Gay Actor Max von Essen’s Blisteringly Truthful Facebook Letter to Friends Supporting Mitt Romney: READ

A open letter to friends supporting Mitt Romney on Facebook by actor Max von Essen, who plays Magaldi in the Broadway production of Evita, is getting some attention around the web.

VonessenIt’s well worth a read.

Hey (    ),

Listen, I know you didn’t mean any harm commenting on this post and I like you, we had some great times growing up. But Romney and Ryan believe that I am less than you. They believe I am a second class citizen and don’t deserve the same rights that you had the privilege of being born into simply by being straight. They want to add a constitutional amendment that will ban gay marriage forever. It will set us back decades and ensure that I never legally have the opportunity to have a family or a partner in my lifetime.

They also believe that being at your partner’s side when he/she is dying is a benefit, not a civil right. They could keep me from my partner dying in a hospital. Could you even imagine something like that in your own life? Being separated from your wife on her death bed? Could you imagine your marriage never being recognized and being told that your family is not a family and you do not deserve any federal rights that comes with marriage. Over 1100 rights.  Did you know that? 1100.

Ryan doesn’t believe in the hate crimes act fought unwaveringly for by Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, murdered for being gay in Wyoming. Murdered for being gay. Could you imagine if I was murdered for being gay? Could you really look my mom in the eye and say ‘oh well, we can not prosecute this crime as a hate crime’?

I know there are important issues involved in this campaign. I know people are suffering and the economy has not improved at a rate we all wish it would. Yes, people are suffering but the gay and lesbian community has been suffering for hundreds of years and I am so tired of it. So tired of feeling that I am less than. So tired of knowing I have friends on here who will vote for someone who will keep me a second class citizen for my entire lifetime. I have already spent half a lifetime hiding, half a lifetime conforming. It is exhausting, demeaning and I am worn out. I want to love myself full out.  I want a president who can look me in the eye and say ‘You are equal!’ ‘You are equal to everyone else in this country and I will fight for your rights. The time is now and it is long overdue.’ Romney and Ryan could not look me in the eye and say that and I feel sorry for every gay and questioning child who might have to listen to a president who believes that he/she is not equal. Children will take their lives. It is the WORST form of trickle down bullying and it absolutely splits my heart in half. When the president says you are less than, it gives permission to every authority figure, every politician, every teacher, every bully on the playground to push you around and bully you and treat you less than. It is dangerous and lives will be lost.

If this is not important to you, please remove me from your friends list. I need people in my life who love me and consider me 100% equal.

Max

Comments

  1. says

    Amen, brother. Well met.

    It’s time, folks, to have those tense awkward conversations with friends and family.

    This is not some mere “difference of opinion” – you may well have friends and family voting against your worth as a human being. It’s person. Let them know it is.

    Because this is the reality – they’re not Republicans who “still accept you for being gay”. They’re Republicans who fully accept, and with their votes SUPPORT, bigotry and discrimination against you as a human being.

    That’s the ugly hateful truth. They still love and care about you? Really? It’s not you they accept, it’s the discrimination against you that they accept. And it’s high time more LGBT people called that out as the insulting affront to human decency that it is.

    Have the awkward talks. Have the tense conversations. Change doesn’t come if you dont’ give it a reason to.

    Copy and Paste von Essen’s letter. It’s well done and makes its point.

  2. Michael W. says

    Amen. I’m just about to the tipping point with my parents over this. I feel tired, too. To quote The Lord of the Rings, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

  3. Dback says

    I love you, Max, and I applaud your integrity and your grace and your passion. Let us hope that the slight uptick in Obama polls according to Nate Silver is a harbinger of good things in two Tuesdays.

  4. David says

    I have been expressing these same sentiments. If we had a Republican candidate that was openly racist or anti-Semitic, it would be a deal breaker for a lot of our Republican “friends”, but for many of these “friends” homophobia isn’t quite as bad. They are willing to throw us under the bus. They are no longer my friends, and I am telling them why.

  5. Fenrox says

    @littlekiwi, I feel like that is 100% the wrong thing to do, no surprise you suggested it. Don’t let politics ruin friendships, politics are stupid, bombastic things that always sound much worse than they are.

    Of course equality is extremely important but you need perspective too. Sure there are a lot of hate filled people that hate me out there, but there are way more people who would defend me. Politics is all talk with little action, and when the action comes you will probably be surprised at people’s humanity.

