Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thought for the Day, #65

Writing this book has given me the opportunity to think about my own privileges, and that I was able to grow up relatively unscarred by my preference for my own sex.  While I take comfort in realizing that gays and lesbians are no longer persecuted the way they once were in Europe, I am also more aware of the torments that await gay men and women in the less enlightened countries of the world.  The fight for gays to live normal life persists.  I truly hope that it continues to get better for gay youth everywhere.

From Branded by the Pink Triangle, a short but effective book about the treatment of gay men in Nazi Germany, by Ken Setterington.  The quote above is from page 120.  


If you've ever wondered, as I had, about what happened to homosexual men at the hands of the Nazis during World War II, this is the book for you.  It's a little book–about one hundred and fifty pages, including photographs and diagrams (not to mention a large font)–but a powerful one, taking the reader from "Berlin – The Homosexual Capital of Europe," prior to Hitler's rise to power, to the imprisonment of homosexuals in extermination camps, and beyond.  And it does so without resorting to generalities.  Rather, it introduces the reader to specific gay men–one of them gay and Jewish–and follows them through their trials, sparing few detail in the process.  A definite, quick, and informative read.        

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mom's Visit–A Personal Essay

I was going through personal papers recently and discovered something I'd long forgotten.   

Nearly twenty years ago, I wrote a personal essay, with the specific intention of submitting it to The Vancouver Sun for publication.  To my complete surprise, I received a phone call from the editor of "Mix," a then-weekend section of the paper, who told me I'd written a "nice piece," and he wanted to publish it.  Several weeks later, I received $175, the first payment ever for something I'd written.    

Today, I'm taking a break from all things gay and sharing my personal essay with you.  For the most part, I think it still holds up–with a few minor edits.  I hope you enjoy it.


"I sure missed you when you left," she said.  That was two months ago.  I stoop over Mom now, my arms around around.  She has amazing strength for a small woman in her 50s.  She feels good.  I missed her too.

The bus was a half hour late.  Long enough for the anticipation of her visit, and my hope for our time together, to build.

I recall the girl who sold me chicken pieces at the market that morning.  I told her Mom's coming to stay for a few days.  "It's always nice to see them," she said, "but it's sure nice when they go back home."

We both laughed.  Do all moms turns into people we don't know after a certain age?  I was confident things would be different this time.

Walking toward the depot, bus exhaust fumes rising in the heat, Mom tells me she had reserved seating on the way down.  She sat right behind the driver.  But I noticed she was the last to get off the bus. Why does she always do that?  Why doesn't she put herself first for a change?

On the Skytrain downtown, I tell Mom:  "We'll be getting off at the next station."

"It's not Granville, is it?" she asks.

How could I have forgotten?  She jokingly asks if I'm trying to trick her.  No, Mom, I'm not trying to trick you.  I really had forgotten the steep escalator makes you sick to your stomach and gives you funny sensations in your head.  But if I had remembered…

It's dinner time when we get to the apartment, and I begin to prepare Oprah's favorite un-fried chicken.  It's not every day Mom comes over for dinner.  I want everything to be special.

Following the usual small talk about family back home, conversation turns to Mom's latest money-making scheme.  It was home jewelry parties last autumn.  What is it this time?

"I have a real opportunity to make good money," Mom says, familiar defensiveness in her voice.  "There are lots of people willing to invest in gold coins.  Aren't they pretty?"  The brochure is open in front of my partner and me.  She tells us these days a lot of people are worried about losing their money, but gold doesn't depreciate.

"Aren't they pretty?" are her words; the rest are someone else's.  Her vulnerability has been preyed on again.  Someone knows she's having financial difficulties, and they've done a sell job on her.  Doesn't she see this?  Doesn't she realize that if it were that easy, millions of people would have gotten rich selling gold coins already?  Why must I always be put in the position of discouraging her?

"There are lots of people doing damn good in this business," she assures us.  All she has to do is make an initial investment of $350 and get two people selling under her.  Then she'll be on her way.  She looks at us.  I know she doesn't have $350, and it's obvious where this conversation is headed.

"This is not your dream," I say finally.  "This is someone else's dream.  You're too worried about money all the time.  Why don't you do something that's important to you?"

When she wanted to do something important to her, she says, Dad never wanted her to work.  Here comes the past again.  A child raising children.  Alcohol abuse.  An absent husband and father.  Still the victim she's always been, relating to us in the only way she knows how.

"You blame us, don't you?" I ask her, referring to my sister and me.  "We're the reason why you were stuck at home.  Is that why you treated us the way you did sometimes?"

The question is thoughtless, selfish.  Hasn't she been through enough?  Can't I give her credit for doing the best she could?  What else did a young mother in the '60s do?  Why do I feel like I'm always hurting her?

The next morning, I see her on the sofa where she insisted on sleeping.  She looks weak, vulnerable, reduced.  I still feel guilty for my question the night before and, now, for not convincing her to use my bed.

There's more small talk during breakfast.  Then, sitting in front of my computer, I read her some stories I've written.  About our family and our pain.  She knows how important writing is to me and offers words of encouragement.  I want to do the same for her, but I can't.  She doesn't dream anymore.

By mid-afternoon, we're looking for a place to eat in Yaletown.  In Subway, she tells me she can't swallow the buns.  They're not toasted; the doughy bread will get caught in her throat.

My patience is worn.  I feel like I've been through a lot already.  It's not about me or being inconvenienced.  It's about her always seeing life in terms of limitations.  It's about a life she hasn't yet begun to live.  She doesn't understand I want so much more for her.  All she knows are my rolling eyes and insensitive comments.

"You'll be happy when the old woman goes back home."

I hate when she says that.  She's absolutely right, and couldn't be more wrong.

My sister comes to get her that evening.  I'm off the hook.

The following day, I phone over there to confirm when they'll arrive for dinner.  

"Has she gotten on your nerves yet?" I ask.  I mean it as a joke.  It doesn't come out that way.   

Debbie tells me about looking at her blankly sometimes and saying nothing.  Debbie's always been able to control herself better around Mom.  Maybe she doesn't see anything wrong with the life our mother lives or the way she is.  Or maybe she accepts that the secret to patience is letting Mom take responsibility for her own life.

Sunday evening, Mom's back with us for her final night in Vancouver.  It's easier for me to take her to the bus in the morning.  

Already, I worry about saying good-bye to her, because I don't want to cry.  It's important not to cry.  If I start, I'm not convinced I'll stop.

Everything about her takes on different meaning.  Her open suitcase, spilling its contents in the living room, makes me ache inside.  I know she has so little, and now, it all seems to fit in a suitcase.  

Her toiletries, neatly spread on the counter in my bathroom and partly covered with a small towel she brought from home, make me envious.  They are a part of her life in a way I can't be.  Her jar of face cream, the same kind she used when I was growing up, touches me to the core.

The morning of the day she's to leave, we're different around each other.  Kinder.  Gentler.  We're not sure when we'll see each other again.  Or even if we will.  Things happen.

While I was busy trying to be heard more than I was prepared to listen, her three days with us passed in a blink.  I can't watch as her things are returned to the suitcase.  I am sorely aware of how I failed during her visit.  All the things that didn't need to be said or shouldn't have been; all those that should have been but weren't.  I didn't try.

We're back at the Greyhound station well in advance of her scheduled departure.  Plenty of time remaining to tell her what I need to say.

She needs to hear what the warm but searching expression on her face tells me.  Still, the unfamiliar emotions and words are lost somewhere in the past.  We embrace, as though an expressioin of regret over this visit and, perhaps, hope for the next.  Maybe then…

"You don't need to wait," she says.  "I know you have things to do."

None nearly as important as the one thing I can't, Mom.

Friday, October 11, 2013

(Inter)National Coming Out Day, October 11

My love and support to all those who come out today.  It may not be the easiest thing you'll do, but it'll be the best, in terms of being who you're meant to be and fulfilling the reason why you're here.   

If you need help coming out, please take a look at the resources I've provided at "This Gay Relationship."  You'll find them under "Themes," then "coming out," to the right.  You can also contact me directly.       

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Only Sometimes

I can't tell you the number of times, as a result of this blog, I've given a gay person the advice to accept his sexual orientation, because he is what he is.  And to hate what you are essentially amounts to hating yourself, or, at least, a critical aspect of yourself–one you can't turn your back on and still live a fulfilled life.  But I wonder if it's ever truly possible to make peace with being gay, to get over what you are completely.

Perhaps I'm only kidding myself, but I think I look gayer some days more than others.  That is, sometimes, I think I do a better job of hiding it.  Like when I'm unshaven for a week, wear clothing that would look appropriately masculine on any male, and put a cap on my head.  Then, maybe, I might just pass as straight.  Like I said, maybe. 

