Jos76’s Blog

Thoughts and musings on life in a gay marriage.

Archive for the ‘The Past’ Category

Some of my best friends

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

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By the power invested in me

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.

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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.

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Not the most popular kids in school

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):                     

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  • 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. 

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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.

Jos76

 

Posted in Faith, Friends, Politics, The Past, What's Ahead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The game-time decision

Posted by jos76 on May 3, 2008

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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. 

Jos76

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What’s the Dividend on a 1st Grader?

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.

Suze Orman

Suze Orman

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.

Jos76

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Paris, je t’aime

Posted by jos76 on March 12, 2008

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During my sophomore and junior years in college I lived in France.  I originally intended to live in Paris and to attend one of the universities, but I realized after a few weeks that it was too expensive for an American student to live there, so I packed up and went to Rouen, in Normandy.  This was a much smaller city about an hour west of Paris. I enrolled in the University there and took a position as an English Teaching Assistant in a high school.

I lived in a little suburb of the city called Bois-Guilliame (William’s Woods) in a small apartment above the garage of a professor at the university.  We became great friends and had almost every meal together.  She was much older than me and had just divorced before I moved in.  She needed someone to talk to and I wanted to talk as much as possible in order to practice my Parisian French (I had a French-Canadian/Quebecois accent when I got there), so we were a perfect match.  It was kind of like a Harold and Maude situation, but the updated gay version.  Each night when we would set the table, there were the required elements like plates and utensils, but I learned to add a dictionary (which we would always seem to need) and Brigitte’s cigarettes (Marlboro Box), a lighter, and the ashtray.  It was France after all.

I am  a French teacher so I have been back to France many times since college, but it has always been with 20-40 students in tow.  I have enjoyed traveling with students, but student travel companies are not known for choosing the best hotels and restaurants.  This Friday, Dac and I are leaving for Paris.  It will be the first time since college that I have been without a group of students.  It will also be Dac’s first time there as well.  I’m very excited to show him around and experience this amazing city again.

Cheese, cafe, croissant, baguette, oh my!

Jos76

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We were moonstruck

Posted by jos76 on March 8, 2008

Meeting someone for the first time is sometimes difficult. Sometimes it’s easy. Back in November of 2000, after many emails and phone conversations that went on for hours (sometimes all night and had to end so we could go to work), Dac and I decided to meet for the first time. We had been talking for about two weeks and essentially knew everything there was to know about each other. We were not close by. Dac lived in Boston and I lived about one and a half hours away. Just the same, we talked a lot and agreed that we would meet up for the first time. The plan was for me to go into the city. I liked to do that, given that I lived on Cape Cod and it was November…the off-season.

We agreed to meet outside of a “T” (subway) station on Mass Ave (that’s local talk for Massachusetts Avenue). We had seen pictures of each other so we sort of know who we were looking for, but just to be safe we pulled out our gay genes (and jeans) and said, “I’ll be wearing a….” I drove into Boston, found a parking spot (I still don’t understand how!) and went to the Hynes Convention Center “T” station. Dac was there.

We had dinner at a small Greek restaurant nearby and then went back to Dac’s apartment to watch a movie. It was Moonstruck.

It was and is our favorite movie and we had quoted the entire movie to each other on the phone. When we got to the end of the movie, we both realized that we were experiencing something out-of-the-ordinary. “Will I ever find another guy who likes this movie so much, wants to be in a relationship, and is normal?” We had a brief conversation about whether or not we wanted to “be in a relationship with each other,” decided that we did, and have been together for over seven years since.

Dac will point out that I left out the part about the picture that I sent him. It was from my freshman year in college (I was 18) and we met when I was 24. I looked a little different (I had more hair in college). Honestly, it was the only picture I had.

Jos76

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Studies have (not) shown…

Posted by jos76 on February 13, 2008

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I have two siblings, a younger sister in her twenties and a brother in his mid-thirties. The three of us could not be leading lives that are more different, yet somehow we grew up in the same house with the same parents. My brother is married (to a woman of all things) and has five children. My sister is still finding her way in life and is pretty adept at dating. I usually get the update from my mother as to who we should ask her about. Then there’s me, the well-adjusted middle child, no longer dating, no children

Dac, my partner, has two brothers, both older, both married, both with two children. Well, as of the writing of this post one of the wives is pregnant, so they have about 1.3 children. Then there’s Dac, the youngest child of the three brothers, married, no children.

Given that we have somewhat different sibling situations and that I was in the middle and Dac was the youngest, I can’t help but laugh at claims that relationships with parents (male or female) in any way contribute to “making” a kid gay. I grew up with a male and a female sibling who both grew up to be straight. Dac’s brothers grew up to marry women and soon became parents.

Both sets of our parents are very supportive of our marriage and no one (especially our parents themselves) think that our upbringing had anything to do with our sexual orientation. How could it have? We would have to actually accept the possibility that our parents had specifically different relationships with each of their children, so different that it influenced their sexual orientations. For anyone who understands the demands and time commitment required to parent even one child, he/she would clearly understand how ridiculous it would be to even try to do it two or three different ways. Who would have time to make sure that their kid is gay?

Jos76

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