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Where the Wild Queens Are (the original, unedited version)

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This is the unedited version of my feature, which ran in the last issue of Rise Over Run Magazine.  As the new issue comes out soon, in which I have a feature on Millennials at the National Equality March, I wanted to post this here, as well.

He runs his hands through my thick, jet black hair, a devious glint in his eye.  My leg is thrown over his shoulders and we’re shedding clothing left and right.  He’s only an inch or so taller than me and fairly scrawny by my standards, not my usual type at all.  But then again, in a town this size, it’s hard to have a usual type.  You pretty much have to take what you can get.  That’s not to say he isn’t cute, though; this boys is definitely a looker.  His gray eyes have a sparkle and his thick, black rimmed glasses slide down his patrician nose as he tosses his shirt on top of his Chucks, tossed haphazardly on the hardwood floor of my dark room.  I hear my roommate move outside my door, but I’m too preoccupied with this boy in my bed.

We kiss deeply, and I moan.  “Mmm… I love it,” he says, grinning devilishly.  “I love it when a boy says my name.”

I keep this in my mind, fully intending on using it to my advantage.  But I freeze.  I pull back and look him in the eyes, the light from the streetlamp bathing us in a yellow glow.  “What is your name?”

“Grayson1,” he says, going in for another kiss.  He isn’t fazed by my party foul at all.  “And yours?”

“Skylar,” I say, making a mental note to submit this to FMyLife as soon as he leaves.

I would love to say this is an exception, rather than a rule.  But awkward moments like this seem to define gay dating in Bowling Green, or at least my experiences.  To begin with, with the exception of two or three, every guy I’ve dated since moving to town in 2004 has been closeted.  Like the guy who dumped me for Jesus.  Or the boy who lied to me about being an SAE, like that would impress me.  (I would have settled for a Kappa Sig.)  Or the boy who left his sleeping girlfriend on the sofa, took her car, and came over to meet up with me.  I’ve been pretty unlucky in love.  But don’t feel sorry for me.  It’s my own damn fault.

Or is it?  I became curious as to why I wasn’t meeting any quality men.  I mean, the gay men have to be out there, right?  Surely they were out there waving rainbow flags and dancing to Lady Gaga, and I just hadn’t been privy to their presence.  There had to be more than closeted fraternity boys and secretive bisexual hipsters to date.  Right?

I’ve never been a regular on the gay scene in Bowling Green.  This lovely queen I knew back in the day used to have parties every Monday that always had a youthful gay turnout, but I haven’t been to one in years and honestly have no clue if he still lives in town.  Those parties used to be the social event of the week for gay men and the women who love them.   But where are the gay men hanging out now?  Had I failed to get the memo?  Surely they are somewhere.

When I first started at WKU in Fall 2004, the Outlet Resource Center was open in McCormack Hall.  A center focusing on outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) students, I remember my time there fondly.  It was always full of friendly faces and people, often hall directors, who were willing to listen to your problems.  Because of the level of confidentiality, the Outlet was a safe space for LGBTQ students, many of whom faced prejudice and discrimination on a daily basis, to congregate.  I firmly believe that it was the Outlet that made my first two years at WKU so easy, because it provided me with a support network I might not have had.

However, Housing and Residence Life closed the Outlet in 2007 and now uses the space as storage.  As if turning a gay and lesbian resource center into a closet wasn’t bad enough, WKU never bothered to find the center a new home, and the only place gay and lesbian students had to go ceased to exist.  So where had all the gay boys gone?

Where the boys aren’t

Setting out to find this town’s mythical gay scene is a lot like setting out to find Atlantis: everybody has an idea of where it might be and what it’s like, and it sure sounds magical, but nobody’s really ever been there.   I ask Dustin Bell, a senior theater major, what he’d heard of the local gay scene.  “That it exists,” he says rather tongue-in-cheek.  That’s all Dustin seems to know about the gay scene.  I ask him how he met men, and he answers bluntly: “I don’t.”

Ask any gay man or lesbian on campus and they’ll tell you that there is a gay scene in town; they just don’t know where it is.  Every little lesbian or giddy gay boy seems to think they’re the only one being left out.  There isn’t an official gay bar in town (the closest is in Nashville), though there is a monthly drag show at Ellis Place.

