What a Balls-Up

I was just about to publish the next part of my “Conversations With My Brother” mini-series when I realised I’d already accidentally published it. The previous part, “Without A Touch”, was published right title wrong text. The text was for the next part, “Caught Looking”.

I have now changed it, so when you click on “Without A Touch, ” you get the right story. So please go back and read and I hope you enjoy it. I will be re-publishing the next part, “Caught Looking”, shortly, but you may have already read it.

Well, at least you got a surprise picture of some testicles courtesy of Wikimedia! And no, they are not mine! I don’t have the balls to show you my balls!

If you read last weeks story, you’ll see that it’s also this weeks story. For a new story you need to check out last weeks story again, which now links to the right story. “Without a Touch” now links to the right place, so check this out for a fresh read.

Kit Connor Forced To Come Out

It is very disappointing that a young man has felt forced to reveal his sexuality rather than choose when, how, or even if he reveals it on his own terms. Why he feels he was forced out isn’t clear, but he has suffered intense speculation and claims of “Queerbaiting” after appearing in the acclaimed series “Heartstopper”, where he plays a bisexual character. Kit has also spoken about social media pressuring people to come out. I’m all for actors coming out and leading the way in promoting acceptance, but no one should feel forced or obligated to come out. I know we all want positive role models and if you are a teen coming to terms with your sexuality, it’s self affirming when you see actors of a similar age coming out and proving that you can be LGBTQI+ and be successful, and more importantly, happy with who you are.

Back in September, Kit quit Twitter, but he came back at the end of October for a singular, saddening tweet.

If you’re not straight, you are expected to “come out”. Why? I know the world has changed since I came out, but we still have a long way to go where not being straight is not seen as being something different.

If anyone wants to declare their sexuality, let them do it how they wish. We shouldn’t expect or demand to know someone’s sexuality just because they are in the public eye. (There are some notable exceptions, such as a male politician who promotes “traditional family values” and then sleeps with men.)

Perhaps we have a responsibility in this. Maybe we should not engage in idle gossip and speculation of actors’ sexualities. It’s got nothing to do with us.

Titles… Titles… Titles…

Some come easy, some come hard, and some never come.

I have a love/hate relationship with titles. Sometimes I write a great story, but I just cannot come up with a decent title or at least one I like. My newest story, “The Little Sneak”, stayed unpublished for over a week while I tried to come up with a title. It had a working title of “Max & Min”, the names of the two brothers, but I really don’t like titles that are just the names of the characters in the story; I think it is lazy and, more often than not, from experience, the stories tend to be terrible. But I just couldn’t think of a title! “The Little Sneak” was the best of a bad bunch, and I’m reasonably happy with it. But now I have a problem with what to call the follow-up.

The next part is already half-written and sees Min tease his older brother about masturbation. Poor Max, I feel his embarrassment.

I agonised for weeks to come up with a title for my novel, “Becoming Kes”, not the best, but it’s okay, I suppose. The half-written sequel novella is also titleless. And I have a series about some college guys going on a final school trip to France stuck in my titleless hell.

And then there are stories where the title is there from the start, or it just leaps from the screen as I’m writing, “A Black Cappucino…” was a title I had in my head from the start. Sometimes the title writes the story.

For every title hell, there is a title heaven, and the pain of coming up with a title never spoils the pleasure of writing the story.

Goodbye 2021

It has been a tough year for everyone. The coronavirus has caused lockdowns, followed by a relaxing of the rules only to be followed by more lockdowns. This has caused a strain on many people’s mental health, mine included.

I managed to cope for the first six months and did a little writing, but to be honest, I’ve not done much since. I think it’s probably time for some serious new year’s resolutions to get myself together and start to look after my health.

There’s one thing that really affected me, and that was a book by Sam Morris called “Don’t Fall in Love, Sam”.

 

The blurb say:

‘Don’t Fall In Love, Sam’ is a series of short personal essays, which takes the reader on a journey of a young, gay man’s exploration of self, body/image, identity, sex, sexuality, and existing as a real person in the digital age. It resonates with the millennial, initially, but extends to the human experience of life, and love gained and lost. Morris’ words are a truly emotional read for any queer person finding their way in this world.

I found the writing to be honest and emotional, and it really touched me. Although Sam has his own erotic website (one of the new generation of ethical porn), nothing in the writing is salacious, so don’t expect any erotica. Sam is a beautiful and complex person, which comes across in his writing. It is well worth reading.

After reading the book, I felt it would be an excellent way to excise my demons for me to write something similar, probably not for general consumption. I was in my late teens when I wrote a diary, and by writing down my, sometimes incoherent, thoughts, I came to terms with being gay in a mainly homophobic culture. Perhaps something like this would work again and allow me to come to terms with other aspects of my life.

Depression defines me more than being gay does; next year, I want to find myself again. And look after myself.

I will continue to write, as writing allows me to express my creative side, and Screeve will continue to showcase some great stories. I hope you will join me in welcoming what we hope to be a better 2022.

