Helpful guidelines for aging gay men

Posted on 05 May 2017 at 7:45am

(A few notes to myself)

Community-Tea-art

Gary Bellomy 2017I have to acknowledge that definite challenges lay ahead for me as I work to find my place within the aging sector of the LGBT community. Daily occurrences serves as reminders that I’m not as young as I once was.

In fact, at this very moment, I am engaging in a form of self-administered behavioral therapy. I’ve actually started making grunting noises as I begin my mornings, moving around my house. It drives my husband insane: WTF is that? Stop that!

And do I succumb to the often-appealing attitude to let go of long-held standards of dress and vibrancy, or do I beat back the jungle of old age ineptitude and remain relevant.

That’s the struggle. So here are a few guidelines I’ve come up with for gay men who are, like me, getting older.

1. Keep your balls shaved. Even if you are the only one looking at them, it’s still important. If you are fortunate to have a sexual partner, shave. No one wants to see a 1975-style crotch. Nobody.

2. (I am in a relationship with arguably one of the most attractive men in the city, so this next point probably comes off justifiably as very sour grapes. But I find it worth the mention.) My vanity has not overlooked the fact that at some point, other gay men cease to pay attention to you. You are no longer desirable. You are invisible.

It takes a while to get used to this. Be patient with yourself. It’s a good lesson in the long run. You no longer need to depend on their approval. You are free to dictate your own sense of beauty and self-worth.

3. When the time arrives that you must pay for a sexual partner (and yes, that time comes for all of us that are single or who become so due to the inevitable loss of one’s husband through death or divorce), please deal with a professional hustler not trade. You’ve lived too long to become another elder abuse statistic or worse. You deserve better. After all, isn’t it all about enjoyment? Spend the extra cash and be safe.

4. Maintain your social networks. Do not hide out because you are no longer “mainstream.” You have everything you’ve always had to offer plus as you age, you do acquire a certain amount of wisdom. You do. So use it.

You’ve lived openly as a gay man. That means you have lived truthfully. Use that knowledge. We need that right now. Really, you owe it to the world. Maybe you’ve never spoken out. Find your voice.

5. Seems that a disproportionate amount of gay men of my generation have arrived at their later years never having been in a lasting relationship. It’s been extremely easy to coast along in our world. One gets laid regularly or occasionally as one can. The usual group of friends is around, hopefully. Gay life makes it easy to be single into perpetuity.

But, 6. No one can deny the overwhelming loneliness that a life spent alone entails. I see single men living in suspended animation — no real possessions, bachelor living at its worst. The aching is palpable. An attitude of “We’ll pick out the china pattern together” keeps them from stabbing themselves.

But waiting for Mr. Right to come along is an indulgence of a much younger and less aware gay man. Give it up. He’s not coming. Settle for someone flawed, like yourself. There’s still time.

Being involved with another human makes us more human. It doesn’t always involve living together. Bonding helps us grow and mature. Arrested development in gay men is rampant. Lives are wasted while they wait for the perfect fellow to show up.

7. Those who have been fortunate enough to maintain decades-long relationships, I hope, are enjoying these final years. They know well — and they accept — the weaknesses and the strengths of their partners. They are blessed.

8. Those of us who have been married for a long while to men younger than ourselves are challenged. Most of our careers have reached their zenith. We are headed into retirement or are inventing some kind of business that intrigues the elder versions of ourselves.
But we need to respect that our partners are probably in a different place. Most likely, they are now at the top of their game. Resist the competitive edge inherent in the DNA of a gay man. Support their careers. Encourage them. Do not let green-eyed envy find a place in your home life. It can rot a once-solid relationship.

9. We are the generation that was the first to be able to live openly as gay men. The time was right for our existence. It wasn’t always easy: We had to fight. We had to sacrifice. We lost many of our own along the way. There were no answers that were put in place for us.

We just had to figure it out.

But I think it’s made it easier for the gay men that have come after us. I hope so, at least. And now aging is the next thing we have to deal with.

