Tag Archives: LGBTQ+

A Brief Message To Those Protesting Disney For Supporting LGBTQ+ Rights

In general, I try not to react too strongly to news that pisses me off or makes me question my faith in humanity. I know that’s not easy these days. Everyone has a news feed. It’s generally not hard to come across a news story that just enrages you to no end or find some grifter political type saying something incredibly stupid.

I have written about certain issues and infuriating people in the past. I even admit that sometimes, that does help me process the stupidity and frustration. However, there are just certain stories, trends, and political talking points that can never compute for anyone with a single shred of decency or critical thinking skills. Those are the topics I usually avoid discussing.

This time, though, it’s just too stupid to ignore.

That’s because it involves misguided, right-wing habitual whiners going after Disney.

Seriously, they’re going after Disney. It’s not even because they have a long history of treating their workers like shit and manipulating copyright laws for their own benefit. They’re protesting their stance on Florida’s stupid “Don’t Say Gay” bill and claiming that Disney is “grooming” children for sexual exploitation.

Now, I don’t want to get into the many reasons why this effort is a textbook example weapons grade stupidity. I also don’t want to get into why the “Don’t Say Gay” bill should be opposed, both by major corporations like Disney and ordinary people who just have a shred of compassion. Plenty of people smarter than me can explain the issue and highlight why it’s so damaging to LGBTQ youth.

The most I’ll say is that it’s just a dick move in general, preventing teachers from mentioning important things like sexual orientation and sexual identity. Some may argue that these are topics that are not appropriate for children. I would argue that’s bullshit. LGBTQ people exist. They have families and children of their own. Ignoring it isn’t just absurd. It’s just an overall dick move to a vulnerable minority.

Haven’t we done enough of that crap over the course of human history?

Aren’t the lists of massacres and long-running traditions of discrimination based on race, gender, and sexual orientation long enough?

Seriously, what or who does it threaten? How does teaching children that gay, queer, and transgender people exist harm them in any meaningful way? Being informed is not the same as being groomed.

That brings me back to the protesters. These misguided whiners are harping heavily on that aspect of Disney’s stance. They claim that Disney taking a position on a grossly anti-LGBTQ+ bill is part of an agenda to groom children for exploitation.

I sincerely hope I don’t have to explain just how dumb that is. Yes, I realize many of these protesters are probably radicalized from right-wing media bubbles and Qanon supporters. That shit is basically a cult at this point. They’re now in a mindset that assumes anyone who opposes them is somehow a child predator. I wish there was something I could say to convince these people how misguided that is, but I know there isn’t. If I tried, they’d probably just claim I’m part of the conspiracy.

Now, having said all that, I’d still like to send a message to all those whining about Disney, their stance on LGBTQ+ issues, and organizations that exploit children. I promise it’s not an attempt to convince them that they’re in a cult and they’re being brainwashed by grifters, politicians, and internet trolls fishing for clicks. It’s just a simple note that I hope they take into account.

You’re being assholes.

Seriously, you’re not helping kids, parents, or anyone for that matter. You’re just being assholes, preventing kids and their families from enjoying their time at Disney World. How is that stopping the exploitation of children? How is that going to make Disney any less “woke” in your eyes?

If you were in a real Disney movie, you’d be the villain. You’d be the bad guys. You’d be the ones making children cry, especially those who belong to vulnerable minorities.

I’ll say it again. You are being assholes and you actually are harming children. I don’t care if being an asshole is your twisted idea of fun or if you genuinely believe you’re doing the right thing. You’re making kids and their families miserable. I don’t care what you’re agenda is. It’s a dick move, plain and simple.

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Filed under Current Events, LGBTQ, politics

A Brief Message About The “Don’t Say Gay” Bill In Florida (And Those Being Proposed By Other States)

In general, I try to avoid talking politics. It just turns too many otherwise decent people into assholes and friends into enemies. I know I’ve touched on sensitive issues on this site and I’m very reluctant to bring that to my YouTube channel. I just feel like, most of the time, talking politics on the internet or even in person is just not a productive use of anyone’s time.

