Just settled in at home after a week in the ever-lovely town of Seaside, Florida with my Automattic homies. I learned a ton in the past week and had kind of a ridiculously good time in the process. There’s always the temptation to think how great it’d be if we could work together all the time. But then we remember these meetups are so cool because Automattic is made of people who make their homes all over the world. That said, I can’t wait to see them this spring in San Francisco. :)
On my way home from Savannah, I stopped by Seaside, Florida for dinner and to check out the beaches. Happy to say that everything in town looked just as great as the last time I was there in April, before the spill. Took a few photos because I forgot to photograph the (beautiful) town last time.
In 1997, wracked by guilt and consumed with questions I’d been asking myself since I first realized that I was gay five years earlier, I asked the youth minister at my church for help with “a little problem.” The particular evangelical brand of Catholicism that had gained popularity at the time, Life Teen, espoused the idea that gay men and lesbians could be “converted” into healthy, hearty heterosexuals with the right blend of therapy and prayer. And so I set upon a journey, with a Catholic therapist and a copy of the book Love Won Out, the autobiography of a supposed “ex-gay” man named John Paulk. For the next year, I did untold damage to my mental health by attempting, basically, to will the color of my eyes to change. I was lucky in that it didn’t take me too long to realize it wasn’t going to happen. The further I got away from home, and high school, and church, the more I realized that the normality I’d been seeking didn’t actually exist. In 2000, John Paulk was recognized while flirting in a Washington, D.C. gay bar.
The gay community has some issues. Homophobia is still a serious, sometimes deadly problem in parts of the world. Yet I can’t help but wonder if the gay community’s biggest issue is this group of gay men, like John Paulk and George Rekers, willing to sell out their fellow man to advance a political or financial agenda. How cold must your soul be, to know you’re gay and make your living by trying to convince other gay men that they’re sick?
This week, George Rekers, another prominent leader of the ex-gay movement, was found to have repeatedly employed the services of a rent boy. I’ll skip the details other than to commend the prostitute on his use of the euphemism “long stroke” to describe the particular kind of massage performed for Rekers.
“What hasn’t been appreciated about the George Rekers rentboy case is just how miserable he’s tried to make life for other gay people in this country. And, the fact that he’s still doing it! … The reason George Rekers’ pitiful closeted hypocritical life news is actual news is because he’s quite actively engaged in trying to change this country to make it a more difficult place to be gay. Particularly a more difficult place to be a young gay person. While he’s simultaneously hiring at least one young gay person to not carry his baggage.”Rachel Maddow
George Rekers is a sad man. Sadder still are the closeted gays and misinformed straights who will lovingly reassure him through this “troubled time.” It’s time to start recognizing this for what it is — mentally ill gay men unable to cope with the reality of their sexual orientation. That the religious and political conservative communities continue to cite these men as examples of “overcoming” homosexuality is a sick fraud. The next time you hear someone mention the “Ex-Gay” movement or “reparative therapy” for homosexuals, just remember three words: the long stroke.
I haven’t written about my trip last week — despite having a million things to say, there’s just been no time. Coworking with Brian, Sheri, Jane, Mike and Matt was awesome — we always end up being a little sad we don’t work together in-person after we do these. We got to meet up with some local WordPress users from the Tybee Times (new WordPress-powered site coming soon!), SCAD Radio, and District.
Being back in a place that still feels like home, with the people I work with, was surreal at times but really fun for me. The menu still calls me back: “Come Home Matt.”
But these Tybee people. These people were my brothers and sisters for two years. Being away for so long almost let me forget how much I missed them, but one night back together reminded me well. I’d prepared myself for the possibility that I might not see anyone I knew while I was in town. I forgot to prepare myself for the possibility that I’d get to see so many. Tybee was my home again for a week and I couldn’t have hoped for it to have been any better. It won’t be so long before I come back again.
The photo above is from Matt’s Tybee WordPress Meetup gallery. Sheri took some awesome pictures of our WordPress meetup at Huc-a-Poo’s.
Making potica for Christmas was my grandmother’s tradition, and when she couldn’t manage the work any longer, I decided to learn so the tradition wouldn’t be lost. My mom, my brother and I got together to make one a few days ago — it took three hours but was totally worth it. It’s also really boring to watch at normal speed, so here’s making potica in under a minute: