Donna Smaldone
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Tuesday / July 19 / 2011

[Guest Post] When being gay isn’t always so gay: part III of III

GayPuzzleIII

Today’s guest post comes to us from Rick Modien. Rick writes passionately about love, acceptance and self-esteem as they relate to gay people. He’s also a chocolate aficionado, home decorator extraordinaire, and admitted Disneyland addict. He blogs here.
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When Donna graciously asked me to guest blog and contribute Part III to her series, “When being gay isn’t always so gay,” I knew exactly what I needed to write about, given the work I’ve done on my own blog, “This Gay Relationship”.

Even in the short time Donna and I have exchanged emails and comments on each other’s blogs, I know she’s all about love. And her definition of love has no restrictions. To her, it’s all the same: a man and a woman, two women, two men–love is love. Love is beautiful. Love is necessary. And love is all there is. Donna is unique in that way and sets an extraordinary example for everyone to follow.

But the single greatest challenge most gay people have with love… is loving themselves. Perhaps that never occurred to you, since gay people, especially when they’re in each other’s company (at a Pride parade, for example), look like the gayest people on earth. Their faces are filled with mirth, they laugh big and full, and you’d think they were so happy, without a worry in the world.

The truth is, just below the surface, they’re in pain. They cover it up well, with all manner of constructive–and not so constructive—behavior (which is partly the subject of my writing), allowing those around them to think everything is fine. But, believe me, from personal experience, and from knowing many gay people over the years, it’s anything but.

How could it be fine when they’ve received the message for most of their lives that they’re wrong, or evil, or immoral—just because they’re attracted to and love people of the same gender, in a way no different from straight people who are attracted to and love people of the opposite gender? How can the love gay people have for each other be wrong? When is love ever wrong?

Every day I sit down to work on my blog, I feel the weight of gay people suffering around the world, and I pray I’m able to help them in some small way. I hear from gay people everywhere—from the U.K. to Indonesia, and from Brazil to Estonia.  The questions are always the same: How can I accept myself? How can I learn to love myself? How can I find someone to love me? And my answer is always the same: Yes, we’ve taken our hits over these many years, but we must take responsibility for loving ourselves first, because only then can someone properly love us back.

The tagline of my blog is “Together, Elevating the Experience of Being Gay.” Increasingly, I recognize the word “together” doesn’t refer only to gay people, but also to straight people, because I know there are many straight people out there, like Donna, who get it. Who realize how important love is to the world. Who realize love is love, no matter if you’re gay or straight. And who love gay people for who and what they are.

We need your help. Gay people have fought the good fight for decades, but we still have many miles to travel. And, if I’ve learned anything in my reading and writing, it’s that we won’t do it without the empathy, compassion, and love of straight people. I hope we can count on everyone to help put the gay back into gay.

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PART I of this series is here: When being gay isn’t always so gay: partI of III
PART II of this series is here: When being gay isn’t always so gay: part II of III

2 Responses to “[Guest Post] When being gay isn’t always so gay: part III of III”

  1. Donna Smaldone says:

    Rick, I am so grateful for you, your heart, your life and our newfound friendship. It’s every so often that people come into your life who really “get” you, and though we’re worlds apart (Vancouver vs. the Adirondacks), Skip-n-I have such a desire to hop on a plane to come spend time with you-n-Chris, because it’s evident you’re ‘the real deal’. You make this world a better, brighter place. Thank you.

    Thank you for sharing your heart, your exposed heart, with all of us in this post. Too often, we make assumptions about other people in this world, particularly when they lead a lifestyle different from our own. But we’re going to get better, this I vow.

    You pegged me, I believe in love. And I believe love is love. And I’m a HUGE fan of it, this pure, unadulterated love. I am delighted you have found The One (as have I) who makes your heart and life complete. YOU DESERVE IT! Nothing warms my heart more than affinity and affection running deep into one’s core.

    My wish is that you and Chris, and all other “head over heels” lovers may forever be united in the beauty of unconditional love. Notice I didn’t say “perfect, no-arguing, no-conflict” love (smile).

    You are cherished, Rick. And you can count me in to doing whatever I can to put the gay back in gay.

    Thank you for the perfect conclusion to this blog series. With warm love, respect and affection, I welcome you to The You Evolution™.

  2. Rick Modien says:

    Wow! I’m moved by your kind words, Donna. Thank you so much. And thanks for taking me to your heart and giving me the opportunity to express what’s so important to me on your blog.

    The original reason why I started my blog was to show other gay people, particularly gay men–who aren’t exposed to a lot of positive and uplifting examples of gay male couples–that commitment, monogamy, and love really do exist between men. I wanted them to see firsthand what Chris and I have, and to aspire to have that in their own lives. If only I’d had a similar example when I was a young gay man. It would have made all the difference and given me so much hope for the future.

    It was a pleasure for me to cap off your series, Donna. Thank you for the trust you had in me to come through with something that would be suitable. What a thrill to have my words showcased on someone else’s site.

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