Dear Uncle RJ,
What is it like to be an older gay man living in our society? I have had a good number of partners while looking for Mr. Right, and only a few have come close to what I seek, but they didn't come close enough.
Are all gay couples rich, well educated, dressing only in designer clothes, etc.? You get my point.
I am mostly concerned about living my last years single and lonely and unloved.
In your opinion, should I decide to settle for a fairly acceptable man who doesn't meet all of my criteria?
Older and Lonely
Dear Older and Lonely,
You have pretty much answered your own question. When we set our sights too high and expect someone else to fit that image perfectly we are setting ourselves up for disaster.
I suggested that you take a good look at yourself and consider why your standards are so high. If you've expected to fall in love with a man who meets all of your criteria, I can almost assure you that there will be something you failed to consider-- and the relationship will be over.
I have many friends who are in seemingly good relationships, but they are never perfect. Several make me wonder how they ever hitched up at all. Why not alter some of those self-centered expectations and see if YOU have anything to offer another man.
The alternative is to live an old(er) age alone, and this is very difficult for many men. On the other hand, even in a relationship (gay,bi, straight), one partner is going to survive the other and probably have a rather lonely life after that.
When you meet someone you basically like, try using some unconditional love for his shortcomings-- and hope he will do the same with you.
Hello Faithful Readers,
This is Cousin Butchie. Over the past few months, there have been some questions sent my way and I have felt that they could be better answered by my elderly Uncle RJ. It's not that I can't answer these questions. It's rather I believe that someone who has been gay longer than I've been alive might have a much better understanding of the questions and the people who are presenting them.
So... here goes... I introduce Uncle RJ who is proud to have me for a nephew...
Dear Uncle RJ,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write to an older person like myself. My son is gay and his father and I have taken all of the steps necessary to be accepting and understanding. I guess that we are not only parents but allies as well.
This year we attended the NYC Gay Pride March. It seemed like something which would increase our bonding with the LGBT community, and our son was thrilled that we were planning to be there. We marched with PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and our son marched with a group of Catholic LGBT people from Catholic parish groups in the area which have supportive ministries. In NJ there are two that we know of-- one entitled "In God's Image" from Sacred Heart Church in South Plainfield and the other Most Precious Blood in Monmouth Beach. Various NY groups either marched with them or with their own respective parish groups. It was a joy to see these LGBT people who live in the realization that Pope Francis has made some wonderful inroads in appointing leaders who are welcoming to the LGBT Catholics. We were told that ten years ago, NJ would never have had such a place in the march, but they would probably be associated with DIGNITY. a group of people who paved the way for the progress we have started to see. WE OWE THEM ENORMOUS THANKS FOR PAVING THE WAY AND KEEPING MOST OF ITS MEMBERS IN AN UNWELCOMING AND UNLOVING INSTITUTION.
Okay, my husband has been watching me type and has told me to get to the point. That point is something we have not been easily able to ask our son or his friends.
What we saw at our first march was somewhat shocking and disconcerting. There were marchers dressed in so little clothing that very little was left to the imagination. There were lesbian motorcyclists in very abbreviated "tops" and others who appeared to be men. Then there were the boys and men on floats waiving to the crowds. They wore shorts which showed a great deal of the male anatomy. Others wore clown outfits and were balanced by the NY Gay Firefighters, the NY Gay Officers League and the politicians from NY made their appearances. It seemed like a fun event.
This was the first year that the entire parade was televised, however I understand they had a slight time delay so that they wouldn't show some of the oddities or anything considered indecent.
More than a few co-workers told me they saw the march on television. I let them criticize the things they disliked, but I truly agreed with them. Is this the kind of image the LGBT people want to send to the entire country? I see no reason for the extreme explosion of flesh and some of the antics on some of the floats.
Why is this necessary? Am I supposed to support it because my son is gay?
You certainly put a lot into one letter so I am not surprised that Cousin Butchie passed this to me.
The way people act at the gay pride marches/parades is often a shock to the spectators seeing it for the first time. I don't blame you for your reactions. You were seeing people conduct themselves in a different way than you had expected or even thought possible. However there is a fairly good reason for this.
In New York, going back to the first gay pride march in 1970, there has always been a major threat to gay rights existing in our country. It was a time when lgbt people had almost no rights. The legal system had not been accepting, the politicians were slow to help improve our civil rights. Then we faced the pandemic of the aids crisis which was killing thousands of our young and older gay men as the government was ignoring the health crisis for so long that those people suffering the ravages of aids had to form their own organizations and outreach groups to make an attempt to nurse our own sick brothers and sisters... as the nation seemed blind to what was happening.
Slowly, far too slowly for so many, the nation started paying attention to the need to help the sick and find medications to stop the virus in its tracks--- and to educate the younger people to avoid further contamination and death.
So... We now have a background which explains why lgbt people so often act the way they do at the pride marches. The way I see it is as a devil may care spirit of celebration of the progress we have made so far as a people free to love in the way we choose to live and love as we were created-- in god's image as is the name of the lgbt faith-sharing group in South Plainfield.
It is also important, I believe, to look at the major setbacks of all peoples' rights by President Trump. Many of his policies and damned tweets make it clear that one man acts capable of threatening our progress, our rights, our lives... And it's not just the lgbt people.
One day a year when some lgbt brothers and sisters express themselves with joy and actions which get the attention of the people and the press show a liberation and cause for celebration themselves--spirit, mind and body.
Uncle RJ will answer a few more questions during the next few days.
Until then, stay cool in all ways!
Dear Cousin Butchie,
My brother and I are both gay. I'm three years older than he is, but we came out at the same time. Our parents were stunned at first. You know, they never suspected, etc. Now they are very accepting and are even marching in the NY Pride Parade with PFLAG.
The problem is my younger brother just graduated from high school and is going to a local college in the fall. For the past two plus months he has been dating a dude who doesn't have the best reputation. One of my friends told me that my brother is seeing this dude. (Although we always share a lot with each other, he chose not to tell me about the new dude).
I did a little investigating on my own, and I can tell you with certainty that this dude is a player who is totally promiscuous and irresponsible. The younger boys/men who date him find him attractive and they pay for any cost of their dates. How this dude can keep track of all of his dates is a mystery. He has, I am told, bragged about his "conquests." He also talks about PNP which means Party & Play.
Do I tell my brother what I know... from start to finish about this dude? I love my brother and I don't want his heart broken, no do I want him to get some disease from this guy. I also want to make sure this pariah doesn't seduce him with alcohol and drugs which is the meaning of "Play."
My suggestion is that you invite your brother to go with you to lunch or a drive... even go to NY and take a Circle Line Cruise. Start the conversation by telling him that you heard about the dude he's been dating. Ask about his feelings and reasons he goes with him. Then tell him the facts (only the facts) you have heard about this dude. Tell your brother that you don't want to see him hurt, and make sure you emphasize that there are plenty more good men to date.
Whether he ends the "friendship" depends on how much he believes what you tell him. He could tell you he will break it up and continue behind your back. When he's in college, even locally, you won't know as much about his social life as you now know.
After you tell him how you feel and that you hope he will make a wise choice about this dude, tell him that IF AND WHEN THE FRIENDSHIP GOES VERY WRONG, YOU WILL BE RIGHT THERE TO HELP HIM SORT IT ALL OUT.
A few friends and I were discussing a problem which still exists in the gay and lesbian community. We all are beyond bothered by the way people think that the transgender people (who have come out of nowhere) are suddenly identified with normal gay and lesbian people. We already went through the problems of growing up and deciding with lots of fear and trembling to come out of the closet. This transgender hype throws us back into a closet of fear that people are thinking that we are possibly transgender. I don't mean to be prejudice or stupid about this situation, but we are living it and it's not fair.
Hey, Not Stupid!
In my humble opinion, you are stupid! Perhaps that's insulting to you, but I believe your comments are insensitive and not well researched.
A blog posting before mine by Simone illustrated her experience of prejudice on two levels-- as an African-American woman and as a lesbian. You might go back and read what she has to say.
IMO... In some places and situations there is a greater acceptance of lesbian and gay people, and possibly a better understanding of bisexual people. However the entire awareness of the presence of transgender people has arisen rather quickly. Be that as it may, THEY ARE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY. We have used LGBT (occasionally GLBT) as a description of our community for many years now.
