Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On the Eve of Turning 34....

Hot diggity damn, I feel like I was celebrating my 21st birthday just last year. The venerable and now passed on director of the advising program where I was working as a student, Dr. Guillermo Rojas, took me out with the other staff for drinks and, silly viejo, doubted that I could drink a blow job shot with my hands behind my back.

Straight men are so silly sometimes. Sleep well Profe Rojas!

Back then I was a twinky homo living in Minneapolis, finishing up undergrad, and dreaming of one day marrying a strapping man with an ass and penis that would make the Greeks cry, writing books, changing the world, taking care of my friends and family, and living a life to make my Mama and them proud (and all the while eating well and looking good doing it).

I'll be Hot Diggity Damned if I ain't well on my way.

The last 13 years have brought all kinds of ups and downs, changes, dramas, hurts, mistakes, BIG mistakes, BIGGER mistakes, friendships, friends lost, friends and family died and moved on, loves, break ups, lessons learned and lessons re-learned, tons of laughter, tons of healing, some wounding and wound taking, and some life shattering events on a personal and global scale.

I turned 21 in 1998. It was at the height of the 90s prosperity. Clinton was still in the White House. The interwebs was making 21 year olds into overnight billionaires, poor people were poor but richer than poor folks had ever been before, cars were getting bigger, the economy was getting bigger, and I was growing up amongst prosperity and in a cohort of radical queer organizers that helped me believe anything at all was possible.

In the meantime we've had two and a half wars, eight years of GW Bush, the first black president, a recessions almost as big as the Great Depression, an oil crisis, an integrity crisis, and one hell of a collective identity crisis.

But through it all, I have been blessed to know and grow and love and be loved by so many amazing people. And tomorrow I celebrate my 34th birthday and the release of my first book, written with my former partner and friend David Berube (it includes 20 of his prints): It Ain't Truth If It Doesn't Hurt.

Life brings many blessings and many lessons. It's brought me amazing family, amazing friends, and amazing loved ones new and old (am happy to have a new blessing in the body of Keith in my life as well).

Thanks to you all that have helped make this journey possible. I love you!
It Ain't Truth If It Doesn't HurtIt Ain't Truth If It Doesn't HurtIt Ain't Truth If It Doesn't Hurt

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Prayer to St. Fornicacia

Our Lady of Fornication
Who art in the Bathhouse
Bottom be thy Name

Intercede on our behalf
and let us overcum temptation

In the name of Bubble Butts
and our well hung savior.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pee On Him

Now and again, I am viscerally reminded of the fact that yes, indeed, I am an animal with built in biological impulses that sometimes create random and often times hilarious urges.

I was at the gym this morning with Keith, as we are wont to do in the a.m. Now, for those of you that haven't seen Keith, he is a stunning specimen of the male figure. Walking around in public with him is an exercise in patience and self-control...in two ways. There is the patience and self-control around not mounting him in public and putting on a live sex show...if you'd seen his butt you'd understand what I am talking about. And there is the self-control of not sticking my foot through the throats of some of the gays that practice their x-ray vision when looking at him.

I have to remind myself what my Aunt Lilly told my sister Jasmine at Honey Bun's funeral, "Girl...don't nobody want a man that nobody else wants."

But back to biology.

There are two gentleman at our gym that, according to various online sources, practice the world's oldest profession. They have a friend that we call, "Hooker's Friend." We have all kinds of names for folks at the gym: Vintage Gay, Porn Booty, Onesie, and Shark Eyes to name a few. Now Hooker's Friend LOVES Keith. I mean goes out of his way to say hello and goodbye to him, and today he was standing behind Keith staring a hole in the back of Keith's head.

I thought it was hilarious at first. And then I found myself wanted to do something to stake my claim to Keith. It was more than just a thought...it was a deep seated impulse. I resisted the impulse and it went away, but a moment later, when we were done with our exercise in that area, we got up to walk away, and after walking about ten steps, I realized that I had, without any thought, interposed myself between Keith and Hooker Friend and I had literally swollen up and was walking like a stiff legged cat protecting its mate and territory.

I almost choked trying not to laugh at myself.

I realized that I absolutely had gone to a primal place. I wasn't jealous at all by situation. I wasn't feeling intimidated by the other person. I didn't feel inadequate or off balance. And I wasn't attracted to the other man at all. Those things (minus the last) usually lead me to some really not fun jealousy feelings. This was something else. This was my instincts telling me to "protect my mate from a potential predatory rival." I consiered peeing on him for a second (he's not into that).

Score one for natural selection.

In the end, it was a hilarious reminder that, in fact, humans are animals with instincts...and when those instincts come out in a gay showdown at Gold's gym....it is better than Christmas.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Biceps and Brains

So, for any of you that have the burden of being one of my Facebook friends, you will know that since Easter, I have been busting my ass in the gym. Since that Holiest of Christian Days (right after the First Shopping Day of Christmas), I have spent somewhere around 15-20 hours a week at the gym.

I wrote a blog all about why. It's called Body Beautiful. Check it out.