    If someone you are friends with is supporting a candidate that will work against you as a person, surely there is a reason you guys are friends, right? You didn’t befriend them after they declared such a stance, so work with them! If your friend was drinking himself to death you would help right? Not just lecture away as fast as possible.

    I am going through this with some friends and they are straight up wrong in supporting Romney, they fit the above mold perfectly. Why drop them as a friend because they don’t get it? I can be multifaceted and I can try to help my friends. I applaud people doing things like this Max guy, but each person needs to address this situation in a unique way.

  6. troschne says

    @FENROX–I certainly will be dropping those friends. I have straight friends who get it, and won’t be voting for that POS Romney, and they will be the ones I keep. I will also be dropping some self-loathing gay friends because they DON’T get it, and will be voting for him. I could agree with Von Essen more!

  7. says

    @ Little Kiwi :
    I totally support the sentiments expressed in your post.

    I don’t want to be friends with anyone who “accepts” me.
    I don’t want to waste my time having conversations with someone who “has gay friends too”.
    I don’t want to be a friend of anyone who ever thinks that two men kissing or being affectionate is “inappropriate” or “appropriate”…..it’s just none of their business.
    My worth as a person is not “disordered” nor are my human characteristics worth less than everyone else’s.
    @ FENROX : You can be as multifaceted as you want, but do you seriously define “friends” to include people who “accept” you ????….even though you’re gay……ha ha ha.

    Among my friends there is no “accept” there is just “being”..straight or gay.
    But I don’t even want to know any jerk who would vote for a pair of shallow plastic pretenders such as Romney/Ryan.
    It’s not “politics ruining friendships”, as you say, FENROX, it is the attitudes of straights trying to ruin my life and my rights of equality by pretending to be “friends” while voting for two scum-bigots who want to deprive my fellow gays of their civil rights……did you get that c i v i l
    r i g h t s……..
    Romney/Ryan are the sexist equivalent of racists. They are also women haters…..but of course they “accept” women, but not their rights to make decisions for themselves, nor their absurd notions of getting equal pay to men. But some of their best “friends”…. are women.
    And Ryan is a clown from of the ‘Life of Brian’, “every sperm is sacred” song.

    As for us, it’s all about Civil Rights; I want nothing to do with anyone who considers me less than absolutely equal, no more no less. If that ruins “friendships” , then the filtering exercise has been worth the effort….
    Goodbye to all those who “accept” me,I never wanted you indulgence in the first place.

  8. Onnyjay says

    Bravo Max, well said. This isn’t about politics, it’s about civil, social and moral equality. One party claims LGBT folks and women have no claim to equality, and thus show themselves to be morally bankrupt, socially ignorant and unworthy of civil tolerance. Those who support this party have already abandoned any claim to the “friendship” of LGBT people and women.

  9. Buster says

    Certainly I don’t disagree with anything Mr. Von Essen wrote. But “blistering?”

    Given that the ultimatum the letter leads to is (to paraphrase) “and if you don’t agree you can just ….. delete me as a Facebook friend,” I’m not really feeling the heat. Telling people you don’t want to be FB friends feels a little too much like the heated riposte of an snippy 12 year old girl.

    (PS- Yes, I know that he meant more than not being FB friends. But it is poorly-worded and almost bathetically (yes, with a B; look it up.) anti-climactic.

  10. Ricco says

    @FENROX . . . I get what you are saying, that there is something to what you wrote: “You didn’t befriend them after they declared such a stance, so work with them!”

    I do feel that there is something quite ambiguous in that statement: What stance, specifically, would these friends be declaring when they vote against your equality with them?

    So, let’s say you work with them, and they with you, assuming they do not shoot you down before you have had the chance to explain why their STANCE is a potential betrayal of your friendship, shoot you down for being merely political, what if after friendly commisceration, after you have explained the 1100 rights their vote denies you, after you have told them of the stories where straight people allowed gay people to die alone, scared, in an emergency room cubicle because they refused to respect, or even just tolerate that that person loved the wrong sex, if after you told them of elderly gay people who were kicked out of the homes they built with their lifelong partner because the courts refused to recognize their relationship, turing that persons posessions over to a family of straight vultures to could not be bothered with the deceased unitl after he/she was deceased, after telling them the thousand and one heartaches gays have suffered, still suffer because they do not have the same rights . . . what if, supposing they actually were your friends and listened to all you had to say and still they vehemently maintained their stance, would you still call them friends?

    But what if they could not even be bothered to listen, simply dismissing anything you had to say as merely argumentative, would you still call them friends?

    “Why drop them as a friend because they don’t get it?” you ask? Here’s why: because they don’t get it for one of two reasons, they are eighter willfully ignorant and they shut down when people try to explain things to them, or because they, despite being your alleged friend, don’t give a damn if you have the same rights, or deep down think you are just their funny little gay friend who when they really think about it is a perverse little imp who does not deserve the same rights as them.

    If you don’t think better of yourself to pick your friends better, don’t fault us for being more discriminating in the people we choose to call friends.

    I will go even one step further: “Who is my brother? Who is my sister?”

    It’s for damn sure not the brother or sister who do not care that we live in a country that denies their brother the same rights as them, the brother or sister who would vote for a presidential candidate like Mitt Romney.

  11. John Bisceglia says

    “I know people are suffering and the economy has not improved at a rate we all wish it would. Yes, people are suffering but the gay and lesbian community has been suffering for hundreds of years and I am so tired of it.”

    When straight people mention how “selfish” the LGBT community is for wanting equality when there are “so many other issues” that are “more important”, I think we all need to remind them that we experience this needless discrimination IN ADDITION TO – poverty, homelessness, losing our homes, mental and physical health issues, and discrimination based on race, gender, and creed, etc.

  12. Fenrox says

    @Jackfkntwist, No dude. It’s about perspective and faith in people. Oh yes, also compassion. My grandpa was a racist, I still loved him, i still hate his racism. That ambivalence is important to me because it makes my grandpa a more faceted person. YES, his facets are negative, dark, bad things! He isn’t perfect! He is WRONG.

    I don’t want my friends to be people that support my FACEBOOK political issues with no dissent. I haven’t volunteered for any political or social rights issue in 7 years. So for those 7 years I am 100% guilty for my role in the world. I am not making the world a better place, I would have no right to admonish someone for doing about as much as I am to change the world for the better (or worse).

    So yeah, I will keep my mufti-faceted friends. I will work with them to change their minds to a more compassionate and logical structure. They are important to me and I am not going to let this temporary drama ruin a friendship. If Romney wins are gays gonna be executed on sight? No, it will be bad LIKE IT WAS WITH BUSH, but not Armageddon. And hey! In a bad situation like a Romney presidency, I will be comforted by friends.

  13. Lymis says

    His last line is the clincher. It’s where we have the most power. When we allow people who clearly and publicly say we are not their equals and that our equality has to be prevented by law to think that it’s okay with us and “doesn’t affect our friendship” that’s where we fail ourselves.

    if we think for a minute they’d stay our friends if the situation was reversed and we advocated their legal inequality, we’re kidding ourselves.

    Sure, case basis. Family is a different situation. But really. If the people you hang out with look down on you, time for new friends.

  14. AG says

    Hilarious. Four years ago this actor voted for the candidate who had repeatedly expressed his opposition to the gay marriage. Half a year ago this actor was planning to vote for the politician who had still been reiterating his opposition to the gay marriage. But now he renounces his friends planning to vote for other politicians opposed to the gay marriage. Pathetic.

  15. Fenrox says

    @Ricco, Hey, that is always a possibility! I have had a friend who dropped me because I hated Bush when he was elected. I told him that we are still friends, that I won’t lose him over this, he disagreed and broke contact. Cut to 3 years later, we ran into each other after a movie, we got to talking and he apologized for being so emotional. I told him that we were still friends he just took a break. We are still friends, he is incidentally now a Democrat.

    Maybe my correlation is strange because I pick my friends carefully? I don’t do it lightly.

    Another example is like when a friend of mine tried to change everything about me. I protested that he needed to learn to live with some of my character traits because I am unwilling to change for him. After that we became much better friends because we respected each other for who they are to… us, that wasn’t terribly clear. I can be friends with a bigot, but they certainly need to bring something else to the equation!

  16. says

    i’ve never let politics ruin friendships. but i don’t respect the condoning of bigotry and prejudice.

    and, amazingly, i do what i do, fenrox, because it works. people finally wake up and realize that it’s choosing Bigotry over, well, Me. Us. The Community.

    and my family and good friends do the same thing.

    but congratulations to having done nothing for the last 7 years. the rest of us have, blessedly, been taking up the slack.

    it’s about specifics. “dissent”? you mean bigotry and prejudice with no logical or factual base?

    i’ve never considered having unrepentant racists in my life to be a “multifaceted” thing that should be celebrated.

    and like i said, there’s a reason folks like me keep doing what we do – because we’ve seen that it works.

    if you’d like to see my knockout of a mother share her message on how to HAVE these awkward and oft difficult discussions, check this out:

    love ya, Mum!

