Teen love in Texas

Don't-Let-Me-GoDon’t Let Me Go
by J.H. Trumble (2012, Kensington). $15; 352 pp.

Nate Schaper was in love with Adam Jefferies from the moment Adam had rushed over to Nate’s locker to help another student who’d been bullied. Adam was like that: compassionate and smart, gentle and caring — not to mention so beautiful, Nate could barely stand it. They were an “us” not long after that morning by the lockers, and within weeks, they’d decided to come out together.

Adam was a senior then — a budding actor, a lover of the stage, and about to graduate. Nate was a junior and he never wanted to let Adam go.

But the following summer, he had to do it: Houston and New York City are 1,600 miles apart, and Adam had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to appear off-off-Broadway. Nate wasn’t about to hold him back.

Once in New York, though, Adam seemed not to miss Nate as much as the other way around. Adam had a new life complete with hottie roommate. He never seemed to have time for Nate anymore. Things had changed.

But Nate had changed, too. Angry with the way his life was going, he’d become a silent activist at school. He made a new friend, a straight guy who wouldn’t take any trouble from bullies. And when it seemed like Adam was so yesterday, Nate found another boyfriend.

But can you truly forget the love you lost?  Stuffing aside memories of Adam and the things they shared, Nate wondered when he ever would…

Looking to spend some time with a wonderfully satisfying love story?  You can stop your search right here, because Don’t Let Me Go will do just right.

With some not-quite-chaste bedroom scenes and a host of characters to embrace, author J.H. Trumble adds sass and spice to a tale of romance found and lost.

But love isn’t the only focus of this story: teenage Nate encounters homophobia in various forms and though it lends a certain squirmy realism, those parts of this book aren’t easy to read. Fortunately, Trumble’s supporting (and supportive) cast offsets the hate, which gives this novel meaning.

This is a great book for teens and adults alike, and it has an ending that … well, I don’t want to ruin it for you, so let’s just say it works. If you’re up for a nice boy-meets-boy story, Don’t Let Me Go is a book to get lost in.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 3, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

1of the girls

music
FOLK OFF | Borofsky, far right, says Girlyman has rebounded after a health scare and is back on the road right where they like to be.

Nate Borofsky, the lone male in queer-folksters Girlyman, is just fine with his role

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

The last time Girlyman toured these parts, Nate Borofsky had a chicken fried steak at the same place they were gigging: Deep Ellum’s All Good Café.

The band has changed since then, from adding a drummer to experiencing a serious health scare. What hasn’t changed is Borofsky’s position in the band: He’s the sole member putting the “man” in Girlyman.

“Oh, I’m used to it and for the most part I kind of enjoy it,” he admits. “I think if I were in an all-male situation, I’d be a little freaked out and looking for my girls.”

The trio became a quartet with the addition of J.J. Jones last year, which made Borofsky wonder: They had gotten along just fine without drums. Their signature three-part harmonies and acoustic guitars kept the band’s sound on a joyous cloud. Would drums weigh them down? Borofsky worried fans would revolt.

“Personally, I’m very surprised how natural it all has happened,” he says. “To suddenly add a new member was a change, but it felt so easy and it feels like she’s always been with us. And the feedback was so positive. Plus, we can now go much further and have a bigger sound, yet she also plays light. It’s very dynamic.”

The band may not get as big a dinner as last time, but refreshments are likely when they play the Fifth Street Coffeehouse in Fort Worth Saturday.

Although their last album, Everything’s Easy, came out back in 2009, they enjoy staying on the road, not only to support the CD, but also to make a buck. That took a detour when bandmate Doris Muramatsu was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia late last year. CML is treatable with prescription drugs and has a high survival rate, but the band still had to scrap tour dates … and their primary source of income. That was a bump, but the band is back on track — with some caution.

“Her health has been really good,” he says. “In many ways, she’s responded really well. We’ve been touring a couple of weeks on and then off, but it’s been great with her.”

As for Borofsky, he’s fine in his testosteronic role in the band and the girls don’t get in the way if he might want to mack on a cute guy in the audience.

If only he would let that happen, he sighs.