But the bottom line is that around Easter, I decided to go right on ahead and get the body that I have always wanted...not because someone somewhere told me that I should have it, but because I have done my work around my body issues, acknowledged my body dysmorphia, and decided that the only person that could make me happy with my body is me.

For the first damn time when I look in the mirror, with the exception of my dragon claw toes, from my ass to my pecs, biceps to lats, I love what I see. I did the work, and fuck you in the back of your throat with a razor blade covered jackhammer if you think I am not about to enjoy every damn minute of it.

It's still a work in progress, but when I was walking down the street wearing an already too tight button down short sleeve rainbow striped shirt that I have to leave half way unbuttoned lest my titties burst out of the front like Lindsay Lohan busting out of rehab...it began to rain...and once that shirt was plastered to my body, I swear at least three homos ran head first into sign posts on 9th Ave.

I win!

Now, I have and will continue to fuck and get plowed by men that have less than the Chelsea boy ideal of a body. In fact, not to put my bidness to far out there, since achieving my current body state, I have. Why? BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND AND FIND SEXINESS GOES BENEATH THE SKIN (and sometimes gets pounded into select parts of my skin...with permission).

But what I have come across and will not tolerate are slack jawed bitter biznatches that gots something to say about the work I have done based on their own dissatisfaction or snarky crossed eye faggoty snarkiness. I do not play that. I have never played that. I shan't start now. Thank you.

The other day, I was taking a spinning class at the Upper West Side YMCA and an older gay gentleman in the class made a comment about my biceps being bigger than my brains. Now, in fact, I wasnt' really offended. I was caught off guard, mostly, since thoe comments have never been directed at me before. Since then, in jest(ish), other folks have also made commentary about the connection between my body and my intelligence (the broader your chest the dumber you MUST be) or made assumptions, even in jest, about my value around other folks' bodies.

Let me go right on ahead and say to the peoples of America that the work I have done and will continue to do on my body, body image, body dysmorphoia, body policing, body type valuation, and living in an HIV positive body will continue based on my thoughts, feelings and analysis. Your verbal poison, bitterness, jealousy or your need to lash out because you have been devalued, disregarded, or denigrated by fucked up human beings that DO place a particular value on OTHER people's bodies rather than focusing on their own physical journey...is not appropriate. Keep it to yourself, or you will be told about yourself. Publicly. Without mercy.

I restrained myself on the good gentleman at the YMCA, and, much to his credit, he, a few moments later, came to me and apologized for his comment. I didn't need his apology, though I accepted it, but it was awesome to watch his process as he realized that maybe he had made a jest that possibly had an impact that was more about him than about its target.

If only we could all be so self aware. Lord knows I am not always. And this particular new self awareness around what it means to live in a different body type is a very interesting experience to be having.

Though let's be real...the benefits way outweigh the moments of having to deal with other people's ugly.

Love yourself. Love the body you walk in. And if you don't love it, do the work you need to do to love it, whatever that means for you. Until then, leave everyone else the Hell alone.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Movie Review: Gun Hill Road

Every five or six years a movie comes along that has the potential to radically alter the popular dialogue around a particular issue or topic. The film generally tells a story from a new, distinct perspective, provides a stark, harsh, gentle, funny, and human point of view about a situation or situations that are broadly relevant but largely ignored or only talked about behind closed doors. The "what goes on in this house, stays in this house," silences that so many of us know too well.

Once every five or six years a movie comes along that I wish every single person on the planet could be compelled to watch.

Gun Hill Road is one of those movies.

The story is simple. Set in the South Bronx, A father (Esai Morales) returns from prison after suffering sexual violence while an inmate to find his family much changed since he left. His wife (Judy Reyes), in his absence, found comfort with another man, and his son, Michael, is in the process of becoming Vanessa (Harmony Santana), the women Michael was born to be.

What ensues is a raw look at what it means to walk in brown skin, poor skin, incarcerated skin, sexually violated skin, gender non-comforming skin, transitioning skin, transcultural skin, machista skin, mother's skin, father's skin, urban skin and all connected through a tapestry of blood and street kinship, families of choice and families of survival and running throughout the whole thing a literal and spiritual poetry that gives life.

This movie was sometimes funny, sometimes sensual, sometimes deep, and sometimes light but it was never for a moment disconnected or artificial not even when Vanessa goes for her first silicon injection.

Esai Morales gives the performance of a lifetime, and I would not be surprised if this doesn't earn him an Oscar nomination. Judy Reyes, most often known as the witty and sassy Dominicana from Scrubs proves that she is a soulful actress whose talent and range runs deep. And newcomer Harmony Santana, a trans woman who quite literally was beginning her own physical transition during the filming of this movie is reminiscent of Gabriel Sidibe....a brilliant newcomer that ties the entire story together.

Rashaad Ernesto Green, I had a chance to hear you speak at the Angelika on August 5th. Congratulations on a brilliant piece of work. Keep it humble my friend, but be proud of what you have accomplished.

And for the rest of you, get your ass out and see this movie. Now.