The lack of a local watering hole hinders the development of any gay community, according to “Mark” and “Bill,” a thirty-something couple I spoke to.  They asked not to be identified because they are not out to their families.

“We are just roommates to most,” Mark explained.  I met Mark and Bill on Adam4Adam, a website that, according to its homepage, aims to “help you find new friends and create new relationships quickly and at no cost.”  Of course, it’s a site you don’t want to access in a campus computer lab, as the advertising that keeps the site free is mostly hardcore pornography linking to sites catering to any sexual proclivity you can imagine.  Just ask the lab assistant who threatened to kick me out for looking at porn.  (I insisted I was doing research, but understandably, she didn’t believe me.)

“We get cussed a lot because we are a couple,” Bill says.  “People say ‘why does a couple come on here if they aren’t willing to hook up?’”  Dustin agrees, saying that sites like Adam4Adam, which is joined by the likes of gay.com and Manhunt, are mostly intended for men looking for a quickie.  “There are a few good people on there, but most of them just want sex,” he says.

I’ve used Adam4Adam, Manhunt, and gay.com before, and in my experience both Bill and Dustin are right: the men on those sites are looking for quickies and fly-by-night romances.  They’re not looking for lasting relationships, and they certainly aren’t looking for friends or to network.  This isn’t Facebook for fags.  It’s more like a 21st century glory hole.

That’s part of the problem, says Jeff Herron, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kentucky and an HIV prevention specialist focusing in men who have sex with men (“MSM”).  He says that in smaller towns, such as Bowling Green, being isolated and the stigma of homosexuality in the local and national culture can have vast consequences for the self-esteem of gay people and drive men into hiding and risky behavior.  “There is definitely a sense of alienation,” Herron says.  “We’re talking about men who live in areas where not only is there a lack of community, but they often lack MSM peers and social networks.”  Herron says that this alienation and lack of community often makes hooking up on sites like Adam4Adam the only viable option.  “In rural areas, the internet is vital for them in meeting partners.”

In talking to the different men and women I’ve come in contact with, this seems to be an extremely common problem.  “John,” a 19 year old WKU student, who asked not to be identified, says that he meets gay locals online.  I meet John at his house, where he is reclined in his bed, comfortable in his gray WKU tee-shirt and gym shorts.  His room is dimly lit, with personal mementos draping the walls and ESPN on the television, which he has me mute.

John classifies himself as “semi-closeted,” saying his friends know he is gay but that he prefers to keep a low profile.  “I’m straight by day, gay by night,” he says with a sheepish grin.  He mentions Manhunt.com specifically, which he says is for “straight up hook ups.” He says he has to go online because there is no bar in Bowling Green for him to meet people.  However, he seems unlikely to go.  “I like to go places where I’m not going to be recognized.” John says he grew up in a conservative world, and prefers to “keep things orderly.” I ask him if “keeping things orderly” means that being gay is somehow disorderly.  He becomes defensive and says that he is afraid of what other people’s reactions might cost him.

I decide to press further, asking John if he is ashamed of being gay.  He falls silent, his eyes falling toward the ground.  He unfolds his arms and refuses to meet my gaze, staying silent for a good minute, before laughing nervously.  “God, I don’t know,” he says finally, a baffled look on his face.  He takes a moment to collect his thoughts before adding “I’m sure that’s the case.”

A light at the end of the tunnel?


It’s this level of self-loathing and homophobia that concerned Kat Michael, a junior from Louisville who, last fall, cofounded the Student Identity Outreach, or SIO.  “Throughout LGBTQ culture we’ve been trained to operate in the shadows,” she said.  Michael wanted to change this.

SIO is the only organization on campus focused on working to provide a safe and educational environment LGBTQ students , she says.  Michael serves as the president.  “For people from small towns, this is the first they’ve been involved” in the LGBTQ community, she says.   “The majority of students are from Kentucky and used to (negative) treatment.” However, she adds that “they become more outraged in SIO seeing they deserve to be treated fairly.  They’re grateful to see us on campus.”

