May 29, 2009

Digging Deeper About Down-Low Living

I went to a poetry slam tonight with Marcos. Things started off real good. There were some standout poems and the evening looked promising. Then a poet, that I've heard before, came up to do her thing. She's very popular, provocative and nothing is taboo. I've applauded in sincere appreciation of her performances in the past.

Tonight she recited a poem about men who are on the down low. I got nervous because I know that when this topic comes up, you can go two different ways. She went down that path I was hoping the poem would not go. Basically, she's pleading to men that like to "pack fudge" to come out the closet, and she wishes a "real man that loves women" would come into her life.

She mentions in her poem her intentions were not to gay bash. However, the crowed ohhed and wowed at the more salacious parts of her poem. The overall experience left me with the impression that the poem kept this issue stuck in a contemplative-free zone by oversimplying the issue. Plus I smelled homophobia when I'm left with the phrase "packing fudge" which to me denotes that gay men are doing something dirty. Then to hear "real men" are males that love women, in that bump and grind way.

The poet calls for these men to come out and be truthful. I can dig that idea. As an out and proud queer man I know my life is so much better when I decided to be honest to myself and others, while flaunting my feathers. I feel pity for the down low men and the women that fall in love with them. Living with secrets and doubts is not an easy life.

However, the solution proposed in the poem assumes being "honest" is an easy thing to do. Within society, and in particular within certain communities of color, coming out of the closet can lead to a person putting their life at risk. Homophobia can be brutal, deprive liberty, and dehumanizing.

Here's my suggestion on how the down-low dynamic can start to be chipped away in order to free the men and women trapped within in it. Why don't we encourage a culture that respects the full spectrum of sexuality and gender expression. Let's find ways to love and raise gay, bi, transgendered, or lesbian children within families and communities that won't force them into being ashamed of themselves. At some point most GLBT kids get a comment or slap across the face that sends them into that closet.

By encouraging a person to grow into adulthood being out, proud of who they really are, should make the closet and living on the down-low an option that seems absurd. Moreover, if we start to embrace the diversity of sexuality, people can have more free and honest discussions with potential partners about what turns them on.

When I began the process of coming out I was terrified. I worried my family would disown me. I also feared the fellas in the neighborhood finding out, because it could have meant me catching a serious beatdown. And, since there were no gay role models in the community or popular culture, I thought life as a queer man would be lonely and tragic. Thank god I found Christopher St. in NYC. I found a community that embraced me and a culture that empowered me to continue my journey to living my life authentically.

Men on the down-low are living within a distorted sense of self, that was not entirely of their own making. I'm not excusing their behavior. What I am doing is looking deeper in order to see all the moving parts that were constructed overtime to create the trap. By having a greater understanding of what creates this mentality you can dismantle the situation and free some souls.

The situation at the event went from awkward to just plain disappointing. I took the poem like a real man. Hey, it challenged me and gave me insight of one person's view. Art doesn't always have to be cute, fuzzy and easy. However, right after the poem one of the MCs got up and asked the women in the audience to standup and look to a man and say "I am a Woman!" and then he asked the men to stand up and look at a women and say "I am a Man!" The man on stage felt it was necessary to reinforce the male-female heterosexual normative. At one of the tables in front of us, the guys actually thumped their chest when they said it.

Marcos and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes, then sucked our teeth. Back in the day we probably would have gotten a bit loud, well actually Marcos would have said something. We decided to get up and walkout. The vibe changed for us, and we didn't want to clap anymore. So, we came home, had a little chat, watched a movie, and played with Gino. We move forward instead of going down or low.

May 28, 2009

I Needs Me Some Friday

Work ended with a bang today. My boss and a "consultant" were bickering all day long. I was intent on staying out of it. Then I had to help the consultant with writing up her job description! Which resulted with me being in the middle of them two continuing to bicker.

