Grand Eloquent Thoughts

Steve Grand

The Instagram shared ’round the world. If I looked this good in a swimsuit, I’d never wear clothes again. You might think that’s pithy; but it’s the truth, baby!! P.S. to Steve — Keep the scruff; it’s adorable! |Image: Steve Grand

Musician Steve Grand took to Facebook recently to air some dirty laundry. Grand writes:

It would be nice if any other aspect of my life/work as an artist/advocate got a fraction of the press I get for wearing a bathing suit by gay media.

Evidently, it was the photo that appears at left that was the cause of the flap. Grand posted it to his Instagram and some naysayers found it inappropriate. Or too revealing. Or too gay. Or something. Just too too.

Here’s what I have to say about that: Get the hell over yourselves. Why — WHY — must people continue to cut down others to feel better? Why do you care how much or how little of Steve Grand Steve Grand’s bathing suit covers? Are you that insecure? Are you afraid that you don’t look as good, so because you can, you will cut him down? Is it okay to do that somehow because he’s in the public eye so you think he’s fair game? Do you think it’s not good for “the cause” to have handsome men in personal photos wearing tiny little red swim trunks?

We have enough going against us as out gay men; we don’t need our own jabbing at us, too. It’s just as wrong to call out Steve Grand on his choice of clothing as it is to call out Caitlyn Jenner or Ellen DeGeneres or Neil Patrick Harris. It’s wrong to tell the trans kid they can’t use the bathroom for the gender of which they define themselves. It’s wrong to kick puppies, cheat on your taxes, lie to your spouse, be a racist, text while driving, or, quite frankly, fear that what someone else is wearing somehow reflects on or diminishes you. Because it doesn’t. So just stop it.

I encourage you read the rest of Grand’s Facebook post. He’s a smart, caring young man with a hefty intellect and a spirit not yet hardened to the vicissitudes of dumbassery. I hope that he doesn’t have to develop that thick, thick skin that is often needed in order to survive. He’s a better person for not having it.

And by the way — you really should buy his album, All-American Boy, if you haven’t already. It’s terrific.

David Miranda Is Nobody’s Errand Boy

David Miranda Is Nobody’s Errand Boy.

This is a really well-done long-format piece from BuzzFeed on the continuing David Miranda/Glenn Greenwald saga. I find it hard to be objective about this because I feel so strongly that Miranda is being singled out for his partner Greenwald’s role in the Snowden/NSA leaks. It’s an egregious use of power from the U.S. and the U.K., IMHO.


David Miranda and the title card for the BuzzFeed story. | Photo: Jimmy Clark for BuzzFeed.

Our Bullying Culture


Seth Godin

Seth Godin

Seth’s Blog: Sure, but he’s our bully.

There have always been bullies among us, and it’s worth taking a moment to see how our culture has built a role for them to be useful heroes. Taught or not, bullying keeps showing up.

We often (for a while) view bullies as powerful or brave or important–as long as they are ourbullies. Richie Incognito, Chris Christie, Rob Ford—each has a long list of supporters, people who have defended a particular bully as a passionate man of the people, as doing their job, as the visceral anti-elite, winning a battle that’s worth fighting for.

This is an excellent piece by Seth Godin, one of my Top Five “deep thinkers” in strategic management and communications issues.  We talk so much, especially in the LGBT community in recent years, about bullying, the effects of bullying and the teen suicides caused, oftentimes, by bullying that we tend to think that bullying is something that won’t happen after we run the gauntlet that is high school.

In other words: it gets better.

Well, for many who are bullied, it does get better, but for others, the bullying continues. You, as an adult, may be a bully in your workplace whether you realize it or not. I was, in fact, shocked when a co-worker once told me that I had such a “forceful personality” that they wouldn’t want to contradict me for fear that they would be seen as potentially wrong.

I was shocked because I don’t have that view of myself at all. At heart, I’m still the very short, stocky, gay 11-year old with glasses who couldn’t hit the baseball worth a damn and who was picked last in gym class. How could I possibly be that person that others perceived me to be?

The truth is, it bothered me enough to change my management style; to make sure to be as inclusive as possible; to encourage others to render an opinion counter to my own, even if I am the “boss” in that situation. Simplistically, this is often reduced to “speaking truth to power” but there’s more to it than that.

Writes Godin:

In your organization, there are no doubt bullies who can win their point, increase their power and defeat their enemies. … But it’s pretty clear we can create organizations that don’t tolerate it, creating an environment where the bully is never the hero. We probably ought to try.