  17. says

    @ FENFOX :
    Dude, I could not disagree with you more.

    “Perspective and faith in people” , yes.

    But it’s also about moral fibre and integrity. It’s about backbone and self respect too.
    I don’t want to keep any “friends” whom I have to persuade that I deserve equal rights.
    i’m not going to keep any friends whom i need to persuade that I’m much more than just “acceptable” or whom I have to work hard to make them more compassionate.
    I have neither time, inclination or enthusiasm or interest in persuading so called “friends” about our Civil Rights. If they don’t get it by now they will never get it ….and that’s probably willful.
    And No. It won’t be like the Bush era; If the Romney/Ryan extremist scum get in they will work to repeal all our rights, women and gays; they will appoint conservative Justices of the Supreme Court to replace Ginsberg next year and Bryer too…..and Scalia will retire if he can see a conservative President replacing him….he is that manipulative and partisan.

    That new court will overturn Roe -v- Wade and it would not surprise me to see an attempt to reverse Lawrence -v- Texas; it has already been mooted.
    So don’t tell me that this is a “temporary drama”…….we don’t have to have the threat to “be executed on sight” to be vigilant to safeguard our rights.
    You, mon cher, can sit back and be comforted by friends …..some of us are incandescent at this affront to our rights and to our moral integrity and we will not be sitting back.

  18. says

    Actually, I’d love it, fenrox, if could make a video with these friends of yours who are voting against your equal standing. You can provide a video example of just how you’re able to balance being friends with people who cast votes against your equality.

    i’m not being facetious, btw. you can youtube it, tumblr it, vimeo, or blogspot it.

    that way we can see a living breathing example of what you’re talking about – two people maintaining a friendship despite the reality that one is actively supporting the institutionalized prejudice and discrimination against the other.

    It would be a real help to see where you’re coming from, you can provide the URL in a post later this week 😀

  19. Fenrox says

    @Jackfkntwist, My friends just aren’t doing what you are implying they are. Yes they are part of that silent problem that lets negative ideas prosper. But where you see intent I see stupidity. Most if not everyone is a colossal idiot. I just can’t judge someone for being a damn moron when I too am a damn moron. As smart and as capable as I am, I am still lazy, forgetful, overbearing, I HAVE PROBLEMS. My friends support this fractured, problem filled self and I love that they do. When I was smoking too much they took a resolved stance to get me to curb that. In the beginning I was VERY against it, but eventually I got what they were saying and they helped me quit.

    My friends can be ideologically wrong and I can still support and admonish them! It’s this idea that I need to put a line in the sand because you guys are super fired up. And again, I am against the idea that everyone should be doing this, not this dudes attempt. And for instance, my grandpa became a LOT less racist. I never let up and I never let him say a single racist thing with out a discussion. I helped him find a new way of framing things, I could have just dumped him and let his hatred fester, but hey, he is a friend of mine and I don’t roll that way.

  20. Fenrox says

    @littlekiwi, I am weary of engaging with you at all. I shouldn’t have put that dig in my first post. You are a total bully. I am afraid of being on your radar because you have dubious ethics! I don’t want you coming after me online which I fully believe you will do. I mean we are having a discussion on a message board, this is not a big enough interaction for you to attack me, but I just don’t trust you. I read the things you post, I see the way you try and attack people in these comment sections. You take things too far dude.

  21. says

    @ FENFOX :
    I am just sensitive about the way I am treated as a gay. After so many years being disparaged (and I still am but never to my face) I have acquired some confidence in myself.
    This allows me to let off steam and be very proud of who I am. It also makes me short with anyone who regards me as any way different. I’m not.
    But I think there is a whole world of understated prejudice out there and that this “acceptance” of us from friends is only the tip of an iceberg of misgivings people have about us.It is they who need to change not us…..and the onus is on them to do so.

    I think that is what I am trying to say.

