Thursday, June 26, 2014

And Then There is Texas

I've always been proud to be a Texan. Texas is a truly unique place in the world. That is not to say that there are not other unique places in the world. There are of course. That is why my wife and I spend so much time traveling around the world. But Texas is the unique place with which I am most familiar and the place I always return to from my travels.

That said, more and more my pride in being a Texan is being shaken these days by the utter stupidity
of some of those who make news as political activists. Recently Texas had its State GOP Convention. Nothing wrong with that of course. Every state has one, but undoubtedly none of these other states conventions come up with as many stupid platform proposals as do the far right-wing Texans who represent the evangelical Christians and the Tea Party and dominate the Platform Committee.

In the recent GOP Convention in Texas the approximately 7000 member Platform Committee decided in their total lack of wisdom that the GOP Platform should contain language supporting Reparative Therapy for gays to help them become straight. Seeing as how every respected psychiatric organization in the United States has declared Reparative Therapy to be roughly the equivalent of curative snake oil, it was an embarrassing moment for most Texas Republicans and for Texas. But that is part of the problem. The far right-wing Christians and the radical Tea Party members have no capacity whatsoever to be embarrassed over their own stupidity and ignorance. The are perfectly comfortable in their feelings that what they believe is truth and that it is their duty to see that everyone else believes it too.

While other states are recognizing the reality of equal opportunity under the law for gays to marry their same-sex partners, too many Texans cling to the false notion that such marriages would be a direct and immediate danger to their own marital status.

Fortunately, at the same time, an amazing number of Texas citizens do not subscribe to this foolishness. The other day a couple of my gay friends invited my wife and I to a party at their home. They have a large home in a part of Houston that is being regentrified  on the north side. This regentrification is largely the product of gay couples who are moving into the area and fixing up homes that have been home to squatters for the last several years. The house my friends bought was totally covered in vines in the front. In the back, windows had been broken for squatters to enter and the house was a total wreck. Light fixtures, air conditioners and anything else with any value had been ripped out and carried away. In just less than a year, my friends turned it into a showplace again much to the liking of their straight neighbors.

The neighbors have not only continued to be supportive but also quick to include my friends in the social activities of the neighborhood. At the party there were lesbian couples, gay couples and straight couples. It was not a gay party. It was a neighborhood party and everyone had a great deal of fun. The party started at 5:00 p.m. and the invitation said it would continue until the last guest departed. That turned out to be a little after 2:00 a.m.

The point is that most of Texas' population is located in its three large metropolitan areas and these
people are doing a great job of learning how to judge people, not by their sexual orientation or the color of their skin, but rather by their character. It is a wonderful thing. It's not such a wonderful thing that the chief purveyors of hate and discrimination these days is found in our politics and in our evangelical churches. Oh sure, the claim to love the sinner but hate the sin thinking that lets them off the hook. It never occurs to them that homosexuality might not always be a sin.

Yesterday a circuit court in Denver ruled that every state must allow same-sex marriage under the equal protection provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America. This sets in motion the process that will end with a review by the U.S. Supreme Court. No one can predict what the sharply divided court will do in this case; but if I was betting, I know where I'd place my bet.

We live in interesting times. There is much wrong with our world. Hatred looms in too many areas of the world fed all to0 often by religious zealots who use religion to support their own hate and prejudice.

I'm proud to be an American and a Texan, for although we're far from perfect, we remain the best hope of the world and things generally are getting better all the time in our part of the world. Hopefully our politicians and our religious leaders will come to recognize that they are out of touch with the citizens they represent. We'll never get rid of political institutions, but if religious institutions don't soon come to grips with changing realities, they'll soon find themselves having to close their doors for lack of money and congregations to keep them open.

Jack Scott

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What I've Learned Along the Way - Part Two

As I said in the first part of this post back in December, "Gay men have won their battle to be accepted into the culture. That is not to say there is no work left to be done, there certainly is, but they won the war."

I went on to say that the same is not true for bisexual men. They have a very long way to go. There
are many reasons for this. Perhaps that is the reason this post was delayed so long, letters and phone calls just kept coming in to give me background input.

