Monthly Archives: May 2010

When To Come Out To Your Roommate

Honestly? Before you even become roommates. Is that always the case? Not really. Coming out to your roommate can sometimes be more difficult than it sounds, but you gotta remember that being honest to those who you live with can be beneficial to both of you.

Most of us spend a great deal of time thinking and planning how to come out to our families, but it really doesn’t stop there. We literally come out on a daily basis. Every single time we meet a new person, that’s another person to come out to. However, coming out to a roommate is not as easy as coming out to a friend, but if you don’t do it in a timely manner, you may find yourself facing some uncomfortable living situations.

Coming Home Not Coming Out

Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how social you may be, you always end up at home some time throughout and the last thing you want, is to come to a place you call “home” but where you still have to hide who you really are from every one in there. If you’ve been out all day, at work or school, and had a stressful day, watching the things you say or do while in your place won’t make your day any better. And to be fair, your roommate might notice that something may be going on with you and misinterpret things you say or do.

Bringing a Date Home

Not likely. If you never told your roommate you were gay prior to moving in, that also means you’re not gonna find ways to let your roommate know that. Or you may not even bring a date for fear to make your relationship with your roommate an awkward one.

Dealing With Your Roommate

Sometimes it is inevitable that we move in with someone without any prior knowledge of who they are (and vice versa), and when you agreed to move in together, it just didn’t feel right to let them know that you are gay. If you’re unlucky like me, you might end up living with a hardcore homophobic (true story) or in the brighter side, they might just not care. In that case, you should use your good judgement on whether to let them know and when, or simply let it go and find another place (I only lived with that roommate for two months).

It is not easy having to deal with society on a daily basis and our homes, should be our “safe place” to go to. So if you find yourself looking for roommates right now, make sure you move in with someone who is okay with who you are. If you’re already living with someone and haven’t come out to them yet, remember that the place you share is just as yours as it is theirs, and you should both feel comfortable living there.

Support Date

Although we live in a society with a great hunger for entertainment, sometimes, being a responsible adult can be a good idea for alternative dating. Although a dinner and a movie are our everyday favorites as choices for a date- specially with this economy- every now and then, the time you spend with that person you like or love, could be geared away a bit different from the usual date scene.

It is almost 10pm in Los Angeles and the Americano from Coffee Bean that I have been drinking for the past half hour is barely beginning to kick in. I got home from work about four hours ago and since then, I have been working on a research paper which I have due tomorrow. My girlfriend on the other hand, has been sitting next to me for the same amount of time, studying for a history test that she has first thing tomorrow morning. I know this may not sound like a dream date to some but this way, we can keep each other in line as far as keeping up with school work goes, and rather than sitting by myself in some corner at the school library, I get to have her by my side and I am able to spend time with her.

Although my Facebook status reads “Americano in one hand, NY Times in the other. This research about petroleum isn’t going that well. I guess it doesn’t help that I keep wishing I were in bed…” it can’t be overlooked that sometimes we leave our to-do lists hidden somewhere while we go out (and have fun), because “I’ll do it later when I get home.” If you and your date agree that getting your homework or a project done while you sip on lattes and maybe exchange a conversation or two throughout the night, could be an alternative way to spend time together, this will strengthen your relationship because you won’t see your date as something that is getting in the way of accomplishing your career goals, and you or your date won’t feel like you are being set aside because of work.

I’m not trying to tell you that you shouldn’t have fun with your date, because you should! but from time to time, you should also find alternative ways to spend time with that special person in a way that you both don’t leave aside that important deadline you need to meet. Whether it is because you simply have to, or because you want to support your partner, spending time together can be also enjoyed while tending to those responsibilities we still wish we didn’t have.

Gay Couple Sentenced To Prison

Last week, a gay couple was sentenced to 14 years of prison for having an engagement party in Malawi. One of the things the judge mentioned in his ruling was that “he was especially offended that the two lovers celebrated their relationship in public.”

It’s not news that gay marriage or the simple act of being gay (and acting on it) isn’t legal in some countries, but when you actually see that two people have been sent to jail for wanting to make a life together, it scares me and should scare you as well. Currently, there are about 80 countries that have anti-homosexual laws.

This sentence violates this couple’s human rights. When people from Malawi (mainly officials) dare to say that this conflicts with their culture, we ought to look closer at what culture means and how we’re destroying lives using this reasoning. Culture is supposed to bring societies together, not break them apart. A person willing to love shouldn’t be put away to jail. More importantly, a country like Malawi that is currently struggling with AIDS, should rather concentrate in this and other pressing issues, as opposed to forbidding a couple to express their love for each other. A government is supposed to protect its individuals, not attack them.

Perhaps this couple is suffering now but they may have opened a door to discuss this issue in a country like Malawi. Maybe also bring awareness so we keep an eye on these countries where progress towards equality hasn’t even started yet.

It Takes Two

One of the things that people often don’t realize when getting into a relationship is that it usually comes with a set of shared responsibilities. Whether this would be a good or bad thing for some, it can’t be overlooked that once you’re in a relationship, everything you do will affect your loved one in one way or another.

Although my girlfriend and I have only been dating for a bit less than a year, we have been splitting responsibilities for over five months now; this includes things like cooking, finances, etc. We do have separate incomes and we are free to spend as we wish, but we usually consult the other before spending that money.

Yesterday, we went to a pet adoption festival. We both have been wanting a dog for the longest time, but living in L.A. where dog-friendly apartments are few, having a dog is not really an option (for now). The idea was to just go see the dogs and get excited about getting a dog once we move into a dog-friendly apartment. We even left all cash and credit cards behind, to make sure that we
wouldn’t fall in love with a dog and get it on the spot.

We walked around for barely a few minutes when we found the cutest puppy ever. He was a chihuahua and Jack Russell mix. We were actually looking at another dog when he got our attention while looking at us and wagging his tail. If I could speak “pup,” he was probably saying “come get me, you know you want me.” “I can go get my card,” I said. “We can sneak it into the apartment until they (landlord) find out,” my girlfriend added. “Who’s gonna watch it tomorrow while we’re at work?” The fantasy was over.

We may want something really badly, but we both know we’re not in the position to have a dog. We can’t afford it, time and money wise. Having a dog, when we are so busy juggling work and school wouldn’t be good for us or the dog. This is a shared responsibility we agreed not to have for the time being. At least not for another three months. I’ll keep you posted.

Love Can’t Be A Sin: Hate Crimes

We constantly proud ourselves in saying that among all beings, we, human beings, are the most intelligent ones. That unlike any other creature on earth, we successfully developed language and are able to communicate effectively. Yet, we raise our arms to kill our own because they’re gay, or black, or not what we want them to be. Where do these hate crimes stop?

Rebecca Wight and her partner, Claudia Brenner, were camping one night at the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, when Stephen Roy Carr fired eight bullets to the couple. During his trial, he claimed that he was upset because the couple was having sex. Wight and Brenner thought they were alone and they were simply loving each other. But to Carr, that just wasn’t right.

Wight died while Brenner was able to escape and look for help. Carr was eventually caught and sentenced to life without parole. Brenner became an activist and wrote the book “Eight Bullets: One Woman’s Story of Surviving Anti-Gay Violence” in hopes to spread awareness about anti-gay violence.

When my girlfriend and I are in public, we don’t feel comfortable with any display of affection towards each other. If we’re walking through a lonely street, and usually at night, sometimes we’d hold hands, but if we feel someone is approaching, we let go of each other’s hand as quickly as possible. I am always in fear that even if we’re not holding hands, someone is going to realize that we are a couple and they will hurt us. I sometimes look at straight couples and I feel a bit jealous of them; they can kiss and hold hands without this fear. They don’t know what it’s like to think that someone could come and hurt you simply because you’re loving someone else.

Today I want to ask you for a little bit of tolerance. If you are straight, try to think what it would be like to be afraid to hold the hand of your loved one in public. Say no to hate crimes.

Why Do We Care that Chely Wright Came Out of the Closet?

When Chely Wright came out of the closet during Oprah’s show this last Wednesday, she opened that closet door for herself and the rest of us. More often than not, when a celebrity comes out of the closet, the world watches and gossips- even if for a day or two. And an event like this one usually has a great impact in how the world sees the homosexual community.