“Honestly, I just wanna go back to the hotel room after a show.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Nate Silver Predicts Republican Landslide In State Governor Races

In states with a 50% or more chance of flipping their governorships, elections prognosticator Nate Silver predicts that the vast majority of the changes will be in the GOP’s favor. (Although Florida’s race is still a statistical tie, it is listed at the top because current governor Charlie “Closet Case” Crist is technically an independent.)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Nate Phelps: Escaping the darkness

Son of infamous anti-gay crusader Fred Phelps offers a glimpse of what life was like growing up on the inside of the Westboro Baptist cult

Renee Baker  |  Contributing Writer renee@renee-baker.com

Nate Phelps
Nate Phelps

Nate Phelps has a unique identity, but an identity many of us can relate to on different levels. He’s a parent; he’s a partner; he has kids, and he has to come out of the closet regarding his family life.

But Phelps is not gay. Instead, you could say he comes from a family life that is spiritually haunting — one led by his father, Fred Phelps Sr., the infamous pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.

Phelps, who is now estranged from his father, says he often feels “pulled in two directions.” On one hand, he wants to explain to the world how his birth family evolved into what it is. On the other, he has found from experience that people get uncomfortable learning who he is, and he has to “reassure them” that it is okay to criticize his father’s views.
Phelps Sr., at age 80, is well known for attacking the gay community and operating the website GodHatesFags.com. The WBC launched a protest at the Resource Center Dallas in July of this year, leading to a counter-protest that raised a record-breaking $11,000, according to RCD spokesperson Rafael McDonnell.

McDonnell said of the protest, “What struck me is how the entire community came together, saying, ‘We are not going to allow this in our neighborhood.’”

The younger Phelps, now 51, was not surprised by the event. Counter-protests are common, and even satirical filmmaker Michael Moore has been to Topeka with his Sodom Mobile to confront Phelps Sr.

“I thought my father was going to punch him at any second,” Nate Phelps recalled.

It is a telling statement, as Nate Phelps said his father used to beat his 13 children, often with a long piece of wood — his Biblical rod. Nate’s brother Mark and sister Dot are also estranged from the family.

“Our childhood was full of abuse and violence,” Nate Phelps said, “and that was our sense of what normal was.”

He said his father taught them they were all “hell-bound sinners” and they could not say enough prayers to be saved. He said his father was “profoundly critical, destructive and violent towards us.” And he said the worst part was that his father was so strong and manipulative, that Nate began to “internalize it and believe it” himself.

As an example, Nate Phelps recalls an early memory when his father chopped off his mother’s hair. “When he took those blades to my mother’s head, he was making a powerful assertion that he had absolute control over her very salvation. So ingrained were these beliefs that I remember fearing that, by cutting her hair, my father had condemned her to eternal damnation,” Nate has said in a speech.

Nate Phelps subsequently went through two significant periods of counseling in his life, the first period focusing on the religious abuse. He found a counselor with a theological background and, he said, it exposed him to more information about religion and theism.

Ultimately, Nate found solace in an atheistic outlook. But in the background of his mind, he said, he will have to fight the religious programming for the rest of his life,  those expectations of walking in his father’s footsteps.

“The logical mind can dispute the expectations,” he said, “but the emotions — that is another thing all together.”

Nate, who has three children of his own, entered therapy a second time when he recognized that he “overreacted to events.” This time he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the extreme violence he experienced at the hands of his father.

With a deep sense of anxiety, Nate spent two weeks in a mental hospital trying to find peace and answers.  But he said, “Certainly, there were no answers to be had.”
Nate Phelps said it was all the “thinking about things” that caused the anxiety. He said he realized that there simply was no way to think his way through it, though he tried to rationalize life to block his emotions. He eventually found that more thinking just increased his anxiety levels and he has been learning to find closure with the various issues in his mind.

“My father is not a human,” Nate Phelps said.  “The official story around the household is that Dad was once balanced and even-keeled, until he found salvation. And then suddenly, he became aggressive.

“But I don’t know what made him so angry and hateful,” Nate added.

Perhaps it was because Phelps Sr.’s mother died when he was 5. Perhaps it was because his father had a violent job. Perhaps he invested so much energy in a runaway, run-amuck spiritual path that admitting a lifetime of mistakes is way too much for his ego to contend with.

Nate Phelps may never put all the pieces together from his childhood, but he is learning to live a life of peace now, in Alberta, Canada with his new fiancée, Angela. “Angela keeps me on my toes and keeps me communicating,” he said.

But Nate can’t help but be honest and share that he still sometimes wonders what people would think of him if they really knew him.

Today, Phelps speaks internationally about his life, about his belief that “things are good enough for now,” and about “living in the gray.” In fact, his usual speech is entitled “The Uncomfortable Grayness of Life.”

It is hard to live this way, between black and white, Nate Phelps said. But, he added, rather comfortably, there no absolutes anyway.

For more about Nate Phelps, his writing and his speaking, go online to NatePhelps.com. For more about Fred Phelps and WBC, go online to their new website, GodHatesTheWorld.com.

Renee Baker is a transgender consultant and massage therapist and can be found online at Renee-Baker.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

News: Cher, Walrus, Nate Berkus, Costa Rica, Mark Zuckerberg

Road

One Colorado endorses Hickenlooper for governor.

Road Who's the prominent Republican with the illegal boyfriend?

Ccoper_cohen RoadAnderson Cooper, Andy Cohen hobnob at NY Fashion Week.

RoadCher digs up an old outfit.

RoadGays thrown out of restaurant for kiss on the cheek in Costa Rica: "The men allegedly greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek, prompting the management of La Buca restaurant, in the eastern San Jose suburb of San Pedro, to send over a waiter to ask them to leave. In Costa Rica, a kiss on the cheek is the standard greeting between women, and between men and women."

RoadA Day with HIV in America: nationwide photo essay launched for September 21.

RoadIndiana campaign manager tweets anti-gay slurs.

RoadParamedics called over reaction to gruesome scene in James Franco's 127 Hours.

Zuckerberg RoadThe New York profiles Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

RoadKendrick Meek campaign slams Charlie Crist for flip-flop on gay issues: “Can anyone believe anything Charlie Crist says anymore? It’s obvious Charlie Crist is willing to say anything. The only thing Charlie Crist says today that you can believe tomorrow is that he wants to be elected. The only thing we know about Charlie Crist’s track record is that he is a lifelong conservative Republican who has fought against every Democratic value. The governor’s charade trying to hide his lifelong conservative record just to get elected is an insult to every Floridian."

RoadOprah gives audience 300 eight-day trips to Sydney. Nate Berkus show to premiere.

Walrus RoadMelting ice inspires unprecedented Walrus migration in Alaska.

RoadAt least ten killed in one week in Colombian "social cleansing" campaign.

 road Mixner: What is a LGBT Democrat to do in 2010?

RoadLCR lawyer Dan Woods: DADT ruling "would apply nationwide." "The federal judge in any federal court has the power to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional, and that's what she's done. An unconstitutional law cannot be applied anywhere. It doesn't apply just in California or just within the boundaries of the 9th circuit. It would apply nationwide. That's part of the checks and balances of our governmental system…Our case has uniform federal law throughout."

RoadNewt Gingrich calls Obama a Kenyan.

Coresample RoadCore sample reveals thick layer of oil on Gulf seafloor.

RoadMale model fix: Michael Gstoettner.

RoadHonduran police officer sentenced for stabbing transgender sex worker: “This was a crime fueled by hate, as the 17 stab wounds attest. It is a testament to the integrity and courage of all involved with the case that they advanced the cause of justice notwithstanding the threats and intimidation.”

RoadCorruption: Stinky mailer employed in NY gubernatorial campaign.

RoadNeil Patrick Harris met David Burtka on the street: "At the Tommy Hilfiger after-party last night, we asked Burtka how the couple got together. 'We met on the street,' he told us. 'We met on Ninth Avenue between 44th and 45th, through a friend of ours.' All it took to seal the deal (and the first date) was a quick talk. 'Chatting,' said Burtka. 'And that was it.'"


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Nate Silver on DADT survey: ‘entire parts of it are completely useless’

What Nate says:

The survey might or might not be biased — the bigger problem is that entire parts of it are completely useless.

In particular, given that the army that isn’t supposed to have any (openly) gay soldiers, the survey asks the troops to engage in an awful lot of speculation about the gay soldiers in their midst.

Of course, Nate says a lot more. He does a thorough job of explaining why. Definitely worth a read.

And, this just adds to the growing controversy about this survey. What the hell was DOD thinking?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright