Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category
Posted by jos76 on May 31, 2008
About seven years a go, there was a new sitcom called Some of My Best Friends. The title comes from the familiar phrase that I heard so many times in college, “Some of my best friends are gay.” My read when hearing this was, “You don’t scare me. I know people like you.” The TV show starred Jason Bateman and Danny Nucci. Jason Bateman played a character named Warren who is a twenty-something writer living in New York. He is a writer who has just ended a relationship with his boyfriend. While looking for a roommate, he comes across a straight, Italian guy from Brooklyn and he decides to move in. The comedy and mayhem ensue.
The character of Warren is a normal guy for the most part, even a bit conservative. He has a friend (played by Alec Mapa) who is his more flamboyant side-kick. I have seen all seven (yes, seven) episodes of this sitcom. It only lasted a few weeks. Compared to Will and Grace, it is much better written and funnier. So, why did Will and Grace last several years while this show was cancelled after only seven episodes? My guess is that it is because the characters of Will and Jack represent what people think gay men are like and they believe the over-the-top, flamboyant, promiscuous lives that these characters lead.
The character of Warren, in my opinion, much more closely represents regular gay men who are looking for, or are in, a relationship. But, people may not be ready to accept the normalcy of a gay relationship and still choose to look at gay people as a source of comic relief. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jack and Karen are funny (the show should have been named Jack and Karen instead of Will and Grace), but this representation of gay people does not help our cause. Unfortunately, this is all that the viewing public is ready for. Maybe in a few years we can get another show about a “regular” gay character that lasts more than seven episodes.
Scene with Jack from Will and Grace
Scene from Some of My Best Friends
Posted in Friends, Fun, The Past, What's Ahead | Tagged: alec mapa, danny nucci, Gay, jack, jason bateman, karen, lgbt, marriage, relationship, sitcom, some of my best friends, tv, Wedding, will and grace | 1 Comment »
Posted by jos76 on May 17, 2008
We had a lot of choices with our wedding ceremony. Dac and I chose everything from the color of the chair covers to the words of our minister. As a mentioned in a previous post, we were married by Dac’s sister-in-law’s father who is a (now retired) minister in the Unitarian Universalist Chruch. He also married Dac’s brother and sister-in-law. How many families can claim that the same minister married two of the siblings in one family, let alone one of the siblings having a gay wedding?
Prior to the ceremony, Rev. F sent us several versions of same-sex and heterosexual wedding ceremonies. We looked through all of them and pieced together the best parts of all of them into our ideal ceremony. The ceremony began with Pachelbel’s Canon (played on piano and cello by friends of Dac’s from high school) as Dac and I came down the isle on the arms of our mothers. Dac went first, he’s younger. Then Dac’s mom’s best friend, CC, and another friend of ours sang Ubi Caritas to set the mood for the ceremony.
One important part of the ceremony was the very end, when the minister pronounced us married. It was so great to actually hear him say: “By the power invested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you married.” This was a very traditional ending to a not-so-traditional ceremony, but it was very powerful to be able to make this claim in front of our family and friends.
Posted in Faith, Family, Friends, Politics, The Past | Tagged: ceremony, chair covers, Gay, gay marriage, gay wedding, lgbt, Massachusetts, minister, Pachebel's Canon, Ubi Caritas, Unitarian Universalist | 1 Comment »
Posted by jos76 on May 10, 2008
Family is so important. Growing up and dealing with teenage angst can be near impossible without the help and support of friends and, most importantly, family. Dac and I have been lucky. I do think that it is important, though, that we all understand that it is not always so easy for the young gay kid growing up in a difficult situation. These statistics are from Lamda Legal (A National Civil Rights Organization) and GLSEN (Educators Network):
Gay youth are 4.5 times more likely than non-gay peers to skip school because they feel unsafe.
31% of gay students had missed at least an entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe based on their sexual orientation.
Nearly one-third of LGBT students drop out of high school to escape the violence, harassment, and isolation they face there – a dropout rate nearly three times the national average.
Gay youth are 4 times as likely than their non-gay counterparts to have attempted suicide.
84% personally had been verbally harassed at school (that is, called names or threatened) because of their sexual orientation.
39.1% had been physically harassed (by being shoved or pushed) and 17% had been assaulted.
As supported as Dac and I are now, we look back at our school days and unfortunately identify with many of these statistics. I’m sure that any parents would not want this for their child. This, however, does not stop many extreme-right socially conservative politicians (Huck, Mitt, Bush, …to name a few) from working toward a school system that excludes any positive recognition of gay people.
I’m sorry if you came hoping to get something a bit lighter this week, but I saw Bill O’Reilly on TV today saying we should not “teach kids about being gay in school,” and I had to use this opportunity to show how misinformed he (and FOX news) really are.
Posted in Faith, Friends, Politics, The Past, What's Ahead | Tagged: bill o'reilly, drop-out, FOX, Gay, gay marriage, gay wedding, GLSEN, harassement, Lamda Leagl, lgbt, school, youth | 4 Comments »
Posted by jos76 on May 3, 2008
Once we figured out where and when our wedding was going to take place, we had to get to work on the details. We were very lucky to have many people help us with various aspects of the ceremony and the reception. We decided to use two ballrooms at a Marriott hotel about twenty minutes from our house.
One of the easier projects was deciding whom to invite. This was simple. We did not have to worry about all those extended family members that we met once when we were seven years old. We just invited all of our friends and family that have been supportive of our relationship. Dac and I are very fortunate to have the support that we have, so the list grew pretty quickly. We have both made it a priority to always work with and for people that respect us. Now, we live in Massachusetts where it is practically illegal to disrespect our legal marriage, but we have just the same been very lucky in finding employment situations in which we do not have to hide each other. Because of this, about half of the people that we invited were colleagues and our supervisors.
One day, just before the day when we had hoped to get all of the RSVPs back, Dac came home a little upset. When I inquired what the problem was, he told me that one of his co-workers told him that he would not be able to attend. This was a relatively new co-worker, but just the same one that Dac had come to know quite well and respected a great deal. When he asked him why he couldn’t make it, he replied, “I don’t believe in gay marriage.” This came as a total shock to Dac who did not see this coming. If either of us had the slightest idea that someone was not supportive, he/she was not invited.
Dac inquired further and found out that the guy was Catholic and his priest had told him that he should not attend the wedding because it was not in line with the Catholic conception of marriage. It seemed a bit odd that this person had befriended Dac and had even asked about me several times, only to withdraw his support at the last minute, based on the advice of his priest.
Needless to say, the friendship between Dac and his co-worker was never the same. However, there was no bad blood. This entire situation was just a reminder to us that no matter how much support we have, we must keep a thick skin because you never know how things might turn out.
Posted in Faith, Friends, The Past | Tagged: catholic, co-worker, Gay, gay marriage, gay wedding, legal, marriage, marriott, priest, relationship, support | Leave a Comment »
Posted by jos76 on April 27, 2008
Dac and I spent the weekend away at a retreat. There is group of people in our church (an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ) who were looking for a way to get together to talk about their spirituality and to engage in fellowship. I’m always a little hesitant with the word “fellowship.” I guess it is because I always think of old ladies sitting around drinking tea or some kind of tent revival situation. The only other time I hear this word is when we talk about the “fellowship hour” that follows our Sunday morning worship services. And, I must say, there are lots of older ladies sitting around drinking tea.
But, I got a very different perspective on the idea this weekend. We all formed a very interesting group. It ended up being five couples and our minister. We went to the Deering Center. Written on the sign, as you approach it on the winding New Hampshire road, is “Christian Family Camping, Conference and Retreat Center.” For most gay people, it would be a scary concept to even consider pulling in. However, Dac and I went in the fall with another group and we found that it is a very peaceful place and every person who works there (and volunteers there) embodies true Christian values.
