The World Through My Eyes

The World Through My Eyes: A collection of essays, reflections and thoughts about men, sex, love, relationships, politics, friendships, nudism, current events, social concerns, humanitarian issues, religion and all those wonderful experiences that constitute life as seen and felt by me: a thirty-something Deaf Gay man of mixed racial heritage (half-black, half-white) living in the Virginia Beach area of the United States. A scrapbook of my life. I've been a confirmed Gay nudist for the past 20 years (since puberty). Sometimes, we just need to step back and chill and try not to be so serious and tense. Life is short, stand up and get into it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween! As long as I can remember, it has always been one of my favorite occasions. It wasn't until my college days that I really became a Halloween super-fan. At that time, I discovered I could be both a practicing nudist and a Halloween enthusiast. Thank you body glitter, body paint, make-up and all the other products and props that enable us to make the illusion of disguise and fantasy while remaining completely naked. No g-string or loincloth for me! I want to accentuate and decorate, not hide, my nudity.

Since university, I've always held a dream of hosting my own Halloween extravaganza, all gay and all nude. My dream contained two conditions, the first being that buttocks, chest and genitals must be fully exposed. As nudists living in a world dominated by fashion-obsessed oppressors, why would we want to party under-cover? In most of our daily routines we have to conform to dress codes. My ultimate goal was to do this thing but do it naturally. The second caveat being that I wanted to host it in a home that I owned. I didn't want it held in any property that I leased or rented. I want it in my own special place.

This year, my dream becomes real. This past winter, my BF and I bought a townhouse together. A first for us both. This is our first Halloween in our first home. No more getting ready, going out and driving to the party. This time, the celebration is here, within our four walls and not the abode of others. True, this isn't the first nudist social that we've hosted since moving in. It is, of course, our first Halloween gathering. My dream-come-true. It's tomorrow night, Saturday, October 30, 2010.

Tonight, my twin cousins (both nudists, Deaf and gay) are arriving here with their partners. We'll spend the day tomorrow preparing the food, the games, decorating and finishing all those last-minute details to make the evening a success. BF and I are both ready to let the fun begin!

To all, a safe and happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Anti-Bullying Campaign

With the string of recent gay-related suicides due to peer harrassment, there emerges from Facebook a bullying awareness Spirit Day. This observance happens tomorrow, October 20, 2010. Everyone who is against bullying, intimidation and bashing is urged to wear purple on this day. This is one way to show our solidarity in this cause. I plan to wear purple and encourage all of you to do likewise.

Now is the time to take a stand and end this disgusting behavior. The sad fact is: kids aren't natural bullies. This behavior is learned at home. Thank you for taking the time to read this! Wear purple, please.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

GLBT History Month: My Personal History

This topic probably doesn't mean much to anyone besides me, but my own gay history was easier than most due to my family. Both my awareness and self-identity concerns surrounding my sexual orientation were minor compared to those of my friends. The same is true about coming out to my immediate family. My situation was significantly less stressful than others on account of my relatives. I never felt that I was all alone with a dark secret that I needed to hide.

On my Greek side of the family (paternal), I have three first cousins, all older, who are openly gay. The eldest of these is sixteen years my senior. By the time that I was a toddler, he was already out to all our extended family. Growing up, I've always known him as being paired with another man. When I was younger, this did seem odd to me but none of my adult family reacted negatively.

This same cousin has two younger brothers (identical twins) who are gay. They are nine years older than me. Closer in age, they became people that I looked up to. I remember their coming out process. Like myself, they're both Deaf and their acknowledging their sexuality was no big deal. They're both confirmed nudists and all these reasons combined have made a strong bond between the three of us. Not only are they my cousins, they're my best friends as well. We're in constant communication among ourselves and frequently vacation together. Even though we all live hundreds of miles apart, we often visit.

In my Nigerian half of family, my mother has an older sister who is lesbian. My aunt emigrated to Canada after graduating from the University of Ibadan. She's lived in Toronto with the same partner for as long as I can remember. Because of our age difference and geographical distance, we aren't especially close. We do exchange emails and greeting cards.

This brief family history highlights the importance of us living our lives open and free. The honesty of my relatives made a major difference in my life. They provided me with positive role models on my journey towards understanding and accepting myself.

Friday, October 8, 2010

GLBT History Month: Resource And Knowledge

As a professional educator of Deaf teenagers, I'm always challenged to identify and incorporate new information to expand their knowledge. Equality Forum, which promotes and sponsors this observance of our GLBT cultural heritage maintains a website that archives and supports this endeavor. "Google" them at: glbthistorymonth. For anyone interested in promoting diversity in their classroom, this is an outstanding tool. It's also ideal for anyone simply wanting to expand her/his knowledge about our history/herstory. As a culture that enriches and enhances our national fabric, we all need to know about us.

In visiting this site during the past week, I personally learned something new about our community. Up until several days ago, I never realized that the famous agricultural scientist, educator and inventor, George Washington Carver was gay! I simply assumed, like most, that he was heterosexual. That's what we get for making assumptions. Trust me, it does pay to visit this website and enlighten ourselves!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

GLBT History Month: Bayard Rustin

October is GLBT History Month and a time for us to honor and celebrate our own. This year, 2010, marks the fifth anniversary of this event that brings our past to life and prepares us for our future. There is a proverb that teaches us: "How can we go forward when we don't know where we've been?" We, the GLBT community, need to heed and learn from this ancient piece of wisdom.

One of my favorite heroes from our history is Bayard Rustin, the chief organizer for the Reverend Doctor Martin L. King, Jr. of the monumental 1963 civil rights march on Washington, DC. Bayard was born on March 17, 1910 and was raised by his Quaker grandparents in West Chester, PA. in the 1930s, he moved to Harlem, New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance. He was active in the Young Communist League in their work against racial segregation.

During World War II, he refused to register for the selective service system having adopted the nonviolent principles espoused by Mahatma Gandhi. The result was spending three years in a federal penitentiary. During the late 1940s and 1950s, he helped organize nonviolent groups that soon became the leaders in the Civil Rights Movement for Blacks. Among those he cofounded were the Congress of Racial Equality and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1955, he was a key person leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It was during this time that Mr. Rustin persuaded Dr. King and other boycott leaders to committ the Civil Rights movement to total nonviolence.

Mr. Rustin experienced prejudice firsthand. Initially, he suffered racial discrimination when being Black still meant second-class citizenship or worse. Once he selfidentified as gay, he again suffered bigotry due to his sexual orientation. Brother Bayard was Black and gay at a time when neither was popular nor welcome. On account of his sexuality, he was often given "behind-the-scenes" responsibilities in the Civil Rights struggle.

Bayard Rustin died on August 24, 1987.