Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Freedom To Express Oneself

Bored, a few days ago, I decided to stop at Border's Bookstore to purchase reading materials. Borders sells both newsworthy (like the Advocate, Out, and Genre) and softcore pornographic (Playgirl and Men Magazine), gay mags. Its the only place in my immediate area selling any gay publications since none of the malls do. Unfortunately, Border's has since stop selling Clik Magazine, one of the few publications catering the gay-bi-SGL African American community. I'm miffed about it and I'll probably need to subscribe now! This probably is a good thing. A subscription is cheaper than a store purchase.

I meandered towards the magazine section and noticed four teens in the gay periodical aisle. Three of the four youths were 15-16 year old boys. The lone white girl in the group appeared to be about 14. She wandered off shortly after I arrived. The boys, two African American, the other boy white, stood around the area I wanted to get to, browsing through the different mags on the shelves.

Usually I steer clear of a group of teens. Not wanting to place myself as a potential gay bash victim, I keep low profile. Fortunately, Border's keeps the comic section located in the same aisle as the gossip and gay magazines. All I had to do was browse through the latest issues of th X-men titles until the youngsters sojourn elsewhere. I picked up a book, plopped my backside down on a bench, and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited some more. Perhaps waited 25 minutes. Patience has never been one of my virtues. I was getting frustrated and my temper peaking. I just wanted to grab my wares and get home. The boys lingered a long time at the section. What was taking so long????

It took a few minutes, but finally, I put together the anatomy of the scene. My young companions were all gay! Huh? Gay? Uh-huh, gay! Unfortunately, it never occurred to me. I have to admit none of the boys set off my gaydar. Not a one and I'm usually excellent about spotting brethren. Well! Knock me over with a feather!

Careful to not to leer hungrily, I glanced in the direction one of the black boys holding hands with the white boy, both paging through a copy of XY Magazine, a gay periodical for teens and early 20-somethings. The other youth was trying to sneak glances at Men, a pornographic nude magazine, without getting caught. I locked eyes on to him. He looked nervous as Hell. Summoning my own courage, I gave him a understanding smile, stood up, walked over and grabbed a copies of Genre and the Advocate, then went over to the Coffee Shop to talk to my friend Shane who works at Border's. As I walked passed, they grabbed copies of several gay magazines and a straight one to put over top the others, and left, I assume, to find their female companion.

It did my 37-year-old heart good to witness that moment. it certainly took me back to my own adolescence, but not in the same way. I wasn't "out" in my teens and don't think I could have publicly displayed any affection with a boy if I had been. Despite the current increasing negative climate towards gays, I'm glad today's youth have more opportunities to express themselves and be open about their sexuality. 15-20 years ago, such a scene, I doubt would've happened. I daresay anywhere in Pennsylvania. Such an acts makes me beam inside and remind how far things have progress in just a short time frame.

At 37, perhaps I worry too much about tolerance towards gays. Where I live in Central PA is fairly moderate and open-minded, I'm careful of my actions at all times. For me, much of my concerns factor in race, ethnicity, and skin tone, not just sexuality. I can't afford to step outside the boundaries, not as a grown man. Perhaps if I were a teen again, maybe.

I envy young men for their cavalier openness, especially the black youth in the interracial commitment. As a young black, a gay black male, not only is he going against the norm by dating outside his race, but has the courage and boldness to publicly display his affection for his partner. Kudos my young friend. You make me proud!

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While this blog is not really intended to show adult content, I can't guarantee that an occasional image of male nudity won't appear. Be advised that this blog is intended to be read by people with an open mind. I don't claim any rights to the images nor do I have any knowledge of the sexuality of persons featured (unless they are openly gay...duh). Enjoy yourself and take a small step in my every day life and pondering... Feel free to email any comments or opinions.

President Barack Obama!