The more we all check ourselves and recognize bullying behavior in our adult lives, the easier it is for us to create a bully-free society for the next generations. Vying for a little less power might be a good thing.

John Boehner Opposes ENDA, Dealing Blow To Bill’s Chances

But for all the nothing-to-see-here protestations, the timing of Boehner’s statement of opposition was indeed newsworthy. Coming amid growing support for ENDA in the Senate, it deflated the optimism of LGBT rights advocates.

“The Speaker, of all people, should certainly know what it’s like to go to work every day afraid of being fired,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Instead of letting the far right trample him again, it\’s time for Speaker Boehner to stand with the majority of everyday Republican voters and support ENDA.”

via John Boehner Opposes ENDA, Dealing Blow To Bill’s Chances.

John Boehner is an inhuman asshole of the first order. This is why you have to vote, people. This is why you have to learn about the issues.

LGBT History Month 2013: 21 Influential Black LGBT Icons

LGBT History Month 2013: 21 Influential Black LGBT Icons.

An important list, I think. Often those of color were so marginalized in society that those that were gay were practically invisible.

Bayard Rustin, the gay, Quaker civil rights organizer. He is one of the unsung heroes of the last century's social movements.

Bayard Rustin, the gay, Quaker civil rights organizer. He is one of the unsung heroes of the last century’s social movements.

One social reformer that was not invisible was Bayard Rustin, the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. Rustin’s sexuality did, however, impact negatively on his place in history. Only now, 50 years after the March and two and a half decades after his death is his importance to civil rights and gay rights in the 20th century being reexamined.

The Straight Years — A New Website and a Look Back at How it Used to Be

Got this tweet this past weekend from LogoTV —


Of course, I had to check it out.

The premise is people who are out now showing old pictures of themselves when they were pretending to be straight — or simply hadn’t figured out how to come out of the closet.

Back when I was a pre-teen/teenager, there were three people on television that I knew were gay: Paul Lynde on The Hollywood Squares, Charles Nelson Reilly on Match Game, and Billy Crystal’s character, Jodie Dallas, on Soap. And that was it! At least that was it in my little insulated corner of the planet. No one talked about gay and straight. Were these my role models? No, thanks. That’s not it. I’m not like ANY of these men. (Although, I LOVED Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly — they were the epitome of hilarious to me in the 70s — I did not connect the dots.)


Charles Nelson Reilly made the 70s a little bit funnier on Match Game. A gifted actor, teacher and director, the Tony-winning Reilly filmed his autobiographical stage show, The Life of Reilly, shortly before his death. |Image:


TV’s center square, Paul Lynde, was bitchy and campy and threw out one double entendre after another on The Hollywood Squares for years. Also known for stage and TV work, including memorable turns as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, Lynde died of a heart attack in 1982 at age 55. |Image: crewmagazine.


Billy Crystal as Jodie Dallas in Soap. Allegedly gay throughout the series’ 1977-81 run, Jodie had several relationships with women. Granted the show was an over-the-top spoof on soap operas, but commercial director Jodie was nobody’s idea of a role model.

Things weren’t that much better in the 80s, when Steven Carrington on Dynasty was television’s gay standard bearer. Carrington — played by Al Corley and then recast with Jack Coleman — like Jodie Dallas before him, had far more romantic entanglements with women than any gay man I’ve ever met. Then again, “conversion therapy” and attempts to go straight were seen as serious back then, as ridiculous as it sounds now. There was no touching, no actual affection shown between two men on TV then; not in those days when, after his 1985 death, the world was shocked to learn that Rock Hudson was gay.

Looking back on those “straight years,” I think that simply because they were there and we could have a conversation about them, Jodie Dallas and Steven Carrington began to pave the way for networks like HERE and LOGO and superstars like Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O’Donnell and Zachary Quinto and George Takei and Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris and shows like Glee and The New Normal and Will & Grace and Brothers & Sisters and The L Word and Queer as Folk on cable and the networks and Husbands and The Outs and Eastsiders and Submissions Only and Hunting Season online and iconic couples like Kevin and Scotty,  Luke and Noah,  Lindsey and Melanie,  Will and Sonny and, hell, Jack and Doug on Dawson’s friggin’ Creek just to scratch the very tip of the iceberg.

I finally figured it all out in my mid-20s and came out publicly after attending the 1993 gay march on Washington. Being surrounded by the largest crowd I’ve ever seen on the National Mall, I decided that I wasn’t alone. I had back up in case coming out was a terrible idea.

It wasn’t. It NEVER is. I just wish my “straight years” hadn’t lasted quite so long. Maybe they wouldn’t have if I could have seen more of myself on television, in the movies or in literature back then.


The Corner Bar was a 1972 summer replacement series on ABC that is credited with the first recurring gay character on American television. Played by Vincent Schiavelli, “Peter Panama” was reviled by gay activists at the time for playing up all of the worst gay stereotypes. Schiavelli, far right, is pictured with cast members Gabriel Dell, J.J. Barry, Shimen Ruskin, Bill Fiore and Joe Keyes. |Image via, watermarked argentaimages.

Pink Called A Lesbian In Twitter Attack After Dancing With Gay Pride Flag

Pink Called A Lesbian In Twitter Attack After Dancing With Gay Pride Flag.

“They’ve been the most loyal part of what I do,” she told the Advocate last October. “They’ve been my most loyal friends, to be honest. I’ve had a lot of my gay boys around, but my gay girls are my rootstalk. They’re my honesty in an ocean of bullshit. I should be gay by the way that I look and the way that I am. I just happen to not be. But it just makes perfect and complete sense.”

Good on ya, girlfriend!

Oh, Myyy — Takei, Quinto, and I, Borg: A Long Journey into the Gay Recesses of Deep Space and the Soul

This is a terrific quote by gay icon and social media zeitmeister George Takei. This jump takes you to the Backlot, but it’s source is really the Huffington Post.


Takei on Star Trek: TOS, before he charted a course for icon staus.

“Some of the cast and creatives were aware that I was gay, and I did, on occasion, bring a male date to parties. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was aware of my sexual orientation and very supportive. That was the extraordinary thing about Star Trek. That we were a diverse crew of people representing so many colors, backgrounds and heritages. That was the promise of the future. And, now, in the J.J. Abrams reboot, an openly gay actor is playing a Vulcan in love with an African American. I’m not really surprised by this. Star Trek taught us to look ahead to a time where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s dream was fulfilled. Being a part of that vision was — and has remained — a tremendous honor.”

via Meme: Gene Roddenberry Knew George Takei Was Gay During “Star Trek,” Justice Kennedy Denies Motion On Prop 8 Stay, Putin Signs Gay Propaganda Law –

And, ultimately, that’s why I’ve always loved Star Trek. The deep understanding of humanity that Roddenberry infused the series with was so important in effecting change in our culture over time. It’s place in the cultural landscape of the Western world cannot be ignored — even if you don’t give a crap about stories of space cowboys and turtle-headed aliens.

(And we won’t even get into the stories about the ST geeks who developed flip-phone and Bluetooth earpieces because they designed them to look like tricorders and Uhura’s audio receiver. [“Captain, I’m receiving a subspace transmission from the Vulcan High Command. It’s a distress call!”])


Great photo of Del Arco, which prompts a remembrance of his iconic role as Hugh the Borg on ST:TNG and the fight for equality. (Seriously, if you don’t know what I’m taking about, just find the damn episode!)

All Trek fans have their personal favorite series. Mine was Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). It was clunky and, frankly, downright bad for the first couple of seasons, but then it got extremely good.  My favorite TNG episode of all time was one called, “I, Borg” (here’s a clip) about a Borg becoming it’s own entity (you have to know what the Borg are, but go with it). It was a breathtaking, beautiful story about the importance of being different, of standing apart from the collective, of saying that there is difference and there should be acceptance.


Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. Their “deep space bromance” is chronicled in OUT magazine. There is obviously a high hotness score required to get into Starfleet Academy these days!

The singular Borg was played by a marvelous actor named Jonathan Del Arco. He’s an out gay man who is a passionate LGBT activist as well as an actor. Catch him on TNT’s terrific Major Crimes as Dr. Morales.

That’s a long way around the track to get to the point, which is shown so beautifully in the photograph at right. We have gone through so much to get to a world here today’s Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock look like this. Their on-and-off-screen “bromance” is chronicled in a great article in OUT magazine.  In the article, Zachary Quinto talks about how intelligent Chris Pine is and how he infuses all of his characterizations with that intelligence. And, ultimately, that’s why I think Pine’s so damn sexy. I mean, the abs are nothing to sneeze at, but ya gotta have a brain! Oh, myyy, indeed!