That being said, I still feel compelled to say something about the recent controversy surrounding Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which has already inspired many other states to craft similar bills. I understand there have been plenty of discussions on this bill, but little in terms of substance. I also understand that the nature of this bill isn’t about stopping people from saying the word “gay.” It’s intended to prohibit teachers from discussing sexuality to young students.

I mean, it’s not like refusing to talk to students about certain topics makes them less curious about those topics.

In addition, it’s not like there’s something like the internet that allows kids to look up information on all sorts of things their parents don’t want them to know about.

I mean seriously. When has trying to prohibit discussion about a sexual issues ever had negative consequences?

That excess sarcasm aside, I do want to say something else about this topic that I do think is worth saying. So, in the interest of adding to the debate, here it is.

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Thank you. I hope I’ve made my point.

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Filed under LGBTQ, politics

Celebrating (And Clarifying) The New Bisexual Superman

I’ve been reading comics for most of my life. In that time, I’ve seen many major upheavals and big events. A few of them even made mainstream news. I still remember how big it was when the Death of Superman first came out. That event made for some big headlines and its effect on the comic book industry is still felt today.

At the same time, reading comics for so long has given me a knack for sensing when an event will make mainstream news. It has also helped me get a feel for the kind of reaction it’ll get from those who don’t follow comics that closely. As a result, their reaction tends to be somewhat misguided.

With that in mind, I’d like to talk about Superman coming out as bisexual, a big reveal that made national headlines earlier this week. When I saw this, I was temped to post my immediate reaction. However, I held off because I suspected the oncoming storm of outrage would obscure any sentiment or point I made.

Sadly, it didn’t take long for some of that outrage to take hold.

Plenty of reactionaries whined about it for plenty of non-surprising reasons, ranging from your traditional anti-LGBTQ whining from religious zealots to people who just whine about comics becoming “political.” I put “political” in quotes because by political, it usually denotes “politics I don’t like.” It’s still just whining at the end of the day.

For me, personally, I’m all for this. I love that DC Comics is doing this with one of their characters. It’s something that I think fits the spirit and principles of Superman. He is someone who has love, compassion, and understanding for all. He saves men, women, and everything in between. His capacity for connecting with others knows no gender or preference. That’s what makes him Superman.

That being said, there is some important context to add to this. If you just read the mainstream headlines, you might get the wrong idea. For the most balanced take, I recommend the following NPR piece. It nicely sums up what’s going on here.

NPR: Superman’s son comes out as bisexual in a new comic. It’s a big deal — sort of

By now you’ve likely heard.

He’s queer now.

Yep: Superman, Champion of the Oppressed, the Man of Steel, the Man of Tomorrow, the Last Son of Krypton, the Big Blue Boy Scout, Mr. Not-A-Bird-Nor-A-Plane Himself.

Queer. All of a sudden.

And at 83 years old, no less! Bless his heart.

But that’s not what’s happening here. Comics being comics, the truth is a lot more granular.

We’re not talking about the classic, original-recipe Clark Kent/Kal-El Superman that’s been around since the June 1938 issue of Action Comics #1 first hit the stands. It’s not the Superman who’s infiltrated the global zeitgeist to become a part of our collective consciousness via comics, serials, radio, television, film, toys, roller coasters and the bedsheets I got for Christmas 1979.

No, it’s his son, Jonathan Kent. Whose precise backstory in the comics has been so ruthlessly pummeled by a series of reboots, retcons, space missions, time-travel and rapid aging as to render it so incomprehensible that it sends even diehards like me scurrying to the nearest wiki.

He’s slated to come out as bisexual in the pages of Superman: Son of Kal-El #5, written by Tom Taylor with art by John Timms, which will published on November 9th. Jonathan and his male friend Jay, introduced earlier in the series, will share a kiss.

I hope that clears things up. You don’t need to know all the complex continuity behind the details. You just need to know the basics.

In short, the Superman who came out as bisexual isn’t the primary Superman we’ve known since Action Comics #1. It’s Superman and Lois Lane’s son, Jon Kent. He’s actually a relatively new character, having debuted in 2015 just before DC’s Rebirth event. In that time, he’s grown and developed a lot, becoming one of the best Superman offspring characters we’ve seen in years.

He’s certainly grown on me in that time. This latest twist to his story only makes me love him more. I also encourage everyone curious about Jon Kent to read about him. If you need a starting point, I highly suggest a series called Super Sons. That firmly established Jon as someone who could wear his cape proudly.