No one is asking you or your friends to date transgender people, but giving them the kind of respect that you cherish is more seriously owed to these brothers and sisters. Some may forget the need for protest marches and demonstrations and the fight for marriage rights. These transgender people are worth our love and listening and compassion. Their journeys have definitely been more difficult than most of ours.
I will say that I needed to take a little time to study the entire background and meaning of the transgender men and women. I was able to understand about 80% at that time. Then I met several transgender people and their stories were inspiring and often very sad because they reminded me of the stories I have heard about the horrible treatment we all received prior to Stonewall and for years to some.
In the present political climate, we don't know exactly how much of our rights and protections will be supported by the Trump Regime. It's time to place the love of our brothers and sisters beyond our sexual attraction to them. We have no excuse to refuse them their proper place in our LGBT community.
P.S.-I realize that I left the "Q" (and other letters) off the LGBT identification. If anyone cares to discuss that, write to me here.
P.P.S.-I have just read that there are 1.25 million transgender people of all ages in the United Sates. How painfully long they remained anonymous is a very somber thought.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I am very scared right now, and none of my friends let me talk about it. As soon as I lead into a discussion, they tune me out.
Here's what happened. My parents weren't home and I answered the door for two of Jehovah's Witnesses. They were pleasant enough and the one dude was a fox. I let them come in and they told me that the Bible points to the fact that the world will end very soon. They had all kinds of passages which scared me because I haven't really read the Bible. They left some literature and asked if they could come back and do a Bible study with me.
Some of the things which make me believe them are President Trump, ISIS, all types of violence. Lest I forget-- they also told me that LGBTQ people are part of the immorality and sin which fill the world and will contribute to its destruction.
Hi, Soo Scared!
According to most major religions the end of the world (apocalypse/ armagedon) is going to happen sooner or later. It is the intensity and credibility of their reasoning which must be considered. In the sects like Jehovah's Witnesses and the Evangelicals people have been predicting the end of the world as we know it at various times. Some followed misguided "prophets" and stopped paying mortgages and rents, bought very little food, and home schooled their children so they were always close to their families.
Uncle RJ has told me about countless dates that the JW's have predicted. When those dates came and went, they just claimed to have miscalculated or misunderstood the doomsday date. Some Roman Catholics believed that 1960 was going to be the last year based on the claimed "apparitions" of three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. There was a letter the surviving child gave to the pope at the time and told him that Mary didn't want to have it read to the people until 1960. According to some people, several popes have read the letter and fainted (how credible is that?) I know that the Jewish people await the coming of the Messiah, but I'm not familiar with any who believe this will occur at any specific time.
As for the immorality of the LGBTQ community-- Could we expect to be excluded from the "prophetic zealots"? We have been blamed for so much throughout the years. Few of us even recall the fact that the Nazis had a special part of their death camps for gay people and made them wear a pink triangle on their prison clothes so they would be singled out for even worse tortures than others. Take some time and read about the way A.I.D.S. was/is considered by many ignorant people to be God's punishment for gay men. Of course, they never consider the straight people who were drug users or the babies of mothers with the A.I.D.S. virus (H.I.V.).
Having written all that, I also am very much afraid of Donald Trump. I am also very concerned about the Islamic terrorists, the violence in our big cities, the immorality of some of our better known Americans, et al. In most respects Congress can keep him sane.
Dude, live your life as the best gay person you can be. Be kind and loving with your family, your friends and people in general. If you believe in God pray to that God. At this time, the best petition would be the seeking of peace of mind. You might also be positive in your actions and words. If you go to a church or temple which often speaks against homosexuality and sodomy let it go in one ear and out the other OR change to one of the LGBTQ affirming congregations all over the country.
Realizing that this response to your question might have missed the mark on some issues, PLEASE take a few minutes and reply to state your feelings and beliefs.
In the meantime, Uncle RJ and I wish you a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter and for some, just a joyful holiday week or two.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I don't know if it was right to search my son's emails and everything else on his computer, but I have been going crazy about his possible homosexuality. I have read more than any mother should, but I did discover your website, and I hope it is okay for me to ask some questions.
My son is 17 years old and I know he is gay. He didn't tell me, but the emails and my observations about his demeanor and the friends he brings to the house have confirmed my suspicions. I hate to add this, but one of the emails was a love letter-- the kind a boy writes to a girl. Can you help me?
Yes, I can give you some advice and a resource which will definitely help you.
My first inclination was to express some outrage at your cyber-spying on your son. However it's already been done, so let's go on from there.
Your son is gay and he would probably like to come out to you and his father if he believed that you would be understanding and supportive. This is the basic reason that many LGBT people don't come out.
My advice in your situation is NOT as important as the support you need from other parents. There is a very experienced and dedicated group of parents and others who meet once a month to discuss their journeys with their LGBT children. It is PARENTS, FAMILIES & FRIENDS OF LESBIANS AND GAYS OF NORTH JERSEY. Your closest meeting is held on the second Thursday of each month at Christ Episcopal Church at 74 Park Avenue in Glen Ridge. You enter at the rear door. Time is 7:30-9 PM.
At these meetings you will have the opportunity to listen to the experiences of other parents and you can either ask questions or just listen. It is also a good idea to exchange phone numbers with a member with whom you feel there is a connection. You may also call the Helpline at 908-300-4227. Randy will give you as much time you need. All you need to do is leave your name and number with a brief message. All of the calls go to voice mail to avoid some unpleasant calls we've had before. We follow the NY City chapter in accepting messages first.
At some point, you are welcome to bring your son if you both wish to come.
You have started to take a very important first step in accepting and loving your son for the person he is. The group (for short) is called P-FLAG. You will not be sorry you attended.
Let me know how things go!
Hello, Wonderful Readers...
I am not answering your question(s) in this post.
Rather, I want to remind everyone to watch Dateline on Channel 4 on Friday, March 10th from 9-11PM.
The program will deal with the horrendous harm caused by people who think that LGBT people can be changed by reparative therapy. This practice has been condemned by all mental health professionals. Our beloved Governor Christie has also outlawed this travesty in New Jersey.
Last week, there was a fairly good mini-series called "When We Rise" covering the history of the LGBT's history of facing considerable hardships and discrimination in their attempts to give us the freedoms we have today. If it's repeated, I'll post a message. Although there were many commercials and some loose ends, these four programs told the stories of what they did FOR US... much of which is forgotten today. Very likely, we will all need to keep very much on the ball during this unexpected Trump-Pence Administration.
Also... at your request, I will try to do an interview with Uncle RJ. Can't promise when, but chocolate bunnies get him revved up, so I'll try that.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I think we might know each other at school, but I'm not sure and I would rather write to you anyway.
My boyfriend has been doing some strange things lately and I'm very confused by what's going on.
For example, I went to kiss him a few days ago and he blurts out "Not until you shave that facial hair." This has never been a problem before. He has even told me how much he likes that scraggly look. The next day he picked me up for a date and told me that he wasn't going unless I changed my shirt because it looked just like his. In the past, there were always calls and texts from him during the day, and everything seemed cool. He has also cancelled two dates at the last minute, and this has never happened before.
What would you suggest?
Only you can judge what's happening between the two of you, but it will take a serious at the table conversation to both speak truthfully about what issues are threatening your relationship. Be willing to admit any shortcomings you have and tell him what's bothering you about his behavior.
Nothing really works with less success than a relationship in which there are petty remarks and some inner hostility. OR your boyfriend may have found someone else. It's a downer, but it happens. Have the talk and see what the real issues are. If you both agree to change a little, it will probably work out.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I am at my wit's end, and I have no idea how I can solve the mess I'm in. I also have a certain degree of guilt about feeling this way.
When my father passed away five years ago he made all of us (six children) promise that we would never put our mother in a nursing home. At that time, she was in good health but depended on me for some errands and bill paying. I am the youngest of the six and I am gay. I graduated from college and immediately got a great job-- interesting and financially over the top.
Our mother slowly began to develop signs of dementia. We all chose to ignore it in the beginning, and my siblings felt that things were under control because I still lived with her and gave her the help she needed. As the symptoms of the disease became dangerous (leaving water to run as the tub overflowed, starting to cook something and walking away until the smoke alarm went off. Mom would also become angry and break things. She also could never remember my name, and she always asked me to take her home. Since she was home, she became agitated.
I finally resigned from my job when I realized that none of my five siblings were willing to help out. I could not even get one of them to stay with mom while I went on a date or to a meeting. They all explained to me that they have families and very responsible and well paying jobs. They were very pleased when I quit my job, and they phone every so often, but they tell me that our mom liked me best (a la The Smothers Brothers) and that I had no expenses (or social lie) since I am gay and unattached. There is a part of me that tells me that I "owe" this to our mom. On the other hand, I realize that my career has been destroyed for the time being, and my own finances are precarious.
Please-- if you have a solution for this problem, share it with me. I am going crazy.
At My Wit's End
Hi, "At My Wit"s End,"
I have heard about situations similar to yours. It often becomes a problem dumped on the child who is LGBT and the siblings provide nothing-- except for suggestions on how much more or how much better the caregiver should be doing.
Here's a plan I suggest:
Find someone to stay with your mother for a few hours, and demand that all of your siblings and their significant others meet with you to discuss a serious problem.
When they have all gathered, explain to them that you feel very burdened being your mom's caregiver. Explain that they have ignored the fact that you have no social life and no job any longer. Next, ask them what your dad meant when he asked them to never put our mom in a nursing home. Did he mean that just one of them (you) should accept this huge responsibility?
Give them all a copy of the salary you were earning in your last job. Also tell them the cost of a nursing home until mom's money runs out. Also factor in the charge for a visiting nurse to care for the personal care you cannot provide. Give them several days to think it over and come up with a payment for you each month which will represent the money you are not earning, the health insurance you need for yourself, etc.
If your brothers and sisters refuse to cooperate and come up with a more than generous amount you are to be paid each month, call the county office of Health and Human Services and have a case worker step in to solve this entire situation. AND don't let any of your siblings make you feel guilty or evil or uncooperative.
Also explain that your mom will be better cared for in a decent nursing home and make sure you tell them that your dad's requested promise could not have made with dementia involved.
It's hard to say, but you are the only one who can turn the wheels of responsibility for your entire family! Don't put your career on hold much longer. Some prospective employers might be impressed by your story of dedication, but they would probably be more interested in how you pressured for a change in this entire dilemma.
Dear Cousin Butchie and Uncle RJ,
I hope it's okay to write to the both of you at one time. I need all of the encouragement and positivity I can get, and I assume I am not the only one.
I read that this is the first time in 40 years that both Christians and Jews are celebrating holy days at the same basic time. Is this an omen? I also have some friends who showed me the prophecies of Saint Malachy which point to Pope Francis as the last pope before the end of the world.
I am bummed out and depressed. I am scared to death of Donald Trump and the Cabinet of Deplorables he has chosen. I had always hoped to marry an awesome dude and adopt a few kids. Now I don't know if there will be any possibility of doing this. The end may have already wiped us out.
I would be a liar if I didn't admit that I am not feeling very good about Donald Trump and his chosen cabinet members. It was the first time I could vote, and my candidate lost in a very confusing disparity of the popular vote and the Electoral College voting.
Since Uncle RJ has been around for many years, I'm asking him to share his thoughts with us.
Hi Dan and Butchie and Readers,
There is no doubt that anxiety is running high for many people this holiday/holy day season. We have the terrorist attacks which threaten to occur at almost any place we can imagine. We also have President-elect Donald Trump who doesn't exactly inspire trust and credibility. The people he has chosen for his Cabinet are also fairly questionable. ISIS is continuing its campaign to threaten the existence of happiness and security Americans (and many others) have cherished for so long.
Now, let's look at the other viewpoints. Hillary Clinton, whom I voted for without a second thought. However there have been more than a few reasons to not trust her. In all honesty, I would be more comfortable if she had won the election in totality.
The people who warn others that the world is ending are not to be believed. Jehovah's Witnesses have set a specific date for the Battle of Armageddon and all of these dates have passed without any calamity. The prophecies of Saint Malachy are not believed by Catholic scholars and theologians. The "warnings" are always identifying a pope with a phrase or word which could be credited to almost anyone.
The theme of many sacred books is BE NOT AFRAID. We need to live the best lives we can and not let the doomsday people depress us. There is certainly enough to deal with in society as LGBTQ people. I suggest that we all start taking better care of our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community.
How can we care for them better? Do you know of anyone who is not welcome at a family gathering at this time a year or any other time? Do you know an older LGBT person who lives alone or is the survivor of a relationship? Instead of making any of our brothers and sisters invisible, we can remember them as best we can. Invite them for dinner. Buy them a present. Visit one who is in a nursing home. We can also take the time to listen to our LGBT youth who aren't sure that being different is a positive thing.
Butchie and I wish all of you a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah or a Happy Kwanzaa.... Our future will be as happy and safe as we work to make it.
If there is anyone who feels totally depressed and losing it, there is a 24/7 helpline you can call at:
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I am 17 years old and I tried to come out to my family on Thanksgiving at dinner. Since I've been reading your blogs that kept nagging at my psyche to come out once and for all. It would be over and, usually in time, my family would be supportive.
Well, Mr. Butchie (Know-It-All), this is what happened yesterday.
My Italian family always eats Thanksgiving for four hours, and my mom said that I could invite a friend. I figured she must have assumed that Chris (my friend) is straight.
Being gay, we arrived fashionably late by 50 minutes. We sat down with the family and started to eat. Mom announced that she was divorcing dad unless things improved in their bedroom. I started to speak and my little brother stopped everything by saying that we had not said grace. All the utensils were put down and the prayer began. When it was over my sister barked out that she didn't know why we said grace only one day a year. Mom acted embarrassed. As I was eating my stuffing my other sister cleared her throat and announced that she is four months pregnant and doesn't know who the father is. Everyone hugged her and she cried as the food got cold. My BFF kicked me under the table to let me know that we should follow that drama with our coming out announcement. I said that I had something very important I needed to tell everyone at one time, and this was the ideal time. Some of them must have thought I was going to say that I finally passed my geometry class after taking it for two years. I smiled and said that my announcement would be difficult so I would appreciate some real attention. I looked at everyone at the table and then said that I had discovered something about myself and could no longer remain silent with those I love. My father broke in and asked if I was smoking or maybe I had a huge tattoo on my back. I continued, at this point realizing that the plan in my mind was going nowhere. So, I said "I want all of you to know that I am gay and that I have been gay for as long as I can remember." There was total silence until my grandmother said that there's nothing wrong with being happy. Someone whispered the big secret in her ear, and with a rosary in her hand, grandma fainted. She recovered very soon and asked me if I had discussed this with my cousin, Father Bruno. I could not blow Father Bruno's cover by saying that he was not shocked and decided to take me on a vacation with him for a week. The details of that weekend are probably in sealed records in the Vatican.
In addition, moronic Cousin Father Bruno fudged things by stupidly saying that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. My BFF asked who did create Steve? BFF said that if Adam and Eve were the parents of Cain and Abel, with whom did they fornicate to start the human family! My Italian-Catholic parents had no idea what was going on. They go to church but read the bulletin and also watch the clothing of the people going to communion. You don't want to hear mom's feelings on dressing like Southern Baptists when we go to Mass.
We had reached the three hour mark in the banquet, and everyone talked about the football game and Donald Trump. Under the table I found my BFF's hand was near my knee. Grabbing his hand in mine calmed me down.
Butchie, I am not sure about what will happen next... but I will keep you informed.
Thanks for everything... L.O.L.
I am honored that you found my blogs inspiring enough to make the decision to come out, but you didn't ask me all the right questions... and you didn't really read my answers to dudes thinking about coming out.
I have always suggested that the big talk not be held with more than your parents (and possibly siblings). Thanksgiving wasn't too swift, but I do recall a dude who was planning to make this coming out speech on Mother's Day! To what end?
What's done is done, and I expect some details about how things progress. In my opinion, there are lots explanations to cover with the family. Since it takes us so long to get the courage to come out, don't expect your parents and family to suddenly start waving rainbow flags.
Coming out on Thanksgiving... and to so many family members present, was not the best move. But it's done. For awhile they may not even mention your orientation, but sooner than later they will. Have a list of new library books for them to read. Also locate the closest monthly meeting of P-FLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
Take things very slowly since you're still in high school. Also, remember that some parents refuse to pay college tuition for a gay son or daughter.
To lighten this up just a little, I was reading a book by gay comedian, Bob Smith. He writes that he was thinking about coming out on a holiday and wasn't even thinking when he said "Mom, please pass the potatoes to a homosexual." She immediately gave them to Bob's father! Go figure!
Dexter, if you need more advice, please ask for it. Quite possibly you might be asking me to be best man at your wedding!
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I looked forward to this month's election because it was the first time I have ever been old enough to vote. My hopes and dreams were shattered when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote to Donald Trump. During the debates I thought this man was both rude and ill-informed.
Now, some of my friends and I are more than depressed. No one has fully explained how Hillary Clinton could have had one million more votes and was still defeated.
I share your pain and disappointment. I'm not sure where it appeared but there was one picture of a gay couple with signs endorsing Trump.
I have met people who said they were voting for Trump. Heterosexual people (both Democrats and Republicans) tried to say that the LGBTQ residents in the United States would be treated fairly by Trump. Some also continued their eight year mission to derail anything President Obama tried to accomplish. I don't know when Hillary Clinton first expressed her approval for LGBTQ marriage. She wasn't the first supporter but she did go on to create an example others followed.
Your Cousin Butchie (moi) hopes, even prays, that we have a safe and peaceful four years with Trump. Possibly he will have a positive influence on all of us in the United Sates and those abroad.
We now await the agonizing speculation about who will be in the new Cabinet and on the Supreme Court.
I was talking to Uncle RJ about this entire situation, and he said that we have survived worse possibilities with our elected Presidents. When I asked him to name a few he shut up like a clam. But he did say something sensible. Most of us (LGBTQ people) have concentrated a great deal on same sex marriage but that many of us have not shown much solidarity in working with each other with respect and even some loving support. Uncle RJ has told me many times how lesbians stepped forward and cared for gay men with AIDS long before lifesaving anti-viral medications were developed.
Maybe we can get over some of the attitude and divisions we ourselves have created in the LGBTQ community.
In the meantime, I was initially impressed by the protestors against Trump in so many cities, near and far, but there is no way to turn back the clock.
As a Catholic (and obviously an extremely liberal one) I have been mortified by the way the hierarchy have banded together in a low key but definitive teaching that we should not elect anyone who is Pro-Choice. This has happened in total disregard for one of the first things Pope Francis has told us-- that we should pay less attention to the subjects of abortion and gay marriage and begin to work for the many social issues we have ignored for so long.
God willing, 2020 will arrive and we will do damage control.
I conclude by saying that I sincerely hope that I have been wrong and that America will become great again.
Hey, Cousin Butchie!
I wrote to you long ago about the best way to find a date and relationship or both. You advised me to be honest so that other guys looking for special friends would trust me once they met me. It made sense. Who wants to think he's meeting up with Nick Jonas and opening the door to find a dude who resembles Dracula only worse? I did the best I could with my posting, and it bombed in a big way. My intended date was really pleasant and sweet and also confused. I am going to ask you to help me re-write that posting.
No offense, but ask Uncle RJ to help you correct and improve my ad. I am writing the entire ad below so you can both work on it. I am kind of at my wits end.
Here's what I wrote:
Your ad attracted me because I feel I can be totally honest with you. I am 25 years old and kind of promiscuous. I am not as smart as most guys my age. They talk about graduating from college, but I was only successful in getting my G.E.D. after seven tries. It has not helped my job as a valet parking boy at a great restaurant (same pay, same threats of being fired). I work off hours.
"I am looking for that special man who has lots of money, lives in a penthouse or mansion and needs me in his life. Being seen with me will increase the admiration of total strangers. I am 25 years old and don't mind dating any rich men from 18-30. I am not like most of the guys who respond to this ad. I make very little money as the baked potato manager at Wendy's. I will soon recover my driving license which had been suspended on false charges.
I know that many men are only interested in hooking up-- and only judge another by his "stats." I am 5'5" 122 pounds, I used to let my sister dye my hair red but I'm back to brownish hair now. I also have a great deal of body paint, some of which you will only see if we are skinny dipping or naked for another reason. I am the oldest of six children. No one in my family knows that I am gay. Or maybe if they do suspect, but it's not mentioned.
I have a lot to offer you as your lover, and maybe your husband. So...tell me about yourself!"
Dear Honest Abe,
Uncle R.J. and I have discussed your message. Our first impressions were that you are either a friend putting us on OR a writer who is really in need of some common sense advice.
We are not going to re-write this ad for you. If we change most of the descriptions we could probably make you sound like the type of date any man would find compatible and a hopeful permanent boyfriend. The problem, Abe, is that he is going to meet you and decide that you have not been honest. If WE write this for you, we are not doing you a favor.
Here's a few honest ways to write the ad. Give it an honest try, and one of us will help you polish it up.
Ask these questions in the ad and be sure to give your own response as well.
- How old are you and what kind of work do you do?
- Have you dated much in the past?
- Tell the things you would bring to a relationship to make it better.
- What was the last movie you saw? What was the best book you've read in the past, or now?
- Do you drink? Do you smoke?
- Do you have any gay (or LGBT) friends?
- Do you like children? Would adopting one (or two) be workable for you?
- How long have you been out of the closet?
- Have you had a serious friendship in the past? How did it go?
- Tell me about how you would envision the "perfect" date?
Abe, respond to these suggestions and let us know if you want a private reply or if you will allow us to put it online.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I got myself into an internet mess. I went to a dating site and found a dude who was also going to be a freshman at the same college I would be at. I'm in NJ and he was still with his parents in Oregon. He explained to me that he was coming to NJ to start his "gay life" without explaining anything to his families and parents. We really seemed to hit it off online. We exchanged pictures, and we even talked on the phone discussing our values and everything two gay guys would talk about. We even arranged to be roomies.
That is the background.
Last month when I arrived at the school dorm, he had not arrived yet. We planned online to have dinner at a pricey restaurant. I thought it would be a good start. Wrong!!!
When I met JJ, he looked nothing like the picture he sent. He was wearing flip-flops and Bermuda shorts-- and his body was one enormous tattoo no matter where on his body I looked. He also smelled and had lots of unkempt facial hair.
He suggested that WE take a shower before going out for dinner. I agreed reluctantly. He was trying to get us to have some very intimate contact before dinner. I was able to put him off.
I have endured over three weeks living with him as my dorm mate. I have not allowed him to get intimate, and I find it crazy to try to speak to him. He then informed me that he had plans to bring home another dude and would appreciate it if I would vacate the room until 11 PM or later.
I don't want to get a reputation for being a pain in the ass, and I don't him to consider me an enemy. What am I supposed to do?
I know that arriving at college for the first time can be very scary. Add a totally unacceptable roommate to the picture, and you are compromising and subjecting yourself to a situation which is bound to make its toll on your grades.
IMO there is a dorm monitor or someone in charge of dorm problems. You can go to him and tell him/her to help you get transferred to another room or maybe a different dorm. If they give you any noise, see the guidance officers (called by many different names). Tell them all the details.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
This is a somewhat involved question, but there is no one who can be trusted in my highly dysfunctional family. I mean, I love my parents, but they are so dysfunctional they should get an award.
I am 17 and openly gay. My parents struggled with it for awhile, but they are now cool with it as long as we don't discuss it!
My question concerns my 13 year old straight little brother. He is a great kid, very friendly, very straight-- and he knows nothing about his older brother being gay (that's me). One night when our parents were at a meeting of Neurotics Anonymous, my brother and I had dinner alone. Since I'm aware that he is dating some fairly nice girls, but he is still naïve I casually asked him what he knows about safe sex-- and what he said was ridiculous. Essentially, he thinks it's learning how NOT to fall out of bed! He hasn't a clue!!!
I know our dad gave him the "birds and the bees" talk. It had to be very similar to what he shared with me when I was about 12 years old. I know that he was nervous and that the way he described sex almost made me throw up. He didn't portray straight sex as anything to write home about. My gay-self hadn't revealed anything at this point.
OK... I was talking with my little brother and I asked him about the girls he has dated, etc. It might seem early to some, but I asked him if he practiced safe sex if and when he does hook up with a girl. He blushed and just asked what I mean. I used the word "condom" and he asked me what I meant.
My question is whether I should have a very serious heart to heart talk with him and even provide him with condoms "just in case." Our parents will not get around to this subject, and I am fairly certain that boys his age need to be prepared. He attends a parochial junior high school, so I don't expect there will be any total dialogue there.
So, what would you do?
Dear Big Brother,
At first I thought this message was a prank from one of my friends. But when I read it over again, I realized that you have a delicate situation and need some advice. Cousin Butchie can only tell you what he would do. Take what makes sense to you and skip the rest.
First of all, a 13 year old boy is at an age when he probably has sexual thoughts twenty times an hour. Since you brother is straight, he's thinking of girls. I would privately tell him that no one is pushing him to have sex (if this hasn't happened already) but that you want to share a very important subject with him. Buy him some condoms and discuss them with him. Emphasize that these things prevent pregnancy and also prevent syphilis and other diseases he has probably never heard of. I also think he might be acting dumb to see your reaction.
For awhile, I suggest that you not "come out" to him. What you are sharing with him is totally directed toward him, and you'll have plenty of time to be more open with him in a few years.
I know that some may disagree with me, but I maintain that it's better to be safe than sorry-- especially with a subject as serious as this.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I have been dating a dude in my class. Everything is totally fabulous and I believe we will have a great future together. The chemistry is over the top. We both plan careers in nursing because male nurses are usually so rare. He might want to become a nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant. We have plenty of time for all of this to happen.
The other evening we went out for dinner at my grandmother's house. She's a really rad older lady and I actually came out to her before I came out to my parents. At about dessert time, Grandma asked if we plan to adopt children. I immediately said we don't plan on it. My boyfriend said that he wants to have two or three kids. We have never even thought that far ahead before that dessert talk.
Now, my boyfriend is bringing up the subject every chance he gets. I have told him that I would have no problem entertaining a few nieces and nephews but that I don't want to adopt. We are both going to have some heavy duty job responsibilities and I am certain that we would not be good parents.
How do we resolve this issue and is it all that important?
If you and your boyfriend cannot come to an agreement about adoption or in vitro fertilization I see no chance that your relationship will work. This is not a minor issue like the kind of car you will drive.
You guys are really just starting out in a relationship and the adoption question is years away, but you are hitting it now... and I think it's for the best. The two of you need to sit down, possibly with a close friend, and talk about all of your feelings about being parents in the future.
While Cousin Butchie rarely tells a couple to part ways, it seems that this issue is extremely important, and you need to face it honestly as soon as you can. You might even ask the boyfriend if a dog or cat would be an acceptable compromise. Ask this very respectfully or he might explode!
Just an observation: How many heterosexual couples enter a marriage with the understanding that they will not have children. I even know of one instance in which the male had a vasectomy.
Hey Cousin Butchie,
It's about five weeks before prep school classes start again, and I am bored out of my mind. I've done everything on my bucket list for the summer, and now I just watch the daytime game shows and play video games.
I'm pretty much feeling the same way you do. I decided to ask my Uncle RJ for his ideas. He went on for over an hour so I'll condense it. However...Waldo, your problem has become my problem because I realize that Uncle RJ had hit a few blind spots in my thinking.
So...Here are a few suggestions:
You probably have an elderly grandparent or other relative who is housebound or in a nursing home. Take some time to visit these relatives. They respond very well to visit from relatives, and Uncle RJ says that some families don't even bother to visit during the holidays.
Another suggestion was that I (you) surprise some older person in your neighborhood by mowing his/her lawn. If you don't move quickly, you can also shovel the snow. Under no circumstances take any payment-- unless someone bakes you an apple pie or sneaks you a beer.
You could also bring tears to your mother's eyes and clean your room-- not just rearranging the piles of clothes, etc., but organizing things so she doesn't need to lock the door to your room when company visits.
I'm sure you get the idea. I did, and maybe I'll run into you at Bridgeway or River's Edge Nursing/Rehab Centers.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I feel very stupid and helpless right now. I thought I had a great plan for staying in the closet for as long as I needed to and then surprising everyone with the news when I jumped out of that closet. I'm psyched to come out now, and the complications are going to be more difficult than I ever expected when I wrote out my plan.
I don't go to a school with a Gay-Straight Alliance, my family is clueless (at least, I tried to make sure they are) and I need to come out to the girl I've been dating for two years.
Thinking of my need to find a girlfriend to throw everyone off the track about my being gay, I heard about a girl in school who had taken one of those "no sex before marriage" pledges. It was something Kirk Cameron tries to get teenagers and young adults to promise. Well, the girl turned out to be very attractive and very much into her pledge. What more could I possibly want? I had a steady date for the prom and for a few family weddings, and we went on dates which included some of the hottest guys in school.
Things went well, and I congratulated myself for being so clever when the girl told her parents how wonderful I am and that I have never tried to do anything except give her a chaste kiss. I had lots of fun with her and the totally awesome straight dudes with their girlfriends. On one of the rides at Great Adventure, I was on one ride where I got sandwiched between two of the guys in their bathing suits. Oh yeah, it was that water rapids ride, and the girls were on one side of the round tube and the guys on the other. I was really scared when I had a very obvious physical reaction to the guys on the ride. The girls didn't notice, and the guys actually patted me on the back. Laughing about it with them made things return to normal very quickly. They also considered me to be one of THEM.
My problem really starts now. I have met another guy and we have just the right chemistry. We came out to each other and this makes me ready to come out in my last year of high school. I think my girlfriend also has a lot of interest in this guy's looks and personality-- and no one would ever consider him (or me) to be anything less than heterosexual.
How do I break this news to my girlfriend? She's attractive and fun to date, but she thinks I have taken the same celibacy pledge and has marriage plans way into the future. HELP!!!
You didn't sign a name, but that isn't a big problem.
You asked for advice, and your Cousin Butchie has never knowingly met anyone with a story like yours. I know that some gay guys have a friend who is a girl-- and they arrange to help each other out with necessary social events at school and in the families. Most of the time they are lesbians who are seeking what your seeking-- NOT a boyfriend, but a BEARD. You get the drift? This girl was not your girlfriend in the usual sense of the word. She thought you were the answer to her prayers to find a chaste young man whom she would date and love but remain a virgin until her wedding TO YOU.
If you are a selfish and rotten human being you can break the news now. This will assure that you break this girl's heart. She will feel betrayed by you, and she will probably feel stupid with her friends.
You have your senior year of high school left. I suggest that you stay in the closet until you graduate. Yes, see your boyfriend with discretion... but there is no valid reason to burst this girl's balloon. Chances are good that you will go to different colleges or get jobs in distant cities. This way you will let things fizzle slowly.
Please don't be offended, but I feel I must tell you that if you come out now and cause this girl pain and confusion and feelings of betrayal, then you are a lot lower than pond scum, a tool, a heartless person... and karma teaches us that things like this come back to haunt us.
She has unknowingly made your life easier for the last few years. Have the decency to continue it in your senior year and let it die out on its own.
Hey, Cousin Butchie!
Before school starts again I need to ask your advice on how to handle a dude who finds me to be his Mr. Right!
All last year I knew that this weird boy in most of my classes has been flirting with me. I have been as kind as possible but I may have been making a mistake. He is from a poor family, lives in a bad part of town, dresses like a pig, has crooked teeth and usually smells strange. We also play on the same sports team. He knows I am gay because I am proud of what a great dude I am. He, on the other hand, stays in the closet. When the team plays an away game, he manages to sit next to me on the bus. We have never talked about the gay issue, but he has commented on my looks and in the locker rooms after our games he looks at me with x-ray eyes and has even winked at me.
I do not blame this dude for coming on to me. I am really very handsome. I am also extremely smart and will probably be a lawyer. My parents are both professionals and I can have pretty much anything I want. I always wear designer clothes, including my underwear. I have some close friends who are very much like me. We are planning a trip to Rome and we share "news" about guys who are gay and hot in school, at the shopping mall....anywhere!
So how do I get the troll to stop being so needy and to stop coming on to me. I have very high standards and expectations, but I don't know how to proceed without hurting this troll's feelings.
Rich Gay Boy with Standards
Hey, Rich Gay Boy!
I am not addressing you as "dear...." because I don't feel that you are dear to many people, and you certainly are the epitome of attitude and arrogance.
If you pay attention to some gay men you will find that they are very much like you are. They are very wrapped up in themselves, cannot pass a mirror without kissing it, act rude to other gay men (often just until they get to know them...if that's meant to happen.
If you catch the daily news you will have to admit that our world certainly is lacking in kindness and respect for others. As LGBT people, Cousin Butchie isn't trying to sound like Pope Francis. BUT we need to make every effort to accept and befriend one another. So often our closest friends become those with whom there have not been any sexual advances. In reality, they have not been turned off by our shortcomings and become the people we often consider as brothers and family. The same applies to women (lesbian and heterosexual) who often are there for us in a really caring way.
So...Rich Gay Boy, I advise you to start showing some care and compassion to all of our brothers and sisters. No one should ever be called a "troll." Sometimes you might assume it's difficult to become friends with a lesbian or a straight woman. In general, I have found that we do become friends with them. This is especially mystifying to the heterosexual guys who wonder why the women are hanging around with us so much. They are puzzled because they don't understand the dynamics here. They would also be mortified if they knew some of the things the women tell us about them (L.O.L.)
For your immediate answer regarding the boy who is flirting with you, I suggest that the first time you can have a private one on one conversation with him, tell him that you would like him for a friend.... and that you honestly know that some guys make much better friends than lovers. Tell him you desire the friendship but that's as far as it can go. He just may become another one of your close friends!
Hello, my faithful and wonderful readers.
I appreciate the fact that you read my advice blog, and I ask you to indulge me this time in asking (again) for some words of wisdom from Uncle RJ.
I'll ask him his opinion and see how he replies.
What is your opinion of the political scene in the United States and the increasing terrorist attacks in the United Sates and in the rest of the world? AND for which of the candidates will you vote in November?
I ask these questions because some of the very right wing religious (evangelicals, etc.) are saying that the world is doomed and the blame goes right to us, the LGBT community. One nun said that we do things which make God "puke."
I have no idea how to respond to this stuff, and I find that most of my friends simply don't care.
Do you think we are in the end times and that the world is about to end as we know it?
Thanks, from your nephew, Cousin Butchie!
Dear Butchie and all of his readers,
Thank you for bringing this question to me to answer. I do not have beliefs and opinions which are totally trustworthy, but they do represent what life has taught me from the time before Butchie's parents were born, and I have formed my opinions on what life has taught me thus far.
First of all, I believe that people have never had access to worldwide news the way they do today. I recall my own parents saying that they knew about the Holocaust and other horrendous periods in history by attending the "News Reel Theatre" in Newark, NJ. (and other cities). In essence, we have never before been bombarded with so much bad news before. If you think about the horrible events of the past, for example: the Inquisition, the torture of "heretics" as just a few examples, I would not suggest that we have moved forward very much. I don't think life is hopeless, but it can be very scary at times. When the fundamentalists of every religious group isolate passages from the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, they are doing what so many fanatics do-- THEY ARE CLAIMING TO KNOW where this world is headed and the causes for any disturbing and frightening events. LGBT people are easy for some of these self proclaimed prophets to blame. We have been implicated for and blamed for everything evil in society which has happened since the beginning of time as they know it. If we take a search engine and read all the times that the end of the world has been forecast by Jehovah's Witnesses, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, various Catholic mystics and Jewish prophets of doom... you may get unhinged unless you study how wrong they are about almost everything that goes wrong in this world.
The hardest thing for LGBT people to understand is that they are created with their unique sexuality and that the bigotry and bullying of heterosexual society is embarrassingly at the center of all our oppression and condemnation through the centuries. What people fail to understand, they condemn. Using their self-righteous stupidity makes it easy for them to join in the fight against what they fear and what their various religions tell them is right. The terrorist suicide bombers believe they are gaining the approval and reward from the "god" of their understanding. How many times in this country did people lynch African-Americans for crimes they were imagined to commit? And how many people opposed an end to slavery because they found it approved in the bible?
Let's make a concerted effort in the LGBT community to become more loving and caring for one another. The old issues of racism and sexism and intolerance need to be swept away so that we know in our heart of hearts that we are a loving people... still somewhat MARCHING FOR OUR LIVES. The march is now as important as it ever was. Ellen DeGeneres ends every program by exhorting us to be "kind to one another (or is it "each other"?).
I don't feel that it's appropriate to name the candidate I want elected in November. Actually, it's so easy to buy into Donald Trump's exploitation of the fears and insecurities we probably all have deep down inside. This, I believe, betrays what America is all about.
So... I didn't say which candidate will get my vote, but I think it's a no brainer.
Please get back to asking Cousin Butchie for his expert advice. I think he's getting depressed (whether he admits it or not) because he doesn't have all the answers. NO ONE DOES!
Have a safe and gay summer,
Happy Pride Weekend to all of our readers.
I will not hesitate to let Uncle RJ write in this space. He bribed me.. LOL.
It is expected that this will be the largest NY Gay Pride Parade ever. Gone are the days when the parade started up in the Central Park area and went to the Village in a much longer parade. Now, it's much shorter but its meaning is especially important this year.
The horrendous murders in Orlando two weeks ago have had a profound impact on LGBT people of all ages all over the country. I would not have the stupidity to explain any reasons for the Orlando Massacre. We just know how many of our LGBT brothers and sisters were killed and others are still recovering at various stages in and out of hospitals. We also have many grieving parents... who could be OUR parents.
We will have more people marching this year in support of the Orlando Massacre. It has motivated many to realize that our safety as a community is not as safe as we have assumed, nor are we accepted by others in the way we had presumed and hoped.
It is at times like this that we really come together in the solidarity we should have at all times. For instance, in the beginning of the A.I.D.S. pandemic, so many lesbians and gay men joined together in caring for the people with the disease which decimated our entire community. The beginning of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, Act Up, God's Love We Deliver... all sprang into action. And the NAMES PROJECT A.I.D.S. MEMORIAL QUILT began as a healing way for survivors to remember those they had lost. "One Life to Life" was the first soap opera to deal with the disease in a week of stories all being taped in New Vernon, New Jersey.
From anyone's point of view, it seems that our LGBT brothers and sisters rise to the occasion when a crisis hits. BUT we really should think about how we treat each other in the post crisis times-- the way we so often don't show much solidarity. Can we say that racism and ageism have disappeared? Do we ever take time to listen to the experiences of the men and women who started a Gay Freedom movement before most of us were even born?
Let's take some time to thank people on the parade route who have continued to support all of us even as their numbers waned. P-FLAG, Dignity, GAAMC, various gay ethnic groups, HIV Supporters still lobbying for early detection and treatment of a scourge which hasn't gone away. And how do we treat LGBT people over 30 years of age? In many places they appear to be invisible.
Whether you are in NY on Sunday or not, let's make this a day when we start treating one another with respect... and with the love which is so essential for us to survive. We must never forget how far we have come AND never rest with the assumption that the struggle is over.
Have a wonderful Pride Celebration!
Uncle RJ... and Cousin Butchie just told me to tell you that he approves!
ALSO... There will be a wonderful tribute to the victims of Orlando tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 25th) at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in South Plainfield. Following the 9 A.M. Mass there will be the planting of two memorial trees in front of the church. As soon as possible there will be a stone monument between the trees. All are welcome.
I am writing to you because I know that you are around my son's age-- and because he has let me read some of your blogs. I don't know where else to turn because my son is out of the closet, but I am not! I just don't have the right answers to give when people say ignorant things.
I have been very accepting of my son and his friends over the past two years. I even went to several Pride events last year. Now, I am scared to death that some mentally deranged person or group of people could kill my son and his friends just as horribly as the Radical Islamic pig terrorized, seriously wounded or outright killed so many gay and lesbian people in the prime of their lives, the ages of my son and his close friends.
I love them but I am not blind to the very possible dangers in New York on June 26th.
I also want to add that I have attended a Pride Parade in NYC and was mortified and more than uneasy with the way some of the gay and lesbian people "dressed" and made fools of themselves. What possible good does this type of display achieve?
Very Worried Mom
Dear Very Worried Mom,
Thank you for reaching out, and from all that you've written I thank you for being a loving and accepting parent of your son and a support to his friends in the LGBT community.
