Monday, January 30, 2006


The Story of Me Part 2..... Pat

So, Pat moved to Texas and became the son I'll never have. He had changed some since I knew him in Iowa. When he moved to Texas he had matured and become a very handsome young man with a knockout smile and a terrific chest.
He had blue eyes and dark hair and was always one the "beautiful young guys" that all gay men wanted.
But, although a lot of thse types became very spoiled and thought they were "Gods gift to gaydom." Pat always kept his head on fairly straight.

In those days it was normal to have a lover and be faithful only to him. These eternal relationships usually lasted for 2 days to 2 weeks.
Pat dragged me to a party one weekend where I really came out as a gay man.
Strangely enough, I met 2 guys there. One is my friend Bo who is a couple of years older than me and is still one of my best friends today.
The other was Dan.

At that time Dan was very cute and I asked him out for a date. We played minature golf and had a dinner then ended up in my bed.
He basically ignored me in bed, which pissed me off! The main reason I continued to see him occasionally was because I was determind the make him love me so I could snub him in return!
We were lovers for a time and did split up( my idea). We also had a 3 way relationship with another young guy who actually lived with me in the suburbs, while Dan lived many mile away in Dallas.

When we did split up, we remained friends for many years while I set out to prove myself as a gay man.
I tired meeting guys in bars, I tried tricking in the parks, and I joined social groups to meet guys.
Although I did pick up "tricks" this way I found that all the time that I had spent trying not to be myself had made me unhappy with tricking.
I actually prefered to know someone for a little while befor I slept with them.
I had a cute young lover for a few years who I met out in the sticks where we lived. My main affairs were with young guys who I met through him.

In the meantime, Pat met Scott who he really loved and we all became one big happy family.
Pat & Scott still frequented the bars and had a more open relationship than I did. At one time they lived with me, but they eventually got their own place. Many nights I was disturbed by Pat coming in the front door and going to his old room crying because he and Scott had a disagreement.
I wolud go and comfort him then try to resume what I had been doing earlier.( Try explaing that to a lover)

Then disaster struck! Pat became sick and it was diagnosed as G R I D
(Gay Related Imune Disorder) what later became HIV/Aids.
He and Scott stayed together for a while but eventually broke up, mainly because Scott would not give up his party life and Pat wanted to live quiter life.

During this period , when there was no medication and no hope. Pat learned to depend on me more and more.
Pat would wake up in the middle of the night with night sweats. his bed would be soaked and he would be shaking and chilled.
I would get up and hold him untill he quit shaking and while he took another shower I would remake his bed.
When he was tucked in I would return to my bed. I put in a wireless intercom which worked through the electrical wiring. the unit was mounted on the wall beside his bed so he could call me. Then, one night he woke up shaking and hurting so bad that he could not reach the button for an extended period of time. So, I added a nurse call button like the hospitals used that was cliped to the sheets on the other side of his bed.

This was a period of pure hell for Pat, and also for me. It really broke my heart to see him so ill and be able to do nothing about it. I cried many times in private for him.
I went with him to a hospital in Houston where there was a research project trying to find a medication to treat HIV.
There a doctor told him that the swelling of his lymph glands did not seem like HIV and he should be checked for Hodgkins disease when he got home.
He was found to be have both HIV and Hodgkins. During the time that the Hodgkins went undiagnosed it had gone to the fourth of four stages.
He underwent chemo and of course I was there for that too. He did recover somewhat and was able to move out and resume his own life.
The doctors told him that he might expect 5 more years. He was 21 years old.

Pat worked hard at trying to get everthing he wanted in life while he could. He dated, got a good job, and eventually met another lover who he settled down with.
After about 5 years he became sick again. He was in and out of hospitals many more times and although he had a partner he still depended heavily on me for support.
One time when I went to see him in the hospital there was questionare there he had filled out for the nurses. In answer to the question of whom he looked to most for emotional support and advice he had answered with my name and not his partner.

One night I was visiting him alone in the hospital. He told me that he was worried about me. He said "You are not getting any younger and there is no future for you in the young guys you are sleeping with. You need to settle down with Dan because he loves you and is good for you. You need to quit partying and settle down."

Later,he needed to go to the bathroom and I helped him. As we returned to his bed he sat down and put his head on my chest and said, "I can't take any more."He was asking me if it was alright to die! And he was till worrying about me! He wanted me to be ok."

I held him and hugged him and tried to tell him that it was ok to do what he needed to do.
Now I wish that I had been trained then the way that I am now as a deacon. But, at that time I was still an atheist.
That was probably the hardest experience I have ever had, and I did not have a faith in God to lean on. I was also not able to give him the Christian reassurance he needed, since he was a Catholic who had left the Church in order to be himself.
Pat died the next day. he was barely 27 years old.

I have gone through a half box of tissues writing about Pat and I can truly say that the relationship I had with Pat was the biggest thing in my life in many ways. I will always love him and miss him. When I meet my Savoir sometime the next person I will want to see again is Pat.


What Makes A Church Work pt 1

Yesterday was the annual congregational business meeting of my church. As senior deacon I had to give a report, naturally,and writing it made me think about the difference in some churches.
My previous church was ok most of the time , I suppose. The church I call home now, is a totally different experience.
So, what makes a church work? I thought I'd mention a few things. This may take more than one post to cover.
Our Pastoral staff is terrific, the sermons are generally very good, our music is better than average.
Overall, we really go out of our way to welcome new visitors, we ask everyone to register in an attendance book and send welcoming cards to all first timers.
In otherwords, we do all the right things to make people feel welcome.
But other churches do that too.
What makes this church different is that we pray withe the individuals more than most, and primarily, we always keep Christ first. We really make an effort ro encourage the Chrisitan growth of the individual. All members of our church are encouraged to find their own special "ministry" for Christ. Everyone is involved.
Keeping Christ first is the biggest difference in this church and all the others I have attended.
More later, I have to get ready for work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Broke Back take

Everyone else is talking about the movie Brokeback Mountain.
Dan took me to see it for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I loved the movie.

Of all the votes on gay marriage, equal rights and other issues, this movie probably did the most good in advancing LGBT rights of anything in the last year.

Seeing Heath Ledger on the mainstream networks talking to Jay Leno about predjudice against gays in today's society was truly mind boggling
to me.

Heath Ledger"s performance was outstanding. I could see myself for the first 35 years of my life in him. The hurt and anguish as he tried to deny such a major part of himself. It did bring tears to my eyes, not just for Ennis Del Mar, Heath's character, but for myself and for all the
Gay men everywhere who have denied themselves happiness by refusing to accept who they are.

There is something wrong in a society that teaches that you cannot be who God made you to be.

That's the reason that I am so "out " in my own personal life. Its only by having the personal courage to live publicly and openly as who we really are that we can influence the hearts and minds of those we meet.
We owe it to ourselves and more importantly, to future generations, to work to change the attitudes of society. It must happen in order to bring about a world where no one will be denied a part of their being by predjudice and hatred.

Thats why I encourage all LGBT persons to COME OUT. Show the world that you are who you are and that it's ok. Most of the population are influenced by untruths they have heard all their lives about gays. We can only change the world by educating them. We have to show by our example that we are normal and we are ok.

Sometimes it will necessitate some discomfort by us today, some comments made behind our backs that we pretend that we didn't hear.Occasionally there may be open hostility from some ignorant people.

They can call me names behind my back or even to my face, but if I don't have the courage to stand up for myself and for the future generations, if I back down because someone else does not accept me as myself then I am failing myself and my people.

So yes, I loved the movie, I have great hope that its success will cause a flood of copy cat movies to hit the market, which frequently seems to happen.

The more that mainstream America sees that GLBT people have feelings and can experience deep love the better it is for America.

Thank you to Ang Lee, Larry McMurty, and the entire cast and crew for making this movie.

Deacon Harry

Thursday, January 19, 2006


The story of ME

My own story. 1st chapter. I am going to tell a little of my own journey in hopes that it might lead me and my readers to understand some things about me and about LGBT people in general.
I have frequently heard people ask "When did you decide to be gay?"
That is a dumb question. I was gay before I knew what it was.
I remember waking up one morning the while I was in kindergarden. I had a real pleseant feeling and a tiny erection! I was 5 years old. I had been dreaming about a classmate in school.
I remember that my mother came in to check on me because I lingered in bed for a prolonged period and continued to fantasize.
Now remember, this was probably in 1949. There was no TV, and there was no mass media to expose me to sex of any kind. So how did I suddenly become aware of my feelings at such an early age? Simple, I was born that way!
We were living in a small town in far northern Illinois, about 7 miles from the Wisconsin state line. People in that era and in that background were extremely mainstream midwest morality. Sex was never discussed, ans centainly not in front of the kids. But I woke up having a sexual fantasy about another 5 year old! I also seemed to instinctively know that I could not tell others about my feelings.

I actually started the first grade in Texas when my parents moved to Corpus Christi. I remember that every year I would spend the first day of school picking out the "hot"boys in my classes. All the way into the fifth grade when I had my first experience with a friend. it was just simple fondling, but was "hot "to me. I actually managed to experience three boys and a girl that year. In retrospect that sounds kind of perverted now.

In the seventh grade I became involved with a couple of classmates and learned about real sexual acts. We were not lead on by an older firend, but 2 of us had a real good time. We would visit each other 2 or 3 per afternoons per week after school and would go fishing or camping a lot on weekends. We were both smart young boys and we could always find new exciting things to do.

While a sophomore I made the mistake of doing a jock from my school. He enjoyed it (several times) then told others in the locker room and I was labeled a queer. I finally found out what I was called! I learned to be more carefull. I developed "gaydar " the sixth sense most glbt people have which let them recognize a kindred soul.

My biggest problem as I became older was that I did not want others to know and did not want to be who I was.
I decided that since I knew that I had a much higher IQ than most, and I did not want to be one of them , I would teach myself to be straight. I was smart, I was stubborn and I was determined to be normal.
I lived for over half of my life trying to be what I wasn't! Every guy I was with was going to be the last one. I dated girls frequently and each one was going to be the one who "changed me". As I became older I decided that if I was going to date a girl she had to be really hot, I know that a lot of my friends envied me my dates.

During this period in my life I almost became an alcoholic. I was saved by discovering drugs. I decided that I like getting high better than getting drunk.
Most of my friends descovered drugs at about the same time. We started smoking pot and when we found that the governments was lying about how it was a killer weed we decided that the other stories were all lies too.
One at a time we tried them all. When it got to be expensive we turned to dealing to support our fun.
There is not a drug that I can think of that I haven't used, smoked or whatever. Or sold!
I continued to try to be straight or failing that to at least keep up the facade. I did have a lot of guys, but thats what the drugs were for. One of the truths I discovered about life was that young horny "strait" guys would would ''bend a lot "if they were high and you led them properly.

Then due to a disapointment with a woman which broke my heart I took a job managing a motel in Iowa. I kept the Texas home empty for a couple of years while I worked a thousand miles away.

It was in Iowa that I met the person who changed my life.
I hired Pat as night clerk in the motel I managed. I had many people apply for a job and Pat stood out because my "gaydar "had told me that he was gay.

We spent a lot of nights together but the sex wasn't as important as the sharing of our souls. As a 16 1/2 year old drop out he was trying to decide if he should come out or try to be straight.
I was still dealing with my own identity problems but I told him that I would recomend being himself. I had never been truly happy trying to live a lie. Thats when he told me that I needed to make the change myself. I thought about and decided that he was right.
Eventually he moved back to his mothers house about 30 miles away, but we remained close.
Then I made the decision to move back home to Texas where I continued my old life as normal except that I told my friends I was gay, and I did nothing about it.
Pat and I would still talk on the phone a couple of times a week. When he finished school he called me asking what I was doing that wekend. I said nothing in particular so he asked if I would like some company. I said "sure" so than he changed and asked if I would like a roomate.
He moved to Texas to come out away from his mother. He wanted to build his own life.
Pats arrival change my life completely. He dragged me into gay life. I developed two seperate compartments in my life. My Out life in the bars
and so forth and my old drug oriented life. The people in each knew of the others existance, but I kept them apart.
Pat and I became extremely close and he was the son I never had.
But to keep from confusing any guys either of us brought home ( more him than me) He called me his Uncle Harry and he was called then, and is refered to today as my nephew.
Check back soon for the next chapter of our life together.

Thats all for now... more soon Deacon Harry


New ministry

I have been extremely busy the last couple of weeks, haven't had the energy to blog much. Actually, there are a couple starts that I never posted, someday they may be posted.
It is the end of our period at work and also time for inventory. The bean counters have "streamlined"our company to the point that there is too much work and not enough people to do it. I have worked the last couple of saturdays in order to get caught up.
In the mean time I have taken over a ministry at Church. Once a month someone from our church has gone to a inpatient treatment facility nearby for a spirituality hour. Traditionally this has been the pastor, and maybe a couple of others, usually deacons.
I am now leading the visits, and since I am not the wonderfull source of knowledge that our pastor is I have been busy doing research and putting together handouts on the most common topics that people ask us about.
Now when someone asks if God loves them as they are, for instance, I have a handout which covers most of the scriptural passages that some people try to use to condem LGBT persons. I can hand them out and we can discuss them. I know I didn't miss an important point and the people we are there to see have a good refrence to keep and look over at a later time.
I have also found some good handout materials on transgenders, on recovering from the effects of physical , sexual and emotional abuse recieved while growing up, on recovering from alcohol and drug dependence and several other topics that are commonly brought up.
The last thing I want to do is to be unprepared to discuss or answer questions from the patients, but I feel overwhelmed and under qualified without the handouts.
I am still having problems finding really good materials on the abuse issues. If you know of any good resources please click on the comments tab and leave the the URLs. I am being forced to write my own materials on some topics and I need more information.
My first trip as the leader was this week and afterward the other Deacon who went with me said that he wished that our time hadn't run out so soon. He enjoyed it and we had a chance to share with several wonderful persons, and the patients wanted us to stay, too.
To me the personal highlight was when a trans lady came in halfway through the session and sat next to me. The first thing she asked was "Does your church welcome me too?" I was ready, because I have recently been called to learn about and minister to this segment of our community. I had handouts on the scriptual portions and some good personal comments due to a couple of truly wonderful members of our church.
I have had a lot of experience in the drug and alcohol abuse areas in my own past. I have been through, or been close to so many who have gone through, a lot of the problems that we ecounter there. God was preparing me!
Sometime soon I will start a series of entries about my personal journey. When I look back on my past it sounds like a novel.
I thank the Lord for my experiences, they have made who I am today.
He is amazing and I truly love serving Him and His children.
Deacon Harry

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