Out experiencing the awesomeness of the Asian Lantern Festival at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. It lasts till September 3rd, get out there and enjoy it while you can.
In the short time I have lived in Cleveland, I have found the dating scene to be interesting. Being a southern born and raised guy, I am used to functioning a certain way when it comes to dating and courtship. Courtship, there is a word that you don’t see used in this modern age. Mostly, we whip out our smart devices, scroll to the app of choice, wade through the many headless profile pictures, find what appears to be a suitable mate (for the interim), DM them, meet, and go from there. This leads to the quick and burn process, as I like to think of it. Once you have that first meeting you rarely get back with them.
I grew up learning that it took time to woo someone into the more intimate ventures, so courtship was important. So wanting to actually “talk”to guys seems like an alien concept. It has in fact not led to memorable meetings for me. I started talking with someone shortly after I moved here and was a guy who said he like taking things slow, as well. We shared items of ourselves, music taste and what not. We seemed to have things in common and similar thoughts on issues. So after a couple of weeks I decided to ask him to meet. He agreed but when it came time to meet up, he ghosted. Feeling a bit put out; I was upset for a little bit but quickly moved on. Three months later he contacts me again and apologized for being flaky, said work was taking up a lot of time and made it hard to meet. I gave him the leeway and we started talking a bit more. He said he wanted to meet up and I agree. We talked about what and where we would do. Came time for us to get together and he bailed again.
Five months passed and he came back again. This time I wasn’t having it. I talked with him about things that were going on. Didn’t show much interest in wanting to pursue anything. He would bring up topics about sex or dating and I would just talk around it. Finally after a couple months of talking he decides to say that he can’t meet me since he has been dating someone who lived in Canada. Apparently, he had been seeing him for almost a year. Also he couldn’t do anything soon because he was there visiting him. All of this and I wasn’t even thinking about meeting him. It was purely out of left field. Men are weird and it see that men in Cleveland are especially so.
Another guy that I met from one of the many dating apps, also seemed pretty cool, at first. We talked a while, had similar interests and found he grew up not far from where I lived. All of which seemed like a good combination. He was photography and I consider myself an amateur photographer, so I knew we would have things that we would be able to talk about. This time, I decide that I would be a little more forward when it came to meting. As he didn’t live far from me, it would be an easier plan. We set a date and where to meet all was good. Date arrives and we meet at the restaurant he picked, Mexican with good drinks, and had our dinner. Conversation was good, no lulls or awkward parts. Talked about growing up and our love of photography. Discussed why we each came to Cleveland. Were we a perfect match? No, but it’s a first date how does anyone know what it may be. He was tall and skinny, I am tall and thick. Dinner ends, we drank through a strong picture of margaritas. We decide it’s time to go, We walk each other out, give each other a hug, and that was it. Ghosted. I would see him online and nothing. Not even a “you seem cool but not my type. “Just POOF!!!
Too many times have I reached out to meet people and it seems that because I take things a little slow I get ghosted. I am not one to quickly jump into bed with someone. Sex is good and I am very pro sex. But I like a little intimacy when it comes to getting down to sharing that experience. Maybe it’s just me and my old fashioned mentality. At this point in my life, changing it isn’t much of an option.
We often forget what it is to be LGBTQ in other parts of the world. It is their stories that should also drive us forward in our fights for rights, our gains can influence others, in turn. What examples will we leave for others to follow.
This is a very important video that speaks on so many levels for today’s society. It is about 12 minutes, but please take those few moments to listen to the message.
***As an addendum to this post, it needs a little clarification so that you may understand the scope of what is being said. The funds that are being redistributed are labeled as “unused” or “left over” funds. These are funds that are not allocated for any treatment program, currently. This was as of fiscal year 2016. Elizabeth Senerchia, spokesperson of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was quoted as saying “These funds were unused and unobligated and had no impact on operation of the Ryan White Program or future scheduled distribution of funds for recipients for FY 2018.” Instead of these funds being used inside of the agency that supports the Ryan White Fund, they were redistributed outside of that agency. Update added August 23, 2018***
‘This administration, really, never ceases to amaze me to the depths in which it sinks. This country has advanced so far in civil rights since the 50s and it seems that this president is hell bent on taking us back to where it all started. We have seen a rise in hate crimes and hate groups. We have watched in horror as children have been ripped from the arms of their parents and thrown into internment camps. Even seen him start reversing rulings that were set forth by previous presidents, such as not allowing Transgender People into the military, pushing to remove marriage rights and even supporting companies that will not serve the LGBTQ community.
As if any of this was acceptable, we now find out that he is removing funds from the Ryan White Fund to support the very internment camps he set up. Camps that were a travesty to have even started are to be supported by a fund that was designed to help those who are uninsured and underinsured and living with HIV/AIDS. Pence was even quoted saying before he was elected that he wanted to drain the Ryan White fund and take the money to fund Gay Conversion Therapy. Ryan White was a kid who was infected with HIV due to a blood transfusion. The Fund was set in place to help those who couldn’t afford the cost of treatment, still receive help. This is already happening. Money is being diverted from needed healthcare to support a 1950s mindset.
A Congressional campaign website from 2000, Pence was reported saying, “Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”
Let’s talk numbers for a minute. By the end of the year, 26000 beds will be needed for the minors we are detaining. That will turn out to be roughly 586 million needed for this to happen. This will remove any possibility for training staff in HIV/AIDS care, needed medicine for patients, funds to offset medical coverage for those who cannot afford it, and needed funds to help in prevention and education about HIV/AIDS. The scope of people that the Ryan White fund covers goes far beyond the LGBTQ community. You can see here the scope of this fund and who it benefits Ryan White Fund.
