May the new year signal the beginning of a new era of justice, equality and… freedom.
Have a creative one
May the new year signal the beginning of a new era of justice, equality and… freedom.
Have a creative one
Last week I wrote a poem which sprung from ideas that had been in my mind for years before I finally put them to words.
It speaks of all the humanness and ubiquity of homosexuality.
Then gay marriage was approved in the state of New York.
And I shall not post the poem here: it has become minor.
One might wonder, why is that so important for homosexuals around the globe?
The answer is threefold:
1. The USA are the most important and constant source of mass culture at present, and everything coming from them sparks debate and headlines.
2. New York City will now be home for gay couples from all over. No need to explain its cultural importance in the world.
3. The remarkable effort and multiple politic strategies employed by Mr Cuomo’s people to pass the bill shows how much the gay community still needs to further unite and organize itself on various levels. (See the NY Times article here)
At times like these my heart and brains are flooded with better hopes for the future.
A new era has begun for homossexuals in Brazil.
The Supreme Court approved an extension of the legal rights to gay couples by a uninamous decision yesterday evening.
The excitement is almost much too large to be shared and I am almost speechless… A historic day.
More about it here.
A series of degrading events to the gay and black communities have been raising Brazilian people’s awareness on homophobia and hate crimes.
It is not that it didn’t exist before, but once gay people started becoming more visible in society, homophobia and all the related problems finally turned into a matter of discussion.
Two guys I know were recently attacked during a celebration on the University Campus. Although the aggression was not so physically damaging, its impact on the psyche of minorities is enormous. What’s most shocking is the fact that the attack took place inside the most liberal of all faculties, up until then a haven for individual freedom of expression.
People who’ve been fighting for years to feel comfortable being who they are and dating whoever they want began to feel threatened again. This is a major drawback.
However, in one way or another, the sectors of society who believe in equal human rights are fighting back.
I’m supporting an artistic initiative called Projeto #EuSouGay (IAmGay) which targets homophobia and intolerance through showing the world that we have a voice.
If you wish to participate in it, no matter your sexual orientation, you can send a picture of you holding a card with the inscription #EuSouGay to firstname.lastname@example.org. The pictures will ultimately be turned into a short film directed by award-winning director Daniel Ribeiro.
Let us all unite in fighting hatred and prejudice.
The lyrics for this song speak for myself.
Placebo was my favorite band some years ago.
It was so refreshing, so freeing and so relieving to know that one could be gay and still do rock.
Yesterday, this really sweet shy and nerdy guy I know who has just come out was kissing another guy at the university cafeteria. I was so touched by the fact that one can finally do this without fear of being bullied that I just felt I had to share my joy about it here.
On the other hand, I know it is sometimes a long journey before we can have the freedom to do it in such a well-deserved carefree way.
I know many of you may have seen this elsewhere but I decided to post it anyway.
Just as a reminder that we are not alone.
There is light out there.
Log on to ItGetsBetterProject to find out more about this fight for hope.
Yesterday was a day chosen by the gay community (through GLAAD) to raise awareness about gay bashing and bullying. Spirit Day, as it is called, is also meant especially for everyone to show their support for gay teens who took their lives because of anti-LGBT harassment.
As I stated here earlier this month, growing up as a gay teen can be devastating if one does not have the support from either parents, school or friends.
Originally, I was going to post images of paintings by a Brooklyn-based artist whose images often raise questions about racism and tolerance but I decided to do something aiming more at inspiring those troubled teenagers to envisage a brighter, love-filled future ahead of them:
I love these images because they not only reflect the possibility of finding love in homosexuality but also how open-minded gay love can be.
No matter how badly homosexuality may be portrayed, affection and tenderness are still there – perhaps just around the corner, to be felt.
These pictures by Robbie Fimmano were used in an extended watch feature called Kissing Time on last April issue of Interview magazine.
This video came to my attention through a series of links connected to the horrible displays of homophobia that took place in Belgrade, Serbia during a gay pride event.
As they guys sum up, adolescence can an incredibly tragic, sorry and diminishing time for a young gay person – it was unquestionably the worst time of my life, but it DOES get better:
It takes a lot of courage, a lot of personal strength and an enormous amount of drive to be able to pull through all the hardships a gay teen encounters in his/her daily life, but it is possible.
There are certainly no formulas and there are obviously different outcomes (some happier, others a bit harder), but the message American writer Dan Savage, his partner Terry and myself would like to send is that you are not alone.
Just hang in there the best you can. Wonderful things lie ahead of you.
Isn’t it good when Friday comes full of pleasant ideas and desires for the weekend? It’s wonderful to write about lovely things on this day – it’s like a nice preamble for the free hours to come.
Not this time, though.
Intolerance has hit me and I felt it was more meaningful to debate it rather than just ignoring facts, as so many people (myself included) so often do.
Situated somewhere along the line between disapproval, shame and utter disgust, intolerance is nevertheless present in most people’s everyday lives. Be it race, religion, opinion or sexual orientation, one is more often that not faced with feelings of unwelcomeness towards others. Perpretrators or sufferers, the dislike of someone else for their difference is something most humans have known in their lives.
Which brings me to me. Machismo and sexism thrive in Brazil, even though this is the year 2010, one might add. People are especially intolerant of gay men. Unfortunately, dressing stylishly almost equals being gay (straight men in Latin American countries dress horribly for the most part) and looking different equals being subject to people calling you offensive names in the street, because you are different.
Some months ago I decided to bleach my hair white, so that I now look something like this (styling by Robbie Spencer):
Which means that I am stared at about every time I leave the house. Sure I’m quite pale and my hair is now white, but I only wish this was the only source of passers-by bewilderment. Their intolerance is the reason why I get called names (some garbage collectors called me a faggot and something else a minute ago).
Was I then brave to do it? No, I did it because I wanted to. I simply cannot bear the thought of bending my will to prejudice and uncivilness. I take a stand.
Deep down, I truly want to believe that by doing what I feel like doing, trying as hard as possible to dismiss these people’s intolerance as pure misconceptions, I will be able to influence others to do the same.
So the next generation will be more tolerant. If children grow up used to diversity, they are much less likely to unwelcome it.
Let us continue our unplanned trip around the globe; now to Argentina.
I am very pleased to report that our neighboring country has become the first one in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage.
In a region where sexism reigns, it is a great relief to see that a whole country is ready to let go of one of its inequalities, which is based on nothing but religious-driven misconceptions.
It is a simple question of Law. If homosexual citizens have the same obligations as other citizens, they are entitled to having to exact same rights. There is no support for the existence of two standards other than religion.
Everything should be in its right place.
In every-day terms, when such an initiative becomes a reality, very practical consequences are to be seen and felt. To the concerned people’s lives, it is not just a legal disposition, it is a life-changing moment. I have seen it happen in Spain and it is easy to see how gay couples there feel so free and proud they no longer have to hide.
As a tribute to my fellow Latin American country, here are some drawings by my all-time favorite Argentinian artist, Leon Ferrari:
Words on art when nicely and carefully done are so appealing to me. A wonderful combination of two worlds.
Continuity and repetition are some of the constant ideas behind Ferrari’s artistic production and techniques.
Let us just hope and fight so that other countries in the world decide to follow and repeat Argentina’s refreshing attitude.
I was reading excerpts of a book written by Mexican psychotherapist Marina Castañeda on homosexuality a while ago and I couldn’t help but find it very insightful. Although I do not necessarily agree with her in some of the aspects she mentions, I did find one bit very interesting.
She claims that in the process of coming out every homosexual has to go through a mourning phase if they want to be happy as gay individuals later in life. That is, they have to mourn their supposed heterosexuality.
Growing up in societies which are governed by two-gender conceptions of living, including family and work-related assumptions, homosexuals have to learn how to let go of these ideas so deeply rooted in their consciousness in order to be able to accept the fact that they are unlike most others.
According to the author, it is the very process of learning how to give up such expectations which allows gay people to be more or less happy with their affections and sexuality with regards to society. Some do it and are able to find their place in the world, while others seem never to be willing to establish themselves as different from what is expected of them, and that is the major source of feelings of distress and unadaptability.
What a very interesting way of seeing these matters.
I’ve believed for some time now that being different is the key to creating. Once there is nothing to compare yourself to, you are forced to generate new models and just find a whole new path for yourself. And isn’t that what guides true artists and explorers into the unknown?
The thing is, this is by no means an easy task.
The day started really well today. Although I woke up already tired from days of too much work and too few hours of sleep, I was seeing things in a very positive way and basically loving everything. I had my tasks, chores and commitments for the long hours ahead of me but I did manage not to get desperate about them.
My plan was to continue my series about art and technology. But I won’t.
The ugly face of prejudice and homophobia made itself present this very day, so all of those positive thoughts about mankind vanished. Back to reality, one might say.
Then, I shall just post here a song by a group which has been able to cheer me up. For those of you who aren’t feeling so well today. here’s Michachu and the Shapes:
I know it’s not new and they have been talked about a lot already, but they do improve my mood.
A friend of mine who’s a fashion producer used this song for a fashion show the other day and I just thought it was quite cheerful.
So cheers to all of those who are not narrow-minded.
PS: Michachu (aka Mica Levi) is openly gay.
Today is the day the world is supposed to celebrate women’s day. I don’t.
Before someone calls me mysogenous, I must first say that I really need women around me and I like their company very much. Most of all, I do sincerely believe that a girl’s best friend is a gay guy.
This date was created to raise awareness of equility issues. Well, I do not believe men and women are equal. Each is unique in its own way and there can be no exact equivalence between them, nor there should be. There is no question, nonetheless, that both deserve the same chances and must be treated equally in regards to social justice and so on.
Just like Gay Pride, very soon there won’t be the need for women to be remembered on this day, for all days will be theirs.
Thus, celebrating truly the spirit of gender conviviality, I’d like to share my respect and love for one of rock and roll’s most respectable women, Beth Ditto from The Gossip:
They were coming to Belo Horizonte next week, but sadly the show was cancelled apparently for personal reasons. It’s a shame – it would have been the best.
PS: My birthday celebrations were unforgettably fun.
Today is the second day of Chanukah and I shall use this remembrance day of victory under difficult circumstances to talk about other groups of people who are suffering due to ignorance.
Following my recent and intensive interest in everything African, I decided to investigate how the situation for young Africans is at present. I am not talking about black gay people, rather those men (and women) who were born and/or live in the African continent and who happen to feel attracted to the same sex.
The picture is appalling. Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries and gay men and women are subject to all kinds of discrimination, violence, hatred and even to being killed because of their sexuality.
Fortunately, some people are mobilized for the homosexuals of Africa and doing a great work in bringing awareness of the issues involved in it: Behind the Mask. In their own words:
Behind the Mask is a communication initiative around LGBTI rights and affairs in Africa. The organization considers information and communication technology (ICT) and independent journalistic activism as its main tools. By way of publishing a website magazine the organization gives voice to African LGBTI communities and provides a platform for exchange and debate for LGBTI groups, activists, individuals and allies.
From now on I shall be very keen on helping our African fellows in the global fight for Human Rights and Equality.
Today is the first day of Pessach and to celebrate this lovely Jewish holiday I will bring Jews together with another joyous people: homosexuals!
Ever since I was a child I’ve had contact with Jewish people. They have been in my classes, work, love life and very often part of my circle of friends. Hearing what they say about the difficulties of being a Jew sparks numerous comparisons in my mind about the two minorities referred in the title. I shall highlight here some of the similarities, but know that there are more.
Gays & Jews:
One last comparison that really makes me happy is the fact that a great number of Jewish and gay people, so tired of persecutions and prejudice, fight against all of prejudices’ ugly faces and types of manifestation. I’ve always believed that minorities should stick together and raise their voices against stupidity and narrow-mindedness.
This combination is definitely kosher.