She says that the internet is a great way for LGBTQ students to meet, but that it isn’t always ideal.  People, she says, “can create a weird persona online.  I would rather see you so I can see through you.”   Not that she has a chance to meet many women online.  The online choices for lesbians are much more limited than for gay men.  Michael says they are available, but they’re not popular in Bowling Green.  “For the most part there are fewer outlets for lesbian social networking,” Michael says.  “It boils down to word of mouth.”

The one common thread that every individual I spoke with shares is the notion that word of mouth is the best way to network with other LGBT locals.  Bill and Mark, the couple I spoke to, say they found their friends through other gay friends, and John says that while word of mouth is less important for him, he still finds it useful.  Dustin says that word of mouth is how he meets most of his gay friends, and that is what brought him to the SIO meeting last Monday in Tate Page Hall.  Dustin was one of 43 people who attended last Monday’s meeting.  Though Dustin didn’t meet any potential boyfriends at the meeting, he said it was still nice to be around other gay people.  However, he is still apprehensive.  “I try not to get my hopes up,” he says.

Kat Michael echoes that sentiment.  As we chat in the Subway in Garrett Conference Center, people around us laugh, enjoying an early dinner, and one straight couple catches my eye.  They are holding hands and exchange a butterfly kiss, completely oblivious to an equally oblivious world.  It dawns on me that if I had done that with a boy the entire restaurant would have been gawking at us.  It must have dawned on Kat, too.  “I don’t know if in my life I will ever be able to fully and openly love the person I’m with,” she confesses.

However, John, the closeted 19 year old, has higher hopes for his future, despite his apprehension about the present.  He says that when he gets a job, gets married and has kids he will keep a picture of his partner and children on his desk, the same as his heterosexual colleagues likely will.  “I think that in this new age people are more accepting,” he says.

The mostly unfabulous social life of Ethan Green Skylar Jordan

I haven’t heard from hipster boy Grayson since we hooked up nearly a week ago, and I can say with confidence that it isn’t because I had to ask his name.  A closeted boy like Grayson didn’t want to give me his name, and having met online, I have no way of even knowing if Grayson is his actual name.  The fact is, though many men will profess their interest in something more than a one-night stand (even if it’s just a regular hookup), the risk is too much for closeted boys.  They can’t chance being caught by their friends, their fraternity brothers, their girlfriends.

Bill and Mark, that delightful gay couple I spoke with, say that until the culture of Kentucky changes, not much else can.  “There are way too many holy-rollers that would put a stop to any gay bars or gay hangouts that were public,” Mark tells me.  I’m afraid he may be right.  However, that doesn’t negate the need for something to be done.  Kat Michael is doing wonderful work with Student Identity Outreach, but I imagine even she would agree that one night a week isn’t enough.  Still, it is something.  It gives students like Dustin Bell and John the chance to at least meet other gay individuals in an atmosphere that isn’t rife with the sexual overtones of Adam4Adam or a nightclub in Nashville.

As for now, though, it looks like I’m stuck finding men the new old fashioned way: online.  Perhaps, until I leave this town, I am condemned to date closeted fraternity boys and crazy scene kids who cheat on their girlfriends.  Perhaps I’m doomed to be hit on by married men who married for no other reason than to hide their sexuality.  I mean, it’s kind of hard for a prince on a white horse to gallop up in a chat room that’s sponsored by a site called Chocolate and Cracker Orgies.  (I’ll leave it to you to investigate, but I’m sure you can figure it out.)

Of course, while I’ve been writing this, I’ve been sending e-mails back and forth to a rather sexy guy on Adam4Adam.  We’re making plans to meet this weekend.  Sure, it’s not the fantasy I always had of meeting my dream boy at a gay bookstore or a bar in the gayborhood.  But, like I said, in Bowling Green, you take what you can get.

Written by skylarjordan

October 22, 2009 at 12:16 am

Dating Dilemmas or, The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Skylar Baker-Jordan

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If you read my feature in the current issue of Rise Over Run, you’ll know that dating isn’t my forte.  In fact, for me, dating is an utter disaster.  I used to think, like Ethan Green, it was my own damn fault.  But the older I get, the more I realize the problem isn’t with me, but with the guys I have to choose from.

