Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

"And to all of us: may we give, and recieve, love in greater measure than any of us can now imagine." - John Hazlehurst from the Colorado Springs Independent.

Friday, December 24, 2004

A Tale of Two Television Channels

My Christmas vacation can be boiled down to a Tale of Two Television Channels.

My parents have the television on all of the time. They listen to Al Jazeera, oops, I mean, Foxs News Network, all day long. So it's just a constant stream of right wing, jingo-istic, partisan, diatribe all day long. With the recent suicide attack in Mosul, it's all bad news, all the time. And I'm not belittling what happened there, it's a awful loss and I feel horribly for the horrible loss of the life and my heart goes out to their families and loved ones. But do we need to hear about it over and over and over again. Pictures of the wounded, the blast scene, etc. It's pretty graphic. And it's what Fox shows all the time. Every hour. All day. It's pretty overwhelming.

Which brings me to the alternative. Needless to say, my sister (mother of two small children) is sensitive to all of the explicit images and bad news being spewed by Fox News. So for the kiddies, we've got PBS. Clippper, Sesame Street, and (God help me) Barney. The children don't really watch it either, it's just sort of background noise for their rampaging around the house. But I can't stop hearing the aweful little kids songs. They creep into my subconscious and I just want to hurt someone. And when Barney sings, I just want to pour hot wax in my ears. Someone please stop the madness.

Fox or PBS? Bill Orielly or Barney? What hell am I living in?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Homo for the Holidays

My flight was only an hour late and I landed in the middle of a pretty decent snow storm. Took at cab home since it was probably not a good idea for the rentals to drive in that weather. My sister and her family are here already. They all look good. I think LA suits them pretty well.

My top 5 goals for this holiday vacation:

1) Do not kill my parents.
2) Do not gain any weight.
3) Do not kill my parents.
4) Go to the gym every day (except Christmas)
5) Hmm, let's see, there's something I'm missing . . . . . oh that's right, not to kill my parents.

I love my parents. Don't get my wrong. But I'm not out to my Dad and he's a die hard, hard core conservative. So we've got lots of stuff for us to talk about. And while I'm out to my Mom, she's still not very comfortable with it. So we just won't talk about my personal life at all. Am I the only one who sees the big elephant in the room?

But this is how my family works, or doens't as the case may be. We don't talk about the important things. Health, feelings, sex, are all taboo subjects. Work, weather, books are all okay. So weird.

More from white bread central, I mean Colorado, later.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Wanted Dead or Alive: But Preferably Dead!

One anal retentative, micro managing, bi-polar, manic depressive, crackberry addicted but emailed impaired, psychotic, hypocritical government program manager. Reward offered.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The 17th Anniversary of my 21st Birthday

You do the math.

So yes, I just had a birthday, and I decided to combine my birthday with a holiday party. I mean, seriously, if straight people can't be gay (def: happy and carefree, merry) during the Christmas season, when can they? So it was supposed to be mix of people, but some of the straight people bailed (after saying yes to my evite, very bad form). So it was mainly gay, with one straight couple, and we had a really good time.

Now I don't drink that much. Never alone, and just never alot when I do drink. But everyone bought some wine for the party, and so everyone was just sucking down the alcohol. At the end of the evening the casualties were as follows: 1 bottle of champagne, 2 bottles of vodka, and 6 bottles of wine. Okay, I had 17 people at my party. You do the math. Gay men drink like fish!

After the party, I went with some of the guys to Cobalt to go dancing. I hadn't been out dancing in forever and was looking forward to it. However, one of my friends who must have been drinking my share of the alcohol earlier in the evening started doing the bump and grind thing with me on the dance floor. Now I can get into that for a bit, and then I sort of feel awkward. Maybe if I had been drunk, but no. And then he goes and says something to me. A proposition. And then the weird factor kind of exploded. I have friends, want a boy friend, but am not too comfortable with the friends with benefits thing. And I'm not a prude. I've been known to do some online shopping. But it was just a little bit weird. So I ended up bailing to go home. That's me doing the responsible, mature thing again. Yikes what a pain.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

USNA Alumni Castro Chapter

Last Thursday, I attended the USNA Alumni Association Board of Trustees meeting where they were going to vote on whether or not to establish a Castro Chapter of the USNA Alumni Association. I was there with five other GLBT alumni. At the beginning of the meeting, they passed a micro phone around so everyone could introduce themselves. Just by odd luck, I was the first member of the Castro chapter to have to introduce myself. I had to stand up to get the microphone from an elderly alumni member and then said,

"I am Trey R, Class of 1989. I am a member of the proposed Castro Chapter." I passed the mike to Jeff and he said, “I am Jeff P, Class of 1989. I am the President of the proposed Castro Chapter." Then, "I am Zoe D, Class of 1985. I am a member of the proposed Castro Chapter." Then "I am Paula N, Class of 1985. I am a member of the proposed Castro Chapter." Then "I am Dave L, Class of 1988. I am a member of the proposed Castro Chapter." Then "I am Dr. Barbara W, Class of 1984. I am a member of the proposed Castro Chapter."