Having watched loved one go through the effects of HIV/AIDs and being there when they died, I fully understand the importance of this fund. And to see someone who was sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United State of America, so callously throw the needs of the people he serves to the wolves is heart wrenching. When will we finally say that enough is enough? When will we Unite and fight this? We can cut the legs from under him by contacting our Senators and Congress people and telling them how ashamed we are of how the government is abusing their citizens. #Civildisobedience This is important to our very way of lives.
With the recent passing of the icon, Aretha Franklin, I think it is only fitting to look back on some of her more loved songs by LGBTQ community. I know that, primarily, I am speaking more to myself specifically, but these are songs that are immensely powerful. They were songs that leant me strength at times of struggle and songs that seemed to sum up feelings of a large percentage of gay men. Join me in celebrating someone who made an impact on the music industry for over 50 years.
- Most important for me was R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It was a song that taught me about love and demanding equality from the person I was with. “What you want, baby I got it. What you need, do you know I got it? All I’m asking for is a little respect when you get home.” It resonates that we both want the same things. I can be what you need as long as you respect me. It changed a lot of how I viewed myself in the dating world
- Think. A song that speaks to feminism and liberation. “You better think, think about what you’re trying to do to me…” it calls into question the motive of a person trying to discriminate against you. It also gave me strength to believe that I am good enough and should be treated the same as anyone else, regardless of my orientation
- Sisters Are Doing it For Themselves. A song of solidarity. This was a song that leads so many people to believe that if you wanted something you had to do it yourself. Fight for your career, your rights, and your own respect. Combine that with the fact it was in the move First Wives Club with Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton it was a powerhouse. The movie echoes the songs intent so well. It is an all time favorite.
- I Never Loved A Man. A perfect song for a drag performance and one everyone can relate to. How many times have we all been in love with that man that everyone tells us we should just dump? We know it and we should, but he has worked some serious voodoo on us and we cant get away.
- Rock Steady. What gay man doesn’t have a deep down love for disco; if you don’t then you need to learn to appreciate it. This slow burning sultry song that speaks to how music can move you is so many ways. It mirrors how love, dare I say lust, can you move you in the same ways. She uses driving reference is lovely innuendo style to keep you in the mood and your hips moving.
- A Rose Is Still A Rose. This is a song about reclaiming your inner strength after someone tries to take it from you. A real example of cheating relationships and how you need to reclaim your strength and survive. The song talks about someone putting up a front to make others believe she is ok when she is devastated inside. Then turns it around and says, “He can’t lead you and then take you. Make you and then break you, Darlin’, you hold the power.” No matter what someone does to you or how they make you feel, you are still the same person you were before they came into your life.
- Lastly, (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman. On the surface, this song seems to be about someone who justifies their worth by someone coming into their life. For me and many others it was something else entirely. Inner strength from acceptance of how you are is one of the few things that can give you this kind of feeling or power. “Before the day I met you, life was so unkind. You’re the key to my piece of mind.” Coming out does this for so many people and is what it means to me.
These are seven of my most favorite Aretha Franklin songs. The ones that rotate through my music often and bring me up when I am feeling in dire straits. She was an inspiration figure who celebrated inner strength and spoke to an entire generation of women and yes even gay men. Though you may be gone, you will never be forgotten, and you will be missed. May your next journey be as influential.
Never has it been more important to make your voting voice be heard than with this administration. Every vote matters and can make vast differences in how the future of our country unfolds. If you aren’t registered to vote, then you need to get registered. It is a simple process online that you don’t even have to leave your house over. If you want assistance or looking for information, come out on September 6, 2018 to the MidTown Tech Hive at 6815 Euclid Ave Cleveland, OH 44103. We will have speakers from Voting Matters and All Voting is Local to answer questions, help get you registered, and even facilitate training for you to get others registered.
Your voice doesn’t stop there. There is an ordinance before the City Council that will grant LGBTQ residents of Cuyahoga county protection from being discriminated against for being LGBTQ. There are no regulations in Cleveland to prevent that from happen and we are one of the few states left that do not offer protection status for LGBTQ people. Let your councilperson know that this is unacceptable for you. Below is a form letter and links to web tools that will allow you to send these letters to every member of the city council. @ThinkPlexus gave this information to me. For more info contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An efficient way to reach Council is to use this online tool which will send each of the members an email on your behalf.
The online tool contains a generic message that shows your support for these protections. You have the option of including something more personal like where you live and work and why this is important to you, your family, your company, etc. You don’t need to do so, but adding a brief personal statement to explain why you see this ordinance positively impacting our county can be very helpful.
The generic message that will be sent is:
Living in a welcoming and affirming community is important to me. I am proud to live in a county that is seeking to join hundreds of other municipalities in the United States by guaranteeing equal treatment under the law for our LGBTQ residents and visitors.
I believe that if you’re willing to work hard, you should be judged on the quality of your work and not who you are––and that’s what this legislation delivers.
Right now, 20 municipalities in Ohio have some version of this ordinance, including 6 in Cuyahoga County. Unfortunately, many people in Cuyahoga County live in one of those six and work in or visit others, or visa-versa. This creates a patchwork where Cuyahoga County residents can lose their basic rights on their commute. This ordinance solves that problem.
I urge you to vote yes on this important ordinance when you get the opportunity.
If you prefer to send individual emails, here is the list of Council members’ email addresses. You can opt to send each of them an email or one to Dan Brady, Council President at email@example.com.
#GayTheVote #VoteThemOut #StandUpAndBeCounted