What made it really extra sucky was that I worked with that consultant before, and I really don't care for that person. She's very insecure, a name dropper, and offers a great deal of non-constructive criticism with complicated solutions. She drains one's life force. I usually stay about 15 feet away from her at all times. I ran out of luck today.

I often feel compassion towards her, it seems to me she's had a hard life. Then, she pulls a stunt that shoos the compassion right out the window. Here's an example: It was recommended we delegate a certain task involved in her job to two student workers that once belonged to our college readiness program and are now Juniors in college.

Ms. Consultant grimaced at the idea and said something along the lines of "How are you going to have kids do that task. I'm the one with the expertise." She was referring to parent outreach via phone. Which the students did for us last Summer and with moderate success. FYI - Ms. Consultant was not with us at that time.

I got immediately heated because I believe in passing on knowledge and skills, especially to the younger folks. I replied "First of all they are not kids, both women are twenty years-old, they are adults! And, perhaps what you can do is train them utilizing your expertise. One of them is studying to be a social worker, and the other is working towards her nursing degree! I'm sure they can benefit greatly from your years of experience. This is their internship and we should offer them something a little bit more than opportunities to file and copy papers!" I then walked away.

May I add that I trained staff and student workers in the use of various software and office management techniques that I've learned over the years. I give it away and get so much back in return, without expecting it.

May 26, 2009

10 Things About Judge Sonia Sotomayor

President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the Supreme Court. I'm reading up on her, and came across this bit of information. Take a look.

I have to admit I'm excited. Her academic history is impressive. She was the editor of the Yale Law Review. Seems like she's a person that can hold her own. Which I'm not surprised. She's a Puerto Rican from the boogie down Bronx. Good luck homegirl from your little hermano from Brooklyn.

Ten Things To Know About Judge Sonia Sotomayor

1. Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the bench than any Supreme Court justice in 100 years. Over her three-decade career, she has served in a wide variety of legal roles, including as a prosecutor, litigator, and judge.

2. Judge Sotomayor is a trailblazer. She was the first Latina to serve on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was the youngest member of the court when appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. While on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has consistently protected the rights of working Americans, ruling in favor of health benefits and fair wages for workers in several cases.

4. Judge Sotomayor has shown strong support for First Amendment rights, including in cases of religious expression and the rights to assembly and free speech.

5. Judge Sotomayor has a strong record on civil rights cases, ruling for plaintiffs who had been discriminated against based on disability, sex and race.

6. Judge Sotomayor embodies the American dream. Born to Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in a South Bronx housing project and was raised from age nine by a single mother, excelling in school and working her way to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University and to become an editor of the Law Journal at Yale Law School.

7. In 1995, Judge Sotomayor "saved baseball" when she stopped the owners from illegally changing their bargaining agreement with the players, thereby ending the longest professional sports walk-out in history.

8. Judge Sotomayor ruled in favor of the environment and against business interests in 2007 in a case of protecting aquatic life in the vicinity of power plants, a decision that was overturned by the Roberts Supreme Court.

9. In 1992, Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate without opposition after being appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush.

10. Judge Sotomayor is a widely respected legal figure, having been described as " outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind," "highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character would be assets," and "a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity."


Thoughts On Teaching Math

Last year I worked one-on-one with a third-grade student that was having difficulty with his math. He was familiar with most of the math concepts, but tended to work with unusual algorithms when solving the problems. This clip is a great example of how some children make up their own math rules when solving problems.

I call it the round peg, into square hole syndrome. The cure is re-teaching the steps and practice, practice, practice.

May 23, 2009

A Diva Ascends

Octavia Saint Laurent Mizrahi passed away on Monday. If you saw Paris Is Burning, you know that she was an amazing diva. She had a body that was severely sexy, and gave fierce face.

My favorite memory of Octavia was hanging with her and a friend at Tracks, a NYC nightclub. We gossiped, kiki, and did a few bumps. I was 19 and enchanted by her. I kept staring at her and my friend laughed at me and told me to stop. Octavia laughed and did a hairflip and said to my friend "Leave him alone." We then kept on hanging. I adored how she was such a lady with the cool amount of outrageousness.

