1969-2019

It has now been just over 50 years since the raid of The Stonewall Inn.

We’ve come a long way.

Now isn’t the time to turn back.

Live, love, hope and vote like your life depends on it. Because? Because your life and freedoms actually do depend on your participation, on your vote.

Happy San Diego Pride Y’all!

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One by One

We change hearts and minds One by One.

Let’s kick off San Diego Pride 2019 by sharing love, joy, peace and respect with all of those around us.

Cher – One by One – 1996

Happy San Diego Pride Y’all!

Friends, Cities and Family

The last week of April the better half and I celebrated 29 years together by treating ourselves to a east coast trip to both New York and Philadelphia. The kind lady that the check in desk of New York’s Marriott Marquis Time Square surprised us with a room upgrade. We found ourselves blessed with an unbelievable 35th floor view of Time Square eye to eye with the famous clock.

Time Square View April 2019

New York was wonderful. We made it to the Guggenheim, the Frick, MOMA, the Vessel, Bergdorf’s, the Fashion Institute, Mood, a Metz game, Rockefeller Center, Macy’s and of corse Tiffany. We saw To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Cher Show and Dear Evan Hansen. A whirlwind it was, a good one in fact.

Fearsome met a rather inspiring politician at Penn station awaiting his train to Philly.

Elijah E. Cummings

In Philly we were greeted by three wonderful friends and bloggers. Bloggers known as Mistress Maddie,  Arteejee  and none other than the famous Anne Marie in Philly. We had a great dinner with the three of them. Fun conversation and lots of laughter. Blogging really does have its benefits. The bloggers I’ve met in person over the years have all become treasured friends. I’ll be back to see these three!

Todd, Fearsome, Maddie and Anne Marie

The next day was spent with family as a Fearsome’s niece lives just outside of Philadelphia . We attended a Phillies game with the whole crew.

The better half is obviously celebrating the day, Cinco De Mayo.  …back row… Fearsome, Mom, Sister in law, brother, nephew in law, …next row… The Better Half, niece in law, great niece, great niece, great nephew and niece all taking in a Phillies game on May 5, 2019.

The highlight of our trip? Well there were many and you know what? The whole trip was a highlight. I’m blessed with a husband I love, friends I love and family I love.

Gay Anthems!

Dance parties often start with an easy intro. You know, a tune that starts a crescendo that will serve as a foundation on which an incredible dance party experience builds.

I’ve posted this tune more than once before. By now Fearsome Beard regulars will realize it is one of my all time favorites. I post it today specifically in honor of all of those before me who dared to love the love they deeply understood, the true love they felt, even though society told them that dare not.

I dedicate this incredibly beautiful anthem those who inspire us today to be who we are and to stand not only for ourselves but those who will follow us. I dedicate it to them because they were never Being Boring, they were just finally being themselves.

Pet Shop Boys – Being Boring – 1990

To those courageous people who finally said “Oh, Hell No!” …Thank you!

Shapeshifting

Being the 50th anniversary of Stonewall I search daily for a new video that resonates. Some days the videos just pop into my YouTube suggestions, some days I run into them on another blog and still other days I take the time to search. Today I searched and I learned, I found growth…growth in my understanding.

I’ll never be able to fully understand the plight of those born into the wrong body, but I can try to empathize through understanding from pieces of my own personal experiences. Even though I was born into an exterior male body that matches my inner gay male persona, I can understand this new term I learned today, Shapeshifting. While I didn’t have to act as a different sex, I did have to lie and act as if I was attracted to the opposite sex in order to hide who I really was. I can still catch myself shapeshifting as it was something engrained deeply in me early in my life.

I cannot claim to understand the complete experience of transgender. I can love, accept, embrace and support to the best of my own empathy and understanding.

Vulnerability = Courage

Fearsome reflects

Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I remember a time where what I felt and who I was attracted to was a secret. I learned early that I had a secret and a secret it would remain.

Therefore today when I run across a video such as this one in which a famous young gay man lives behind his secret I can empathize.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish Elton and others had been out and able to lead thus showing me that I was ok. However, I understand. I understand now that for them the safety of the curtain allowed them to live two lives. One life in front of the curtain out on stage and another in secret behind it. Society actually demanded the separation.

Stars of the past who tried to live their truth found their careers ruined and were ostracized, rejected into oblivion.

Today Elton is able to live as an out gay man. He is married and has two children. After all those years in hiding, today he can live as an example. Unfortunately Billy Haines never made it to see the day where his lifelong relationship would be validated much less that he could live and work as an out gay man.

What Billy Haines chose isn’t lost on me though. He chose to live his truth and to live as an out gay man, but it lost him his career. In his own way he blazed a trail by refusing to live a double life, or in other words he refused to live a lie.

Elton chose to live the lie until eventually his truth started to be too obvious, yet fortunately for him the times had changed to acceptance. But I don’t fault Elton. He had much to contribute, and contribute he did through his work and art. He was fortunate that thankfully times finally changed.

Societal “norms” keep people from fully expressing and living their truths.

Isn’t it time we appreciate differences and continue to challenge societal norms? Isn’t it time we actually question gender stereotypes? Isn’t it possible that the actual organ isn’t the actual sex? Isn’t it possible that sex, or sexuality, doesn’t even fucking matter?

Peppermint & Cazwell’s video Blend has appeared here before. It’s worth a re-post.

If we all do not understand, empathize, love, accept, support, forgive and STAND UP for each other then who will?

Let’s celebrate each other. Let’s celebrate life.

Lifting us all up

This is a wonderful video of someone sharing their own story about the experience of being there at the Stonewall uprising.

Fearsome highly recommends everyone clicking play.

Jay, Thank You for sharing your story and for walking the path leading us all to better and lifting us as a community. You are an inspiration.

Loving oneself

Growing up gay ain’t easy. Growing up gay the first things I learned is that I was wrong.

I was wrong for being scared the ball would hit me. I was wrong for twirling the baton. I was wrong for wanting to take dance lessons. I was wrong for having a knack for color and redecorating my room over and over. I was wrong for being in the band and wanting to be the drum major …right up front. I was wrong for knowing the answers and being a good student. I was wrong for crushing on boys. I was wrong for just wanting to hang out with girls playing mystery date and gossiping. I was wrong for simply being me.

I learned to hate myself. I learned to hide myself. I learned to lie. I learned to loathe, loathe myself. I learned that I should try to be something I wasn’t.

Luckily I found a way to appreciate who and what I was. Luckily I learned it was ok to be gay. Luckily I got on my feet before I harmed myself in any permanent way.

However the scars remain.

It was those individuals before me that took a stand and they cleared a path. A path that I could follow to live better. I could learn to accept myself and one day love myself. I could learn and allow those scars to become strength.

However it isn’t easy.

It doesn’t have to be easy. I just must remember to keep moving forward and to love myself. To keep moving forward and broaden the path for others behind me.

Pride month isn’t about flagrant narcissistic pride. Pride month is about loving yourself and loving others. Loving yourself for being simply who you are and loving others for simply being who they are.

Oh…and I must remember that I am enough.

Mitzi

My Angel, you kissed me one last time an hour ago. You were my angel from the day I met you and brought you home. You were only 8 weeks and weighed about a half of a pound. You are my Angel today although you’ve left your earthy bounds for a heaven I do not yet know, you are still with me. I promised you the day I first held you that I’d always take care of you, love you and be here for you, I still am. We may be apart, yet we will always be together. That’s what love is. Love sets us free. Together or apart we care, we love.

Godspeed my dear little girl. Give Nikki, Tess, Mattie, Diva and Nina a kiss for me. I’ll sure miss you here with me but I know I will hold you and kiss you again when I get to the other side. Until then may you find as many Itty Bitty Balls to chase and fetch as you desire.

Mitzi 2001

Mitzi 2019

Mitzi October 15, 2001 – June 2, 2019

I love you.

I needed love today

Life.

Life comes at you.

Don’t get me wrong, life is good…good overall, but damn it can come at you.

I’ve had so many wonderful things happen to me in the past month, and I’ve had some confusing and bewildering things happen as well. I sure haven’t posted much and I have some great things to post about (such as an in person meeting with not one but three dear blogger friends…hint…it was in Philly). Overwhelm describes my loss of words, organization and time to actually sit and post. I need to post for me and my mental health so I start here.

I need  love today. I went in search of inspirational video to perhaps jar me into some sort of clarity. Below is the video that appeared when I clicked over to you tube. The message of love, of peace and of hope is exactly what I needed.

Notre Dame

It was late December as my birthday was approaching number of years ago in the late 1990s, I was starting to pack for a weekend away to Palm Springs to celebrate the passing of another year. While I was packing my Better Half walked into the room with an envelope. He handed it to me and said “I think you had better open this as it may help you pack.”

I opened the envelope to find a round trip ticket to my favorite city on earth, Paris. We would be leaving in 48 hours. Wow, what a surprise! A week in Paris, a week in Paris the first week of January. Yeah, I guess the bathing suits I was packing weren’t going to be useful for this trip.

I had only been to Paris once before but it had already secured that special place in my heart that it still holds today. My first trip there had only been probably some 18 months before. On that trip it was high tourist season. Getting even close to Notre Dame was almost impossible on that first trip. However I remember my first glimpse of that imposing structure that was also one of the most beautiful works of art I had even seen. Still to this day I can feel my breath leave my body as I turned the corner to look up and see it’s magnificence.

I was transported to another time. I knew this beauty. I knew this cathedral like I knew the back of my hand. I knew deep inside of me, having never even paid attention to photos much less studying anything about it, that I had been there before. Whether it was some dream or maybe a past life experience I’ll never know, but I had been here. I knew her grandiosity to the point of intimate comfort. I could not wait to get inside to re-visit the interior that I knew so well. However this story isn’t about that trip. That was the first trip there. The trip where I actually laid eyes on a familiar place for the first time. The first time at least in this lifetime.

This trip, this special trip that the man who would one day be my legal husband gave me as a birthday present, was in the dead of winter. Turns out tourists don’t go to Paris in the dead of winter, or at least not the first week of January. It was cold but it was magnificent. It was the two of us freezing Southern Californians and a city with its doors wide open and no one in our way.

We walked right up to the ticket counter at the Eiffel Tower, with not a soul in line to buy a ticket, and walked right up to step onto an elevator. An elevator all the way to the top with only two others aboard. We walked into The Louvre only to walk right up to the Mona Lisa, when before we couldn’t even get into the room where the Mona Lisa was. We walked right into the magnificent work of art that is Notre Dame and spent hours enveloped in the beauty, history and majesty that I adored. I adored not only from my previous trip but knew from some other time, some other experience that was still a mystery to me. We walked right over to the corner, where we previously may have had to wait outside in line all day to even hopefully possibly access,  only to take our first step into her infamous towers and walk right up to the top.

Seeing Paris from The Eiffel Tower is incredible. Seeing Paris from the towers of Notre Dame is life changing.

A young Fearsome Beard sets eyes on the most beautiful city in the world from the top of the world’s most magnificent work of art, Notre Dame. 

The Better Half with Fearsome, Thank you Better Half.

Two of the famous friends we made that day in Paris.