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We have been attending weekly meditation sessions with a few friends. During one of the earlier sessions, our facilitator guided us to the place described in the story – a lively steam, grasslands up to our knees and a wonderful forest of tall trees. I was frustrated by the fact that I never left the rock. Mulling over the session later, I was given this explanation by my Spirit… –

Just One of the Boys

With pant legs rolled up,

The boys waded into the cool, clear stream.

Summer had begun;

The adventures would start anew,

As they had year after year

Since before they had become teenagers.

 

One by one they left the stream,

Walking ashore into the inviting woodlands,

Tall grasses rising up to their knees.

Lingering, he climbed upon a large rock

In the middle of the stream,

As he watched the others slowly disappear from his view.

 

Feeling  somewhat contented, he wondered about his future –

What would be his true path?

Tears began flowing down his cheeks

Into the cool, shimmering stream,

Reflecting his adolescent face.

 

He tightly closed his eyes-

Visions of layers of himself peeling away,

As the tears fell.

To which of his friends could he reveal

His secret – sacrificing their friendships?

For even at his young and tender age he knew –

Once the secret was out in the open,

There would be no more adventures –

Just loneliness, more hidden secrets

More layers waiting to be peeled away.

 

Looking up

His friends came around the corner of the woods,

Questioning his decision to remain behind,

Sitting on the rock in the middle of the stream.

This summer – perhaps his last with them,

He would continue to be –

Just one of the boys.

This poem resulted from the murder, late last year, of our dear friend. Like us he had once been married and had both children and grandchildren. It is also dedicated to all of the other Jeffrey Allan’s out there who finally found the courage, but did so too late in life to fully live the life so long hidden behind closed doors.

Jeffrey Allan

Jeffrey Allan grew up on a small farm,

Outside a small town,

With a father, a mother and two older sisters.

His early years were spent

Surrounded by his paternal cousins –

Some younger, some older.

This was the basis of his young life.

As he grew up and went to school,

The circle of friends widened

To include other boys and girls his age

From the nearby town.

Early on he knew he was different.

His father was heard to say,

“Jeffrey Allan needs to play sports and not piano.”

“Jeffrey Allan needs to learn to toughen up and fight back.”

“Jeffrey Allan is turning into a sissy.”

“Why is Jeffrey Allan always playing house with girls and dressing dolls?”

Jeffrey Allan had a secret;

Jeffrey Allan knew he was more different

Than the other boys as he grew older.

He didn’t like sports or outdoor activities with his father and cousins.

Jeffrey Allan came to understand that his “difference”

Was that he was gay –

He really didn’t care for girls, although he liked them.

He was attracted to other boys –

Later in life, men.

Jeffrey Allan knew that he was

Homosexual. Queer. A faggot.

But still he kept the secret –

College degree and marriage to his childhood sweetheart –

Followed by a career and children,

Living in a closet,

Fearful of a society that was homophobic

In various, sometimes menacing ways.

Jeffery Allan found the strength

Before it was too late, to come out of the closet,

Self-exiled from family and friends all those years,

Only to be found dead in a dark alley,

One dark night –

The letters F-A-G spray painted

On his naked chest; his face battered beyond recognition.

His cemetery marker reads –

R.I.P

Jeffrey Allan

Loving son, brother, husband and father

September 2012

In reality, I have no friends anymore who do not know that I am gay and married to another man. Unfortunately, there are many people out there who do not accept that to be gay is NOT a lifestyle nor a choice. Many men and women live in fear of being “outted”. This piece was inspired by recent news regarding the treatment of those of us who ARE gay…..

No Man’s Land

Those who have survived real wars,

Know only to well the significance of “No Man’s Land”.

That space between the barbed wire that separates friend from foe.

Those who have never seen battle,

Know only of what we have seen or heard

In movies, books and through television.

More recently “YouTube”.

There is another type of no man’s land –

Known to those men who remain closeted,

As a result of being born gay.

They often live their early lives

With one foot on each side of the fence,

Battling feelings and emotions,

Shielding themselves and their families,

From those in society who believe that to be gay

Is a sin! An abomination!

No one chooses to be gay (or lesbian),

Anymore than one chooses to have red hair,

Or blue eyes or a swarthy complexion.

Depending on where you live in our world,

Having red hair or blue eyes or being gay

Can make you a vulnerable target of certain elements,

Vulnerable to unwanted physical or verbal attacks,

Vulnerable to shunning by your own culture,

Your family, your friends, your colleagues at work or school.

Real men have careers, family and friends,

And make substantial contributions to society,

As do gay men!

Now is the time to tear down the barbed wire

Which continues to divide men

Of all sexual persuasions, religions and cultures,

Eliminating “No Man’s Land” once and for all!