In addition, it gives Jon something that further sets him apart from his father. Clark Kent will always be Superman, but that’s a title that need not be restricted to one man. Plenty of other characters have gone by that title and not all of them are directly related to Clark like Jon is. The title and the values behind it have always mattered more than the person.

Clark Kent understands that.

Jon Kent understands that.

The longtime fans of Superman also understand that.

Everyone who wields that cape protects, defends, and champions the values behind that name. Truth, justice, and the American way need not be the exclusive domain of a straight white man from Smallville. Someone like Jon Kent can also fight for them, but doing so doesn’t require that he be exactly like his father.

He can still be his own person and part of that persona just happens to involve bisexuality. That doesn’t at all detract from his ability to fight for those same values. It doesn’t change the importance of those values, either. At the end of the day, what matters most is that he fights for them with the same spirit and passion as his father.

That’s what makes him Superman.

It doesn’t matter whether or not he’s bisexual. He’s still Superman and one worth celebrating.

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Filed under Current Events, DC Comics, superhero comics, superhero movies, Uncategorized

The Life Ryan O’Callaghan: A Sad (But Uplifting) Story About A Former NFL Player Coming Out

Ryan O'Callaghan #75 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 14, 2010 in Denver Colorado.

For a brief moment, picture a typical gay man. Depending on when you grew up, where you came from, and what sort of media you consumed, you probably have a certain image in your head. I suspect that image looks nothing like Ryan O’Callaghan.

Unless you’re a world class NFL football nerd, chances are you haven’t heard that name before. However, after learning about his story, I hope he’s someone who has changed your perception of what it means to be LGBTQ. That’s because Ryan O’Callaghan’s story is a sad, downright heartbreaking story on many levels, but one that has a happy, uplifting ending.

We need more stories like that, especially during Pride Month. We need them now more than ever.

To appreciate what Ryan O’Callaghan went through, it’s necessary to appreciate how hard it can be to live life as a closeted gay man. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t a story from decades ago. Ryan O’Callaghan was born in 1983. He’s pretty much the same age as I am. He was born at a time when things were steadily improving for the LGBTQ community.

However, that wasn’t much solace for him. He grew up in a very conservative part of California. After realizing he was gay, he had no idea how he was going to live that life in such an environment. That led him to hide his sexuality. At one point, he even made plans to kill himself.

It’s hard to imagine how agonizing it must be, having to hide a part of who you are from everyone around you. Forget, for a moment, how you feel about homosexuality in general. Imagine trying to hide a big part of who you are from everyone and being terrified of the truth coming out. Could we really manage keeping a secret like that?

I know I couldn’t. I question the honesty of anyone who claims they can. For Ryan O’Callaghan, it was too much. He really didn’t believe he could live a full life as an openly gay man. The best he could do was hide his secret as long as he could. That was where football came in.

This goes back to that picture I conjured earlier. Ryan O’Callaghan is 6 foot 7 inches tall. During his playing days through college and the NFL, he weight in between 250 and 330 pounds. He was an offensive lineman. He looked and played the part. In essence, he was the last person anyone expected to be gay and that’s how he liked it.

Through high school, college, and the NFL, he let football be his mask. It’s supposed to be the manliest sport in the world. Even after Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to play in the NFL in 2014, there’s still this perception that the men who play football fit a certain ideal and that ideal doesn’t involve being gay.

That’s not to say there haven’t been gay players in the NFL. In fact, there have been quite a few. One of the best tight ends in NFL history, Jerry Smith, played his entire 13 year career in the NFL as a closeted gay man. There’s a good chance there are active players in the NFL right now who are gay, but in the closet.

Be that as it may, it offered no comfort to Ryan O’Callaghan. Football was still his mask, but he loved playing it enough to keep going. It also helped that he was very good at it. He was so good that he managed to get a college scholarship with the California Golden Bears. He went onto play well enough to get drafted by the New England Patriots in 2006.

That’s a level of success very few football players ever reach, regardless of position. The fact that Ryan was able to go that far is a testament to both his skill and his talent for the game. Doing it all while in the closet just makes it all the more harrowing.

