The Kiss Heard ‘Round the World

A woman stands up, refusing to sit the back of the bus. A bespeckled man decides to fast until the violence ends in Calcutta. Another steps in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square.

No guns. No army. Not a single punch thrown.

But these tiny acts changed the world.

Yesterday, it happened again when two members of the Russian women’s 4×400-meter relay team took a stand against Vladimir Putin and the Russian laws prohibiting homosexual expression.

And they did it with a

Standing on the podium with gold medals around their necks, Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova told the world not everyone in Russia believes in bigotry, not everyone is filled with hate.

It was powerful, dangerous and brave, and I hope nothing happens to these wonderful women. They haven’t made a formal statement, so there’s a chance this wasn’t political.

Still, it broke Russian law.

It’s also a blueprint for every athlete competing in the Sochi Olympics.

I know a lot of people want the U.S. to boycott the games, but billions of eyes will be watching, and one simple act of solidarity will mean more than not showing up ever could.

This is how we open people’s minds…with love.

SCOTUS – Prop 8 & DOMA

In a little less than seven hours, the Supreme Court should be issuing their ruling on Proposition 8 and DOMA. I’m nervous. I don’t know how this is going to turn out. My lawyer friends seem to think they’ll strike down DOMA, but punt on Prop. 8. I hope for more. I hope that tomorrow the highest court in the land has the courage to rule in favor of love. I hope my mother will have the same freedom to marry as my father and sister. I hope teenage couples and adult couples and old couples never have to feel that their relationship is somehow less than anyone else’s.

But no matter the ruling, no matter how just or unjust it seems, no law can crush the human heart.

I haven’t been blogging much recently. After my best friend as a kid killed himself last month, I haven’t seen much point. I’d grown tired of my voice.

But tomorrow’s decision has reminded me why I started this blog in the first place. It wasn’t about me or my feelings. It was about how much I love my mom, how proud I am of her, and how humbled I am by her courage. And until she has the same rights as everyone else I hold dear, this fight doesn’t end.

Brad Pitt Nude

A few years ago, my wife found “Brad Pitt Nude” on my browser history. She refuses to let it go. She’s relentless. She’ll just blurt, “B.P.N!” out of nowhere and fall over laughing.

She’s whispered it during sex.

Before we go to dinner parties, she threatens to tell our friends. She never would, but she mouths, “B.P.N,” every time I get up to grab a beer.

I break out in sweats. My heartbeat gets all wonky.

My wife thinks it’s hysterical.

She taped this in our bathroom.

She likes seeing how flustered I get. She owns me and she knows it.

I can’t take it anymore. That’s why I’m typing this, why I’m telling the world, “I LOOKED UP ‘BRAD PITT NUDE!’”

And it wasn’t just once. It was TWICE. Go ahead and judge. I don’t care. I’m taking back the power. My wife can’t hold this over me anymore.

Thing is, it has nothing to do with me looking at a naked man. If my wife came home and I was beating off to two dudes on my computer, she’d say, “Oh, sorry, I’ll let you finish.”

It’s the fact that it’s so specific, that it’s Brad Pitt Nude.

She knows I’m a fan. We see all his movies. I own most of them.

And not that it matters, but I wasn’t jacking off to BPN when I Googled him.

I just wanted to see the picture.

Here’s why:

In high school, Brad Pitt was arguably the coolest man on the planet, at least for me. Fight Club changed my life, and after seeing Se7en I actually outran a cop.

In the same way boys idolized Steve McQueen and James Dean, that’s how I felt about Brad Pitt. I didn’t want to kidnap or rape him; I wanted to meet him. I was a fan.

And in 1997 there was an issue of Playgirl. There were pictures of him naked. People were talking about it. It made the news. I was curious. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. But it was 1997, and the Internet wasn’t like today. You couldn’t just Google “B.P.N.” and scroll through a million images.

You had to get a hard copy.

I was too scared to buy it, so I got my girlfriend, H., to do it. She was grossed out at first. She thought I was gay. I told her that wasn’t it. There was a lawsuit. They were going to pull the magazine off the shelves. This thing would be worth money. I convinced her it was a business investment. She wasn’t very bright.

The next day she brought it over. I tried not to look too enthusiastic as she pulled it from her backpack. And there it was, B.P.N. Problem was, it was sealed in plastic. I couldn’t see the pictures.

The front door unlocked. It was my dad. I hid the magazine under the couch. Later, I hid it in my closet. It stayed there for months. I couldn’t open it. It was one thing to “accidentally” flip to an image, but to break the seal somehow made it perverse.

