As a gay Catholic man in relationship with my God and my husband Leo, I wonder how life will be changed under President Donald Trump and Vice-President Michael Pence. To me both of them are seriously flawed. To me, Mr. Trump has no moral center except whatever he decides is okay. I fear for life under him, both nationally and internationally. I think he is a con man, who would say anything to look good. At the same time, I don’t think he has a serious problem with gay persons.
To me, VP Michael Pence is more dangerous. Why? Because he professes to be a Christian with a fundamentalist bent. While I don’t know if it is true, I did read an article on the Internet that said he went through ‘conversion therapy’ years ago to become heterosexual. If true, he still remains a homosexual, if only celibate. He has the right wing Christian following. I believe Pence will have a great deal of influence on Trump and will urge him to appoint a Supreme Court judge who could make decisions that are anti-gay, in employment and in marriage. Having been a Senator, he knows the senators and, since both houses of Congress are under republican rule, he can depend on his ‘brothers’ to vote against gay persons and our lives.
My remedy? To prayerfully think about my own response so as not to inflict only more negativity in the world. I will protest by writing letters and making phone calls. Some others may want to demonstrate publicly. I did this for many years, both in Columbus and in Washington DC. At 68, almost 69, I remember the years of fear of being fired or arrested as I left a gay bar in the early mornings when police could arrest you for J-walking or walking against a red light (even when there was no traffic at 2:30 in the morning). At the same time, I think my demonstrating in the streets are over. I look forward to younger gay men and women to protest on the streets; I’ll be behind with my money and my voice to protest.
See my book, Hounded by God: A Gay Man’s Journey to Self-Acceptance, Love, and Relationship.
A few weeks ago, Leo and I renewed our vows for our 35th year of relationship. We did it at Leo”s faith community (Stone Village Church). Leo’s children and grandchildren were able to attend as well as a few friends. The reading of our vows and the prayers of the community were woven into the regular Sunday service. Afterwards, we went to lunch with our families. It was a low key ceremony, but it was meaningful to Leo and me. These years have taken work and our relationship continues to evolve. It is interesting to me that after 35 years, sex has begum to be less important, at least the actual sexual act. Instead, Leo and I hold hands watching television and kiss each other whenever one of us has to leave the house. I believe that these are ‘sexual acts also. It is special to us. Thirty-five years in relationship with each other.! Thank you, God.
By now I am getting resigned to the Trump reality, even though I am not happy about it at all. This presidency affects not only gay persons, but also the country and the world. The people that Trump is counting on for information and advice are terrible! By why am I concerned about my own life and the lives of my gay brothers and lesbian sisters? The VP Pence is rabidly anti-gay. He tried to force his views earlier this year by allowing public businesses to discriminate against gays. He was forced to rescind his order when private companies started to pull out of Indiana; the backlash was too great. This doesn’t mean, however, that he has changed his views. Now he will have the ability to introduce regulations and laws that will be discriminatory. Trump will place right-wing ideologues on the Supreme Court that possibly allow this discrimination. What I need to do is to be aware when these things happen and to voice my disapproval. While I am angry, I will focus my energy on productive ways to respond. I will voice and vote my disapproval. Joe Gentilini
As a gay man I have much to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Leo and I just celebrated 35 years together. I never would have imagined this as a possibility years ago. Leo’s daughter Kris and her husband will not be able to join us because they are in South Carolina. Leo’s son Patrick and Leo’s youngest daughter Erin and the grandchildren will be with us.
Religious Right and Family
Religious right persons spew words about gay persons being anti-family. They refuse to see reality. In my experience, it is often the gay family member who takes care of aging parents. Many of us also have families of our own.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Joseph Gentilini, author of Hounded by God: A Gay Man’s Journey to Self-Acceptance, Love, and Relationship
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