Every eye on the room was focused on us and you could have heard a pin drop.

Coming out is not fun. It’s always difficult. I usually try to do it with a sense of humor, a joke, to try to put the person I’m coming out to at ease, as well as to make myself more comfortable. Wasn’t it Chandler who said, “I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable.” This was not a joking situation. This is where I needed to stand up and say, “I’m Trey R, and I’m a gay USNA alumni.” And I did. I did it while fighting to keep my voice from breaking or just completely choking up. In a room of 70-80 USNA alumni and alumni association staff. We’re not talking about an open and warm environment.

My classmate, Jeff organized USNA Out last year. The goal was to get the USNA Alumni Association to recognize us at GLBT alumni. We want to support our school, it’s mission, but many of us had felt hampered by the fact that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is still the law of the land and joining a local alumni chapter was going to be uncomfortable. USNA Out never made it to the Board of Trustees last year. Our paperwork didn’t meet all of the criteria, so we never got to a vote. This year, we made sure our paperwork was in order, our mission was the same as every other alumni chapter in the world. To meet the geographic requirements (which is kind of bogus because there is an RV chapter), we picked the Catro District of San Francisco, the predominantly gay district in San Francisco. Before the meeting last Thursday, the alumni association released a press statement saying that they were going to recommend disapproval, so even as we made our way to Annapolis, we knew we were going to fail. But still we went. Jeff’s request to speak to the Board of Trustees was denied, but he did get a one-on-one meeting with Admiral Trost (ret), who is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Jeff conveyed to the Admiral that were there because we love the Naval Academy and that we have proposed an alumni chapter that is free of discrimination. We had worked to make sure that the proposal for Castro Chapter meets *all* of the criteria used by the Board to reject us last year and that we request that the Board treat our chapter application as they would any other. We just want to support our alma mater openly and honestly. Admiral Trost did not support our chapter because San Francisco has a chapter already. But he did say that from his experience in the business world, that he does not take issues with those who are gay, that he was disappointed at some of the correspondence he had received from "bigoted" alumni, and that he admired (or some similar word) our courage.

If you’ve attended a board meeting, you know they are boring. I had brought my laptop and actually managed to get some work done amidst the membership committee report, the audit committee report, etc. We broke for lunch and we actually ate with other alumni and alumni association staff members. The meal was nice and the conversation pleasant, always remembering the golden rule about not discussing religion, politics, or sexual orientation in a mixed forum.

After lunch and a few more reports, they got to the part where they discussed new chapters. Admiral Trost started out by directing class presidents and chapter presidents to be inclusive, welcoming all alumni, including those of different "persuasions." The staff director in charge of new chapters took the podium and made some carefully prepared statement about the staff's chapter review process so that the trustees and the audience would buy into their justification for recommending rejection of the Castro Chapter. It was apparent that the Board usually goes with the staff recommendation when deciding whether or not to approve an alumni chapter. A motion was put before the Board to reject the Castro Chapter; and then seconded.

Now this is the hard part. The Board of Trustees member from San Francisco is a lesbian. And she spoke out on the motion. She spoke in favor of rejecting the Castro Chapter. While I disagree with a lot of what she said, I will admit that it took a lot of personal courage to talk about her personal life, about how she and her partner were welcomed by the San Francisco chapter, about becoming active in the chapter, and then eventually becoming a Board of Trustees member. I’m happy for her. And that’s what I would like to do, but I think being gay and open in the San Francisco chapter is a bit different than being gay and open in the Washington DC chapter, or the Alabama chapter, or the North Carolina Chapter. If there was one chapter in the US that was welcoming of GLBT alumni, I would expect it would be San Francisco. But by projecting her experience on us, by speaking out in favor of rejecting our chapter, she provided cover for the rest of board of trustees and the Castro Chapter was unanimously rejected.

After the PR blitz last year, the Alumni Association was prepared with a press release. It’s a little misleading since it claimed that the “by its own definition, the Castro chapter would have established an official gay Alumni chapter.” That’s not true. Our chapter mission does not mention the term gay or sexual orientation. Ironically, the press release also claimed the rejection was because of their commitment to diversity! Just for clarification, the board of trustees is made up of 29 members, two are white women, and there is one African American man. So it really is the picture of diversity. The press release also talked about “Inclusiveness.” Which would be easier to believe if one of our members hadn’t heard some of the board of trustees refer to us as “those faggots.” In addition, it seems that one of the themes from the board of trustees was to reach out to alumni to get them join the alumni association. With all of the press from the rejection, our group got three new members, all straight. One was from a female alumni in the Chicago area who had repeatedly tried to get involved with the local chapter there and had been repeatedly snubbed.

Anyways, it was definitely an interesting and exciting experience. We aren’t done yet. We’re still trying to determine our next move. But as Jeff said, we put a human face on our chapter. That’s a pretty good start.