  22. iawl says

    A married gay friend of mine recently posted about his anniversary on Facebook and wondered what the conervative Romney lovers in his Mormon Red State home would say and how they would react to the posting… What he got was a unnanimous outpouring of love. Even the Rom-bot lovers can’t help but love him and his partner– which makes them very conflicted in their Mormon-cult influenced souls. And that is a very good thing. I don’t believe we should be “un-friending” Romney voters. This movement on several of the gay blogs to do this is EXACTLY the wrong approach. Yes, these FB friends of ours are supporting a scary, evil Robot — and yes, by doing so, they are effectively taking away our civil rights and saying we are “less then”. BUT– refusing to speak with them and associate means we’ll never convince them or change anything– we’ll never have the chance to. You think that by giving them an ultimatum and bascially forcing some of them to choose bewteen their religion and you is going to be the thing that makes the difference??? WTF??If we keep them as friends– change IS possible in some circumstances and we should believe in that, hope for that, and just rise above it, “man up” and be better than they are. I realize it is all MUCH easier said than done– but to flat-out disown everyone who doesn’t agree with us makes no sense at all. My way or the highway is the George W Bush approach to diplomacy. Let’s try to sit down at a bargining table is the Obama doctirne. And it makes much more sense. SO– yes, the Romeny lovers offend me. Yes, they are wrong. But I was once afflicted with the same cult mentality — and I was able tot change. And I believe at heart they are victims of the lies they are taught. I have seen friends and family totally “come around”. IF I had disowned them, they never would have. It is frustrating as hell, but do-able and worth it.

  23. iawl says

    A married gay friend of mine recently posted about his anniversary on Facebook and wondered what the conervative Romney lovers in his Mormon Red State home would say and how they would react to the posting… What he got was a unnanimous outpouring of love. Even the Rom-bot lovers can’t help but love him and his partner– which makes them very conflicted in their Mormon-cult influenced souls. And that is a very good thing. I don’t believe we should be “un-friending” Romney voters. This movement on several of the gay blogs to do this is EXACTLY the wrong approach. Yes, these FB friends of ours are supporting a scary, evil Robot — and yes, by doing so, they are effectively taking away our civil rights and saying we are “less then”. BUT– refusing to speak with them and associate means we’ll never convince them or change anything– we’ll never have the chance to. You think that by giving them an ultimatum and bascially forcing some of them to choose bewteen their religion and you is going to be the thing that makes the difference??? WTF??If we keep them as friends– change IS possible in some circumstances and we should believe in that, hope for that, and just rise above it, “man up” and be better than they are. I realize it is all MUCH easier said than done– but to flat-out disown everyone who doesn’t agree with us makes no sense at all. My way or the highway is the George W Bush approach to diplomacy. Let’s try to sit down at a bargining table is the Obama doctirne. And it makes much more sense. SO– yes, the Romeny lovers offend me. Yes, they are wrong. But I was once afflicted with the same cult mentality — and I was able tot change. And I believe at heart they are victims of the lies they are taught. I have seen friends and family totally “come around”. IF I had disowned them, they never would have. It is frustrating as hell, but do-able and worth it.

  24. says

    i didn’t attack, nor bully, you.

    i shared my mother’s message of having these discussions about letting family and extended family know that a vote for an anti-gay politician with anti-gay policies on their agenda is a vote against her son. against everyone like her son. moi :-)

    i’m not a total bully. i’m nt voting against your rights and freedoms. your “friends” are.

    i don’t get crazies coming after me online. worry less about people like me, and worry more about your so-called friends who clearly think you’re unworthy of equality.

    and you’re welcome, btw, for the work that i, my friends, my family, and countless others have been doing for the last number of years which you yourself admit to having dropped the ball on.

    so remember: the bully aint me. the bullies are the people you still pretend are your friends.

    but a simple video would suffice. it’s very easy. you can film yourselves having that discussion – how you can remain friends despite the fact that they’re voting against your Equality.

  25. says

    Dear Max,

    I’m a over 55 senior, living in a community of seniors, most of whom would go ballistic if they knew my true gender history. Although. I discussions, I’ve espoused support and understanding for the GLBT community, they have not yet been made privy to my life’s origin.

    I’m a multi-degreed Ivy League graduate, Air Force veteran, and have been a corporate Vice President and prolific product developer, and former college teacher.
    But it is “high time” to tell the truth, and to release myself from the bondage of secrecy that has impacted my life.

    As a parent and grandparent, it is to set an example for my progeny, that honest about one’s self is the only true path through life.

    I applaud those younger than myself who have found the courage to express their core identity, bravely, and fully knowing that such revelation my be risky, in a world, and society, whose intelligence and compassion has still not fully blossomed.

  26. says

    As I said the whole phenomenon of “Face Book friends” is absurd.
    Are they of the same intimate importance as real life friends ?
    Or are they only cyber friends ?
    And if only cyber friends who cares whether they accept anyone ?