Among our group were three gay couples (two female and Dac and I), and two straight couples, both couples are parents and one even has several grandchildren. We were all welcomed with open arms and had a great experience. I had a short conversation with the owner before leaving and told him how much we love going there. He said he was happy that we had such a great experience and told me that he wants to make sure that everyone feels welcome, regardless of where they are on their Christian Journey.
Dac and I are sad to hear how most people automatically assume that Christian=dislike of gay people. We understand why this is since so many fundamentalist groups do in fact disagree with our relationship, but we strive to also let people know that there is a place in the Christian Church for everyone. We have an Ichthus (the Christian fish symbol) on our car and I’m sure that when people see it they think, “they are gay haters.” If they only knew!
Posted in Faith, Friends | Tagged: blog, Christian, Deering, Gay, gay marriage, gay wedding, Ichthus, lgbt, relationship, Retreat | 5 Comments »
Posted by jos76 on April 19, 2008
A few weeks back, the headmaster at my school stopped me in the dining room and asked if I liked the symphony. I quickly responded that Dac is a classical musician, so we enjoy the symphony a great deal. He then proceeded to ask if Dac and I would be interested in joining him and his wife at Boston’s Symphony Hall. I knew that this was something that I had to do, but I did say that I had to talk to Dac about the date and would get back to him.
I came home, checked the date with Dac, and we decided that we would go. I told my Headmaster the next day and the plans were in place. We made plans to meet up for dinner before going to Symphony Hall. This past Thursday was the big night. Before I left for school that morning, Dac said to me, “This is all very 50’s…Going out the symphony with the boss.” I had to laugh because it was so true. I mentioned this during dinner and we all had a good laugh. It did have an “Ozzie and Harriet” feel, but this was the updated gay version.
During dinner, I made a comment about how Dac and I enjoy the time that we spent together and respect each others interest. My Headmaster immediately commented to his wife that he was so happy to be out with a couple who was happy. He and his wife have only been married about two years and apparently many of their other married acquaintances tell them that their happiness will not last. I told them that Dac and I have been together for almost 8 years and we are not past the “happy phase”. We actually don’t thing that it is a phase.
This was another opportunity to see how a married couple, who are older than us and hold influential positions in the community, freely and respectfully likened Dac and my relationship/marriage to theirs.
Posted in Friends, Fun | Tagged: Boss, Boston, Gay, gay marriage, lgbt, realtionship, symphony | Leave a Comment »
Posted by jos76 on April 12, 2008
I consider myself lucky because I like my job. I have been teaching for 11 years in both public and independent schools. Dac had a conversation with a friend recently about ideal jobs and job satisfaction. Dac is a musician by passion and “works” in a hospital. He definitely gets passionate about particular events, but if he had his way, he would be involved in music all the time.
Their conversation turned hypothetical and Dac and Jessy (an amazing musician as well) discussed what they would do if salary were no object and they could do whatever they wanted. Dac would be an instrument maker and Jessy would most like buy the instruments that he makes. Me, well, this is interesting. Dac told Jessy that if I had my choice, and salary was in no way important because I would be independently wealthy, I would still get up tomorrow and be a teacher. I have to agree with that.
Sometimes I think about other careers, like finance. Dac thinks I’m crazy because I enjoy checking stocks, calculating interest, and forecasting dividends. I love watching Mad Money and Suze Orman. What can I say, I’m fascinated by the stuff. I’m not ready to drop the lesson plans and become a day trader tomorrow, but it might be fun to try someday.
Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, EFTs, options, 403(b)s, limit orders, and market orders…what fun! My 1st graders are fun too, but the dividends are much different, maybe a few cool drawings and an occasional “you’re bald like my dad!” Priceless.
Posted in Friends, Fun, The Past, What's Ahead | Tagged: bonds, dividends, Gay, gay marriage, lgbt, Mad Money, music, musician, mutual funds, school, stoks, Suze Orman, teaching, Wedding | 1 Comment »