Your fears are part of the grief and helplessness felt by many, many people since Sunday's unspeakable massacre of forty-nine young people (LGBT and Straight) in Orlando. There has been a remarkable and wonderful outpouring of support and love from the sane and caring/loving people from EVERY faith and every walk of life. There have been some expected tirades from the likes of Pat Robertson of "The 700 Club," but they might have redeemed themselves if they had been humane and true to the demands of their faith traditions. That wasn't gonna happen!
My Uncle RJ has told me that right after the September 11th destruction of the Twin Towers and almost three thousand people there was fear and trembling, probably on a larger scale. Life as Americans had known it would never be the same again. New York City virtually shut down. People were silent and somber for days. The theaters were shut down and Broadway went dark. Churches and synagogues were filled to capacity. It was the start of funerals for people of all faiths and those of no faith at all. The clergy were at a loss for words and they found it even harder to console the families of those whose loved ones were simply buried in the rubble.
Amidst the feelings of impotence, rage and grief, President George Bush, Mayor Guliani and Governor Pataki all spoke to New York and the nation telling them to diminish any sense of joy and victory from our enemies and get back to being vibrant and resilient. They were told to go back to the restaurants and theaters-- and resume living as best they could. I don't recall who said it...but, "LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE."
No one can totally assure you that the coming Pride events will be safe, BUT you can know that the security of the area will be monitored closely by the full force of the F.B.I., police, Homeland Security and anti-terror forces in our nation. Your son and his friends are old enough to make up their own minds, and they will probably not be stopped by the fears which are running rampant in your mind. I don't think you could ask for anything more. Just remember that your son (and the parents of his friends) can be proud that they raised kids who grew into proud and caring people. Without you, it would never have happened as well.
As for the sights one sees at some Pride Parades, Cousin Butchie has always been very interested in seeing some of the scantily clad LGBT people, but I can understand the shock some parents have when they first see this type of parade marcher. Although it possibly does more harm than good with the general public, it is only one day a year. It's one wild and crazy day to flaunt all that has been hidden or reviled for so many years.
Love to a Great Mom,
ORLANDO MASSACRE OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
I asked my Uncle RJ how the murder of so many people could have happened in the United States in 2016. It is not the absolute worst murderous event to occur in the world-- ISIS has been victimizing people in many parts of the world. We can recall the horrendous killing of many different minority groups by the Nazis in their concentration camps. I have tears in my eyes, but I will now quote what Uncle RJ told me:
'AFTER A VERY SAVAGE AND HORRIBLE EVENT IN MY OWN FAMILY, I WAS LOSING FAITH AND HOPE. I ALSO COULD NOT HAVE CHARITY OR FORGIVENESS FOR THE LOSS OF MY NIECE AT THE HANDS OF A MENTALLY DERANGED 'BOYFRIEND' AND I REACHED OUT TO ONE OF THE HOLIEST, LOVING, AND PASTORAL GAY-FRIENDLY PRIESTS I HAVE EVER KNOWN. WHAT HE SAID THEN, APPLIES NOW. THERE ARE SHOCKINGLY TERRIBLE THINGS WHICH OCCUR IN OUR LIVES, PERSONALLY AND COLLECTIVELY, WHICH MAKE US NUMB AND SO VERY HURT. ANY FAITH WE POSSESS IS TESTED TO THE POINT OF DESPAIR. SOME OF US WILL ASK HOW AND WHY GOD COULD HAVE LET THIS HAPPEN. DISMISSING ALL OF THE SENSELESS ANSWERS WE MAY HEAR, WE MUST REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE TIMES LIKE THIS WHEN WE CAN ONLY LOOK TO THE GOD OF OUR UNDERSTANDING AND CRY. NEVER FORGET WHAT A VERY WONDERFUL RABBI TOLD ME... THAT WHEN HUMANKIND CRIES, GOD CRIES.'
OUR PRAYERS AND OUR THOUGHTS GO OUT TO THE FAMILIES OF THESE LGBT BROTHERS AND SISTERS WE HAVE PROBABLY NEVER MET, BUT WHO ARE STILL OUR COLLECTIVE PARENTS WHO NEED TO KNOW WE ARE ALL SHARING IN THEIR GRIEF AND SORROW.
Hello, Cousin Butchie!
Today is Memorial Day, and it's also very close to the anniversary of when my brother died from the complications of A.I.D.S. back in 1996. The new drugs didn't arrive to take effect soon enough.
I am still devastated by his loss. Mark was the most caring, loving, generous and giving men I have ever known. He was the kind of son my parents will remember with pride until their dying days.
Today we went to the cemetery to put flowers on his grave. It is Memorial Day in honor of those veterans who lost their lives in the service of their country. Is it wrong to include my brother in this time of memory? The entire family gets together and we have a picnic style meal (what Mark always enjoyed) and we recall stories about him. It seems to keep the love alive.
Mark's Lesbian Sister
I know from my own experience that there is never a right or a wrong time to grieve and remember a loved one who has passed on. The hurt MAY lessen over time, but there's no hard and fast rules for feeling grief and loss. Sharing that love for Mark on Memorial Day is certainly acceptable. You need not answer to anyone about this. As long as you keep Mark's memory alive, you keep Mark alive and close to your hearts.
Since Mark passed away from A.I.D.S. you might want to contact the NAMES PROJECT/A.I.D.S. MEMORIAL QUILT chapter in your area. It is very therapeutic for a family to create a panel which can be added to the thousands of names of other people who have physically died of A.I.D.S. and are always in our hearts. Making a panel for a loved one for the QUILT is a wonderful way to remember him.
P.S. On this Memorial Day, let's recall all of the men and women who have died in the service of this country, and let's also remember all the veterans who died never being able to let the world know that they were LGBTI and truly and silently served their country as well.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I am out to just about everyone at my all boys high school. I know that sounds like paradise to some guys, and I'm proud to say that I have experienced no problems or discrimination. I know that I am really lucky and fortunate and blessed. I have so many friends who respect me and the gay issue never comes up... except for some of the students who have come out to me.
I am now being asked questions about the transgender bathroom issue.
Honestly, I have had very little knowledge about transgender people and I even confused these people with transvestites!
I need to know what to tell my peeps when they bring up this situation which is being covered by the media almost daily.
Out & Proud
Hi, Out & Proud!
Your email is honest, and I think that everyone in the LGBT Community needs this kind of honesty.
You have also described your school situation as ideal. You must have very good friends, and it seems only logical that they would come to you asking questions about transgender people. Admitting that you don't know much about them and the "bathroom controversy" is a wise move right now because you aren't prepared. I have had some gay friends say some very stupid and ignorant things, and it's all based on ignorance.
I suggest that you Google the information you need. Many of us in the LGBT Community have totally ignored the "T" people among us. In fact, some had no idea at all what the "T" stands for.
When I was younger, a female cousin told me that she felt like a man trapped in a woman's body. At the time I guess I merely thought it was drama and a bid for attention. I apologize to her for that. In my case it was possible to "cure" stupidity.
Transgender people know how they feel. They often feel isolated and discriminated against. They often also receive deplorable treatment from gays and lesbians and straight people.
We have these people as our brothers and sisters in our community. As you said in your email, that your school friends give you respect. Respect is what we really lovingly owe to these transgender people. While ignorant people may look down upon them, most of us know that WE are still looked down upon by some similarly ignorant people.
The "bathroom issue" is very puzzling to me now. If a woman biologically and mentally feels that she is a man, so be it. Dressing as a man is something in this person's comfort zone, and no one should deny them this right. If you were in the men's room and someone walked in with jeans and a flannel shirt, would you be disturbed?
WE might also note that this issue isn't a "problem" which is going to impact on a high number of LGBT people.
It is difficult not to see that the "religious right" among Christians and Jews (some of them!) is crusading to make this a big issue and has dreamed up a number of scenarios which are not even logical. GIVEN THE FEELINGS OF THESE SAME PEOPLE... WE WOULD NEVER HAVE HAD FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WE WOULD NOT HAVE EVER COME TO THE VICTORY OF LEGALIZING SAME SEX MARRIAGE.
So... Out & Proud... Get the information you need, and make the effort to treat transgender people in the way you are treated in school-- and in the way that all people deserve.
Uncle RJ helped me understand by his logic and decency. However I didn't even try to understand until I was SURPRISED to learn that one of my teachers was a transgender person... and there have been others I have met. In a very real sense, they are often at the rejection level that we have all experienced in one way or another. YOUR LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING CAN LITERALLY SAVE LIVES.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
Because Mother's Day has already happened I was not going to write to you, but I think holidays will always stink unless I get some handle on the problem now in 2016.
