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Happy Leap Day!

Good Morning My Confidants

I hope this finds you well.

Happy Leap Day!

And Happy Birthday to all of you Leap Babies!

Do I have any today?

What's it like? Do you normally celebrate on March 1st for three years? Or skip celebrating for three?

(I hope not!!!)

This day of people born on February 29th made me think of differences. It's a real analogy for differences, isn't it?

Because the fact is that we're all different. I mean we really are. There are no "normal" people. Many of us, including myself, fought really hard to try and be "normal." All we wanted to do was be like "everybody else."

I wanted to get married to a woman and have 2.5 children and buy a house (I actually did want a white picket fence, at least out front) and get a dog and a cat. I wanted to walk the neighborhood with my wife and a baby in a stroller and have people stop us because they wanted to "ooh" and "ahh" over our baby. I wanted to participate in neighborhood block parties and sit around drinking beer with the men while the wives set out all the food and took care of the kids. I wanted that. I wanted to "fit in."

But damn.... It was incredibly stressful and I for one was never happy trying to disguise myself. Or trying to be something I wasn't. Because no matter how much I thought I wanted all those things, they simply weren't me. I had a long struggle trying to figure it all out. Why, oh why, couldn't I just be like everyone else??

And then....why did I want to be like everyone else?

For me the gay thing was only part of it. But I think that's what I'll focus on for a minute.

Growing up in the '60s and '70s, you just didn't "come out" as a gay man. Not and live with the "normal" people. Not really even in the '80s which is when I came out. Well, that's not even true. I truly and honestly came out in 1990. I had played at it before, darting in and out of the closet, but I didn't stand up proudly for who I was until 1990. And soon after I came out to my parents, who luckily did not reject me like so many other parents do. However, I remember this....

My mother looking at me, eyes huge, and saying, "I just worry so much for your safety for choosing to do what you're doing. It's dangerous out there for gay people. Are you sure about this?"

I was very frustrated by this, but in retrospect I can only love my mom for it. She really did think it was a choice. I don't know if she still does, but I suspect so. She's a dyed-in-the-wool cis woman. And a conservative Christian. However, she's a very very good woman, the true definition of what a Christian is "supposed" to be.

My point is that even in 1990 it was a choice that could get you killed (I was surrounded once by a gang with knives!). Not choosing to be gay but choosing to admit it.

And first was coming out to myself. Because I believed the propaganda for a long time. that it was something that I had done to myself, that I had somehow "made" myself gay, especially in my years as a developing sexual person. That I had spent too much time looking at pictures of Dirk Benedict without a shirt on. Or looking at all those (gorgeous sexy) naked boys in the shower when I was in high school.... Or staring at the rare Penthouse photo spreads that included a man. If only I had looked at the girls! Maybe then I would like boobies and that "other place!" I sure remember staring and staring and staring and staring at the photos of naked women, trying desperately to see what other guys liked about "woman-parts," and trying to believe that they just weren't just bullshiting me. I was actually convinced for the longest time that they were lying. That they were just too afraid to admit that guys were far sexier?

I also spent an awful lot of time hating myself. Because I was going against God. The verses in the Bible, there are seven of them, amidst the roughly 31,100 other verses, that were pretty clear on the matter. Leviticus 20:13 says, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

I mean Jesus—no pun intended—that's pretty freaking scary when you are fourteen years old, and you think guys are hot!

It took me trying to live a "normal" life and having a child and square pegging myself into round holes AND talking to an older gay man who regrated deeply not coming out until he was in his fifties for me to see that—like it or not—I wasn't normal. And to see that I really didn't want all those things that I thought that I wanted. When I did have them, it felt empty. I loved my daughter, but living a fake-life, was so...yes...empty. All a man had to do was peck me on the cheek and my heart soared. I wanted to wake up in the morning and there be a man asleep beside me. I wanted to hold his hand while we were shopping at the mall. And while I was living in a world where that wasn't "normal," I knew they only way that it ever would be normal is if I was one of the brave who made an example. Maybe the more people who saw people like me walking around proudly, then they might see that we were no more or less normal than anyone else, that we were nothing to be afraid of, and that more GLBT people would think, "Hey, look! He's doing it! Maybe I can too!"

And what I really had to do—and I have—is absolutely love myself and stop considering myself as anything but normal.

Because "normal" means that we are all different!

We are male and female and many more genders. We are gay and straight and many many degrees of bisexual and we're non-sexual and transexual and many other kinds of sexual. We are white and black and brown and beige and "red" and "yellow" and pale and dark and vitiligo and so much more. We are all different shapes and heights and we are all differently abled. We are dancers and comedians and artists and athletes and teachers and caretakers and loners and social and quiet and loud and introverts and extroverts and many degrees of those two extremes and we're singers and speakers and dog people and cat people and both-people and non-pet people and parents and non-parents and married and single and monogamous and polyamorous.

And it's glorious!

It is in our very DNA to BE different because that is how we as a species survived where millions of other species did not! We are supposed to be different! We are a tapestry! We are tiny dots of paint on a huge canvas and when we can step back and look at the whole we can see—if we dare—how gorgeous we are! There is nothing to fear from people who are different than us!

It's glorious! Let's celebrate! Today, on Leap Day, that is what I am going to do!

Anyone care to join me?


BG "Gentle Ben" Thomas

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Celebrate all the good and diversity that is all of us on this leap day!!

I have always been, had the luxury to be, my own unique self. Cis het middle class from Fairfield County Connecticut just outside of New York City with all that means yet not like everyone else. Common experiences yet a unique take? I was unique and have looked for the unique in others for empathy and growth on my part.

 “I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” Song of Myself by Walt Whitman who I first read at 10.


From Marj: All I wanted growing up was to be able to find a niche I could be happy in. I was the outsider all through grade school. I transferred in, in middle of 1st grade, and I got the newcomer treatment and I fought back. Kick me? I'll kick back. Shove me? etc... Real tomboy. I got to admit I was happy when we moved, and I got to start 9th grade somewhere else where the kids didn't know me. Still had outré interests and never got to do afterschool stuff as I had to go straight home and do horse chores after school, but I did much better. Normal? Not as the sociology books in college wo…


Feb 29

We are a tapestry. No 2 are alike. That should add to our humankind, but sadly doesn't really. Rejoice in our uniqueness!!😁


I also stared at Dirk Benedict a LOT and did not become gay. ;-) Yes, let us celebrate everyone in their own uniqueness!


Ditto what I said on Facebook

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