After Leo and I broke up–for good–last December, I took a solid eight months off dating.  My 2009 new year’s resolution was to remain celibate for a year, but eventually I once again felt up to the challenge of dating.  Two months later, I’m beginning to regret this.

It started, oddly enough, with Twitter.  Over the summer, I became twitterpated with a bloke I was tweeting back and forth with.  I have never met him in person, but he still managed to enchant me.  I realized that if a guy could win me over in 140 characters or less, there was probably a guy outside of cyberspace that could truly sweep me off my feet.

I went on my first date since the breakup in August, and it went well.  We met online, which if you read Where the Wild Queens Are you’ll know is the only way for gay guys to meet one another in Bowling Green.  He was a skateboarder, and he was sexy: thick, chestnut hair; lean, toned body; piercing turquoise eyes.  He was sweet, too.  He complimented my smile, my curves, and my confidence.  I was smitten, and perhaps because of nearly a year’s worth of pent-up sexual energy, I went to bed with him.  Afterward, as I was reeling from the release, he jumped up and began hurriedly searching for his shorts.  I sat up, a little confused, wondering where the fire is.

Turns out, it was being kept lit by a little Mrs. at home.  Skater Boy had a skater girl waiting for him at his–actually, her–apartment.  He told me she was asleep on her couch, where she had dozed off before he left.  She would be awake soon, he said, and she would want her car back.   That’s right–Skater Boy left his sleeping girlfriend on her sofa, took her car, and cheated on her.  With me.

I’d love to say that was the worst of it, but we’ve only just gotten started.  The next date I had was with this young professional who had recently moved to town.  We met for a drink and then went back to his place, which he insisted would be innocent because he wanted a relationship, not a one-night stand.  We’d been talking on Manhunt for days (which, in hindsight, should have been my first clue), and he seemed nice enough.  Tall, thin, and geeky in a preppy, business major fraternity boy sort of way, he had a sexy uncertainty about everything he did.  Adopted by Baptist parents from a Korean orphanage, he is a devout Christian.  That didn’t stop Bible Boy from letting me in on his nipple fetish before trying to get in my pants.

He didn’t, though, and after an evening of cuddling and innocent kisses, I went home.  He promised to call me the next day after church, and I thought I’d found a guy with potential.  I actually missed his call, so he left a voicemail.  I was excited to hear from him, but as I listened to his stuttering, nervous voice, I knew this was a message I’d rather have deleted.   He rambled on and on about how church had made him realize that this wasn’t what Jesus wanted for his life and how this was not right.  “It’s not you, it’s God” is was the gist of the message, which I had to play to my roommates to make sure I’d heard correctly.  They confirmed it: I had been dumped for Jesus.  How the hell was I expected to compete with heaven?

Despite these early setbacks, I decided to continue trying to find Prince Charming.   I’ve been out on several first dates since then, and they’ve all been disasters.  The problem is, the guys I end up dating all have debilitating neuroses, most of them are closet cases, and the ones who have potential already have boyfriends.  Therefore, I’m stuck dating boys like Hipster Boy.  I met him online, too, and because he was “bored,” we decided to “hang out.”

He pulled up outside of my house on a yellow motorcycle, his face obscured behind the oversized helmet.  I’d never before thought of motorcycles as sexy–they’ve always reminded me of my father, who is an avid biker–but with Hipster Boy driving, I really wanted to take a ride with him.  Little did I know that by the end of the night I’d get my chance.

Thanks to Hipster Boy, I soon found out that “bored” is gay talk for “horny” and “hang out” is meant in a very literal sense.    But I’m a good sport, so I went along with him.  He was cute, a little scrawny but with a nice arms–I imagine from biking–and a devilish smile.   I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy myself.  He enjoyed himself, too, judging from the third and fourth round and the promise to call me soon.  A couple weeks passed and I hadn’t heard from him.  He finally sent me a text last weekend, while I was in DC for the National Equality March.  “Sup?” is all it read.