My boyfriend and I went to my mother's house for dinner on Mother's Day. My b/f insisted on this, and it didn't go well. His mom has never been accepting since when we started dating seriously last summer... I'll give her credit for making a really good Italian meal, but she almost totally ignored me. She served her husband first, the assorted relatives, then my b/f, herself, then Sparkie the dog, then me. There were some other clueless relatives at dinner and they were the only people I felt comfortable with. My b/f's mom also made a good number of remarks about how her other son and his wife were the joy of her life. In fact, she is NOT my brother's wife, but they have been living together for six years and have five kids... ages 2,3,5,6 & 7. I've noticed that they fight a lot and could be guests on Jerry Springer's show.
My b/f doesn't ignore his mother's attitude, but he doesn't get as angry as I do.
On the way back to our dorm, we stopped at my mother's house to give her a box of chocolates. My mom and dad are wonderful people. They have told me that they love me and want only good for my b/f and me.
Since Father's Day will probably create the same kind of treatment, what do you suggest we do?
NOT FEELING WELCOME
Hi, Feeling Not Welcome,
Since you guys went back to your dorm, I'm assuming that you share a dorm room. You appear to have a good relationship cooking, but you will need more smarts in handling the treatment you get from the mother of your b/f. Living together will give you time to really plan for Father's Day or any holiday.
The first thing that comes to mind is how strange it seems that your b/f's mother cooked and served a large meal on Mother's Day. She should have been taken out for brunch or dinner. In a restaurant venue, she would not have as much freedom to be obnoxious. Since money has to be a big consideration, why not consider taking the b/f's parents out to a reasonably priced restaurant on SATURDAY night... when the prices aren't pumped up. On the holiday itself, go to your parents' home. Just as with straight couples, there has to be an equal division of where holidays are spent.
You could also take the easy way out by calling the parents and telling them you have a viral infection and that your b/f has also come down with it. I think this is the type of situation which begs for a lie or two to make things easier and better for you gentlemen.
Since many college dudes do not find jobs in NJ you can solve the problem by finding employment far enough away that visits to both your parents cannot be made too often.
Oh yeah... as for Father's Day, invite both your dads to a minor league baseball game. It will be a boys night out, and the b/f's mom (and yours) are not invited. The b/f's mom can babysit for her five grandchildren-- and you can also invite your brother to the game.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I honestly never thought I would write to you for advice, but this problem has me going totally crazy.
I am a freshman at a local university which I will not name (but President Obama will be the graduation speaker L.O.L.). My problem all year has been a roommate from hell. When I first met him, I thought he was okay. He is also gay and out of the closet, but he's not like any other gay man I have ever met. He doesn't seem to ever consider that we share the same room. The result is that he will use all the hot water when he showers, snores like a buzz saw, farts at any time, asks me to leave when he has a playmate coming over. When I request the same courtesy, he makes certain that his half of the room looks like a garbage dump. I have had to do most of my studying at the library and I also have to hide any beer or it will be stolen by this roomie.
How can I make sure this kind of situation isn't repeated next year? I want to remain somewhat friendly with him, but I cannot handle having him as my inconsiderate and filthy roomie.
Felix Unger Type
Dear Felix Unger Type,
I can understand the problem you have with your roommate. If you are really the "Felix Unger" type, the roommate would have to be far removed from the Oscar Madison "type" for you to cohabitate peacefully. In other words, he may not be as bad as it seems, but that's a moot point.
I believe every dorm has a monitor or a dude who handles situations like yours-- and ones far worse. Tell him now that you would appreciate his help in getting a better roommate for next semester.
Should you arrive next semester and find you have the same roomie (not a likely happening), ask for a transfer as soon as possible. Don't wait until you become unhinged again.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I am writing to you because I have read your blogs in NJ Gay Life... and I don't know who else to discuss things with.
I am gay, and my parents took a little time to get comfortable with this "news" but they quickly educated themselves and asked me many questions. Now, it's cool with them.
But, they have told me that they are very concerned about my younger brother who is telling them that he is really transgender and plans to transition as soon as he can. He is 13 years old and sometimes dresses in jeans and shirts which would better fit a girl. And there are other signals. My parents tell me that they can't make any progress trying to understand his decision. I have not been told anything at all by my brother, so I am in the same "feeling stupid" mode as my parents. They have agreed to seek whatever help is available.
I don't know if you can suggest any place to turn so that we can deal with this situation as a family. Forgive me, but I had a brief time getting my parents to accept me as a gay dude. My little brother has really topped them (and me) on this revelation.
Dear Feeling Stupid,
First of all, I suggest that you stop saying you are feeling stupid. This doesn't help matters any, and you are really just not well informed on this subject.
For many years, there has been reference to the LGBT community. Stop and think how often we have given any consideration to the "T" people in our community identity. Admittedly, the transgender people have been coming out in fairly large numbers in the past several years but we still haven't responded as well as we should. They are still part of our community!
Instead of trying to accept and understand your brother on your own, it would be a great idea to go to a specific support group for transgender people and their families. It will work best if you all go.
Any PFLAG group in NJ will be kind and understanding and somewhat helpful with this situation. However there are two NJ chapters which have specific meetings only for people and families dealing only with our transgender people and their issues-- which is only slightly similar to the gay and lesbian and bisexual challenges.
Please call either of the PFLAG numbers listed below. Even if it might be a distance, I urge you to go and make friends with other transgender people and their families and friends. You will be given valuable resources which will make this stage of your lives much better... and your little brother will thank you and love you more for going to real lengths to understand.
PFLAG-Ridgewood/Bergen County 201-287-0318
PFLAG-South Jersey Chapter 908-814-2155
Any readers who might wish to add some encouragement or resources for this family is asked to reply to NJ Gay Life in the comments space following this blog.
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I hope you can help me with this problem because no one else even takes me seriously.
I am 16 years old and attend a private school. I am absolutely and undoubtedly in love with one of my teachers. He is super handsome, dresses well, has manicured nails, a smile that melts my heart, and no wedding ring! I know that he suspects I have a crush on him because he is always so nice to me. Do you think I should ask him for a date? Would I get in trouble?
So in Love
Dear So in Love,
First of all, I don't know anyone who didn't have a serious crush on some teacher at some time in high school.
My advice is to continue to have your fantasies, but don't ask him for a date! That is totally in left field and could make him feel very uncomfortable. You want to know if YOU would get in trouble! This teacher would get in big trouble if he ever accepted one of your overtures. There have been many stories in the media about these teacher/student debacles.
Look-- you only have two more years. When you are 18 and not attending this school anymore, you could make a move and ask for a date. Remember to let me know in two years.
Hi Cousin Butchie!
I am a Catholic priest and wish to remain anonymous. For the record, I am liberal, loving and gay. I also abhor the sex scandals and the men in the hierarchy who made it all worse by moving pedophile priests from parish to parish.
My reason for writing is to express my views on a new television program which has made me angry. "The Real O'Neals" is supposed to be about a typical Irish-Catholic family. Because Dan Savage is one of the writers, and because I figured that parishioners would be watching it, I saw three episodes. The advertising which generated my interest in seeing it is the excellence of Dan Savage and the fact that the son in the show comes out of the closet in the first episode.
I can definitely say that I have not seem such an idiotic show in ages. I want people here to know that there are many laughable things which occur in Catholic families, but nothing is ever as stupidly portrayed as it is in "The Real O'Neals".
I hope you will let me warn LGBT people that the show is dissapointingly trashy. The Catholic Church has enough problems, but this show is a total embarrassment.
Thank you... and God Bless!
Dear Father Anonymous,
When I first started reading your posting I thought you were referring to the Academy Award winning "Spotlight" which focuses on the mishandling of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, and I was ready to make it clear that this is an excellent movie.
I was wrong, and I'm happy that's so.
This will be a brief answer. I have watched this program, and I agree with you about its banal and unrealistic qualities. I am also not happy about the fact that any number of television critics have given this show praise. Perhaps, readers will watch "The Real O'Neals" tonight (Tuesday) at 8:30 PM on Channel 7.
You are invited to write back with your opinions of the show.
Let's hear from you!