However, that success didn’t change his plans. Ryan still believed he could not live life as an openly gay man. Once his playing days were over, he still planned to take his own life. At one point, he even wrote a suicide letter, bought guns, and built a cabin. That’s how close he came to ending it all.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

Before he took that fatal step, he got help from a clinical psychologist. She helped him out of that dark place. Eventually, he was able to come out, revealing his secret to the general manager who had drafted him. It’s hard to overstate how big that moment must have been for him.

I certainly can’t do it justice. I’ve only touched on some of the details surrounding Ryan O’Callaghan’s story. For a more a more complete picture, check out his book, My Life On The Line. Also, I highly recommend that everyone read this story done by Outsports. It covers Ryan’s struggles in far greater depth.

I should offer a bit of a trigger warning, though. Some of the details are difficult to take in, but it’s worth noting that this story has a happy ending. Here’s a brief snippet.

Outsports: Former Patriots and Chiefs tackle Ryan O’Callaghan comes out as gay

Very early on in the process he felt it was mandatory to share his truth with Pioli, the man who had brought him from New England and helped keep his career — and his life — moving forward.

Just after the 2011 season, O’Callaghan visited Pioli in his office.

The day before he had called his general manager, who had become a good friend, to ask him for a meeting. Pioli had known about O’Callaghan’s drug abuse, and the gravity in his player’s voice over the phone told him that something dire was on his mind.

“He had built this up like he was coming in to tell me that maybe he had done something truly terrible,” Pioli remembered.

O’Callaghan trudged into Pioli’s office the next day. After a hug and some small talk, O’Callaghan turned serious. He told Pioli he had been visiting with Wilson and had gotten “clean.” It was good news to Pioli.

“I’ve got something else I’ve got to tell you,” O’Callaghan said. At this point he was fighting back tears. Pioli’s mind raced, wondering if his player had harmed or killed someone.

“I’m gay,” O’Callaghan said.

His private announcement was met with immediate support from the GM. Then:

“So what’s the problem you wanted to talk me about?” Pioli asked.

O’Callaghan looked at him, bewildered, 27 years of fear, anxiety and self-loathing meeting Pioli’s stare.

“Scott,” O’Callaghan said, “I’m… gay.”

Pioli acknowledged that and asked again if O’Callaghan had done something wrong.

“People like me are supposed to react a certain way, I guess,” Pioli told Outsports. “I wasn’t minimizing what he was telling me, but I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. He built this up and built this up to the point where he said he was nearly suicidal. What Ryan didn’t know is how many gay people I’ve had in my life.”

O’Callaghan also didn’t know that, according to Pioli, he wasn’t the first gay NFL player whom his GM had counseled.

The two men talked more and Pioli assured O’Callaghan that their conversation changed nothing, he was still there to support him, and they were still friends. O’Callaghan was shocked by the reaction. Pioli handled it pitch-perfectly, as though he had known all along. So O’Callaghan asked if his boss had, in fact, known.

“Ryan, how would I have known?” Pioli responded.

“Do you really think I like coffee that much?” O’Callaghan asked.

Pioli had no idea what his player was talking about.

O’Callaghan had, since his time in New England, headed to the training room after every practice to consume copious amounts of coffee, a convenient excuse to avoid being in the showers with the rest of his teammates.

Pioli got emotional at the thought of one of his players having to go to those lengths to keep some distance from his teammates. The mental toll this had all taken on O’Callaghan had come into focus.

As they rose to say goodbye, Pioli came around from behind his desk and opened his arms to embrace O’Callaghan. They had hugged countless times before, after games, after the offseason, even just moments ago when O’Callaghan walked into his office.

This time O’Callaghan stuck out his hand to shake.

“What’s with the handshake?” Pioli asked.

“I just told you I’m gay,” O’Callaghan replied sheepishly.

Pioli was having none of it and grabbed O’Callaghan.

“Dude, it’s OK,” Pioli said. Then, in his signature sense of humor, “Just don’t grab my butt.”

That broke the tension and O’Callaghan burst into laughter. The humor was a sign to him that Pioli wasn’t going to change. They could get along just as they always had.

“Don’t worry,” O’Callaghan replied, “You’re not my type.”