A caller said: "bisexual men just don't know what they want." And, he is right. Even a casual look around the bisexual scene will confirm this. To be fair, let's start with what the caller considers should be the definition of a bisexual man. He is a man who knows from experience that he can perform with both men and women and be satisfied performing with both. Gender has little to nothing to do with those he sees as possible  life partners.

A personal friend of mine agrees fully, married for 24 years, his marriage existed on paper, and it produced children, but besides the children, nothing good ever came of the marriage. It was just a 24 year long fight which ended in divorce. After the breakup my friend found his life partner, another male. He said, he loved Charles greatly, but if Charles had been Charlene, he would have loved her just as much.

My friend and the caller agree that to a bisexual man, gender has little or nothing to do with whom they form a long term partnership. When you think about it, this is really a pretty nice thing. The problem though is not many bisexual men subscribe to this way of thinking, or don't subscribe to it soon enough to prevent a lot of pain for themselves and others.

The second, and perhaps the most common confusion that "bisexual" men create for themselves, and
everyone they interact with, are those men who call themselves bisexual simply because they are married to a woman, but enjoy sex with a man. There are two subsets for this kind of man:

  1. the man who really loves his wife, but also loves sex with another man, or other men.
  2. the man who does not love his wife, but stays married for convenience while he has sex with other men.
There are millions of men in the category. Most of them are in the 40 and above age bracket. They are the ones who cause people to say that bisexual men are self-centered. All too often, they are right. I'm not casting stones at these men, I'm one of them. If there is any difference in me it is that I was so bothered by the experience that I began to do a lot of critical thinking about what should be done about it.

The third way bisexual men stir up trouble for themselves is the clash between the bisexuals who want a monogamous relationship and those who want to use their bisexuality as a license to party hearty, or even engage in regular sexual orgies. Some of these guys say they practice safe sex, but the reality is there is really no way to practice safe sex in a sexual orgy scene. For those who are married, their wives were at that orgy too even though were not physically there.

All of the things that lead to confused thinking about bisexuals, both inside and outside the bisexual ranks, have flaws that do not serve the bisexual man well, and give way to just cause for criticism to those outside the bisexual community.

There is a fourth reason men turn to active bisexuality that has some reasonability about it. In the case of a man whose wife becomes incapacitated, but he is not ready to become celibate. Sex with another man is less binding. Rarely does one man try to sue the other man. Usually, there are no expectations of marriage between two men in such a situation. Of course, this still leaves the other man in such a relationship? That must be a consideration too.

About four years ago a young man contacted me and asked if I would meet with him. We arranged a meeting. At the meeting, I met a very attractive young single man who was so uptight it was beginning to affect every part of his life. At this first meeting and many to follow he only wanted to talk generally and avoid telling me anything that might identify his real name to me. I respected that.

After a while, he began to open up and tell me what concerned him. It boiled down to his feeling he was homosexual. Since he was not married, it didn't seem to be too big a deal to me, but there was a catch: he didn't want to be gay. The thought of being gay was driving him nuts.

He's a very athletic guy (not that athletic guys can't be gay). But just a casual meeting with him would never cause one to walk away thinking: "What a nice gay guy." I told him that. I think it helped, but
not much. He continued to be consumed with this "what if" question.

I told him I thought I could help him find out if he was gay, bisexual or straight, but he had to promise to answer all my questions honestly and completely. He agreed. One of the first questions I asked of him was why he thought he might be gay. He said that he loved to look at pictures of good looking men, and he noticed good looking men he might see in public.

I told him I like art of all kinds. I've spent all day in the National Art Museum of several countries. It doesn't mean I ever expect to own something that would be in there.  I told him also, I like to look at good looking men. Doesn't mean I want to have sex with any of them.

He had previously told me when he was a kid, he was small and had been pushed around by other guys. That had caused him to become a gym rat, so such abuse would not happen. He accomplished his goal. I told him he knows how much work goes into building a body that people would notice. That could be part of his attraction to good looking well built men - an appreciation of the work they have done to sculpt their bodies.

I asked him if he had had sex in college. He said he had a lot of sex in college. I asked if that was with men or women, or both. He said it was always with women. He had never been with a man.
I asked if he enjoyed straight sex. He said that he enjoyed it very much.

We continued to talk for weeks. Our custom was to get something to eat and then just drive around in the car. He still had not told me his real name. One day a strategy came to mind. I was driving and just headed west. We came to one of Houston's many gated neighborhoods. I avoided the guard and approached the gate through the resident's lane. It opened immediately as it would for any resident. All residents have to have an electronic sticker on the windshield to trip the gate. I drove to my house and pointed it out to him and giving him the address. My thought was that now that he knew where I lived, he would soon tell me his address. A few days latter he did. This was important because it showed trust on both sides, and would encourage him to talk openly about his life.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge between this young man and me in the last four years. He's  one of the most impressive men I have ever met. We've become great friends though we are separated by almost 35 years in age. I give him free access to the store of wisdom I've accumulated during seven decades on this earth. He gives me a measure of confidence that when I'm dead and gone, the world will still be in good hands because of guys like him.

He's married now to an exceptionally beautiful and gentle woman. It seems to me that they could me my wife and I starting over again. Together, they are going to go to places they never dreamed of just as my wife and I have done. "What about his sexuality?" you ask. He's come to realize he is not gay. He's bisexual. We talk a lot about his bisexuality and mine and what he must learn if his life is to be as satisfying and successful as he hopes it to be. What I tell him is something that I would have once thought ridiculous, but now I think it is the real answer for every bisexual guy for whom morality is important.

As those of you who have read much of my writing know, I am a Christian. As a Christian, the moral complications of bisexuality have always been a grave concern for me. How could I be both bisexual and a Christian? There are actually several parts to the answer of that question, that I came to understand well in my personal struggle. But the one thing that always continued to nag me was the fact that I was cheating on my wife who trusted me not to do such a thing.

The problem, of course, is that morality is not important at all for a staggering number of men all around the world. In India, gangs of men are roaming the streets looking for young women whom they can rape and murder. It is a national past time. The same is becoming true in Egypt. Sexual assault against women is open and rampant. After all, boys will be boys!

Throughout the middle east and spreading quickly to other countries around the world women are the property of their husbands. They have no rights other than those he decides they can have. They are kept hidden away behind  the dark burqa or the black abaya and niqãb depending on what part of the Muslim world the reside in.

Houston is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the United States. Still it did not stop a Muslim father from killing his own daughter recently because by marrying an infidel (a U.S. Citizen who was not Muslim) she had brought dishonor to the family! How anyone much less any group of human beings could have arrived at the point of seeing such a thing as an honorable act is simply beyond my understanding. I know very well that most American Muslims would never do such a thing, but why would any Muslim who would even want to come to the United States?

So, we are all still immersed up to our necks in the human condition. Some of us get it. Some of us never will.

I've always been proud to be a Texan. "Texas", as we say, "is a whole nother country." And it's true. Texas is a state of mind found nowhere else in the world. It's a can do spirit mellowed with a readiness to help a neighbor in a time of need. It's a feeling that "I worked hard for mine, and you should damn well work hard for yours."

No matter what one may think of this Texas Spirit, reality tells the real tale. If Texas was still an independent nation, it would be the 14th largest economy of all the countries of the world. Is it any wonder that Texans worry that the millions of immigrants pouring into Texas may bring with them the old ideas, old feelings and old politics that served to keep them poor and subdued in their old home states or counties.

Don't get me wrong, even Texas has its share of assholes. I even know a few of them personally. They are guys that only care about looking out for number one, and they don't care whom they crush to stay on top. As an example, 7000 delegates to the recent Texas State GOP Convention overwhelmingly voted to endorse Repairative Therapy for gay men. They might as well have voted to cut off their dicks and their balls. It would be the same type of thinking. The American Psychiatric Association has not endorsed Repairative Therapy in years and no reputable therapist has used it for an even longer period. Who are these 7000 ignorant assholes. Well, for the most part they are members of the radical Christian Right Wing who actually know nothing about Christianity and don't want to know anything about science. Their idea of God is an all powerful being who just happens to hate homosexuals just as they do. But I digress (as I often do).