Now here’s a bit of irony for you.  I met a very nice boy in DC.  He is adorable, and his personality is golden.  A sarcastic, cynical asshole, we can trade witty insults and pithy comments without wincing.  He talked about liking skinny boys (which I definitely am not), plus he has a boyfriend, so I never really gave the possibility of dating him a second thought.  I figured I’d flirt with him while we were there and that would be the end of it.

Which it would have been, except my lesbian buddy and fruit fly both picked up on the fact that I was shamelessly flirting.  As you can imagine, they haven’t let me live it down since we returned home.  Always subtle, they still  manage to make it clear that they know I fancied this lad without actually saying it.

So for the last week I’ve been pretty dour thanks to the repeated references to Beltway Boy and knowing that, though I’ve finally met a decent guy, he already found his happily ever after.  By tonight, home alone for the first time in weeks, I was feeling downright lonely.  Needing a confidence boost, I decided to text Hipster Boy.  This, it turns out, was a mistake.  His response?

“What’s up dude.  Sorry Im just getting back 2 u.  I’m dating a girl now.  So I wont be able 2 c u.” [sic]

Okay, so Hipster Boy now has a hipstress.  Damn.  Feeling even crappier than I had half an hour before, I turned to my old friends Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia to make me laugh.  As I sipped on a Diet Pepsi, petting my roommate’s arthritic cat and living vicariously through a group of middle-aged women from circa 1986, I realized how utterly pitiful my life is.

So of course, God said “ha” and decided to make the scene all the more pathetic.  My phone vibrated, and I immediately hoped that Hipster Boy felt a change of heart and decided to come play with me instead of hanging out with his girlfriend.  Or even better, Beltway Boy had decided he wanted to hang out.  Nope, and nope.  Instead, Bible Boy texted me, from church, asking what I’m doing.  Going back and forth for a while, I finally tell him I want to see him again, not just receive suggestive text messages that he can get off to guilt free.  His response?

“Seeing u wouldn’t be the problem–ur right, guilt would be.  I have grown up believing that I shouldn’t but I haven’t always done so.  :(“ [sic]

He says God’s plan is bigger than anything we mere mortals can possibly understand.  I say goodnight.

As if things weren’t depressing enough, I decided to go a step further: I texted Liam asking him to “ring me.”  (For those of you who don’t remember, Liam is the really awesome guy I met in London in 2007.  If it weren’t for the damned Atlantic Ocean–and Liam’s aversion to honesty–we’d probably still be together.)  By this point it’s about 3:30 am in England, and it was obvious Liam had been out on another bender the moment I answer his call.   I told him everything, and he proceeded to give me a much-needed pep talk, albeit through a groggy haze of delirium and alcohol.

The abridged version goes something like this: “You’re fierce, you’re fit, you’ve got an amazing accent and sexy broken smile and you’re the best writer I know.  You are, by far, the most charming American that has ever lived.  So stop your whinging.  Or get yourself to Britain where the men appreciate you.  Either way shut the bloody hell up and stop dating wankers.  Have a good night.  Goodbye.”  Even though he was clearly annoyed with the fact that I woke him from his liquor-induced coma, I sensed the sincerity behind his words.  It was just what I needed.

Still, I wasn’t in a state to sit home by myself, so I took myself for a walk.  On that walk, I thought of the boys who’ve meant the most to me.  The ones who made me into the man–and the basket case–you know and love.   I thought of the abuse I suffered with Benji, the loss I suffered when Brandon passed away, the puppy love I shared with high school sweetheart Ryan and the sheer sexual chemistry I had with Brighton.  And then I thought of Leo.  And Liam.  And the men I’m guilty of doing wrong, like Quint and Daniel, whom I still imagine wonder where the hell I disappeared to when things seemed to be going so well.  I began to wonder whether all the hurt and hurting was worth it.

But then I thought of Beltway Boy and his boyfriend.  And oddly enough, I smiled.  Sure, Beltway Boy isn’t my boyfriend, and probably never will be.  But he is somebody’s boyfriend, proving that good guys are out there and that, sometimes, regular guys like me are lucky enough to find one.  If Beltway Boy’s boyfriend can find a guy as good as Beltway Boy, surely I can find one, too.

