Archive for the ‘gays’ Tag

Gays, NFL, Dogs Prevent Suicide

This is a really nice article containing a few of my favorite things: football, gays and dogs

Former NFL lineman Ryan O’Callaghan comes out in moving profile

Ryan O'Callaghan

Ryan O’Callaghan played for both the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. Jeff Taylor







Former NFL lineman Ryan O’Callaghan, who played for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, has come out of the closet in a moving interview for Outsports.

O’Callaghan, who spent five years in the NFL, never expected to have a post-football life. He was deeply closeted, unable to imagine living as an openly gay man. Instead of coming out or continuing to live with the pain of life in the closet, he planned to commit suicide after he retired from the game.

“I wrote a letter,” he said. “I was close.”

“If it wasn’t for some good friends, a couple of good dogs, I’d be gone,” he added. “I’m just glad there were people that were looking out for me, pushing me in the right direction to actually get help.”

He also struggled with drug addiction.

“I was abusing painkillers, no question,” he said. “It helped with the pain of the injuries, and with the pain of being gay. I just didn’t worry about being gay when I took the Vicodin. I just didn’t worry.”

Ryan O'CallaghanRyan

Ryan O’Callaghan with his dogs.

He credits a small group of people within the Chiefs organization with helping lead him to a better place, including the team’s general manager, Scott Pioli. He reassured O’Callaghan that he still had Pioli’s support, who shared that he had many gay people in his life and had previously counseled other gay NFL players.

Related: These NFL teams just became the first to sponsor a pride celebration

O’Callaghan said he hopes his coming out will show others that it is safe for them to do so as well, including some more recognizable names.

A handful of NFL players have come out after retirement, including running back Dave Kopay, cornerback Wade Davis, defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo, guard Roy Simmons, offensive tackle Kwame Harris, and running back Ray McDonald.

Defensive end Michael Sam was drafted into the NFL, by the St. Louis Rams, as an openly gay man, but was cut before the season began.

O’Callaghan recalled growing up in Redding, California, in an environment where gay people were not readily accepted.

“If you’re a gay kid and you hear someone you love say ‘fag,’ it makes you think that in their eyes you’re just a fag too,” he said. “That got to me a lot.”

But when he went home to come out to his family, he was pleasantly surprised.

“All the people I was most concerned about were fine. It was so much easier and better than I ever imagined,” he recalled.

He said he thinks the NFL is ready for an openly gay player.

“I think teams are ready. Guys just have to understand he’s gay. It doesn’t mean he wants to date you, he just wants to be your teammate,” he said. “It’s not a big deal, it’s really not.”

Related: NFL documentary profiles closeted gay player

He added that he hopes his story will lead to “someone else much higher profile coming out.”

He said he is in a much better place since coming out.

“I’m having a great time. I love life now, I absolutely love life now.”

He went to school at California and played for four years in the NFL. His career is captured here:


Discuss Gays in Sports

While thrilled about Jason Collins’ announcement, I saw a problem arise that bugged me. A large number of people shouted down Miami Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace because of his tweets. The man asked why is Collins attracted to men. He threw in no curses, accused no one of sin, let alone going to hell. Yet, the media, the Dolphins public relations, and others called him ignorant and basically said, Sit down and shut up!

I’m not for a totalitarian system, whether liberal or not. Gay males announcing that they play big-time professional sports is a new phenomenon. We need to create an environment that promotes discussion, no matter how basic. Start with Freud, and his basic-object choice. Explain chemistry flowing inside a body that sees someone who they find attractive. Liken the feeling to his own feeling when he spots a particular type of woman. Explain other similarities.

We have a chance to talk and show who we are. This can only happen when you talk to people.

Lesbian & Gay Hollywood

My book among others receive great review on AfterElton: premiere gay media site.

Hollywood Bohemians and Others

Greta Garbo and Ramón Novarro

Conventional wisdom has it that in its golden age from 1920 to 1950, Hollywood was a very unwelcome place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. But in fact, as recent studies by William J. Mann, David Ehrenstein and other writers have told us, Tinseltown was crawling with queers.