    I raised this subject with someone last week who was explaining the whole concept to me, slowly !
    So i asked;
    “What if I come in drunk some night and unfriend everyone ?”
    I am told that would be social death.
    Still, it is tempting…….if I were on Face Book, that is.

  27. Fenrox says

    @kiwi, I know you didn’t attack me, It’s that I fear that you will resort to it. I don’t trust you because I read your posts. Listen to how hyperbolic your last one is! How many friends do I have that are trying to deny me rights? How resolute is that belief?

    You freak out man! I have ONE friend who is voting for Romney and he knows what he is doing is wrong, He is being a petulant brat! Later he will come around, and since I know he is a good guy, He will add reparations for his actions.

    And I don’t know what you have done for the gay community. I haven’t done anything for 7 years, but 7 years ago I worked for AIDS hospices and planned gay community organizing for 16-20 year olds. Now I just give money because I don’t have any time. And I do thank you for any work you did in your life for the gay community, why wouldn’t I?

    And you are literally goading me into doing something. You are literally trying to pressure me to do things while insulting my character.

    So to your video request, I will see what I can do, My one friend is in Arizona and I am in NYC and neither of us have webcams. But mostly I won’t make one because why? I have nothing to prove to you.

  28. says

    helpful hint – if everyone bucks up a bit, acts like an intellectually honest adult, and is very clear about the absolutely-personal and negative impact that government-sanctioned discrimination will have on us and does this in their everyday lives, and not just around elections, we be much further ahead.

    To everyone who has Republican-voting friends or family, or those who “support you as gay but don’t support gays marrying” – ask yourself the Dr. Phil question: how well is this working for me? You’re doing it your way, is “your way” leading to any actual progressive changes?

    There’s no “agree to disagree” when it comes to civil rights. And never forget their they’re not Republicans who still support you even though you’re gay, they’re republicans who support bigotry and discrimination against you for being gay, even though you’re also a human being who calls them a friend.

  29. says

    Gurrrrrrrl, you are a paranoid android.

    whatever medication you’re on i suggest you double your dosage.

    here’s the worst of what you can expect, as per my own experiences with “people attacking me online” : some closeted idiot who comments anonymously will log onto your youtube channel or blog page and call you a “FEMME”

    OOooOOOohhhhh, i got called a “femme” by an anonymous internet poster…WHOOOOOOOooo i’m crushed.

    here’s a hint – if you cant’ play with the big boys on our level you can refrain from directing any personal messages to me in the future. til’ then, best of luck with the upcoming election, sugarpie 😀

  30. Francis says

    Max’s letter is completely on point, as are many responses here. The problem is, a lot of people are ANTI-GAY or apathetic towards gay rights, yet at the same time, like to pull out the “I have gay friends” card. We live in a society that may be less blatantly homophobic than in the past, yet is still very much passively homophobic. It’s just that people are more likely to BS and not put themselves out there as anti-gay due to fear of backlash. We are still not seen as equals or a fully-integrated portion of society. The fact so many are willing to overlook homophobia highlights that.

    We need to cut out the dead weight who hang on our coattails and say they are our friends but won’t be there for us when we need them. And we need to categorically make it clear that there are no two sides to this debate. You’re either for or against human rights.

    Fenrox: Learn what real friends are. Real friends are there for you when you need them and make tough decisions in support of you out of the goodness of their heart. That’s what a friend is about. Someone you can trust. Anti-gay persons, apathetic persons, political conservatives, you can not trust them to be there for you in any sense, as a gay man. That’s just how it is.

    Friends should get it. They shouldn’t need an explanation. It’s not hard to understand. If they need an explanation, if they are silently condemning you behind your back, they are not your friend.

  31. Fenrox says

    @kiwi, Ha, did Rick or whomever do that? What a crazy guy. Well honestly that is great to know! I have commented here years ago and people tried to get me fired and arrested. The comment started over some dumb youtube video and the attacker developed a whole magical conspiracy where I was magically the center. So I don’t down play this stuff. I know the extent and horrors I could commit online so I assume that capability of everyone.

    You are a hyperbolic guy who is quick to jump over people who aren’t on the same page as you. If we became friends we would have to be the kind of friends who don’t question or debate positions but instead ratchet up whatever bombastic thing the other is saying. Which is more or less the nut of what I was talking about.

