In the past, it was important for me to believe others perceived me as someone who knew where he was going in life. Someone who had a good life, a good career, knew everything to know about the world; someone to envy or at least, have an intellectual conversation with. It was a cover to prevent people from discovering the real me, that I was in the category of “other.” I’ll call that protection fear. In college, I learned that distance can help prevent people from getting to know too much about me and my experience leading into adulthood reinforced that: getting a new job in a new city, forgetting old friends to get new friends, not ever having enough time to call home. Distance and perfection, I carried them like hand guns. I was so used to flaunting them, that they became my hands. Slowly, I learned to let go of distance, but perfection I had to hold on to. Perfection, in its own right, is truth and truth is incontestable, until proven false and nothing is false anymore, only less true. Today, the most important person in my life, just called me shallow. Now I don’t know who to blame: me, him, or the world. The world, as in, the idea of things; how men think, survival; the rules of effective communicate; multi-tasking in a post-digital area; being a good boyfriend. A friend of mine worked at a national forest and had to learn deescalation techniques to take the fire out of heated situations. She would mimic the escalated persons behavior and recognize their feelings. It always worked. Why aren’t their deescalation manuals ready and available at bars? At this moment, looking back, I never knew where I was going.
Tag Archives: california
Over at Edge On The Net, I wrote an update on #sb1172 or the gay cure ban, sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu, which prevents mental health professionals (ex-gay counselors) from attempting to change the sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity of minors. An excerpt from the article is below:
Marea Murray, a social worker in San Francisco, sobbed uncontrollably when she learned that the governor of California had signed SB 1172 into law. Murray counsels clients of all genders and orientations on sexuality concerns and like a number of other mental health professionals, she has come to know people psychologically abused having undergone treatments thought to cure homosexuality. That is one of the many reasons why she worked through Gaylesta, a LGBT Psychotherapy Association, to mobilize supporters for the bill.
The bill specifically sought to prohibit professionals from using techniques to change gender expressions, gender identities, and/or sexual orientation for patients under eighteen.
After SB 1172 was approved, two lawsuits were brought against California, one filed by an ex-gay Aaron Bitzer, who is studying to be an ex-gay therapist. The therapist-in-training claimed the ban not only infringed on his rights to freedom of speech and religion, but also the ban prevented him from pursuing his profession. His lawsuit, led by Christian legal group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), argued that “the law ignores young people who have same-sex attractions as a result of being victims of sexual abuse” and that lack of access to treatment will lead to irreparable harm.
Read more at: http://www.edgelosangeles.com/news/local/features//140531/implementation_of_california’s_gay_cure_ban_delayed_until_hearing
For my Diary of a Natural Gal Style Files interview, I worked with an amazing crew to shoot the pictures. The photographer was Garen Hagobian and the stylist was Rico Cherry. I can’t wait to post the full interview here. Here is an excerpt:
Kisha Roby: I would describe your style as sultry school boy, where do you draw inspiration?
Victor Yates: Is that a good thing (laughs)? I use to only wear black and gray. That’s it. Then my best friend started picking out clothes for me that I wouldn’t normally wear. I went from school boy realness to wearing cowboy boots, with khaki linen cut off shorts, and shirts and sweaters from the 80’s. I love 80’s Adidas shorts, vintage designer clothes, and conversation pieces. Today so many things inspire me. I like patterns, textures, and bold colors and mixing things together that the average person might think is strange. Since moving to Los Angeles my thrift store obsession has grown. Buffalo Exchange and Wasteland are my top thrift stores in L.A. But out here thrift stores are like coffee shops.
Kisha Roby: When did your passion for writing begin? What is your ultimate dream for your writing career?
Victor Yates: I started writing poetry at 14, after reading Maya Angelou’s work. I loved libraries and would read a lot. Also, my mother loved books and she would buy books for me as well. I remember trying to read The Firm, by John Grisham, and not being able to understand it. I hope to write quality fiction books and venture into short stories and writing plays.
Photographer: Garen Hagobian
Stylist: Rico Cherry
Email: rico243@yahoo dot com
Interviewer: Kisha Roby for Diary of a Natural Gal
The book: Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Brides
Publisher: Otis Books/Seismicity Editions
Dum dum de dum, here comes the bride … collection, forty-one to be exact within Laura Mullen’s Enduring Freedom. If little touches, slender silk ribbons, nosegays, dragee, place setting, escort cards, are what ties a wedding together with a knot, the bride herself, in assorted milk-white chocolate-colored fabric and beads, ties together the collection of poems.
The title, Enduring Freedom, hints at Mullen’s sarcasm on how weddings are treated as an event in quotations worthy of being breaking news that triumphs war and economic hardship. But also breaks down the interworking of how different women react leading up to the ta-da moment and the potentially negative boomerang effect of lists and living outside one’s means.
Stylistically, Mullen utilizes prose poems and the familiar worried bride archetype as a way to allow readers to see the bride through a less than personal camera lens. The bride is displayed like vintage Barbie’s or dime-store knock offs in glass cases, pinned down, labeled with her scientific name, like Bride of Detail, Bride of a Thousand Flaws, or Be Creative Bride, laid out flat, and spread out to see what she looks like when dry.
What is Mullen trying to accomplish with Enduring Freedom? Should there be a moratorium on all weddings until further notice? What is the purpose of a traditional wedding? To show the public how much money went into the little things and not for rent or mortgage or some other bill.
Mullen inserts those ideas into the background of her carved prose poems like small buttercream cake portions and drops the bride figurine minus the groom on top, in a refreshing context that helps the poet to preach quietly without shouting, considering we are in a church.
Despite the dizzying effect of white on white, tulle, chiffon, lace, crepe, and organza, Enduring Freedom is an aesthetic assembly line of wonder that feels fresh and not frozen and thawed out from the common place.
Buy Enduring Freedom here.
Prop 34 and Prop 36
Proposition 34: the End the Death Penalty Initiative
The initiative to end the death penalty in California, titled Proposition 34, if passed will replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Specifically, the proposition will: apply retroactively to prisoners currently sentenced to death, require those found guilty of murder to work to pay any victim restitution fines or orders against them, and earmark $100 million to go toward helping solve rape and homicide cases.
According to California state records, the death penalty system costs taxpayers more than $114 million a year, which doesn’t include the amount spent on court cases to prosecute capital cases. The estimated cost of a capital punishment trial is $2 million, which includes legal costs, pre-tail costs, and jury selection.
I recommend voting yes on Proposition 34 because: California taxpayers would save an over $100 million a year and funds will be allocated to solve rape cases, which are consistently backlogged due to lack of funding.
From the queer perspective, injustice cuts across sexuality, race, gender, and class. As Martin Luther King Jr. said an injustice to one is an injustice to all, and of course, there is a significant MSM population in the prison system, several of which could be on death row. If those inmates have families that they are supporting, outside of the criminal justice system, voting yes on Prop 34, could positively impact their families.
When I started writing, The Taste of Scars, I’d daydream about reading it to people (sometimes while driving). Reading it at bookstores. At coffee shops. At book club meetings. Wherever. The connection from mouth and word to ears is hardening. It solidifies the work. Makes it real, permanent. This does exist. I can’t wait for that. The interaction. The feedback. The interpretations. The connection with readers who want to get dirty and get into the book and tear it apart and share their experiences with reading it. I want the book cover stained with coffee. I want it used as coasters for wine glasses when friends come over and someone picks it up and says I heard about this on NPR. I want it lost in junky messenger bags and picked out to read on a crowded train that smells like vomit and summer.
What will it feel it, the experience, seeing someone reading my book on the subway in New York. I’m ready.
I haven’t worked out the details as of yet but I want to travel to these cities for the book tour.
Tentative City Schedule
- Los Angeles, California
- Long Beach, California
- Santa Monica, California
- Silverlake, California
- San Francisco, California
- Oakland, California
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Miami, Florida
- Chicago, Illinois
- Houston, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
I walked in knowing I shouldn’t have gone. Gay clubs are depressing when you don’t drink and when you’re alone. I met a guy, a Spanish guy, name Alberto, last Thursday at a straight bar. He grabbed my shirt as I walked by. We danced together. He wanted to dance. I didn’t. It was so uncomfortable. I imagined no one was looking. Alberto sent me a text message. I’m going to the club. I want to see you I responded. He didn’t respond back. I called. He didn’t pick up. I decided to go. Two the women at the cash register gestured with her fingers. Her hair was teased and gelled and curled in a circa 1980’s redneck do. I looked at around. The red lights accentuated the smiles of the older men at the closest bar. The older men were posted at the front bar. Inside, the younger men crowded around the larger bar. I passed two empty rooms. The feeling in my stomach dropped. I couldn’t see Alberto. I scanned the front of the bar. Henry. I could spot Henry anywhere. Henry is a man I see off and on. I knew I would see him. Even though he claims he hates the gay club. He whispered in the ear of a waif twink. The feeling tightened. I wanted to leave. I looked back at the red room. A hat floating caught my eye. Between the hat, a cute, chubby face. Alberto. He walked into the other room, circled the bar, walked past Henry, gave him a look of recognition, and walked around. We hugged. I think I going to leave I said. I just got here. I need a drink he said. He walked to the bar in the red room. I pulled out a chair in between both rooms. Henry was gone. I looked over. I couldn’t see Alberto. I saw Henry talking to a different man. I walked behind me. I wanted him to hug me. He walked to my side, in front of me, and turned around. I didn’t see you he said. Whatever I said. He extended his arms out. I turned away. Don’t be shady he said. I hugged him the way I wanted to hug Alberto. Tight. Close. Intimate. I wish more gay men hugged like this. I called you. You didn’t pick up he said. Whatever I said. Don’t he said. I’m leaving in a minute. Let me find my friend and I’ll leave too. I looked around for Albeurto. All I saw were single men everywhere. I felt disgusted. Why aren’t more gay men in relationships? I looked around again. There was nothing else left to see.
- These Sexy Gay Yellow Pages Are Aimed At … Straights? (queerty.com)
- A Letter to My Closeted Self (pinkbananaworld.com)