And to be honest, I was afraid of what would happen if I saw the pictures. What if I really liked them? What if they turned me on?

So B.P.N remained in plastic. It protected us both.

Over the years, I moved a lot, even across the country. BPN stayed in boxes, until eventually, he was lost.

I’d actually forgotten about it until a few years ago. My wife had bought us tickets to a double-feature of Se7en and Fight Club. Se7en actually held up better than I remembered. But Fight Club really jogged my memory.

And so later that night, after my wife fell asleep, I typed twelve letters into Google and finally saw what I’d denied myself all those years ago. I wasn’t giddy or aroused.

I was sad.

I thought about that kid in high school who just wanted to see a picture. He was curious, but he was scared. He was ashamed. He worried people would think he was gay, or that he really was, and he’d lose his girlfriend and maybe even his father.

But he had nothing to be ashamed about.

He was just curious.

And gay or straight, who doesn’t want to see a little B.P.N?

Have you ever been busted for something in your browser history?

Ardent Atheist Tonight!

I’m going to be on Ardent Atheist tonight at 7:30 PST. We’ll be talking about gay marriage, the Supreme Court, and probably my penis.

Watch and listen at:

OR 

The following folks will be in the studio:

Anthony Szpak –

@MyGayMom

Bryan Erwin -  @bryanerwin

AND

Adam Kaplan - 

WATCH & CHAT right here:


OR 

My Two Moms

Val was my mom’s first real girlfriend. I liked her from the moment we met. She was sweet and supportive. I wasn’t surprised when she and my mom bought a house together. They moved in with Val’s adopted kids. I flew to Kansas City and spent Christmas at their new place. We opened presents in the living room and stuffed our faces with turkey. Val wanted to know about my standup and writing. We became close over the years. She has always wanted to write. She likes to pick my brain. My mom and Val struggled like every couple. Eventually, they weren’t able to make it work. They decided to split, but when they came to our wedding, they didn’t mention the breakup. My mom didn’t want to dampen the day. I could tell something was up, but I didn’t push it. I shared a dance with Val, and she told me she’s always thought of me as her son. Until that moment, I’d only thought of her as my mom’s girlfriend. I suddenly realized she was also my mom.

When Did I Become a Bigot?

I didn’t realize how many people I grew up with don’t know my mom is gay. These aren’t people I hang out with regularly or talk to on the phone, but it amazes me. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bigots, that’s not where I’m going with this. If anything they’re overly supportive.

What bothers me is that living in Los Angeles has me equating Kansas City with Mayberry, even though I know firsthand they’re nothing alike. The KC metro area has over two million people.

Still, I’m assuming they’re going to get on a moral soapbox, say something derogatory. But the people I’ve spoken to only gush about my mom’s courage. They respect her. They’re proud of her. If anything, I’m the bigot for expecting anything less from my hometown, which I suppose, isn’t really a town.

The Loss of a Comic

Scott Kennedy passed away tonight. He was a wonderful comic, always smiling, always willing to throw his arms around you with a big ol’ hug. You might have seen him on one of the late shows or on Comedy Central. He’d been performing for over 20 years. A lot of civilians probably haven’t heard of him, but there are thousands of men and women in uniform who’ve laughed at his jokes. He entertained the troops in Afghanastan and Iraq over 50 times, and he would ask the soldiers to forget the outside world during the show, to just relax, laugh, and enjoy a bit of fun in the middle of hell.

I wasn’t the closest with Scott, but I’ve known him for almost 14 years and worked with him in Las Vegas. He was a good man with a big heart, and he was a shining light in the LGBT community. His passing weighs heavy on my heart tonight. I’ve noticed a lot of people on his Facebook page sharing their stories of Scott. Some people are asking how it happened. I don’t know, but it wouldn’t make a difference if I did.

I understand the desire to find out, the need to make sense of something so unexpected. When someone passes like this everyone scrambles for answers. We need to believe there’s order, there’s some guiding hand, that we’re not all perched on the brink of death. But we are, and we’re full of shit if we try to convince ourselves otherwise. We’re wiping smudges off the Hindenburg

If Scott was here, he’d probably agree, but he’d remind me it doesn’t matter, that of course we’re all going to pass eventually. It’s why it’s so important to let go of the pain and just laugh at the absurdity.

R.I.P. Scott.

 1979

I’m so proud and grateful my mom came out, but the little guy in this picture is pretty stoked she didn’t do it right away.