    And again, this whole thing started with me disagreeing that people blindly do what Max did, we each have different lives and need to address things with purpose and understanding, not a cut and paste letter.

  32. Fenrox says

    @Francis, Good lord, Did you read any of that? My friends aren’t monsters, some of them can be wrong! My friendship with them is stronger than that. OK? I would challenge that you do not know real friendship that will survive practically anything. You may not have any situations in your life where you would befriend a person who doesn’t share your belief but your understanding of friendship is not absolute.

  33. Fenrox says

    YESS, I can comment again! (Anyone else get that, you make a LOOONG post only to have it vanish into nothing after posting it?)

    @Jackfkntwist, Eloquently put! I respect your life man! I too would be SUPER interested in a FB friends breakdown!

    Also, I have an example of me being a total hypocrite with this, i put it out of my mind but you got me thinking on it. My uncle is a total jerk, a pastor and an IDIOT. After many FB rows we absolutely hate each other. I can’t get him to change his mind and I don’t even want that anymore, just abject punishment for being a slimeball. We were never friends but are related so, a tad hypocritical!

  34. says

    or, Fenrox, those of us who, unlike you, havent’ spent the last 7 years doing nothing. so when election time comes we’ve already had our “Converts”, if you will.

    i like different pages! i dont’ like lies and untruths being interpreted as facts. i like dealing in facts. something that irritates those who prefer their own opinions 😉

    so, in the future, since you don’t have the balls to put it all out like i do, you can refrain from addressing me. i like an even playing field. it’s useless when one person makes all of their claims and statements whilst using the internet as a Burqa.

  35. Francis says

    Oh boy………..you all do not want to see the ex-gays and gay Republicans running in defense of Romney. These people are something else. Absolutely no backbone, absolutely no sense of worth.

  36. says

    and is IS about specifics, not broadly-generalized differences of opinion.

    Which Tarantino film is his best? Herzog VS Fassbinder?
    opinions.

    “i don’t like black people?” – not an opinion held by anyone worthy of my throught progress.

    specifics, fenny. i don’t care to associate with bigots, no matter how nicely they may treat “me”.

  37. Francis says

    A real friend does not turn their back on you when you need them most. That’s actually very understandable and not at all extreme. If you can’t trust a person then you really can’t be a friend to them or they to you.

    No, I’m not saying your friends are monsters, Fenrox, but what I am saying is that, bigotry is bigotry, and associating with bigotry and not checking it at the door is giving it the OK. And it is not OK. And those who turn a blind eye to bigotry are just as bad as the bigots themselves.

    I choose my friends wisely. My friends are real allies. And it’s not even that they’re straight allies, that’s just a title. What they are, are people who are understanding, compassionate, loving and most important, people who are ready to go to bat for me and our community. That’s what being a true friend to me and a true friend of the gay community is about.

  38. says

    fenny, if you can’t play with the big boys then stay outta the sandbox. you complain about bullying the way Gay Republicans do – with no understanding of nuance or any intellectual discernment.

    And FRANCIS – spot on. Momma always said, “What you permit you promote”

    for too long people have becomes pariahs for being LGBT. the time has come for the anti-LGBT brigade to become the pariahs.

    when they see how lonely it is they’ll realize that by choosing bigotry they lost friends and family.

  39. says

    @ FENFOX :

    That Pastor does not sound like a nice person…..and life is too short for people who disrespect you….at least that’s how I feel . I’d prefer to be totally alone and without friends, real or cyber, than tolerate some tools who “accept” me.

    As for being related to a jerk , that has never stopped me from completely disowning someone who disrespects me…..and I mean never talking to that individual again…..ever.

  40. Fenrox says

    @Kiwi, stop lumping me into other groups you are comfortable writing off. I am more than this tiny thing you learned about me. You are highly intolerant of me and haven’t really read anything I type.

    If we were friends, would you dump that friendship because I wont dump my one friend that is voting for Romney?

  41. Fenrox says

    @Jackfkntwist, heh my name is Fenrox, fyi.

    Yeah, I mean I have no real desire to ever talk to that man again. Not sure, but if he totally changed face and apologized and wanted to reconnect I don’t know if I could. I hates him!

    I don’t know why that hate was so ready for one person and totally absent on another.