Sometimes, I just don't want to look gay.  I've attracted enough attention to myself over the years. Now that I'm in my mid-fifties, all I want to do is get from point A to point B without anyone noticing me.  All I want to do is go about my business, just like everyone else, not have to face the looks I get from some people, and be reminded of the way I'm different.

Take today for example.  I shaved this morning, and my hair turned out a little swoopier in front than I would have liked.

Before I left to go to Save-On Foods, to pick up a few groceries, I looked in the bathroom mirror. Gay.  I looked gay.  I saw it, and I knew some people who saw me would too. Should I hide under a cap, cover my swoopy bangs?  Or should I say, "Fuck it, they can think whatever they like; they're no better than me"?

I decided to go cap-less.  I also wore a pair of khaki walking shorts, a navy blue "Grouse Grind" T-shirt, and running shoes.  At least I thought my attire worked for me.

So there I was, walking through Save-On Foods, toward the self-checkout, and I passed a man, obviously straight.  Taller than me and about as grey-haired, he looked grubby, like he'd just gotten off work.  I saw him take a glance at me.

And, in that instant, the look that crossed his face was the one I've seen countless times over the years–the very one I needed most to avoid today.  In that instant, I saw him judge me, make an assumption about me, right or wrong, saying what he thought of me without uttering a single word.

For all the advances gay people in general have made over the decades, there are still those who will always disapprove of us, no matter what.  They don't have to say what they think about me to my face.  I'm not stupid.  Their expressions say it for them.      

Most of the time, I can shrug it all off, tell myself that whatever he thinks about me is his problem, not mine.  Most of the time, I feel positive enough about myself to make that choice, to feel impermeable to the judgments of others.

But not today.  I was out of sorts.  Something was bugging me, and I didn't know what.  All I knew was, I didn't feel like myself.  So those looks I'm used to getting, that I've learned to shrug off…well, they're difficult to take sometimes.    

Honestly, I don't think I should have to take them–ever.  Because I don't think I should ever have to receive them.  I don't deserve them.  I don't think anyone has the right to look at me the way he–and it's always a he–did.

This is my appearance.  I have no choice about that.  Like it or not, it's how I present myself to the world.  And I'm sorry I can't look the way you'd like me to (although, admittedly, I sometimes try). I'm sorry the gay person I put out there offends your sensibilities.  I'm sorry you have to know I'm here when you look into my face, when you see what I wear, when you watch me walk, when you listen to me talk.

But, most of all, I'm sorry you have the opinion you do of gay people.  Because, if you got to know me, you'd find I'm not so bad, after all.  Actually, I'm a lot like you.  I'm in a long-term relationship, I love my partner very much, I live a settled life.  And I struggle with getting older, and fulfilling my purpose, and making a difference, just like you do.

So what do you gain by looking at me that way?  Does it somehow make you feel superior to me? Do you see yourself as being right, and me as being wrong?  Do you wonder why people like me can't just go away, so you don't have to look at us, so you don't have to deal with us, so you don't have to be reminded we're here?  And so your children don't have to look at us, they don't have to be exposed to us, and they don't learn people like us exist?  

I'm okay with being gay.  Or, at least, I've learned to be okay with it, because it's what I am, and what I will always be, and what choice do I have?  I just wish I didn't have to look like me…sometimes.

Okay, all the time.  Because I'm tried of being judged.  And because I never know when I'll be made to feel like I did all those years ago, when I hated myself, when I wished I was anywhere but here.    

Thank-you for Doing God's Work

Today, I wrote a thank-you note to Tad Milmine.

Mr. Milmine is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in Surrey, a neighboring community, who used to be bullied in school, not because he's gay (which he is) but because he was shy, and who, in 2012, started a website called  Currently, he speaks to students in classrooms across Canada and shows his commitment to at-risk youth by promising to respond quickly to every message he receives.   

I was deeply moved when I read an article in The Vancouver Sun about Constable Milmine, to the extent that I had to thank him.  You'll find a copy of what I said below.

Another example of someone making a positive difference.  


Bless you!  Bless you for what you're doing. 

I read the article in The Vancouver Sun today, and how I wish you'd been around to talk to when I was a young kid growing up gay in the 1960s and '70s. 

I never considered suicide, always believing I was meant for so much more than being someone's victim.  But the bullying went on for many years, leaving me feeling worthless by the time I graduated from high school.  It took decades to overcome my low self-esteem, but I'm pleased to say I've been able to.   

For the past five years, I've written a blog called "This Gay Relationship."  Originally, I wanted it to be about my now twenty-one year relationship with my partner, letting other gay people know long-term, loving, and monogamous relationships are really possible for us.

But it turned into so much more–an opportunity not only to understand, accept, and love myself as a gay man, but also to help other gay people do the same.

Today, I hear from young people around the world, experiencing the same kind of pain I did.  I read their comments and emails, and I help them in any way I can–to see what truly amazing human beings they are, and to assure them they will overcome what they're going through right now.  It's the most important and gratifying thing I've ever done.

You don't need to email me back.  According to the newspaper article, you're already overwhelmed by the number of young people contacting you.  But I want you to know you're doing God's work.  You're an amazing man, and you are truly making a difference in the lives of many people.

On behalf of all of them, thank you.  And bless you once again.   

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Invitation to Blog for "The Huffington Post"

A week ago last Friday, I received an email from Joe Van Brussel, Writer/Assistant Editor–Social Impact, at The Huffington Post, inviting me to submit a post for "Huff Post TED Weekends."  Embedded in the email was a link to one of the best online videos I've seen, featuring a powerful talk from Esther Perel.  And I was encouraged to use the video as the inspiration for my own post, or, as Joe put it, as the spark for an entirely different idea I'd like to write about.

Initially, I thought, I have enough to do right now without adding something else; however, the invitation intrigued me and stayed in the back of my mind.  Plus, I didn't see how I could pass up the opportunity.  Before long, I had an idea–although I didn't fully understand where it might go–and I sat down to write.  I was happy enough with how the finished product turned out to submit it and was thrilled to learn it had been accepted, appearing this past Saturday on The Huffington Post.  

If you're interested in what I had to say, I've provided a link to the post below.  Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from you.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blue Denim Shirt

He goes to the clubs almost every weekend, desperate for someone to talk to him, but scared someone will.  He loves to listen to the music and dance–although no one asks him to.  But the real reason why he’s there is to meet someone: someone to talk to, to be friends with, to make him feel like he isn’t the only one like him–and maybe even someone to love.

All around him are beautiful young men, their smiles easy, their bodies hard, their lives perfect.  He looks at them one minute in admiration, the next in disgust.  He would give anything to be them, but he knows he never will be.  And they’ll never notice him.  They are a big part of the reason why he goes there too; they represent the world he wants to belong to, but never will.

He’s the young man standing against the wall or sitting on an out-of-the-way chair in the dark, and you’d never notice him unless you went looking for him.  He doesn’t drink alcohol, because his father was an alcoholic, and because he thinks staying in control is crucial.  So, instead, he drinks Coca-Cola or orange juice, often nursing a single drink the entire evening.

And he watches.  Over time, he sees what alcohol does to everyone, how it loosens them up, gives them the courage to do things they wouldn’t otherwise.  And he feels more unlike them, more alienated, than ever.  He goes to find friendship and love; he leaves with an ego more tender than before.  And with the hope the following weekend, at the same time and place, will be different.

One day, he comes up with a plan.      

His plan includes his favorite blue denim shirt.  His body is thin.  But, when he wears this bulky shirt, he appears to be more muscular, bigger, and he feels more substantial, more masculine. Not to mention, the buttons are small, and the holes they fit into are slightly too big.  As he moves, they pop open, revealing his chest, making him feel, for the first time perhaps, sexy, even hot.       

But it will take more than a shirt.  It will take attitude.  The right attitude.  He knows that if he presents himself as the same person he always does, open shirt or not, he’ll look like a fool.  No one will buy who he’s trying to be.  On the other hand, if he presents himself as someone who's confident and secure, someone who likes who he is (even if I has to fake it), someone who is the same as everyone else, he might just get away with it, and feel like one of them for once.   

He’s willing to give it a try.  He has no choice; he tells himself the alternative is no longer an option.    

That night, he’s nervous as hell.  He doesn’t think he can go through with it.  But what does he have to lose?  On any other night at the club, he’s invisible.  The only ones who notice him are the cute bar maids, but only to ask if he wants something to drink.  The results of his experiment can’t be worse than that, can they?  Is there anything worse than being invisible to those you want to see you?  

The music pounds, the lights flash, and the club is crowded with hot men.  When his favorite song comes on, he decides the time has come–he must get on the floor, by himself, and dance as though he believes he’s the most attractive, desirable young man there.  His heart hammers in his chest, but he feels his blue denim shirt against him.  And he knows he can do it.    

He could leave the dance floor at any time, especially considering how nervous he is.  But he doesn’t.  Instead, he keeps dancing, regardless of whether or not he likes the song playing.  The music is not the point; neither is the dancing.  The point is not to wallflower in a dark corner and disappear, to put himself front and center, to be a part of the throbbing mass, to be seen.    

He becomes all attitude.  He’ll have a good time, regardless of whether he has someone to dance with, and to hell with everyone around him.  As the buttons pop open on his shirt, one at a time, he begins to get the attention from one, then another, and yet another young man around him.  They turn toward him and dance, in tune with who he’s putting himself across to be, the new him.    

He says nothing.  Opening his mouth, letting his neediness come out, has ruined everything for him more than once.  This time, he doesn’t need to talk.  And he doesn't need them.  He’ll have a good time if they’re there or if they're not.  In fact, he scarcely looks at them (although he can’t believe they’re around him).  For a change, this is about him, about feeling good about himself, about being included among them, about being who he has always dreamed of being.  

At the end of the night, he could go home with any of the young men who were attracted to him, but he doesn't.  Instead, he goes home with the most important young man in his life: himself. He's proven that the only difference between him and everyone else, the ones he’s admired from the sidelines all his life, and wanted to count himself among, is how he feels about himself.  If he believes he’s one of them, then he is.  Simple as that.      

All he has to do is change the way he thinks.  And believe. 

What Do You Do After a Tragedy?

I've received some heart-wrenching emails in the past, but this one had me in tears.  I was easily able to put myself in this young man's place, and to feel what he was feeling.  Here's his email (with a few edits for clarity):

Hello Sir,

I have been following your blog for quite sometime now but never wrote any comment or emailed you.  I was always fascinated with the kind of relationship you have with your partner. I wanted to have the same kind with my partner, but unfortunately he died, this 20th August 2013, Tuesday. We knew each other since March 2011, wanted to live life together, make a home together, work together, but everything was snatched away from us in one dreadful moment. I always told him your stories, and he used to say that he wanted to be like you and wants me to be like your partner–he wanted to write and take care of our home.

He went to his place on 19th August in Rishikesh on Rakhi (a Hindu festival). The next day, with his friend, he went to river Ganga, saw an old lady crying for help, and went to rescue her.  In the process, his feet slipped and he drowned, never to return again. We have not been able to find his body yet, which I am sure we won't be able to, after more than 15 days.

I also saw dreams.  He loved me truly and I also loved him truly. I am numb and blank. I have no energy left in me. Wherever I see, I see his face only. Everything reminds me of him.

I am writing to you, because I am sure you would understand what I am going through.  It's like I lost my family, he was my family. In a country like India, where there is so much taboo about gay relationships, our relationship flourished.  Though we were not out to our families, we enjoyed little things together, as I am sure you and Chris do. 

Please advise me what should I do: is it easy to move on, is it easy to trust someone else, should I marry a girl–what should I do? Please help your younger brother.


Here was my response (again, with edits as appropriate):

Dear N.,

It’s difficult for me to write this because I have tears in my eyes after reading your email, and I can scarcely see my computer.  I am heartbroken that this happened to you, that you are going through this, that it’s all still so new and so difficult.  You are courageous to write me now, when you are in such pain.  I can’t tell you how honored I am that you shared your story with me and trusted me with it.  I pray I write something that, in some small way, will bring you comfort.

Of course, I'm so happy to know you’ve followed my blog for a while, and that you’ve opened yourself up to what I write.  Thank you for accepting me, and my work, into your life.  Whenever I write something, I don't know if it will mean anything to anyone other than me.  That’s why it makes a difference to hear from my readers, and to know you relate to what I say.  

I’ve just read your email again, and my eyes are still filled with tears.  I’ve written posts on my blog where I’ve speculated what it would be like for me to lose my beloved partner, Chris.  So, yes, you are right–I do understand what you’re going through.  More than you know.  Losing Chris would be the single most difficult thing to happen to me.  I can’t imagine it.  That’s why I’ve written that I hope I go before him.  I hate the idea of leaving him alone, giving him no choice but to make do on his own.  But, on a purely selfish level, I hate even more the idea of having to live my life without him.  I don’t know how I would do it, or even if I could.

Oh, my goodness.  Your comment about enjoying the little things together with your partner struck a chord with me.  Last evening was filled with little things, starting when Chris arrived home from work.  Even including when he walked in the door, after not seeing each other since the night before.  I’m always relieved when he arrives safely, when I know he hasn’t been in an accident on the shuttle or the train out of the city.  Then there was sitting down to dinner together, something we do every evening but that is so special when you think about it, because, one day, our evening meal together will truly be our very last.  Such a simple thing, sharing dinner, but so meaningful.

Afterward, we went for a walk.  The weather was warm and beautiful, and we were in each other’s company–talking, laughing, joking, planning for the future.  All the things it's so easy to take for granted, until we can no longer do them.

And, then, when I held him, felt the warmth of his body next to mine, and kissed him good night.  It’s something we’ve done for the past twenty-one years we’ve been a couple.  But, again, some day, one of us won’t be here to do it.  And it’s critical that we savor each and every moment we have together, because, as your story proves, we don’t know when it will all come to an end.

It’s difficult for me to offer you advice on what you should do, because, although I’ve lost people who were close to me, I’ve never lost someone I love as much as I love Chris.  But, N., I’ve given some thought to what you’ve written, and I think I can help.

First, you must allow yourself the time and the space to grieve.  You must allow yourself to feel what you do at any particular moment.  This is where you come to terms, in the best way you are able, with the fact that your partner is gone.  Give yourself as long as that takes.  I know it won't be easy, particularly since you aren’t out to your family, and you can’t discuss with them the pain you're in and why.  But I pray you have a friend you can share this with and can confide in.  And, if you don’t, you can always write to me.  I will try to help you through it the best I can.

You ask, is it easy to move on?  No, I'm sure it's not.  It would take me a very, very long time to move on if I lost Chris.  And here’s the thing.  I don’t think you should ever want to move on, not entirely anyway, from what you shared with your partner.  You will always carry a part of him in your heart, a part of what you shared, of what you were together, and you must always cherish that.  You must always honor what you had by remembering him, not focusing on his death and the fact that he’s gone, but on the wonderful human being and soul he was.

And on the wonderful time you spent together.  A little secret, N.  Some people, despite how old they become, never experience what you did.  Some people, for one reason or another, never find real and true love.  What a shame that is.  So you must celebrate that love.  You must let it burn within you.  You must allow it to comfort you when you are suffering, as you are now.  You loved another human being, and that’s no small thing. That’s why we are all here.  It’s what we must do.  And no one can take it away from you.

You ask, is it easy to trust someone else?  I don’t think that’s what you really mean, because, as far as I can tell, there was no betrayal of trust between you and your partner. You loved each other completely, and there should be no reason why you couldn’t trust someone else.

What I think you mean to ask is, is it easy to love someone else?  And, here, I must share with you what I learned from someone I once knew.  She had been married to a man, and they loved each other very much.  Then, he passed away after a long illness, and she was alone for some time.  Finally, she met another man, and she fell in love with him.

I asked her, can you love again?  And, what is love like the second time around?  And she said, yes, of course you can love again.  If you allow yourself to.  And then she said, love the second time around is still love.  It’s different, because the person you love is different from the one you loved before.  But it’s no less.  And it can be just as wonderful.  

I can only go by what she said, because, thankfully, I haven’t experienced this myself.  But I take heart from her words that I would be able to feel love again, if I lost Chris, and fell in love with someone else.  And I hope you do too.

You ask, should I marry a girl?  I find your question a curious one.  Why would you consider marrying a girl, if you are not heterosexual?  Because being gay in India is so difficult? Because you don’t believe you’ll ever find another young man to love?  Listen, if you’re gay, then you must be true to yourself, to the extent that you are able.  If you found love with a young man once, you must believe you will find love with another young man again.

Until then, I can’t let this opportunity go by without saying that, when you don’t have the love of someone else in your life, you must be able to count on the love you have from yourself.  This is a difficult thing for some people, especially gay men.  Many fall easily in love with someone else, and grasp on to it for all its worth, because, otherwise, they think no one will love them.  Because they feel empty and incomplete if they don't feel love from someone else.  

But the most important love you'll ever have in your life is that which you have for yourself. And if you need help with that, you’ll find many posts on my blog about that very subject. It is so important to me to show gay and lesbian people how important the love they have for themselves is, how not having it is detrimental to them in so many ways.  I sincerely hope you love yourself, first and foremost, especially during this very difficult time.    

I am so happy that you consider me like a younger brother.  Reading that brought a smile to my face.  I pray you’ve found comfort in my words, I’ve given you hope you’ll get through this tragic time, and you'll come out the other end of this feeling stronger and ready to experience the fullness and beauty of love again.

I send you my very best wishes and pray your life will be filled with the richness of love.

Your brother,