Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day: many footsteps, many paths to follow

I am an avid and devoted listener of WTF with Marc Maron. It’s an intersection of a lot of things I really love: I really (really) love funny people, I really love learning about other people’s lives, I really love learning about successful people’s lives, I really love creative people who have the courage to take the path less traveled, and I really love Marc Maron and his sensitive intellectualism.

This morning’s interview was particularly interesting and powerful, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect and promote it on my corner of the internet. It’s an extremely intelligent, honest & passionate conversation with Todd Glass, a successful comedian, who comes out of the closet as a forty-something year old man.

Why was he in the closet for so long? He’s not religious, his family is supportive of who he is, it seems that he just really feared judgment and being defined by his sexuality.

Why did he come out of the closet at long last? Kids are dying because of the persistent homophobia in society and what it can be internalized as, and he knew his conscious would no longer allow him to stay behind that safe curtain of compassionate neutrality. And also, as Marc puts it, holding a secret becomes something that you contract and grow around, and after awhile, your emotional health and personal evolution becomes hinged on acknowledging and releasing that secret.

My summarizing will never do this justice, so I encourage people to take a moment and listen. It’s so worth it, I swear! He really made clear, and opened my mind (which I previously held as being wide open already) to a lot of things.

But, to that conversation, my addendum is this graphic I’ve been wanting to put together for awhile (since watching a documentary on William Burroughs). “Gay” has been an adjective my generation in particular has held onto as a word not associated with sexuality necessarily, but just a descriptor for something being stupid, uncool, etc. And what Todd really opened my eyes to, is the way that simply hurts people on a deep and personal level. And it’s not right.

Not only is it not right to perpetuate that hurt and shame, but it’s just not right because being gay is NOT stupid and uncool. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Being bold enough to be gay often times means you’re also bold enough to breakdown other standards, to make breakthroughs in a number of disciplines because you have elevated yourself beyond the dimensions of societal boundaries. It’s fucking rock n roll! It’s the best any of us can hope to be! If there’s any goal any one person can hope for or should strive towards achieving in this life, it’s to come to terms with who you truly are, and as such, live a life in pursuit of your true passions and as your true self. That’s the hero’s journey.

And that’s hard! That’s really hard for anyone. And I want to do my best to not only achieve that for myself, but to help make it an easier world for all of us to do the same. Thanks to Todd Glass and Marc Maron for paving the way!

“Within the typical secondary school curriculum, homosexuals do not exist. They are 'nonpersons' in the finest Stalinist sense. They have fought no battles, held no offices, explored nowhere, written no literature, built nothing, invented nothing and solved no equations. The lesson to the heterosexual student is abundantly clear: homosexuals do nothing of consequence. To the homosexual student, the message has even greater power: no one who has ever felt as you do has done anything worth mentioning.” - Gerald Unks, editor, The Gay Teen

Historical figures referenced were found at

addendum: (here is a link to Todd's own very funny podcast, where this week he has what I'd call a post WTF wrap up, where he just sorta gets some other things off his chest in a loose way, and with the support of his BFF, the fabulous Sarah Silverman. I don't know why I liked this whole to-do so much, I just did.)

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