Then I thought of the guy from Twitter, and I smiled even brighter.  Though he’s thousands of miles away, he is single, proving that there are great single guys left to choose from.

It’s just a matter of finding the one for you.

Written by skylarjordan

October 17, 2009 at 9:00 am

Why it doesn’t matter whether there’s a sex scandal surrounding Stephen Gately’s death

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Ever since my article on Stephen Gately’s untimely passing went live over at Rise Over Run, I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails and comments from people telling me they feel the same way.  Stephen Gately had a huge impact on my generation of gay men, and his death has left us reeling with sadness.  Boyzone fans and the gay community in Britain and Ireland have rallied around Stephen’s husband, internet mogul Andrew Cowles, his family, and his band.  We’ve accepted the Spanish coroner’s report that he died of a congenital heart disorder that went tragically undetected.  And we’ve accepted that Georgi Dochev, the Bulgarian who claims to have found Stephen dead, was present, though why he was there and what he did or didn’t do remains murky.

PD*31824794Queerty was the first media outlet to insinuate Dochev’s presence was anything but innocent when they ran the headline “The 3-Way Sex Scandal That’s Accompnying Stephen Gately’s Death” on Tuesday.  I read with disgust, wondering how a gay website could possibly slander the name of our very own boy next door.  This outrage grew even more today, when the Daily Mail ran Jan Moir’s now-infamous column, in which she questioned the circumstances surrounding Stephen’s death, in the process revealing her own ignorance and heterosexism.  Twitter is outraged, the British public is disgusted, and Jan Moir is public enemy number one.

It is normal to speculate as to what happened that night, and with the facts we have, it is natural to assume there may be something more to this story we don’t know.  That being said, Stephen Gately was a hero to many, myself included, angeland an important figure in the history of gay and lesbian Britain.  He was, without a doubt, one of the most important figures from my childhood, and I would not be where I am if it weren’t for the example he set a decade ago.  It’s to be expected that gay Britain and Ireland feels defensive and protective of his memory–and we should.  What we recognize, and want the rest of the world to recognize, is that while yes, our minds may wander to the more sordid details of this (or any) story, why Dochev was there just isn’t important.  He didn’t kill Stephen, as Stephen wasn’t murdered.  So therefore, it really is nobody’s business.  What happened–or was meant to happen–shouldn’t be our focus.

The incredible, undeniable, charming and lovable talent of Stephen Gately and the tragedy of his passing should be our only concern.   We have lost an incredibly talented man, and we should let him rest in peace.  We may never know why Stephen and Andrew brought Dochev back to their home, and that’s fine.  Because what Stephen Gately deserves right now, more than anything, is respect.  He doesn’t deserve the British public, and certainly not Queerty and Jan Moir, speculating about the circumstantial evidence surrounding the nature of his evening as if it were true.  For all we know, Andrew slept on the floor that night.

In the end, none of it matters.  Whatever happened or didn’t happen, Stephen Gately is gone, dead from natural causes at 33.  He was too young to have died, and the world has lost a gentle soul and gifted entertainer.  That is what matters.  That is all that matters.

Written by skylarjordan

October 16, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Why the National Equality March was a success

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By the time I got home Monday morning, I was totally exhausted, having driven the nearly 700 miles from DC back to BG the night before.  However, the sheer magic of the day before was still with me, and I couldn’t help but forget how I had felt looking up at the flag flying over Capitol Hill.  “This,” I thought, “is America.”  Looking around me, I saw people of all races, all ethnicities—men and women from all 50 states marching together in the name of equality.  That was the magic and beauty of Sunday’s National Equality March.