Over the years our paths would cross. We gave each other smiles and a look that I felt conveyed, that we were happy to see we were both still out and about doing our thing. We both saw a lot of our friends die. I'm of that generation. Ocatavia always looked put together and served it. The last time I saw her at The Monster, she was giving you luscious realness.

Willie greeted her and a reunion is took place up in heaven. It included Angie, Danny, Paris, Dorien, Pepper, and the rest of the Paris Is Burning stars. Then they all starting giving runway to Love Is The Message.

May 22, 2009

The 18 Credits-Semester

I've done it good people. I got through the most challenging semester. I took 18 credits instead of the 12 credits that students usually puruse. Like Miss Kitty said in a recent V blog, I'm too old to be in school for a long time. I will be graduating this time next year. Hallelujah! I'm blessed.

In the middle of the experience the doubts crept in and tried to make themselves at home. I tapped into thoughts of love, history, and motivation in order to evict them. I reflected on the undeniable fact that I am surrounded by family and friends that have and continue to thrive beyond the bullshit.

I'm a life-long learner and with that comes personal and intellectual challenges. A high-riding bitch never punks out when it comes to doing things that will take him or her to another level of being.

May 18, 2009

Why I Loved ZOOM

ZOOM was a show back in the 70s on PBS. This show gathered together a diverse group of young people. We shared our time together doing the following:

- Respecting how we are all have different ways of expressing how we are alike.
- Getting a glimpse into the world of other young people
- Learning about crafts, art, and self-expression
- Having "rap" sessions where we talked about what we were feeling and thinking about
- Playing games like Fannie Doodle

For those not in the know, Fannie Doodle hates the forest, but she likes trees.

At the end of the show the ZOOM kids, gathered together to sing and dance, while I joined in with them. It didn't matter if our voices were on pitch. It was about us realizing we had to love who we are becoming, working in unison, and celebrating our own unique gifts.

I'm blessed good people. This is my spiritual compass.

I hesitated posting this because it seems sappy. My upbringing within hard times tells me it has no real value. Then I said to negative thoughts, kiss my Puerto Rican ass, I strive to see wonderful possibilities. It's amazing to know many can accept over one million people being incarcerated, yet many can't imagine that being prevented, needed or immoral.

May 17, 2009

May Your Numbers Hit

Hey people gamble their money on Wall Street everyday. Good luck people.

May 15, 2009

The Story of a She and a He

I saw something. This it how it goes.

There was a young girl, with a perfect face. There was a young boy, with brilliant eyes. Both of them lived miles away from each other. They are not related. In their homes and within their family there was harshness.

They were often ignored. At times insulted by the lips that should have given them affectionate kisses. Their bodies violated by hands that should have tucked them into bed.

Their minds challenged not by thinking, but by competition, from adult minds that knew the use of mental trickery, instead of thoughtful inquiry.

The boy and girl became bitter, shameful, angry and vengeful. She and he said to themselves, "One day I'll be powerful." This became their mantra that lulled them into a sad slumber for many years.

Girl becomes woman, and boy becomes man. They move in the world with devious tactics in mind. They have been taught by dear ol' mom and dad. Win, win child anyway you can. You must crush those beneath you. You must plan to make friends with those above you. Make them think they should love you.

So they spend their lives living the plan. They don't see light only signs of fight. They abuse and use all that come in their path. She and he would often laugh. She and he would often think how weak are those around them. They would think how simple minded they are, because, they are not able to see.

She has become very ill. He has grown very old. The coldness of their lives no longer matters. It is the loneliness that has moved into every inch of their being, that provides torturous discomfort. The plan did not work.