The world will always have those who choose to not bind themselves by morality. The rest of us simply have to carry on as best we can. Oh, don't get the idea that I'm saying one has to be a Christian to be moral. These days, some of the most immoral people I know call themselves Christians. As a young child, a Sunday School Teacher once told us that only Christians could be moral. Even as a young kid, I thought he was some kind of troglodyte.

So, the immoral, like the poor, will always be with us. How do we as bisexuals keep our membership in the moral humans club in good standing? To begin with, we don't allow our problems to become problems for those we love.

A young man I know recently came home to his wife and infant son and told her he didn't want to be married anymore. He didn't want the hassle and he didn't want the responsibility! More than likely to his great surprise, she said, "OK".

All of this is actually connected, I promise.

Recently, national news sources reported that for the first time in our history as a nation, female college students and female college grads outnumber males. What the shit is going on in this country?

According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, 36% of young people ages 18 to 30 are still living with their parents. Forty percent of these are young men while only 32% are young women. Again the question, "What the shit is going on in this country?"

I think the fact is that more and more men are simply choosing to become Peter Pans. They prefer to remain boys rather than grow into men with with responsibilities! To be sure, a huge number of these young men had help in becoming irresponsibile idiots. They had the help of their mothers who gave birth to them as a single parent with no responsible man in her life. On top of that they had help from their baby daddies who didn't give a damn about them and never even tried to help raise them into men. In my younger, more liberal days, I use to rail against the idea that a child needed both a committed and involved mother and the same type of father. I was wrong. A mother's job is to love her children unconditionally and express that love to them often. A father's job is to kick their asses and assure them the world doesn't give a damn about them. To succeed in this world takes never ending amounts of judgment, brains and courage.

I never was a hippy, but I was part of that generation. The hippy culture has never gone away. It just got older. The kids that smoked dope and dropped out are now the old farts who are still smoking. Many of these guys were either physically or emotionally absent from their sons in their formative years. It shows.

If there is any good news, and I believce there is, it is that many young people have seen enough of the kind of parents they were raised by. They are determined to be a different kind of parent to their own kids. Kids these days don't want anything to do with organized religion. They see it as an hypocracy, and they are dead right in too many cases.

The good thing is that doesn't mean they don't have morals. They do have them and they really intend to live by them. They just might end up being the salvation of this country and the American way of life.

My wife and I were actually surprised at our recent 50th class anniversary how many couples had stayed together over the almost 50 years. We all married young, but we were all brought up in conservative rural Texas. Those moderate conservative values have seen us through a lot of tough times.

Ok, Ok, I know your screaming at this point. How does all this relate to a new moral philosaphy for bisexual men. Well, actually it's pretty simple. Moral heterosexual men have always had to make a choice in their adult lives. Just because they married, often young in decades past, did not mean they went blind. They still reacted viscerally to the sight of a pretty woman, but they made the choice to enjoy the scenery without trying to possess it.

I think the time has come that bisexual men must take the same stand. Fifty years ago it would have
been much more difficult, but today it can actually be pretty easy. Young people are marrying at a much later age now than in decades past. They date much longer. They are exposed to a huge number of people. Homosexuality is a won battle. Not many people these days care who one is sleeping with, male or female.

I think a young male who thinks he might be gay or bisexual has a moral obligation to find out before he commits himself to another person in his life. I've never believed that sex should be something between two married adults. Sex is much too important in a relationship to leave to chance. Responsible mutual exploration, to me, is a must whether it be between two males or a male and a female.

Only when one decides, "I may be bisexual, but traditional marriage is what I want for my lifetime," or conversely, decides, "I'm bisexual and I can relate well to either sex, but a commitment to another male is what I want for my lifetime, should he submit to a long term relationship.

Like moral heterosexuals for generations, he won't be giving up his appreciation of his brand of sex. He'll just tried it all and arrived at what meets his needs the best.

Over the years, I had same sex relations with a bunch of guys. It eventually dawned on me that never once had I found a guy who rivaled the woman I had at home in any way. She out classed them all. I'm a bisexual man, but I know without a doubt that my wife was the life mate for me.

Jack Scott







Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott