A Question With Good Intentions

Innocence Quotes. QuotesGram


We’re funny creatures aren’t we? We do so many things naturally, but keep them to ourselves or judge that discussing them is taboo. I’ll name a few:

  • Our true feelings — deep, dark, sincere feelings
  • Our bathroom habits (e.g., a majority of older men have trouble urinating due to prostate issues); we don’t talk about it.
  • Our fear of death and failure
  • Our sexual habits and desires
  • Thoughts of suicide when feeling alone or desperate
  • Our true nature

Let’s face it, we are a repressed people. And, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

A Funny Story (names will be withheld to protect the innocent and humble)

I recently attended an extremely satisfying dinner party. I say satisfying because I’m normally uncomfortable and apprehensive about even attending them in the first place. I get all anxious and threaten cancellation at the last minute. But this one was different. There were eight of us: three Americans, two Canadians, one Swede, one Finnish and a Brit. Probably all left leaning, although I cannot be 100% certain. What I do know is that all eight of us were there to have a good time and a good time is what we had.

I’ve been out-of-the-closet for a long time; therefore, discussing my sexuality is not usually an issue or concern. My current attitude is simply, take me as I am or don’t take me at all. What seems to be more of an issue for others, is that I’m single. When I’m in a group situation and my status comes up, I usually state that I am “happily single.” I say this because so many people, gay, straight, and undefined, seem to believe that I am in some way unhappy or unfulfilled and that this state of being is directly correlated with being single.

The party host was unfortunately recently widowed. Since it has been a little more than a year, I can see that people who care about her, are interested or secretly hopeful, in seeing her paired-up. Why do we do this to one another?

With all of the not-so-subtle comments or questions that surface during a gathering such as this one, it was refreshing and poignant to be on the receiving end of a genuinely sweet and innocent question. I should be clear about two things: first, the individual asking the question is an ordained minister, and second, the question was directed at the two single individuals in the group; the host and myself.

It is true that the host and I have an outwardly symbiotic relationship. We laugh a lot, touch a lot, and although we only know one another for a couple of years, it is clear that there is a lasting bond between us. I knew her husband, in addition, I had the pleasure and good fortune of knowing them together. They had one of those rare and touching partnerships that makes you believe in love. Although I felt her loss deeply when her husband passed, what I feel today is hopeful. I see an individual who has embraced the notion that life goes on. She seems to know that although nothing will or can, ever be the same, living with the memory of a joyful and loving life partner, can be a force in experiencing current and future happiness. I’m not an expert on these matters, but nothing speaks louder than a real life example — she is my litmus test, my proof.

Back to the question posed: the minister, female, late fifties, early sixties, appropriate at all times and allow me to guess, a role model for most; looked at the host and I with an unassuming smile, slightly raised eyebrows, and an empathic tilt of her head (adorned with a gorgeous fedora), and asked: “Couldn’t you two get together and fulfill your sexual urges?

Honestly, I’ve been exposed to open minded people my entire life, I have had innocent children ask me questions about my bald head, I have been asked about my favorite sexual position, but I have never been asked a question quite as pure and loving; bold and judgment free.

The space the eight of us filled became notably silent for about two seconds — two blaring seconds. Seven of the eight of us needed to replay the question asked — to process and ponder. The golden silence was followed by tremendously loud and raucous laughter. Did we hear the minister correctly? When we all realized that we had heard the same thing and that what we heard was clearly a serious question, years of taught appropriate behavior and political correctness, shook us all to our collective core. Did someone innocently and politely address the unspoken truth? Yes, we have sexual urges, yes we had the body parts that biblically match, and yes, we genuinely care for one another.

The idea that all of that would be enough to sexually join together a fairly recent widow and one very out homosexual, was cause for true unbridled joy. At that moment, I fell in love with the minister. The zero judgment attached to the question, the caring way in which she asked, and the reaction she unknowingly provoked, informed me that this moment was one for the “this only happens once in a lifetime, this is your life,” living journals. I will hold onto it until I can no longer remember my name and I suspect our host will as well.

Finally, allow me to add, at a time when we have been forced and advised to isolate ourselves from others, it is moments such as this, where social interaction and human kindness collide, that I personally realize, why it is essential that we come together. To be human is to be with one another; to laugh, to cry and to love. No judgment, just good intentions.


As long as I test negative for COVID-19 on Sunday, Cuba is finally happening. You’ll read all about it in my next blog.

Be well, and be with the people you adore and admire and those who feel the same way about you.

[I tested yesterday so that I could pack and prepare with some degree of confidence. Negative results were not a given. Having achieved negative results, I will be isolating for the remainder of this week.]

It’s Still Not Okay to Be Gay

Gay Pride Month Thoughts

Photo by Marcelo Chagas on Pexels.com

I’m sitting with friends having a light brunch and some bozo at the table says, “I’m not sure why Paul has to hide his sexuality, it’s so much easier to be out these days.” I sit on my hands and hold my tongue in a vice grip. People have this habit of wanting to brush over the truth to create their own sugar coated reality. The plain truth is that it is not so easy to be out of the closet in 2021. True there are pockets of the world where being gay is celebrated and respected; however, even in those places, it is complicated and uneven.

First, it’s important to note that being open about your homosexuality is against the law in certain parts of the world. You’d better hide it if you live in Brunei, Yemen, Somalia, or Iran. Death or imprisonment can be an almost certain deterrent. Come out to what I ask you? And if you don’t believe Americans are affected by what happens outside of the U.S. (and in some states), you are sadly mistaken.

“Same-sex sexual activity is a crime in 70 countries. Some of them, including six nations that are members of the United Nations, impose the death penalty. Another five make such punishment technically possible, even though it is rarely enforced. In 26 other countries, the maximum penalty is prison with terms varying anywhere from a few years to life imprisonment.” Hristina Byrnes  |  24/7 Wall Street, 2021.

Hence, the reason I hold my tongue. It’s nice to know I can marry a man in Portugal, but the reality that my gay brothers and sisters in so many other places, cannot, makes it difficult for me to celebrate. That guy screaming at my at 7:00 a.m. after Biden was elected, doesn’t help either.

“Why the fuck do you people need a parade anyway? Nobody cares.”

This vengeful serpent has many heads. When I go to a family wedding and family members are whispering about my sexuality, I can be out, I can be proud, I can even be partnered, but there is no way that I can say that I am content — nobody wants to be judged . . . least of all by my Christian aunties. Has it made me stronger? No doubt, I love being different, defiant, and getting all the attention has its appeal; however, I’d choose blending in with the wallpaper any day of the week.

Having cousin Ann say, “Aren’t you sick of hearing about gay rights?” That will never be okay.

We freer gays stand on the shoulders of individuals who have fought for basic rights for decades. I applaud and appreciate their efforts, but it isn’t over; it isn’t over by a mile. It was only months ago that transgender individuals were being told they could no longer serve in the military. And just because we have a new president and human rights and freedoms are being restored, does not guarantee one’s ability to serve in the future.

[I stopped writing yesterday; the anger and frustration were palpable. I needed perspective. I’m afraid it didn’t come.]

I’ve come to terms with who I am. I don’t apologize to anyone for it. I am no longer lamenting about what could have been: children, grandchildren, a 50th wedding anniversary. Coming to terms with the kicking and screaming that went on in my brain for decades, feels good. But I can’t help thinking about the kids everywhere who are tormented by their own questioning demons; when will they be relieved of their pain. As long as there are teens offing themselves because their being “fill-in-the-blank” does not fit into the “right” box, I cannot sit at the table and agree that coming out is easier.

“Shantay you stay.”


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