Everyone has a story, each story unique
Every soul is constricted, each life a journey to release

My story will continue, my life is unique, my soul will break the chains I put around it. I hope my journey lasts for many years yet and that you will join me.

Superman is Bi-Sexual

Well who knew it? This is not the Superman I knew growing up. The new Superman is Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. I am really not up to date with my super heroes. It’s nice to see the world has changed. (If only a little.)

Series writer Tom Taylor told the BBC that, when he was first offered the job, he pondered “what Superman should be today.”

“It struck me that it would be a real missed opportunity if we replaced Clark Kent with another straight white saviour,” said Mr Taylor.

But who thought he would be so cute.

Get on the Naked Attraction Bus

There’s an interesting article on the BBC website about some advertising for the TV series “Naked Attraction”. If you click on the picture, it will take you to the article.

While I do appreciate the advert and understand it was meant to be humorous. I do agree with it being withdrawn. The essence is that “complainants argue that the ad sexualises members of the public and does so without their consent”.

I disagree. Nudity is not necessarily sexual, and the complaint seems to equate nudity with sexualisation. However, I do think it incorrectly attributes preferences to members of the public without their consent.

Would you like to be pictured up front with a sign declaring that you love being naked? Especially if you are suffering from body issues.

I do not believe it incites sexual violence (like some complaints imply), but I think it is insensitive to the victims of sexual violence and may make them uncomfortable being on such a bus.

It was a good idea but poorly executed.

Personally, I wouldn’t like to be photographed with any of these “humorous bus adverts”. Just imagine if this was you, and it was plastered all over the internet without your consent or knowledge (hence why I have blanked out the guy’s face).

If we take this argument to its logical extreme, all such bus adverts should be withdrawn for fear of making people figures of fun and ridicule. But while I agree we should draw the line somewhere, society is not grown up enough to embrace nudity as a simple freedom of expression. The majority still associate it with something sexual.

It’s a Sin – A Personal Reflection

I have been reluctant to watch ‘It’s a Sin’, the new series by Russell T. Davies, who brought us the brilliant ‘Queer as Folk’.

Why?

Well, because it deals with the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. And I knew it would have a profound effect on me and drag up my feelings from that decade.

I grew up during that time and slowly coming to terms with my homosexuality, and AIDS had a massive effect on me. It all came flooding back as I watched. The blame, the disgust, the abuse that was directed at the gay male community was destructive and further vilified gay men. Worse still, it gave people an excuse to discriminate and be abusive. I have to say that at my young age, it scared the shit out of me. Although I was still at school and not sexually active, it made me scared of gay sex and of being gay. It made me feel that if I had sex, I could die.

I’m not ashamed to say that I cried when Colin died. His character was the one that I identified with, shy, awkward and Welsh. Here was a man that wasn’t sexually promiscuous, but it still caught up with him. All it took was sex with one effected partner, and you were passed a death sentence.

The last episode had the same effect on me; my eyes were stinging by the end. The last speech by Jill really hit home and took me back to the time when I felt guilty and ashamed at being gay. Thankfully I have moved on; I’m happy being my version of gay. But it makes me so upset and angry that I had to experience those times and being made to feel that way.

Where I grew up, being gay meant catching AIDS, which meant dying. This message was sent out through the media and government messages. It made me scared of my sexuality and caused me to stay in the closet longer than I should have. I grew up in a very homophobic environment, not at home, though; there, I just experienced the casual ‘homophobia’ that was acceptable at the time, calling people pufters and such. But school and the greater society was different. No one dared come out at school. No one wanted to be thought of as gay.

What really surprised me about the series was the battle that Russell T. Davies had in getting it made. He has a successful track record with television series, Queer as Folk, Year and Years, and not to mention the enormous debt of gratitude I have to him for making the return of Doctor Who the massive success it deserved to be.

So with a great writer behind the project, why the reluctance? And why did he have to fight for that fifth episode when Channel Four only wanted four episodes.

It could only be the subject matter.

That saddens me and makes me realise that we still have so far to go. AIDS is no longer the death sentence it used to be, but this programme shows how deep-rooted homophobia was in society, all society. To use a contemporary phrase, there was ‘institutionalised homophobia’. And I think some in the medical profession have a lot to be ashamed of in the way they approached the AIDS pandemic. Politicians also need to question their actions as there decisions filtered down society to make being gay and AIDS effectively interchangeable.

Watching this series, I wonder if we have learnt anything. Sections of our society are still being persecuted for being different. Gay may now be accepted (?), but there is so many other sexualities, so many other genders.

This is a very emotional post for me but something I wanted to say. When something affects you as deeply as this series, I just needed to express my thoughts and let you know my experience of living through that hell of a decade, not just AIDS-wise, but in so many other ways.

On the positive side, 80s music is fucking awesome. I’ve done nothing but listen to it while working from home in lockdown.