Prior to the article on The Boot, I didn’t even know who Wright was; partly because I’ve never been too fond of Country music. But the message that Chely delivered through her appearance during Oprah’s show, made me want to pay more careful attention to this country singer.

The main theme of her appearance in the show was an apology to an ex-boyfriend. “Doing anything with someone you shouldn’t be doing something with — having sex with him, kissing on him, going into a movie and holding hands with a man when you’re a lesbian feels wrong, When you want to be with someone else, it’s wrong. I wronged him … I damaged [Brad], and I hope he forgives me. I hope this fills in some emotional gaps for him. I don’t assume he’s pining over how Chely Wright hurt his feelings a few years ago. I’m assuming he’s happy and moved on, but I would welcome any chance [to talk to him],” the singer said. Now why do we care that she is apologizing to an ex-boyfriend who she used to date over a decade ago? Because there’s more involved in repressing homosexuality than most people care to realize.

When a homosexual person is pressured into staying in the closet, they are also likely to be pressured into engaging and maintaining straight relationships. When I was 18 and single, every time I had a conversation with any family member, the conversation always started with “so darling, do you have a boyfriend now?” It is really hard to keep up with family (and society) expectations, and when you try to, costly mistakes could be (and will be) made.

Making yourself be with someone can and will hurt you and the person you’re seeing. Wright said, “I had no business being in a relationship with him … I was making a deal again with myself: ‘Well, Chel, you’ll forego love. You’ll go without love. Find someone with whom you can spend your life that makes you laugh, that you like how they live their life, that you can share a
life with.'” How fair can it be that a homosexual person has to let go of love to please society? Making a person do something they really don’t want to do will harm their well being. Being with someone who falls in love with you without being able to return that love will hurt them. If a couple in this situation ever decides to get married and have children, the lack of love will hurt this family. Furthermore, there will be secrecy in the relationship and this secrecy will eventually be resented.

If we want a better world, the change starts with us. Homosexuality can no longer be a side issue, something you talk about only to degrade others. The damage caused to people, families and lives because of homosexual repression is something we can all avoid if we take the responsibility to educate ourselves about this issue and how important it is in our society.

“My dating men was my giving it a Hail Mary toward normal. I ultimately just confused the heck out of  them because I couldn’t love them the way they loved me” – Chely Wright.

Maintaining A Professional Relationship

Maintaining a relationship can be difficult but maintaining a professional relationship when working with your partner could be tricky also. Not only do you have to worry about reporting your relationship to HR but also, you may find yourself worrying about your behavior even if it is not as inappropriate as you may think it is.

When I first got the call to come for an interview with the company where my girlfriend works at, the only thought I had at the time was “I am one step closer to getting that much needed summer job.” I had been looking for a job for over four months prior to getting hired at my current job, and the thought of not being able to gather enough money for rent over the summer was beginning to hunt me. However, it was not until my first week working with my girlfriend that I realized that I was getting myself in a situation that I never gave much thought to.

We agreed jointly that there was no need to report our relationship to HR. Our reasoning behind it was that there was really no reason to. If something were to happen between us, we understood that such issue should be left at home and never to be discussed here.

My other concern was the fact that we were coming in to and leaving work at the same time. “Don’t you think they’ll notice?” I asked my girlfriend once. “We’re friends that work together, friends commute sometimes,” she simply said. Then it was the fact that sometimes we happen to go to the restroom at the same time (we work about 3 cubicles away). Or that sometimes she gets a drink for me, or I get lunch for her. “We’re too good of friends to each other,” I told her once.

But now, with May almost gone and the 4th of July getting closer and closer, another concern arises. We are planning to take a week off to spend that week/weekend with my in laws. So how do we do that again? I said that it made more sense to ask separately and not to offer more explanations than “I’m visiting my family for the holiday.” But she thinks we should do it jointly. What to do?

Well, we sure don’t know yet. But we have about two more weeks until we have to figure it out. We have maintained a good professional relationship so far, will this give an end to that? Hopefully it will not. I like having a paycheck- but even more, I like flirting with that cute coworker who works just three cubicles away from me.