Even after the Production Code (1934) barred overt homosexual behavior from our nation’s movie screens, GLBT people continued to flourish in the movie industry – just as long as they played the game and stayed clear of Los Angeles’ increasingly homophobic police department.

In fact, between 1917 and 1941 many Hollywood studios, gossip columnists and novelists used gay people, trans-people and adulterers to depict and promote the “glamorous Hollywood lifestyle.”

Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream (McFarland; 248 pages; $35.95) is not so much a history of “gay Hollywood” as a history of how movie makers, writers and publicists used “Hollywood bohemians” to construct the public image of Hollywood as a place that was shocking, naughty and fun.

According to author Brett L. Abrams, and contrary to the Production Code’s suppression of homosexual behavior in motion pictures, “the images of adulterers, homosexuals and cross-dressers appeared in a … positive light in fictional movies and novels about Hollywood. They also appeared in the publicity materials that the Hollywood studios and news media released.”

Hollywood Bohemians gives us many examples of “Hollywood bohemians:” female impersonators, cross-dressing females, odd bachelors and magnificent spinsters in Movieland fact, factoid and fiction. Forgotten folks such as Thelma Todd, Julian Eltinge, Mercedes de Acosta and Ramón Novarro rub elbows with more familiar celebs, including Greta Garbo and Cary Grant, in Abrams’ fascinating pages.

One of Hollywood’s (bohemian or otherwise) favorite getaways was and is the desert resort of Palm Springs. Today Palm Springs is “the most famous gay and lesbian hometown and resort in America,” the home of a score of “clothing-optional” gay guesthouses, the White Party (for guys) and the Dinah Shore weekend (for gals).

But Palm Springs was not always the Gay Mecca that it is today. For a long time, Palm Springs’ city government was controlled by an “old boys” club that frowned upon sexual non-conformity, and as late as the 1960s, a local preacher was run out of town when the local yokels learned that he was gay.

All of that is a thing of the past, and now GLBT people dominate the Palm Springs city government to a degree unheard of anywhere in America outside of West Hollywood, Wilton Manors, Florida or Provincetown, Massachusetts. How celebrities made Palm Springs a gay and lesbian paradise is the theme of David Wallace’s new book A City Comes Out (Barricade Books; 240 pages; $23.95).

Among the Tinseltown notables who came to Palm Springs for fun and profit were queer celebs such as Claudette Colbert, Mary Martin, Liberace, Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter. All of these folks had tales to tell and Wallace, a prolific author of popular Hollywood histories, has no problem telling them. And to prove that the “old boys” club is long gone from Palm Springs politics, A City Comes Out also features openly gay politicians, including Mayor Stephen Pougnet (the city’s second out mayor in a row) and City Councilman Rick Hutcheson.

Gay men of a certain age, myself included, like to reminisce about the “good old days” of the 1970s, days of sexual freedom uninterrupted by anti-sex politics and HIV infections. But what we miss the most about the “Titanic 1970s” (before it struck the AIDS iceberg) was not unbridled sex, but rather the friends and lovers we lost to the epidemic.

Jack Fritscher, one of the survivors, has written about the “me decade” in his biography of his late lover, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and in his epic novel Some Dance to Remember. In Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer Volume 1, collected and edited by Fritscher’s partner Mark Hemry (Palm Drive Publishing; 734 pages; $39.95), Fritscher again looks back at the seventies, now through the prism of one of that decade’s most important gay publications, Drummer magazine.

Fritscher was more than an avid reader of Drummer magazine. Fritscher became Editor In Chief of Drummer in March, 1977, when the magazine moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco, until December 1979, covering issues #14 to 33 and the magazine’s greatest period. Even after he stepped down as editor, Fritscher continued to contribute to Drummer as a writer and photographer.

According to Fritscher, “My secondary goal as editor and writer of Drummer was for masculine-identified gay men to be able to read about themselves, see photos and drawings of themselves, and develop a sense of international community of themselves as red-blooded males. … My primary goal was to get the readers “off” sexually. Drummer, for all that legend has made it as an historical record and cultural force, was meant to be recreational entertainment back when people still knew how to read with one hand.”

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer is the first of a projected four volume series of anthologies culled from the golden age of Drummer. It opens with introductions by the likes of editor Mark Hemry, Joseph Bean, Tim Barrus, David Hurles (“Old Reliable”), Edward Lucie-Smith and the late Larry Townsend, giving their take on Drummer, Fritscher, or both.

The book then segues to a series of early, gay-related essays by Fritscher himself, including a short bio of the late gay or bisexual actor James Dean. But the bulk of Eyewitness Drummer properly consists of selections from the early, Fritscher-edited issues #14-20 (April 1977 – Jan. 1978), along with commentaries by the author and/or editor that are often lengthier than the original pieces.

As a gay man who lived through and survived the Titanic, I found the articles and photos in Eyewitness Drummer to be both nostalgic and of great historic value. But even guys who were not yet born in the 1970s will find much to enjoy in these classic pieces, as well as in Fritscher’s memoir of the amazing decade between Stonewall and AIDS.

Three pivotal events took place in the summer of 1969: the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Stonewall Riots and the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. Though Elliot Tiber never made it to the moon, he managed to take part in both Stonewall and Woodstock. Tiber was at the Stonewall Inn on that fateful Friday night in June when the cops decided to raid the bar (again).

I remember first hearing a beer bottle shatter against the floor somewhere in the room. Then from inside the slowly growing bedlam, someone shouted, ‘Don’t let the pigs harass us anymore! … tonight, we’re fighting back!’ … Anger swelled up inside me – a terrifying anger that had festered and grown over the years. Unbelievably, I heard myself yell, ‘Let’s go out there and turn over their f*cking cars!

But Stonewall was only a minor incident in the storied life of Elliot Tiber – born Eliyahu Teichberg. As Tiber’s memoir Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life (Square One Publishers; 216 pages; 24.95), which Tiber wrote with Tom Monte indicates, the most important event of Tiber’s life was Woodstock. In 1969, Tiber spent much of his time helping his aging Jewish parents run their run-down motel in White Lake, in the Catskill Mountains.

Troubled by the “Teichberg Curse,” Tiber’s only escape was in New York City’s gay community, where he frequented Stonewall and other gay dance clubs and leather bars. Life changed for Tiber and his folks when rock impresario Michael Lang came looking for a place to hold his Woodstock Festival. As head of the local Chamber of Commerce, Tiber fortuitously owned a permit to hold a yearly music concert. Tiber gave Lang the use of his permit, got his friend Max Yasgur to allow the use of his farm for the Festival, and the rest is history.

Taking Woodstock is a wonderful tale of the historic Woodstock Festival, as told by one of the men who made it possible. To the outrage of the local folks and Tiber’s Old World parents, White Lake and Bethel were taken over by a mob of hippies, cross-dressers, leather folk and other bohemians, who freely partook of massive doses of sex, drugs and rock & roll.

Woodstock did more than bring much needed money to Tiber and his parents. It also brought Tiber himself out of the closet for good, and it gave him a story to tell, in this book and elsewhere. Tiber’s tale will reach out to mainstream audiences later this year as Taking Woodstock becomes “a major motion picture” directed by Ang Lee (of Brokeback Mountain fame) and starring Demetri Martin as Elliot Tiber.

Tolerance for Gays

How Old-school. Governor Palin says during the Vice-Presidential Debate that she has tolerance for us. Wow. Thanks a lot.
Haven’t heard that used in years.
As journalist Jonathan Capeheart said in Saturday’s Washington Post, we expect respect!

Hell, Palin probably watches all the Bravo design shows. Doesn’t she realize how many gays and lesbians are creating all those wow products! Let alone so many contributions to the arts and letters over the years.

Shall I be tolerant of her choice of religion or are we striving for greater understanding in a pluralistic culture like the US!

By the way, Senator Biden did little better with his response. However, I got the feeling from him that he supports all the initiatives to give gays and lesbians and transsexuals every right that a couple has, sans MARRIAGE.