That’s a nice feeling to have, considering I was skeptical, to say the least, when the march was first proposed by David Mixner and Cleve Jones back in May.  Don’t get me wrong, I love big dramatic displays, and this march certainly had all the pageantry one could hope for.  But I didn’t think it was necessarily pragmatic.  Would they come?  Sure.  I mean, Mixner and Jones are the closest our movement has to elder statesmen, and the youth (myself included) were and are restless with the lack of progress being made, our passions being ignited or reignited following Prop 8.  But was a massive march on Washington really going to make a political or strategic difference?equality

In reflecting on the weekend, the short answer is “no.”  Congress wasn’t in session, they’re preoccupied with healthcare reform, and President Obama, while giving a lovely speech to the Human Rights Campaign on Saturday, still hasn’t acted on any of his promises and refuses to lay out a timeline for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, among other issues.  Yes, the Matthew Shepherd Act has inched closer to passage, and while welcome news, it is more an attempt to placate LGBT activists than anything.

Still, the march was a success.  Even if it doesn’t have direct political or legal implications for the gay community, it still did one important thing: it motivated and inspired millions.  Many of us, though passionate about the movement, have been pretty discouraged.  How could we not?  Marriage amendments in 37 states, including California thanks to Prop 8; no federal employment nondiscrimination law; violence and harassment in schools and workplaces; and no organized, cohesive movement pushing to change this.  We’ve seen our supposed leaders bickering over semantics and tactics and even duking it out for credit and glory, all the while forgetting this new generation.

I’ve been actively involved in the struggle for LGBT equality since 2004, when Kentucky passed its odious anti-marriage amendment.  Soon after, the gay movement in Kentucky fell apart, to put it nicely.  The leadership began shirking their responsibilities and a bunch of college students, including myself, really took up the mantle of leadership.  When Jason Johnson was expelled for being gay by the University of the Cumberlands in 2006, it was the Kentucky Collegiate Coalition, led by students from all over Kentucky, which took up the cause and staged the protest.  It was KCC that had conference calls in consultation with GLAAD.  Yes, the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, our statewide equality lobby, sprung for hotel rooms and “officially” cosponsored the rally with us, but it was Kentucky college students that led the movement against the University of the Cumberlands receiving public funds.

But eventually, we got burned out.  With no real support coming from the national organizations, which seemed unable to be bothered with a flyover state, and with our state organizations disintegrating into bickering and catty gay drama, the college students didn’t know where to go.  I’ll be the first to say that at 20 years old I was not prepared to be one of the statewide gay leaders.  The pressure got too much, and many of us simply moved on to other projects.  We lost a lot of bright young gay people to the environmental lobby, education lobby, and other progressive causes.  That’s not to diminish the importance of these other causes, but we need our best and brightest working for our equality, too.

The burnout experienced by many of us from 2004-2006 was replaced by rage and resolve after Prop 8.  We were aching for a way to involve ourselves, to be proactive, and to take this fight “out of the bars and into the streets.”  Prop 8 was a poorly run campaign, and the state leaders in California hardly deserve to be labeled as such.  The same seems to be true for most states.  The national organizations, on the other hand, took far too cautious an approach.  Perhaps they’ve been inside the beltway too long, but they are much more interested in playing the political game in DC than doing much of anything on the ground in a state like Washington, Maine, and certainly not Kentucky.

My generation—the Millennials—are a generation of “now.”  We’re not used to waiting.  If I want to know what my best friend is doing, I’ll text her.  If I want to hear Leona Lewis’s new song, I can download it on iTunes without leaving my bedroom.  If I want to read the latest news on Darfur, there are countless websites with endless updates.  We want things when we want them, and in our minds, patience isn’t a virtue—it’s unnecessary.

HRC, GLAAD, and the countless other organizations don’t seem to get this.  They counsel patience—patience with state laws, patience with Congress, patience with President Obama.  But patience isn’t a virtue learned by my generation, and in this case, it serves us well.  For we can ill afford to be patient any longer.  Not when our brothers and sisters are suffering.  Not when we are suffering.

Prop 8 woke up the gay community, especially Millennials, to the reality that equality doesn’t just happen.  We’re going to have to fight for it.  I think that was the point of the National Equality March.  It was to show the world that we’ve been awakened.  We get it now.

rainbow I’ve heard it said that this weekend was the passing of the torch.  The old guard has handed off the reins of the movement to a new generation of leaders, in our 20s and 30s, who are going to now do things our way.  I don’t know if this will happen right away, but I definitely think my generation is going to demand more of a presence at the table.  We want our voices heard, and our elders are going to have to listen.  Whether they will do this willingly is yet to be known.
What I do know, though, is what was evident in the eyes of the young college students I traveled with.  Yes, they went for Lady Gaga.  Yes, they went to be a part of history.  But something happened while they were there.  I saw in them an awakening, an understanding, a deeply personal connection forged to their cause and their identity.  I saw the tenacity of their convictions in their eyes, heard the resolve of their commitments in their chants, and felt their deepened understanding of the stakes and the movement.  They get it.

