Sunday, December 04, 2005

Alms for the Poor (Readers that Remain)

Boy, has it really been over two months since my last entry!?

Either I've become less angry or more busy - and are the two related? Mmm, methinks that, yes, they are. This semester (I think in terms of academic years, not calendar years) has been exceptionally hectic and next semester does not seem like it will be any different. Understandably, the blog has taken a huge back seat. Honestly I almost forgot about it!

And although I figured nobody still checks in on it, I'd still like to write down a few events, thoughts, and developments in my gay life.

I had the opportunity to see Mrs. Jane Elliot speak. Mrs. Elliot is the teacher responsible for the infamous "brown eyed - blue eyed" discrimination/oppression exercise. (She initially did this with 3rd graders and now uses the same exercise with adult groups.) She's a spark plug of a woman and strident in her opinions. Still, she's out there preaching the right message - mostly on racial issues, but also on gender and sexual orientation and social/economic status.

I also had the opportunity to hear Karen Popp, a former White House lawyer for President Clinton and a prosecutor of several famous mob bosses (including John Gotti) speak on leadership. Unfortunately she wasn't a particularly good speaker, although she had some highly interesting stories. When I asked her about challenges to women in attaining high levels of leadership, she basically said that, yep, there are challenges. I had hoped she would speak to what women could do to equip themselves for these challenges, and also possibly speak to challenges gays and lesbians experience (how do I know she was lesbian? see below).

Thanksgiving was a nice visit with my family. It was strange to think that this might be "the" family gathering for many years - my sister has a beau that's she's very serious about and his two sisters also visited us. Peter and I also got to spend some time in Atlanta on our own, which was very much fun. We even braved the post-Thanksgiving crowds for a reasonably good time and some nice deals.

Peter and I finally ran into a jewlery salesperson who wasn't freaked out when we told her we were looking for rings for us both. Not only was she not freaked, but was very enthusiastic and bubbly (sounded like she may have had a gay son).

I'm very excited about heading out to San Francisco for the holidays. We're visiting his family (and I ADORE his mother) and I think San Fran will be lovely and romantic this time of year.

I've lost 31 lbs in the past 13 weeks! How cool is that!!?? I know again look like the picture you see up here on my blog taken a few years ago.

I've long had a theory that some (not all) gay men have what I call "gay face." Gay face is a certain symmetry or something in the eyes, something I can't quite describe that identifies them as gay. Friends laugh at this, but now a study from a Harvard pyschology undergraduate seems to support my theory. The now graduated Harvardian showed people of various sexual orientations face pictures of other people and told the observers to rank how hetero or homosexual the person in the picture was. And there seem to be a correlation! Of course, gay men and lesbians did better at being correct, but, interestingly, gay men were easier to identify as being gay. Looks like I'm not so crazy after all!

If you've never seen the documentary Trembling Before G-d, do take time to see it. It's a great look at being Jewish (especially orthodox) and gay/lesbian. Recently, Rabbi Steven Greenberg was on a local radio interview program "Charlotte Talks." Listen to his interview here. What I thought was very interesting was his discussion of the relationship between homophobia and misogyny. I've long held this notion in my head, but the rabbi articulated it beautifully: "homophobia is a smaller room in the larger hotel of misogny." He goes on to talk about the threat that out gay men pose to traditonal patriarchical structures and notions of masculinity.

Back to personal news, I've begun teaching aikido again. This is a real joy; I certainly miss it when it's not in my life and seeing another person discover the wonder of this art is very rewarding. I'm thankful to the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Charlotte for hosting me.

Unfortunately, the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard of Charlotte, of which I'm a board member, is not fairing as well. Donations are way down (this seems to be the case for many charities -likely a result of the generous donations to the hurrican victims) and our volunteer base is anemic. Next year is our 25th Anniversary, which we plan to celebrate with a bang, especially since it might be our last. Any suggestions on reviving an ailing volunteer organization?

Well, if I don't get back to the blog in time, I want to wish everyone Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah as appropriate. I'll be sure to tell you all about my trip when I get back.

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