I Too Give A Damn!

Spreading the word!

Not too long ago I ran into the Give A Damn Campaign website. From their site, “The Give a Damn Campaign is for everybody who cares about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.”

This website has all sorts of resources from information and videos to personal stories from people that have a reason to fight for equality.

Please take a moment to check it out and join if you too give a damn.

Not A Lifestyle Choice

The common myth that being gay is a lifestyle choice is just that, a myth. During the first year after I was outted to my mother, she told me once during a phone conversation that all I needed “was to have sex with a man to know that my liking for women was just in my head and not real at all.” Because she was older and more experienced to my eyes, and I was just an 18 year-old that didn’t know what was best for me, I decided to give it a try.

He was a really nice guy. We did date for a bit and I did like him. I didn’t think I liked him the way I had liked women at that point, but I knew that if I had to go for the extreme measure in order to “fix what was wrong with me,” then he would be the guy.

Up until today, I still wish with all my heart that I had never gone through that experience. It simply didn’t feel right. I know people have told me it’s supposed to feel “natural” but it didn’t. Not for one moment. I was very disturbed afterward. At least for a little while.

I still don’t understand the logic behind people’s obsession over other people’s lives. I don’t have a girlfriend to upset anyone, I have a girlfriend because I love her. Because with her, it actually feels “natural.” The easiest way for me to look at it is that if you’re a straight man/woman, the idea of loving another man/woman as a partner is nonsensical- the same is for me when thinking of being with a man.

Perhaps I do have the choice to be with my girlfriend, but I didn’t choose to fall in love with her. And if you really think it’s a crime/sin to choose love, then be my guest- “Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.” Kahlil Gibran.

I’m Very Traditional

It’s official, I’ll be moving closer to Westwood over the summer- more importantly though, I’ll be moving in with my girlfriend.

One of the things that I think dooms us, gay people, is the fact that certain people think we’re trying to break the status quo of society: man flirts with a woman, they get married, have children and then the cycle repeats itself. Gays on the other hand, we’re deviants, weirdos, queer, and whatever else that people go around saying.

When I met my girlfriend, I told her that I wasn’t looking for anything serious. It wasn’t because I didn’t really want anything serious with her, but because I was tired of people not wanting something serious with me. So much that I had given up trying. In reality, I have been wanting something serious my whole life.

When I was little, I used to dream of growing up, going to school, getting married to my college sweetheart, move to a nice house, have children and then watch them go away to college while my sweetheart and I would grow old together. Somehow, even when little, I just knew that my sweetheart wasn’t going to be a man. I was too little to understand why I felt that way, but I still dreamed of that fantasy.

When I first dated, I dated a boy- because that’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re a girl; you go date that nice young man who lives down the street. This nice young man was indeed really nice, but I never looked forward to seeing him- it was almost like something I had to do. That feeling changed when I dated a girl. I could feel that excitement in me just with the thought of seeing her later (even calling her!)- it was indeed what I imagine 16-year-old straight girls feel over boys… I just felt it for girls. My fantasy once again made sense. Although, I would soon find out that not everyone has the same fantasy.

Girl after girl after girl, okay it wasn’t that many, but still- I realized that people in general, aren’t serious about spending the rest of their lives with just one person. It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay, we live in a society that praises promiscuity. Same-sex couples aren’t trying to damage “the institution of marriage,” individuals with lack of love and commitment are the ones doing all the damage.

My girlfriend and I eventually realized that when we were little, we wanted the same things (specially coming from very Republican states) but down the road, we found people who hurt us and we forgot what was like to be little and dream of things. Dream of very good things.

Now let me tell you about my dreams. I fantasize about the day my girlfriend and I move in together (which will be very soon). About the day we can get married (and be protected under rights that say we are each other’s spouse). Then the day we have the house, and the kids, and how we’ll split our schedules to pick them up from school- or when I’ll have to get out earlier from work to go to a soccer game (or a piano recital).

I apologize if I don’t fit the stereotype; if I’m not the deviant trying to corrupt society. I just happen to be like any other girl. Just a very traditional girl (who happens to love another girl).

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