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On Being An OPSWG – The Unbearable Heaviness of My LGBTQ Ignorance

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weighed down

Am I woke yet?

Nope, probably not…

This post is about my ongoing evolution as an older privileged straight white guy (OPSWG).

I admit it. I’m fairly LGBTQ ignorant, even to this day. Using pronouns scares me.

I remember almost like it was yesterday, the day I met Brian, a McDonald’s work friend in a Woolco store in Hamilton’s Eastgate Square Mall. The year was probably 1974 or ’75.

Brian and I were always friendly and “jokeable” with each other.

He had a ready smile and was easy to chat with, we were a couple of teenagers shooting the shit. That’s just what we were doing in-between the racks of shirts and pants in Woolco when I noticed an emblem on his T-shirt and naively asked what it was about.

With no sign of embarrassment or hesitation, Brian replied that it represented the Gay Association for Hamilton and that he was the President of the group.

I could feel the red rise in my cheeks as I tried to formulate a response… any response. I fumbled and hmmmm’ed and dug myself roughly out of my own discomfort. He was cool, I was flustered.

I liked Brian before. I still liked Brian. A lot.

Nothing changed in that moment except everything changed.

eyes open wide

Someone I absolutely, completely knew now to be gay was a good guy. He was no threat to me or a Boogie Man.

There was no such thing as LGBTQ in that era. It had no meaning yet. Sounds like a delicious summer sandwich, right? No, he was just homosexual.

I wasn’t actively anti-homosexual in those days.

But you might not have guessed it because I stood nearby on a number of occasions while some of my friends made jokes and derogatory remarks about the guys I knew who were “most likely” gay or had some effeminate characteristics.

It was cruel and hurtful and plain old bullying.

I was too weak to protest or stand tall and defend the young boys who were marginalized and ridiculed.

For most of my days, and like a zillion other dudes, the sight of two women kissing (or more) has unsurprisingly been a sensual turn-on for me. Conversely, the sight of two men kissing (or more) has – until recently – been a huge repulsive turn off. I don’t turn away anymore.

Everyday normal people doing “normal” human things and yet I had visceral reactions in different directions.

Meandering in the fog, I’m learning to change and correct course.

I had a good friend from an immigrant Italian family that I hung with for a number of years leading into high school. We were both in a classical-music-is-kind-of-cool stage. Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring was our hit song of the day.

jesu joy

He didn’t really display any outward signs of “non-heterosexuality”… sure, he wore tight pants that often showed the outline of his “manhood” (ewwwww), somewhat like the inverse look of a snake after eating a whole rabbit where you see a sharp outline of the ingested critter … but I think that was more young teenager stuff than a what-is-my-sexuality issue.

But there were others in the high school cliques around us that must have picked up on something and began to harass and make fun of him as a “faggot”.

Again, I did nothing to defend him against the bullying… and I do know now with certainty that he, like my McDonald’s friend Brian, is gay. Big deal!

Years have passed and I cringe at my lack of a backbone when others suffered needlessly over something that they hadn’t chosen to be… you might call it God-given… I go with plain old genetics.

……………………………

I know my good fortune in life has been swayed hugely in my favour because of the womb I came from… billions of others have suffered oppositely because of the womb (or country) they burst out of.

I know my life has been simpler because I was born:

  • white-skinned and male.
  • “straight” sexually.
  • into a middle-class upbringing with access to good education.

As a result of no choices that I’ve made, I’ve been given the gift of relative ease in a difficult world.

Suffering should not have to be what triggers compassion. At the very least, can I (and you maybe too), show compassion for the life of others who are sent to the hitter’s box with two strikes and a cracked bat… a putter for the Tee shot?

Our inner thoughts and – sometimes – outer actions, might just as well put our knee on the throat of someone who is already at a disadvantage.

I’ve travelled fairly extensively in my adult years and have watched and heard others down-talk persons of other colour, socio-economic strata, different religion or cultural belief, gender, psychological makeup… you name it…

It never makes us or the world a better place.

No, I’m probably not woke and likely never will be. I’m still an OPSWG…

But I know that seeking out the kindness inside of us will never steer us wrong.

Each day I’m going to Yoda-try to evolve and be aware and reach a little higher up Maslow’s hierarchy… probably the closest this old heathen will ever get to heaven!

heaven reach

 

 

 

The Predator

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Chase

“The hot blazing sun shone like a flaming ball of fire over the cobalt ocean horizon…”

Yuk… I detest cliches…

Write what you know … that too is a cliche, but one that makes a lot of sense.

I write a great deal from what I know (could it be that I’m too lazy to research what I don’t know?)… and now, as I *gulp* advance in years, from memories stored in my data-bank of experience.

Some of the most formative adventures in my life occurred in the late 1970’s.

I accepted my first hospital lab position and moved to the Northwest Territories in Canada’s Arctic. I had scarcely turned 20, whiskers barely making their presence known on my chin.

There was so much to learn about so many things, jobs, new geographies and climates, and yes, romance and relationships were right near the top of my “need to know more” lineup.

In my late teens in Hamilton, I had dated a bit here and there and lived and cried through one “serious” relationship.

BUT.

All of my life experience to that point was reflected in the western cultural norm of boy chase girl, boy ask girl on date, etc… the formula, the standard pattern of  young women playing coy and hard-to-get was ingrained in me by everything I saw around me in real life and in TV and movies.

And then I moved to Yellowknife (YK).

YK Winter 4

The rules I knew, my life’s accumulation of dictates, were tossed out the window of the PWA Boeing 737 that carried me from Hamilton to Edmonton and then finally YK.

It was thrilling and it was tumultuous and yes, it was even a bit scary.

All of a sudden, my role as a masculine “gentle predator” was turned on its head and I was as much prey as predator.

Who knew that the fairer sex could have a strong inner urge and bold approach to relations and boudoir activities? One young lady even gifted me a copy of the HITE REPORT. Clitoral …. what????

I won’t go into intimate details here, but all of this backstory leads me to today’s lyric writing.

This song lyric, THE PREDATOR is my little story of being pursued – pretty aggressively – by an attractive young nurse who, for whatever reason, set her sights on me as her sexual prey.

Sure, it was a bit thrilling and stimulating, but in this new world I’d entered, like Alice Through The Looking Glass, it sent a tiny shiver of uneasiness into my core.

So, here goes:

THE PREDATOR – Larry Green

VERSE

Icy YK nighttime
anticipation staggers the line
where mukluks crunch the snow
trembling northern lights that show
the trail of yes opposing no

VERSE

Delicious fever salsa dance
where my reason stands little chance
bestial hormones thrash and fight
my body tingles flight and fright
her instincts master o’er this chill night

VERSE

Seductress graces, sweetly talk
her witchcraft lays a winsome plot
sips of wine poured by Eros
the flame is set, the kindled spark
I’m prey that knows it’s marked

CHORUS

The ghost in my rear view mirror
is a smile and a tear
The cards once dealt were turned
the chase came clear
temptation’s game is rigged
Eden’s curse freshly learned

eden curse

SEX? YES Please! … or is that GENDER?

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Yes Please

Sex is bloody wonderful, isn’t it?

Maybe even better than cheesecake and chocolate … I’ll let you decide.

You know, if I truly believed that God exists, I’d suggest to you that this gender-neutral spirit wrapped us up a big box of fun and called it sex.

Sort of like… “OK, it’s Day 7, this is how we rest.

“What… and you tell me it’s used for procreation too?!”  Now that’s a twofer …

Sex is a nice silk-swaddled divine present given to us when we enter puberty and beyond. It’s like a carnal Bar Mitzvah.

It’s right around the time we grow tired of playing in sandboxes but still want to get messy and dirty and fall into a deep slumber at night without imbibing alcohol or zopiclone or warm milk.

Sex is so wonderful that a well-known kids’ entertainer even sang a song all about it:

Having sex is beautiful,
Having sex is fine.
I like sex so much I do it all the time;
Sex before my supper and sex before my lunch;
If I had a hundred sexy orgasms, I’d have them all at once.

I’m a roaming and a rambling
And a wandering all along,
And if you care to listen,
I will sing a happy song.
I will not ask a favor
And I will not ask a fee,
But if you have a sexy moment

Won’t you share it all with me?

See?

OK… he was actually singing about sandwiches but I know for a fact that sandwiches are just a euphemism for sex. Children’s stories and songs have long been filled with symbolism. But children’s performers that sing forthrightly about sex end up on Sexual Predator lists… hence? Sandwiches.

But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about today.

I have a problem. Well, more an issue than a problem. Maybe a pet peeve.

I need help.

I’m challenged by the words “sex” and “gender”.

According to the World Health Organization,Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.”

sex gender

These English words sex and gender have specific meanings but I still have difficulty when I hear someone querying, “Their name is Chris? What sex are they?”

OK. I kinda get it. But the word sex has a definite meaning to me.

And that is why I get so confused (and a bit giggly) when I fill out forms and questionnaires and reach the part that says, SEX.

Do I write down M or F? Nope.

I always want to fill the empty blank next door with, “Yes Please“.

Or …”Heterosexual preferred“.

 

In my head, sex is a verb or noun that sweetly describes what 2 (or more!) people do with each other when they rip the other’s clothes off.

Sex is a primal animalistic urge, a delicious mingling of the naughty bits that bursts a fire-hosing gush of oxytocin and prolactin and endorphins that gives you that wondrous runner’s high, or in this case, f****er’s high.

The world is filled with ambiguity and so I suppose I should just accept that the word “sex” can have different meanings depending on its usage.

Lots of other words have multiple meanings so it doesn’t make a slab of sense that I stumble when it comes to sex.

In reality it probably comes down to my sex … er … gender. Dammit… I’m still confused.

I’m a man.

Pretty much every study out there tells us that we men think about sex … oh … 500 times per hour.

I’ve worked hard for years and have brought it down to 300 now thank you very much. (To get real for a minute, an actual scientific-based study carried out at Ohio State University uncovered a more moderate Male sex-thought frequency of 19 times daily compared to about 10 times each day for Females).

So when I encounter the word sex, my testosterone-based malemind immediately dives into the sexual cesspool. I can’t help it. It’s a biological response. It just happens. No VIAGRA required.

So world at large … I’m asking for your help. I’m begging you please.

Going forward, can you save me the hormonal confusion and blood surges to my nether regions when you use the words sex and gender. 

  • Please use the term GENDER on any form or questionnaire or statement that is asking if I have a penis or a vagina. This saves me a childish snicker and also an internal hormonal groin sproing. It’s easy for me to write down M when you ask the proper question.
  • But if you’re gonna ask SEX on the form, well … I just know I’m gonna need to distract myself with thoughts of playful golden lab puppies or a cold shower to make it through to the end.

Your kind assistance will go a long way from keeping me on topic and off any Sexual Predator lists.

Because really?

All I want to do is eat a “sandwich” and get back to my Key Lime Cheesecake and Chocolate.

key lime

 

 

 

 

 

Wheelchair Nooky – Should We Provide It?

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WHEELCHAIR-SEX

Strange ideas pop into my head sometimes.

Like … should I jump off this cliff and break my legs?

Wait.

I’m not crazy.

There’s a reason I might consider leaping.

It’s all about the Sex Surrogates.

A long while back, a co-worker stunned me when she said that some countries’ governments pay for regular sexual services for the handicapped.

How could I not jump into this fruitful fornication fray and not find a few thoughts bubbling to the surface?

Paid Sex Surrogates enter households like Home Care workers and housecleaners, but the pipes they’ve come to clean are … well … not the ones we usually consider when it comes to household sponging and scrubbing.

Yup … these workers fall under the category of:

  • Disabled Boinking…
  • Incapacitated Copulation…
  • Invalid Intercourse.

You can call it what you will, but I’m curious to know if government-sponsored lovemaking has precipitated a rash of self-inflicted auto crashes and bungee-less jumping?

My first internal response is to be a typical hormonally-driven male looking for the fun and humour when envisioning these scenarios.

Also, my immediate view is that the storyline would always involve a gorgeous able-bodied woman servicing a less-ably-bodied man.

Such an assumption!

Do women who live in a world of incapacities not also feel a desire for sexual touching? Shamefully, I wouldn’t have considered the notion, but that’s just my in-bred societal thinking rearing its ugly head.

…………….

The Sessions is a 2012 American independent drama film written and directed by Ben Lewin. Based on the article “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate” by Mark O’Brien, a poet paralyzed from the neck down due to polio who hires a sex surrogate to lose his virginity. John Hawkes and Helen Hunt star as O’Brien and sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen-Greene, respectively.

The film debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award (U.S. Dramatic) and a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting. The Sessions received highly positive reviews from critics, in particular lauding the performances of Hawkes and Hunt. Hunt was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the 85th Academy Awards.

the sessions

.

I haven’t seen the movie yet but I should because I need to gain a better understanding of the sexual needs, desires and frustrations of the handicapped.

One of the greatest wisdoms we can acquire, according to this Man on the Fringe, is that discarding ignorance is always useful in making the world a better and more peaceful place.

It shouldn’t surprise us that many people who are disabled continue to have a healthy sex drive. But I can’t imagine how exasperating it must be to be unable to explore and enjoy that side of life.

Sadly, many are unable to find a partner due to their disability, which leads to very high levels of frustration; in some cases, to such a degree that people have chosen to take their own lives instead of living such a life of torment.

Now, some countries such as Switzerland, have set up programmes to train people to be sexual surrogates.

This shouldn’t be confused with the business of prostitution because it is designed to provide those with special needs access to someone professionally trained to provide a supportive activity that most of us take for granted (or not!).

It’s different too because many people with disabilities have no choice, it’s either a sexual surrogate or nothing.

Some can’t even masturbate because they’re not able to carry it out. Some disabilities prevent people from engaging in sex of any type. For these people, a sexual assistant can offer little more than massage and talk therapy.

Grenoble, France. On the balcony of her flat on a hot afternoon. Laetitia Rebord suffers from a genetic spinal muscular atrophy and can move only her left thumb and her mouth. She lives in Grenoble, June 18th, 2013. France Keyser for the New York times.                              NYTCREDIT: France keyser for The New York Times

It’s a fascinating occupation, don’t you think? I’m kind of curious. Just who might decide to become a Sex Surrogate?

It’s a bit dated, but a 1983 study of 54 American Sex Surrogates came up with the following data on those who choose to become Sex Surrogates:

The demographics were as follows:

  • 43 female, 11 males.
  • Average age: 39 (ranging from 25 to 61)
  • Religion: 8 Catholic; 6 Jewish; 16 Protestant; 17 other; 7 blank.
  • Religiosity: 14 are currently practicing their religion; 25 are currently not practicing it; 15 didn’t answer.
  • Race: 53 White; 1 Oriental.
  • Marital status: 11 single; 13 married; 2 separated; 14 divorced; 1 widowed; 9 non-married couple living together; 4 other.
  • Average number of children: 1.4 (ranging from 0 to 4; mode = 0 ).
  • Years practicing as a surrogate: average: 4.26 years.
  • Approximate number of clients seen per year: average: 27.2.
  • Sexual orientation: 17 exclusively heterosexual; 23 primarily heterosexual; 8 bisexual; 3 primarily homosexual; 2 exclusively homosexual; 1 blank.
  • Contraceptive normally used: 8 condom; 4 pills; 2 i.u.d.; 10 diaphragm; 3 foams or suppositories; 31 self-sterilized: 2 partner sterilized; 2 rhythm or natural family planning 

As far as on the job happenings go… the following percentages were estimated to be the amount of time spent on each activity:

  • 16% talking with client, giving sexual information 
  • 17% talking with client, giving reassurance and support 
  • 1% observing client in social situations, such as potential singles meeting places 
  • 32% touching activities, teaching sensuality and body awareness techniques, e.g. massage 
  • 16% experiential activities, non-sensual, non-sexual, such as body image exercises, sexological exam, and relaxation exercises and techniques 
  • 12% sexual activities, intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, teaching sexual techniques.
  • 4% social activities, such as going out to dinner with client as part of therapy

Not very much “sex” actually.

Sex Surrogates pose a tough ethical question that should be considered since the need for sex is so basic.

  • Should governments allow for “prostitution” under certain circumstances, such as disability?
  • Should a severely autistic person have the right and ability to seek out and pay for sex without fear of breaking the law?
  • Some disabled persons would be unable to have any sexual pleasure at all unless they pay for it. Is it a crime to pay for sex when that is the only way the person can experience sexual pleasure?
  • Should governments support training programmes for Sex Surrogacy?

So, I’m left in this quagmire of snicker-snicker … sigh, weep.

But finally … in the end … after I stop my foolish boy-snickering … shouldn’t everyone, everyone … have a right to feel the completeness of a whole human being … to experience the fullness of sexual encounters … the joys and release … the touch of another’s skin against their’s.

For me, it just makes a lot more sense than 50 Shades of Grey.

sad_happy_foot