I sincerely hope this story resonates with others for all the right reasons. Whether you’re openly LGBTQ, in the closet, or just know people who are struggling with their sexuality, I hope the story of Ryan O’Callaghan offers insight and perspective.

Yes, we’ve made progress as a society. Life for the LGBTQ community is better now than it has been in the past. We still have room for improvement, as Ryan’s story perfectly illustrates. If you or anyone you know is struggling, I hope this story helps you in some way.

Also, if you need help or are at all feeling suicidal, please check out the resources of the Trevor Project. Thank you an have a Happy Pride Month.

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Filed under football, LGBTQ, NFL, psychology, real stories, sports

The Vatican (Unsurprisingly) Won’t Bless Same-Sex Unions And Why That Still Matters

When the Vatican makes the news for all the wrong reasons, few are surprised anymore. For the past few decades, major scandals and stories of horrific abuse have become common knowledge. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s not fake news. This stuff happened and the Vatican doesn’t bother denying it anymore.

Despite this, they still wield a great deal of power, authority, and reverence for millions of people. People still see the Vatican as the central authority for their faith. Even when more terrible scandals come out, it barely shocks anyone anymore. It’s tragic and infuriating, especially to the victims.

That’s why when the Catholic Church makes a sweeping moral judgement that affects millions of people, including those who aren’t Catholic, it evokes a special kind of frustration. This is an organization whose corruption and hypocrisy has directly led to widespread suffering and death. They do not any moral authority, especially on matters pertaining to sex and family.

Remember, this is an organization run by a bunch of old men who have taken a vow of celibacy. Getting advice from them on matters of sex is like getting advice from a vegan on how to cook a steak.

So, with that in mind, when the Vatican comes out and says same-sex unions are sinful and unworthy of their blessing, it should not carry any weight. It should not be taken seriously, either. They have as much credibility as Jenny McCarthy’s position on Quantum Field Theory.

Unfortunately, because they still wield the zeal of centuries-old religious authority, a lot of people do take them seriously. That’s why we shouldn’t be too surprised when they announce that their attitudes towards things like same-sex relationships is the same as it was several centuries ago.

AP News: Vatican bars gay union blessing, says God ‘can’t bless sin’

The Vatican declared Monday that the Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions since God “cannot bless sin.”

The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal response to a question about whether Catholic clergy have the authority to bless gay unions. The answer, contained in a two-page explanation published in seven languages and approved by Pope Francis, was “negative.”

The note distinguished between the church’s welcoming and blessing of gay people, which it upheld, but not their unions. It argued that such unions are not part of God’s plan and that any sacramental recognition of them could be confused with marriage.

Again, this organization’s deplorable history with covering up egregious sex crimes should bar them from making such judgements. If they didn’t have religious tradition to hide behind, their statement would be a joke worthy of its own Onion article.

For countless Catholics, as well as same-sex couples and millions who identify as LGBTQ, it’s no laughing matter. What the Vatican is doing shouldn’t surprise anyone, no matter how frustrating it is in the grand scheme of things.

It’s easy to just cling to tradition. It means they don’t have to change. They don’t have to come out and say they were wrong about something for hundreds of years. They also don’t have to apologize and face possible legal issues for all the abuse they enabled over many years.

To the powers that be in the Vatican, it’s the path of least resistance.

To everyone else, it’s pure cowardice.

Now, please don’t misconstrue that as a sweeping judgment on all Catholics or those who respect the Vatican. As I often say whenever I criticize religion, most religious people, including most Catholics, are decent people. Many are actually in favor of LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage. They don’t hold the Vatican in that high regard and for understandable reasons.

However, the Vatican’s refusal to break free of old dogma is a testament to how stubborn and flawed this institution has become. Between all the scandals that have come out in recent years and the overall decline in religiosity, the powers within the Catholic Church are doing themselves no favor by clinging to their dogma.

At the same time, they’re continuing the stigma and harm that LGBTQ people continue to face all over the world. Many of the hate and oppression they face is religiously motivated. The Vatican is in a position to condemn it, but they choose not to. That is a moral failing on their part and one that further undermines their credibility, as a moral organization. Then again, how much moral authority can an organization have after covering up rampant child sexual abuse?

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Filed under gender issues, political correctness, politics, religion, sex in society