At times, we come off as a flash mob of aging Norma Desmonds. We have been youth-centric throughout our queer existence. Now it’s biting us in the ass. Karma — what a bitch!

Maybe we will find a way to have grace in this process. I look forward to the adventure that lies ahead of us.

Gary Bellomy is a longtime Dallas activist working on issues of LGBT equality, HIV/AIDS services and family violence prevention. He is a war resister and a Trump resister.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 5, 2017.

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Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s statement on the passage of the Trumpcare

Posted on 04 May 2017 at 4:53pm

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson released the following statement after Trumpcare, formally known as the American Healthcare Act, passed the House of Representatives. If passed by the Senate, it’s estimated the replacement for the Affordable Care Act will take healthcare away from 24 million people.

Rep. Johnson’s statement:

Today’s vote for the Trumpcare bill is disgraceful and hurtful to the American people. This Republican-led bill did not afford the American people time to hear debate while lacking transparency. We also never received an official score from the Congressional Budget Office stating how many Americans would be negatively impacted and the amount of money it will cost the nation.

What happened today has stripped away the basic fundamental right of health care for everyone. My office received numerous calls from constituents in the 30th district, health care professionals and health care advocates opposing this bill. Additionally there seems to still be a divide because there were a number of my Republican colleagues who opposed this bill as well.

This bill is not perfect and it is our job as elected officials to represent the bests interests of the American people. So we should not be supporting or applauding the passage of this most recent bill when it makes coverage unaffordable to those with pre-existing conditions and imposes an age tax on seniors who are the most vulnerable.

Unfortunately, an opportunity was wasted to really work together to address the current issues of the Affordable Care Act, but it will be up to the Senate to take up this bill. I urge my Senate colleagues to act with humility and do their due diligence to safeguard health care affordability and coverage for everyone.

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Help get HB 225 (ENDA) and HB 290 (pay equity) to the House floor

Posted on 04 May 2017 at 3:23pm

Rep. Eric Johnson’s employment nondiscrimination bill passed out of committee this week. That doesn’t guarantee a floor debate and vote in the House. Where the bill is placed on the agenda is up to the Calendars Committee.

Call members of the Calendars Committee and urge them to make HB 225 a priority. Reps. Alonzo, Giddings, Koop and Rose are from the Dallas area. If you are their constituents, it’s even more important that you call their offices.

Johnson’s pay equity bill — HB 290 — also passed out of committee. That bill requires equal pay for equal work regardless of gender.

Tell members of the Calendars Committee that HB 225 and HB 290 are a priority and should be set for a floor debate as soon as possible.

 

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Alabama prefers homeless youth to LGBT parents

Posted on 04 May 2017 at 2:29pm

With a vote of 87-0, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to allow “religious” adoption agencies to refuse to place homeless children with LGBT parents. Four representatives abstained, including Rep. Patricia Todd, who is lesbian.

“This bill obviously came about because same-sex marriage was approved,” Todd told Al.com. “It’s based in a stereotype. And it’s wrong. And we shouldn’t discriminate and I will always fight that.”

In a report released in 2014, Alabama ranked 50th as the state with the most homeless children per capita with 37,816 kids needing homes. That was down from the year before when more than 50,000 kids needed homes, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Compare that to Texas, which usually has more than 70,000 children needing homes at any one time. What keeps Texas from ranking last is its much larger population.

Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law. Ivey became governor in April when Gov. Robert Bentley resigned amid a sex scandal and the threat of impeachment.

“This bill is not about discrimination, but instead protects the ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home,” Ivey said.

Yes. Unfortunately there aren’t enough good Christians providing the type of homes lawmakers and Ivey imagine, so her new law insures more kids will remain homeless in Alabama.

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Young gay Frenchmen more likely to support right-wing nut job Marine Le Pen

Posted on 04 May 2017 at 10:13am

It’s an accepted norm that gays tend to be more politically liberal, for obvious reasons, and that young people are more liberal than their older counterparts. You’d expect, then, that young gays would be among the most liberal of demographics. But in France, the opposite appears to be true.

Hornet, a gay social network, recently surveyed its French users about the country’s upcoming national election for president, which pits left-leaning Emmanuel Macron against hard-right fringe candidate Marine Le Pen. More than 5,000 users were questioned, with about half under 30 and half over. Those 18–29 supported Le Pen with about 45 percent; those over 30 supported her only 35 percent, which is in line with national polling in general. And over 50? Her support dropped to 20 percent.

Even the 20 percent seems staggering to me, since she is an overly racist, homophobic, right-wing nut job by all accounts. But in some ways, the idea that older gay men are more woke about Le Pen does make some kind of sense: They have had to fight for decades for rights younger people probably take for granted, and older demos are typically more engaged in politics. It’s a sad state, though, that younger people cannot see to vote in their own best interests.

The run-off election is Sunday.

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Tasting Notes: May the Fourth, Cinco de Mayo and more

Posted on 03 May 2017 at 4:13pm

Thursday is May the Fourth, a fauxliday for Star Wars fans. Friday is Cinco de Mayo, aka May 5, and traditionally an exciting holiday for those who love Mexican food and drink. And Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. So lots to keep in mind these days. Here are some events coming up to keep in mind.

First, Q Tacos at Macho Cantina, the new name and concept of Quesa, is open on Cedar Springs, just in time for Cinco de Mayo. All week, they are serving $6 Avion Tequila margaritas and boilermakers, plus the house sangria. And Friday night will feature a DJ on hand from 8 p.m. til 2 a.m. My review of Q Tacos will appear next week, but the short version is: Go there!

Tacodeli, which I have praised for having some of the best salsas around, has decided to release those salsas outside their restaurants. Starting Friday, the dona (spicy), roja (medium) and verde (mild) salsas will be on sale at Whole Foods stores in Texas, as well as Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. (Tacodeli is based in Austin.) The price is $6.99 per 12 oz. container.

Tricky Fish in Richardson is celebrating May the Fourth with a party, constant screening of Star Wars movies and specialty items like The Ham Solo burger, and cocktails like The Yoda, the Death Star and Java the Hut.

One of my favorite restaurants of last year, the Southern-themed Grayson Social, is marking Derby Day with  a brunch that included a variety of juleps (cucumber lime, lavender mint, etc.) for just $8 or a flight of three for $15.

The second of three planned restaurants from Headington Companies has opened in the Design District. This week Sassetta, an Italian resto at Hi Line and Oak Lawn, opened for dinner. It joins neighbor Wheelhouse and the soon-to-open Go Go.

And finally, congrats to John Tesar, who commemorated the publication of his new book, Knife, with a signing at The Highland earlier this week. The cookbook shows how to make Texas-style steakhouse cooking at home. Congrats, chef.

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BREAKING: Texas ENDA voted out of committee

Posted on 03 May 2017 at 3:22pm

State Rep. Eric Johnson testifies before a House committee in Austin (courtesy office of Eric Johnson)

State Rep. Jason Villalba has voted with Democrats on the House Committee on Business and Industry to get Rep. Eric Johnson’s HB 225 to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression out of committee.

Texas ENDA now moves to the Calendars Committee to schedule the bill’s hearing on the House floor.

Employment non-discrimination bills have been submitted in most sessions of Congress since the 1990s and have always failed. An ENDA bill has never gotten out of committee in the Texas Legislature.

Whether or not ENDA passes the House, time spent debating employment non-discrimination is time not spent discussing bathrooms or the “right” to discriminate based on religious beliefs.

To thank Villalba for his vote and encourage him to get fellow Republicans to vote for the bill, call his local office at 214-363-8700.

Todd Hunter is the Republican chair of the Calendars Committee. Contact his office at 512-463-0672.

Donna Howard is the Democratic co-chair of the committee.You can call her at 512-463-0631. Dallas-area Democrats on the committee are Roberto Alonzo, Helen Giddings and Toni Rose. Poncho Nevarez is from Eagle Pass.