This is why the National Equality March was a success.  For the first time, the Millennials were given an avenue to show what they have to offer our movement, and I have to say, we showed everyone else up.  Where the national leaders have been content to wait, the Millennials descended on DC to show that we will wait no longer.  It’s not our forte.  We don’t even like to wait for espresso, so why would we wait for equality?  It’s true that the march may not change the hearts and minds of politicians.  But it did something just as important: it opened and inspired the hearts and minds of LGBT youth.

Written by skylarjordan

October 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm

And so it begins…

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Hi, my name is Skylar, and I’m an alcoholic.

Okay, so that’s not entirely true.  I’m more of what would be classified as a binge drinker.  Of course, that’s alright, since I’m still an undergrad.  Undergrads are allowed to be binge drinkers.  In fact, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that undergrads are the only binge drinkers.  When you really get down to it, binge drinking is ultimately just a mild form of alcoholism.  Yet, for some reason, our culture has decided that binge drinking is less of a concern (though still worthy of a moral panic), probably because it’s seen as a past time of the best and brightest (read: whitest) of America’s youth.  You know, kind of like baseball.  It’s not until you’re out of college that binge drinking becomes something people are really concerned about.  Then it’s alcoholism.  Of course, that’s if you went to college.  If not, I hate to inform you, but you’ve been a pathetic drunk since you were 18.

Above is a sample of what you’ll get if you choose to read my blog.  I’m the type of writer who, in the grand tradition of Joyce and Wolfe, writes pretty much anything that comes to mind.  It’s true.  Unless I’m working on a piece of fiction, I don’t usually sit down and plot what I’m going to say.  I just go with the flow.  (Ironically, I do not do the same in my everyday life, which is full of angsty indecision and minor nervous breakdowns.)  My goal, if you will, is simply to offer my take on current events and my own life, finding the humor and truth in the world around me.  I’ve been doing it since I was 15, when I began my first blog on the now-defunct TeenOpenDiary.com.  That was in 2001, a few months before 9/11—back when I still had my childlike naivety and innocence, in more ways than one.  Since then, I’ve blogged on various websites, but finally feel mature enough to sit at the adult table of WordPress.  Yes, I’ve grown up.

Well, somewhat.  I’m still that kid who wears pajamas to class, sleeps with a stuffed animal, and thinks of Lunchables as being an acceptable dinner.  Yet I’m also the young man who is feverishly working on his first novel, finishing his bachelor’s degree, hoping for acceptance to a decent graduate program and to find a nice boy to take home to Dad.  So far, I haven’t had much luck in any of these endeavors.  I was raised to believe a real man creates his own destiny, though, and so I’ve decided to make mine a reality.  This includes:

  • Getting into a quality graduate program in creative writing.
  • Finishing and publishing my first novel by the time I’m 27.
  • Moving to Britain, which has been my lifelong dream.
  • Falling in love with Prince Charming.  (Or a fairy princess, as the case may be.)

So there.  Now you know a little about me.  As I feel I’ve gotten this out of the way, don’t expect to be eased into my life.  Especially since anything you want to know about my last 8 years can be found by doing a simple Google search.  (No really, go on, try it.  It’s scary what the G-machine can pull up.)  I’m off to DC for this weekend’s National Equality March, so expect my own personal take on it when I return home.  In the meantime, I bid you adieu in hopes that you’ll keep reading and that possibly this blog will make you think twice about whatever topics we discuss here.

Or, at most, that you’ll laugh with me, and not at me.

Written by skylarjordan

October 13, 2009 at 2:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello world!

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Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Written by skylarjordan

October 10, 2009 at 3:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized