Trump, Kavanaugh, Fascism, and Why Voting is the Most Important Thing Queer People Can Do

Discerning Daddy

When I read that Brett Kavanaugh had in fact been confirmed to the United States Supreme Court I felt a sudden sense of existential fear. I was surprised how genuinely terrified and sad I was. I was sad because it felt like my home, my country, was no longer recognizable to me.
I have faith in what it means to be an American, regardless of the shit people say about us: it’s not like their governments are actually any better, or they are in any way more liberal: just travel and you will eventually come across the same hateful xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny and racism. It permeates much of our world. It always has. It’s nothing new.
But now it is in our faces. We can’t hide from it. And that makes each and every one of us culpable.
I was in Munich, Germany, the day Kavanaugh was confirmed. Noah and I had decided to spend the weekend at his child-hood friend’s place, exploring a City we had never been to before. I felt incredibly far away from home as I read the words. Cut off from hope.
I considered not going back. I considered what it would mean to live my life fully as an ex-pat.
I had strange nightmares. I would wake up furious at my fellow Americans who seemed to be willingly marching like sheep into oblivion, sacrificing the ideals we are supposed to stand for…for what? A form of totalitarianism? Guns? Abortion? I was furious at my fellow Californians who are so secure in their liberal bubble that they probably won’t even vote.
And I realized: there’s no running away from this. There is nowhere to hide. The only thing I can do is speak up. To write about it. Not just about Kavanaugh or Politics but about everything being queer is. About sex and love and about hope. About being HIV Positive. To never back down from who I am. That’s where I can fight back.
Because I’m really scared.
And while writing about it and marching and talking about it is important, voting is where our real power is. Even in liberal states like California, and liberal Cities like LA, where it can feel like our vote doesn’t matter, it does matter. Because it is a voice: a way of saying to the Supreme Court, to Congress: We are the people, and this is our will. This is what we want. Even if it won’t directly impact the elections, voting is a way of being heard.
And we should be screaming as loudly as we can with every tool we have.
Organizations like the NRA have more power than the average person because we give them more power. We continually give up our voice and our power.
Maybe culpable is the wrong word. It implies a kind of partnership. Maybe the truth is, that those of us who don’t vote, those of us who don’t speak out, those of us who spend our lives in the bubble ignoring what is going on are actually fully responsible for the mess we are in.
The longer we stay silent the easier it will be for them to take away whatever remaining power we have left.
I believe that voting should be a requirement under law. I believe that our government should be run by a straight democracy: one person one vote, without all the middle stages that negate our votes. But I also believe in open borders and stronger international governing bodies.
It would be easy for me to run. To just move. Leave the USA behind and live somewhere else. I have freedom to do that.
But I still have faith. I have hope that in November those of us who can vote will. And even if we don’t “win” we will at least have used our voice: we will have made our will known.
We are a country of 325.7 million people. We are a vast continent with many different cultures and societies. We are one of the most racially diverse nations in the world. We will not all agree. That is part of living in a civil democracy. We don’t have to agree.
But we all deserve the right to be heard. Republicans and the Trump Administration want to take that right away from us. They want to silence us. Make it harder for us to Vote. Why? Because that is the one power we actually have over them: they work for us. They are beholden to us. They are in power because of us. And they can lose their power if we choose to take it from them.
So vote. Call your representatives. It’s just a few minutes. Get out there and make your voice heard.
Because if we don’t, then whatever comes is our responsibility. No one else’s. 100%.
Sorry I didn’t talk about butt fucking and dick sucking in this piece. If you want to read about my wild and sex adventures check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon!

Why Talking About Racism Matters

Discerning Daddy

We live in a world that wants to divide us. We have a government that tells us who we love and fuck, our faith, our race, our masculinity or femininity, our gender, are all wrong. They tell us everything about us is wrong.

Recently, I was out with some friends, and this guy Robert was trying to explain why not being “attracted to black guys” didn’t make him a racist.

“You can’t make yourself be attracted to something you aren’t attracted to. That’s not how it works.” He insisted.

I’m not a doctor or a scientist or a psychologist so I have no idea if what Robert is saying is factually true, but in my experience our tastes and preferences can change and grow through being open and by exposure. And I’m pretty sure that includes sexual attraction.

Maybe Robert isn’t a racist. But maybe his parents were. Or the society that raised him was. And those factors influenced what he finds attractive.

“What if you met that perfect guy,” I asked Robert. “He has everything you’ve ever wanted in a guy. This guy is the guy you could love for ever. Only one thing: he’s black?”

“Then we’d make great friends,” Robert laughed. “I just can’t see myself with a black guy. And to be honest, as terrible as this sounds, I don’t think I could bring a black boyfriend home to meet my family.”

“Why can’t we have one night to ourselves? A night for masculine men without all these twinks and drag queens and fem-boys walking around here with their purses and perfume ruining the vibe for guys like us. Whatever happened to men acting and smelling like men?” I heard another guy saying recently. It was at a leather bar in New York City.

His friends all began complaining about the “assault on masculinity” in the gay community.

Another recent story I heard is about a trans guy being denied entry to a popular monthly party in LA that celebrates masculinity and “Daddies” because their ID still said “Female”.

We’ve all heard stories like these, or joined in these kinds of conversations, and we all have opinions: opinions that are valid. I think having these conversations is essential. The more we talk about race and gender, the more we discuss our faith and our ideas about masculinity and femininity, the more open we are with each other than the more tolerant we will become.

But first, we have to start getting honest about the fact that there is a discrepancy in how we are treated in our community. That I, as a white cis-man am treated very differently than those who don’t share my privilege. And maybe that means that I have an obligation to allow those who have spent years being discriminated against, beaten down, and denied the same opportunities that I take for granted, a voice that is a little louder than mine. That maybe I need to start listening to their experience instead of denying it or fighting against it, or justifying my own.

Maybe it’s time for those of us who have benefited from racism and intolerance to be allies to who have not shared our privilege, instead of trying to maintain some kind of hold on the status-quo.

A friend of mine was recently trying to explain why he felt racism isn’t such a big issue anymore.

“I just don’t see it. I think if we work hard we all have the same opportunities. I don’t see racism the way it used to be. I think it’s more about class. Specially in the gay community. I mean, all of us are minorities, right? Okay, sure, Trump is a racist, and that’s embarrassing, but Obama was also president. We’ve made some really amazing progress.”

My friend, like me, is a white cis-male. Of course he doesn’t see racism, or transphobia, or intolerance toward Muslims or Latinos, because it isn’t happening to him.

But it is happening all around us. And we are all participating in it. Sometimes by just being silent, or by making jokes that minimalize it, or by lamenting the “old days” which, in all honesty, were only glorious for some of us.

As queer people we’ve never had to play by hetero-normative rules. We’ve gotten to define who we are and what we believe, often in reaction to intolerance, and in many ways this has made us stronger, more tolerant, and more willing to change and grow.

We, as a community, are confronting an incredibly hostile and fascist regime, not just in the States, but around the world. A right-wing movement has been growing, and the only true way for us to fight back is to become unified, to stand together, and to stand tallest for those of us on the fringes of our community, for those of us who do not have the numbers or the privilege to be heard.

None of this means we can’t party the way we want to or fuck the way we want to, or even define the limits of our attraction, but it’s the way we talk about these things, the way we express them. If we begin to categorize each other based on race or our body type or our gender, then we begin to lose sight of who we really are.

And I think the Queer Community, in all its shapes and sizes and genders and manifestations is amazing. We survived the AIDS crisis, we have survived discrimination and violence and intolerance, and instead of allowing those things to destroy us they have just made us stronger.

So maybe it’s time we started to challenge ourselves. To look closely at the words we use, at how we express ourselves, at our privilege, and at the things we take for granted. At how race and gender and sexual preference should no longer be tools used to limit ourselves or each other but instead empowering aspects of who each of us are, things to be celebrated and explored.

I think it’s time the Queer Community, my Community, started using our differences: our diversity, as our strengths, and not our weakness.

Because that is how we will overcome those who wish to hold us down and tell us who we are and how we love is somehow less than, not deserving, or wrong.

Our survival will depend on our unity, and in celebrating all the diverse ways we shine: our survival will depend on all of us standing as one against anyone who will try to deny Us.

Welcome to My Blog: The Discerning Daddy

Discerning Daddy

It’s hard, considering the world we are living in right now, to even consider what to write in a blog. Let alone a blog irreverently titled “Discerning Daddy.”

Lately, I’m scared a lot. Of the direction this country is headed in. Of the anger and hatred that seems to pervade every aspect of our lives and our Nation.

And then I think, what is the one thing about me that is political? Not because of a belief I have or because of a choice I made. But because of who I love and who I am attracted to: because of the way I was born. Being Queer, LGBTQ, being a Woman, being a Person of Color, being Trans, these things radicalize us whether or not we feel radical, they turn our bodies and our lives into something political.

Into weapons used against us.

So fuck that, right? This is where I have power. Where I get to be loud and queer and talk about all the gay fucking, and queer-trans-gender-bending-fuckery-love I want.

This is where I get to say fuck you to anyone who says who I love, how I love, and who I fuck is somehow wrong, or not worthy.

This is where I get to say fuck you to Donald Trump, and to all the men and women in Congress who refuse to stand up for us, to fight back, to demand that we all be treated equal.

I am a 50-year old, HIV Positive, sober gay man. I have fucked, and been fucked, by a lot of amazing guys. I have fallen in love, dated, lived with, and married some amazing men.

And that’s what I want to write about. About being in my 50’s, about being Poz, about being gay and about loving sex, about politics and queerness and all the ways these things manifests in our lives.

And about love.

What I’ve learned, and what I believe, is in the end, it all comes down to love. As corny and cheesy as that sounds (Ima be really honest, I might get really cheesy and corny on you sometimes), it’s the truth. Everything comes down to love.

I should also warn you: you will see my body a lot and maybe my ass, and shirtless pics, because I’m proud of who I am, and of what I’ve achieved, and I think more people in their 50’s, and 70’s and 20’s should feel proud of who they are, regardless of their age or their body type, regardless of all the shit we have been taught to believe.

So I’m gonna talk about being Positive, and about love, and a lot about sex, and I’m gonna talk a lot about me and what I believe, and I’m gonna get all cheesy and corny as fuck.

And maybe I’m going to talk about Magic. Because Jon Nelson believed in magic, and he’s teaching me to believe in it too.

I’d also love to hear from you. You can contact me through this site (see contact), or find me on instagram at leavelljeff or facebook, or email me at jeffleavell@gmail.com. Leave comments. Tell me what you like or don’t like.

And keep coming back. I’m gonna be doing this blog thing weekly (or maybe more…I have A LOT to say). It’s still a big work in progress, but I promise, there will be progress.

Because this is the way I get to choose to be political. To fight back, in my own way, with the tools I have.

So lets go be Queer and fuck and love and dance and make out, and show our asses, and tell anyone who tells us we can’t, that we aren’t deserving or good enough, to fuck off.

Because we get to be whatever we want. And no one gets to tell us we can’t.

Fuck ‘em if they try.