Republican LGBT allies on the committee are Linda Koop of Dallas and Sarah Davis of Houston. Contact Koop at 512-463-0454 and Davis at 512-463-0389.

Other Republicans on the committee are Byron Cook, Charlie Geren, Kyle Kacal, Ken King, Chris Paddie and Dade Phelan.

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Lambda Legal sues Mississippi funeral home for refusing transport and cremation of gay man’s body

Posted on 03 May 2017 at 11:33am

Jack Zawadski

Lambda Legal has joined a lawsuit against a Picayune, Miss., funeral home for refusing to provide any services for Robert Huskey after his death, leaving his 82-year-old husband, Jack Zawadski, desperate to make other arrangements in the hours after his spouse’s death.

The suit seeks damages for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, according to a press release from Lambda Legal.

Huskey and Zawadski were together for more than 50 years.

Marriage became legal in Mississippi after the 2015 Obergefell decision and the couple married. Huskey’s health began to decline soon after the wedding and he entered a nursing home. When it became apparent that Husky was nearing his final days, the couple’s nephew, John, made arrangements for Picayune Funeral home to handle the necessary services after his death.

After Huskey died on May 11, 2016, “the nursing home provided Picayune Funeral Home with necessary information confirming Bob’s death and identifying Jack as his husband. Shortly thereafter, the nursing home called their nephew John and informed him that Picayune Funeral Home was now refusing to pick up the body and perform the cremation,” according to the Lambda Legal press release.

“Since the nursing home could not keep Bob’s body on site, Jack and John had to scramble to locate another funeral home with an on-site crematorium,” the press release continues. “They located one in Hattiesburg, some 90 miles away. By that time, because Bob’s body could not be housed at the nursing home for the hours it would take for the Hattiesburg hearse to arrive, they had to find yet another funeral home in Picayune willing to transport Bob’s body to Hattiesburg.”

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Officer fired, but no arrest made in murder of 15-year-old

Posted on 03 May 2017 at 9:46am

Jordan Edwards

Days after it was determined that Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver shot into a car as it was moving away from him and killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, Oliver has been fired but not arrested for murder. And that makes a lot of people very angry.

On April 29, Balch Springs police were called to a house where a party was taking place. According to the latest BSPD media release, the 911 report indicated there were “underage intoxicated juveniles” in the house. While inside the house trying to locate the homeowners, police heard gunshots outside.

Once outside, officers confronted a car backing down the street. Despite ordering the car to stop, the car continued to back away.

In his original report, Oliver claimed the car was coming toward him. Video showed the car was backing away and Oliver shot into the car, hitting Edwards.

Sheriff Lupe Valdez and District Attorney Faith Johnson are conducting separate investigations into the murder.

State Rep. Eric Johnson released this statement:

“Devastating does not adequately describe this tragedy. My prayers are with the Edwards family. As a father, I cannot begin to imagine the pain they are experiencing. As the father of a black son, I share the anxiety that many black parents feel when we hear about situations like this. 



“I would encourage the Balch Springs Police Department to continue to display the transparency and accountability this sensitive situation demands, including reporting the details of this terrible incident to the Texas Attorney General as state law requires.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson released this statement:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the fatal shooting of Jordan Edwards. I offer my thoughts and prayers to the Edwards family and to the entire community, who all have suffered a painful loss.

“I have spoken with Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson regarding this incident. Both Sheriff Valdez and Judge Johnson said they have already started to conduct separate but fair, independent and thorough investigations in their own right. I will continue to receive details as their respective investigations unfold.

“It is also imperative that we aggressively pursue these two separate investigations to preserve the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Oliver had been on the Balch Springs police force since July 2011. Police know who committed this murder and it’s time for an arrest in the case.

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One more thing about the Wings …..

Posted on 02 May 2017 at 5:50pm

During Media Day today at College Park Center, Dallas Wings players Tiffany Bias, Kayla Thornton and Courtney Paris decided to bust out a little Destiny’s Child ….. And apparently Tiffany and Courtney didn’t know how well Kayla can sing !

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