September 11, 2010: Remembering 9/11/01 from a Gay Man’s Perspective

Imagine, just for a moment:  A group of people, motivated by an extreme devotion to their religion, ban together and begin to plan action that expresses their rage against those whom they disagree with on religious, cultural, and social grounds.  They carefully plot a strategy to act out that rage, carefully, systematically, secretly, and determinedly.  … Read more

August 22, 2010: Bad News Calls for Resiliency, Resolve, and Revolution

Looking at the news over the past couple of weeks from a gay men’s mental health point of view leaves quite a bit to be desired. In my last post, I was talking about how the overturn of Prop 8 is a collective mental health booster for the entire lesbian and gay community. Conversely, the … Read more

April 17, 2010: The Census and Gay Men’s Mental Health

Individual Therapy for Gay Men

My very close friends will sometimes tease me that in ordinary conversation, I can switch topics abruptly, or I can link seemingly very different things. Such is the case with my thoughts on the current United States 2010 Census effort, and gay men’s mental health.  How are the Census and gay men’s mental health even … Read more

It’s July Fourth – Independence Day for Gay Men: What Do You Want Independence From?

independence day for gay men
Independence Day for gay men can have many important meanings, as a community and as individuals.

It’s July Fourth – Independence Day for Gay Men: What Do You Want Independence From?

As we celebrate the summer and the Fourth of July — Independence Day — let’s consider the meaning of that word, “independence.” Historically, this means celebrating America’s freedom from the tyrannical rule of a cruel and imbecilic king who over-taxed his hardest-working citizens to enrich the elite and fund wars that aggrandized his ego. (OK, so I guess not much has changed in over 200 years!)  For gay men, the word “independence” can mean so much more.  For many or most of us, we grow up hiding our sexuality for a long time, and we are imprisoned by isolation, secrecy, and lack of validation for who we are.

Independence Day for gay men, coming usually soon after the annual Pride celebrations in June, as a community, is a celebration and commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising in New York in 1969, when, as a community, we declared our independence from systemic oppression (by the anti-gay New York City Police Department in particular, but also oppression in general).  For each of us as individuals, the coming out process is like declaring our independence from widespread heterosexism (“the assumption that everyone is, or should be, heterosexual”).

We declare our independence from the sexism that imprisons us into strict demands for gender-conforming behaviors, whether we like those things or not, and we certainly declare independence from the outright hate and bigotry that we hear about almost constantly in the news, particularly from conservative religious sectors and/or Republicans.  We also declare independence from people telling us we “can’t” — can’t be a part of certain groups, can’t hold certain jobs, can’t adopt children, can’t celebrate our sexuality, can’t have benefits, can’t have protections from discrimination, can’t have our Pride month recognized by the government, and so on.  The entire LGBT community fights for independence from oppression in many ways, not just on July Fourth, but every day, in the United States and worldwide. 

Read moreIt’s July Fourth – Independence Day for Gay Men: What Do You Want Independence From?