike, adding love to our hearts, and opening our eyes to a misunderstood community–is “dark.” Last time I checked, we are the UNITED States of America, and we are now getting closer and closer to living out our namesake. (Side note: DARK? Was your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WHITE HOUSE not lit up with Rainbows? Doesn’t seem dark to me!)
  5. Your religion, marriage, health, children, cities, roads, thoughts, opinions, etc are PROTECTED. If they weren’t protected, Facebook would have a “This is illegal to be this stupid” button to show that your religion, your views, are not protected. What happened is that the Supreme Court decided love was louder than your chants about a bible verse. (See also: separation of Church and State. The Bible is not the Law of the Land–the constitution is….) What happened was that the Supreme Court decided to go with the majority of American’s hearts and minds (almost 70% of people are for marriage equality) and uplift a minority community. What happened was that followers of God found it in their hearts to believe that we should not be de-humanized and finally be treated as American citizens. What happened was that you are very much entitled to your opinion on the matter, but your opinion was not the opinion of the masses. See how that feels? Good. Now you know.

I cried like Kim Kardashian that morning I found out about the ruling (#UglyCrying). I cried for myself, my friends, my family, and those who fought until their death this battle that was finally brought to an end. This country has progressed a lot, and seeing the rainbow flag flying high and the LGBT community dancing around Stonewall Inn really gave me perspective on my own life. Scrolling through facebook, seeing the rainbow profile pictures of gays and straights, blacks and whites….it really made that day special and emotional.

It was a good day, and I will recount June 26th, 2015 to my future HUSBAND, kids, and anyone else who gives a damn.

You’re invited to the wedding. And I promise you the cake will look just like this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 12.42.19 PM

Grower and a Show-er

I was always fascinated with nature growing up. I was never the kid who enjoyed sitting with my eyes glued to a screen, fingers twiddling with a controller, yelling at zombies to die or fictional characters to achieve more points and higher levels. It was all very boring to me. I wanted more than what those distractions could offer me.

It all started with a tree.

When we moved into our new home in Southern California, I immediately drew my attention to a massive tree in the backyard corner. I remember running around in my Pokemon slippers with my new neighbors but stopping and staring at that tree every so often, wanting to climb it so badly. It’s one of my very first memories I have of myself, besides singing Frank Sinatra in the back of my Grandma’s car while she drove us to McDonalds. (Side note: McDonald’s used to be the shit, right!? I remember kids used to have birthday parties there at the play-pen!) Those first memories we have of ourselves are so important to hold onto, especially if you have a shit memory like myself.

While most kids begged their parents for the latest Tomagachi or Club Penguin membership (don’t act like you didn’t, bitch.), I always brought up to my Dad how cool it would be to have a tree house. Several birthdays, Christmases, President’s Days, etc. went by and every time I asked for a tree house. This isn’t me whining about never getting that damned tree house, but it might be.

I don’t know! Tree houses just do it for me. They’re so quaint and grounded, even though they are suspended between natural oaks and willows. It’s a perfect combination of home and earth. It’s adventurous– it’s cozy and real. Most importantly, it’s simple and constant. It’s small and creative and you grow with your little home because, well, trees grow.

I think we, as people, can find similarities to the makeup of trees. For example, we don’t grow on our own, and we aren’t mature the second we are born to this earth. Just like us, trees need a lot of resources to help them grow, too. (#ScienceAmIRite?)

The sun’s always watching them like good parents and putting them to bed every night; The water nourishing their bodies like it nourishes our own; Carbon dioxide running through their veins and allowing new air to breathe; And nutrients in the soil, a firm and stable home that allows them to grow, much like the homes our families try to provide for us day-in and day-out.

Cold winters wither trees down to the twigs and branches, a sign of hardship and challenges we face as humans that help us achieve maturity and progress. But the core of the tree still stands through that terrible weather, the stump remaining as a beacon of hope—of unscathed and intact marrow.

Trees also aren’t built in a day. They’re like Rome and…people–it takes as many resources as possible to reach its full potential. It takes time for us to grow, and even when we think we have met our full maturity, we can always achieve more than we had once thought.

For my 20th birthday, I decided to symbolize this growth as a representation to myself of my constant development. But it’s more than just a symbol—it’s a reminder of who I am and what I stand for

Tree

I wanted the tree to not be at its full growth, showing that I, just like the tree on my body, still have a lot of growing to do. And I don’t think we should ever stop growing. I don’t want to be 80 years old and feel like I’ve done all I can do, experienced all I can, and have reached my full maturity. When I’m 80, (God willing I make it that far), I will look at my forearm and remember this forever: Growth is the only evidence of life.

I will remember that growth and strength can only happen through continuous struggle. I want to explore and challenge myself; I want to create memories; And, through these practices, I want to push myself to be a better man, open to new ideas and new experiences. I don’t ever want to be fully satisfied with where I am and what I am doing. I want to continue to challenge myself to reach higher and higher.

I want to be the house to that tree on my forearm—the place where it lives permanently.

I finally got my tree house. And my God, it was so fucking worth it.