Specks of light surround her and him. Each still miles apart. They both fall to their knees. They are not able to be still. Their bodies quiver as they let out flows of tears that sting their eyes. They feel humbled by not being able to dam this show of emotion. They thought they expelled that part of themselves.

The lights whisper to her. The lights whisper to him. The lights say "Why are you crying?" She and he say, while miles away from each other, "I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be understood. I wanted to be safe."

The lights say to him and her, "Did you offer that to others? Did you love? Did you try to understand? Did you offer sanctuary?"

She and he respond, in unison, miles apart from each other, "No."

The lights meld a thunder and a whisper together and say, "You have lived in your creation. Come home children and you will try again."

She has become a he, and he has become a she. Their flicker of light moves in the ether to find a new home, a new beginning. What they have learned goes deep into a shell that can be cracked by an affectionate kiss, and loving hands tucking them into bed.

May 14, 2009

Movie Going Extravaganza

When I was a little kid, my family went to see a movie at Radio City Music Hall. It was The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella with Richard Chamberlain. There was a floor show prior to the screening, and the Rockettes did their thing. Then a man in front of a large organ rose up from the floor onto the middle of the stage and played the overture of the movie we were about to watch. The pipes of the organ filled that vast space with music. I kept looking around trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. It was amazing. As I got older I realized I was lucky to have experience this style of movie going extravaganza of days gone by; it was truly an event.

Well, the movie started. This huge decadent curtain rose to the heavens revealing a vast screen. I felt posh. I have to admit I spent more time looking at the art deco surroundings and the onto the audience below us, and the people above us, we were sitting on mezzanine level.

I came across this ad for a special showing of LOTR at Radio City. A full orchestra will play the Oscar winning score along with the movie! I feel tempted. Click here for information. My concerns are, will it suck, and am I suppose to wear a costume. Let me meditate on this.

May 12, 2009

Losing Religion?

Tara Stiles recently wrote a post about a significant percentage of Gen-Xers choosing not to participate in organized religion. I have to say I am of that socially constructed generation, and many of my friends and family do not go to church. However, which Stiles brings up in her post, many of them are practicing some form of spirituality. A lot of folks are just choosing new places and ways of connecting to their understanding of a higher-power.

I've kept my mind and heart open to the idea of a divine energy in the universe, that can sustain me on my journey. The result has been moments where I experienced profound moments of being loved and nurtured by divine energy. At times this energy came from within, or through my surroundings, and my interaction with other people. I am resolved that the divine is real for me.

I am also convinced that many attempts, by organized religion, to harness or own this energy compromises its true beauty and power. Confining divine energy into words or rituals is an effort to sustain what is suppose to be experienced briefly, in order to believe it is real. To have experienced it and know it is real, then letting it go, is empowered and graced liberation.

Assigning time, place, method and prescribed ideas about faith in the divine is a dangerous thing. Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, and the third president of the United States, had this to say, about that:

From his book "Notes on Virginia" 1784: "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites."

In a letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813: "History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose."

In a letter to H. Spafford, 1814: "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."

In a letter to John Adams, 1823-APR-11: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

- Source:

May 9, 2009

Right Wing Ralphie

Right Wing Ralphie is looking battered and bruised these days. Click here for more.

May 6, 2009

It's About Equality Y'all

From Governor John Baldacci of Maine, after signing a law allowing same-sex marriage:

"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

"Good for him. But I wonder if this is an example of how gay marriage opponents are going to end up losing this battle entirely when they could have won at least a partial victory if they'd been less strident in their opposition. If they had actively supported civil unions, that could have become the de facto standard across the country, accepted by courts and legislatures alike. But the ferocity of their opposition to any form of marriage equality might have been instrumental in convincing a lot of people like Baldacci that half measures are impossible. And if half measures are impossible, then full marriage rights are the only alternative.

In the long run, maybe none of this matters. But in the medium term, marriage opponents have adopted an attitude of such extreme intolerance that fewer and fewer people want anything to do with them. And with that, the cultural battle was lost." -Kevin Drum

Source: Mother Jones

Trannie Wisdom...Mark Her Words

"And finally, while Carrie Prejean—the Miss California traditionalist who favors "opposite" marriage—might not be a monster, she does have some pigheaded ideas to go with her falsies. But at least she once paused to take photos with trannie extraordinaire Amanda Lepore, as uncovered the other day by Us Weekly. I called the trannie—meaning Amanda, not Carrie—to ask what party that was shot at, and she cooed, "I don't remember meeting her. You know how many pictures I take!" Fortunately, Amanda had an opinion of the beauty queen's gay-baiting stance anyway. "That was stupid," said the club diva, who just launched a perfume to go with her doll, Swatch, CD, and vagina. "She could never make a career in TV. Gays monopolize everything! She's a dummy!

"Now she's trying to have churches help her," Amanda went on. "That doesn't sound promising. But at least she has big tits. She can marry a high roller and have miserable kids that hate her." All thanks to opposite marriage!"

Thank you Michael Musto for sharing the unique knowledge of our Trannie Sisters. Click here for more.

Live Long and You See A Lot of Things Happen

I love my fellow Nerdy, Geeky, Square kinda people. This is for you. Click here NOW for the full kiki.

May 4, 2009

Pork Industry In Full Effect

Isn't it funny that the swine flu, is now being referred to as H1N1. I am guessing the powerful Pork Lobby, got nervous about their product being connected to a treatable illness, that is being hyped as a death sentence. Well, it is for people that don't have money that gives them access to treatment. But, that's another post.

Moreover, isn't it funny that this mean H1N1 virus is being used to flare up anti-immigrant opinion. I smell a red herring, with a side order of bullshit.

What can I say the Georgie's administration made me very skeptical about MSM.

May 1, 2009

He Promised Change

Looks like Pres. Obama is going to get his first opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. One of the names being put out there is Kathleen Sullivan. She is an out lesbian and has the impressive credentials. I don't know much about her, but will dig deeper as the story unfolds.

An out lesbian on the Supreme Court. Now, that is change I can believe in. Here is her pic and short bio.

Stanford Law School professor Kathleen Sullivan, widely considered one of America’s top constitutional scholars, is being mentioned as a possible replacement for Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who has announced he will retire at the end of the court’s current term.

Sullivan’s name appears on lists compiled by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and numerous law blogs. She is the founder and director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, and served as dean of Stanford Law School from 1999 to 2004.

Sullivan has filed amicus curiae briefs in some of the most important Supreme Court cases involving LGBT rights, including Bowers v. Hardwick and Lawrence v. Texas. Source:

Paradise Garage - 1

Picture it, late 80s, NYC, at the Paradise Garage. I'm young, supple, cute in the face, and thin in the waist. The Garage attracted the after-hours crowd, so the folks are fierce, fab, and fucked up.

There's the crowd chillin' with the weed, and other party people had been out boozing [Garage didn't sell liquor]. However, at the bowls of orange Tang, is the folks tapping into the mystic magic of hallucinogens, Acid or Mesc, have a sip [So the legend says].

I bought my own outside, while I waited for a member to get me in. Yes, good people, it was a kinda sorta members only club. It was bullshit, we all got in. Diversity was the key, str8, gay, lesbian, white, black, latino, walks of all life, ya know.

There I is in the mix. I know my twenties are coming, but I'm not there yet. Still a young chicken at the age of nineteen. I'm rocking the look of the time. Tight, black, tapered Levis, make me look, oh so fuckable. However, I'm not here for that.

Larry Levan is doing his thing on the turntables. I'm a part of the tribe of tonight. This beat comes on, and I feel it on my lips, my tits my body and my hips. It was magic good people. Here is a taste.

I had to put down those days, for my own survival and to continue the journey. This song gave me my cue to walk on and love what I had just lived. Much gratitude for NYC's Paradise Garage!