  42. says

    i tend to not befriend people who lack spines, Fenny. YOu’d likely not last 5 minutes with me 😉

    like i said, since you clearly get your panties in a bunch when called out for, you know, transparency and back up, you can refrain from trying to get my attention in the future or referencing me.

    i thought you liked people who were highly intolerant of you. there’s no greater intolerance than voting to suppress your rights and freedoms.

    or are you like the gay republicans, who will accept votes against you as long as you dont’ get called any Mean Names?

    alas, rhetorical. i’m done with ya, kiddo.

  43. Fenrox says

    @Kiwi, Also technically we are talking about the same thing you realize. You can send a letter to all your friends and drop the ones who dont support you, I can pester them with love for years and years. Either way our ultimate conclusions are present in our actions. At the end of my process, the friend might be opposed still and we end the friendship, at the beginning and end of yours you drop them if they don’t agree. It’s the same thing, we both have weeded out friends that we feel needed to be weeded.

  44. says

    Guys, you know something ?
    We are all on the same side. We all wish our community well, and we are all cognizant of the younger generation coming up with their own problems and shyness and stresses with their families.
    We don’t need to tear each other apart…..we need only to be strong for each other and not cow down to the homophobes.

  45. Derrick from Philly says

    Great discussion.

    You never know which topics going to take off and create a discussion so emotional and thought provoking. This discussion did without anybody resorting to name calling and personal insults. That’s pretty good.

  46. says

    I’m so appreciative of Max’s post, along with a few others I’ve read — so appreciative that I started feeling guilty for not making the same type of personal, from the heart appeal to my friends and family. Well, I finally finished it and posted the link on my Facebook wall just before heading out to early vote today. Maybe I can sleep better tonight. Here’s the link: http://www.dmaust.com/Vote-Obama-Biden.htm
    Thanks again, Max! xoxoxo

  47. Kyle M. Sullivan says

    Good on Max. Screw anyone who claims to be your friend but still votes GOP. It’s proof they don’t really think you’re on the same level as them.

  48. Tom Cardellino says

    In utter frustration, I feel compelled to express that I more often than not refrain from commenting anymore on Towleroad because there are so many merely hateful self-serving venomous harpies who just lie in wait to project their lives’ shortcomings upon any reasonable statement made in sincerity to express an opinion. In the salons of the European Enlightenment, the host or hostess (more frequently) would simply not endure such boorish behavior and demand that you leave their home. These civil yet animated salons were the birthplace of the eventual United States of America. Herein, however, I fear that much heat but no light is produced, and therefore, no 2nd Enlightenment will ever spring from such a battlefield of petty offenses and vicious ad hominem garish attacks. What a pity to squander for multiple parties’ petty personal gain such a remarkable forum for tete a tete exchanges that might just be philosophically significant rather than being mere exercises in sophistry to gain points one or two at a time for sides of arguments that are of minuscule importance in the grand scheme of things. All this while we Americans are on the brink of possibly electing the slimy likes of Mitt Romney (a mere haircut and suit of a man) and Paul Ryan (the “devout” Roman Catholic who thinks Ayn Rand, an atheist to boot, was a great thinker rather than a second rate science-fiction romance novelist less talented than the prolific Danielle Steel!)

  49. says

    @Tom Cardellino here, here! There is too precious little accountability inside an anonymous (mostly) wormhole to approach enlightenment.
    Though I disagree with you about Ayn Rand, I will concede the romance point. Danielle Steele would never have sexed up that sexless Dagny Taggart.

  50. says

    I see many of these almost-there statements on FB and other forums. Ending with “please delete me” seems, imho, weak and passive. Take the active position, ladies and gents; ask these “friends” to confirm they are voting for your non-equality and then defriend them, yourselves…in Life! Take the damn stand all the way, y’all; take these people out of your lives.

    “Please delete me…” is so passive.

  51. Caliban says

    I understand where he’s coming from. Even more than the last election, this election is vastly important, particularly for gays.

    In case after case, the Supreme Court splits 4/4 with Kennedy being unpredictable. Roberts’ vote on health care was out of the blue and no one is really sure what it means for the future. Justice Ginsberg will probably retire soon and if even ONE of the court liberals is replaced by a conservative we’re f*cked, perhaps for decades.

    That isn’t hyperbole, it’s simple fact.

    And it’s not as if anyone is voting FOR Mitt Romney. There isn’t a single personal quality he has or a policy position he holds that isn’t a complete turnaround from his previous position on the exact same issue. And the reason that’s such a big deal isn’t over anything Obama has actually done but the Right Wing echo chamber ILLUSION of who he is and what he’s done. And a lot of people can’t be swayed from that Kenyan-born Muslim Socialist Boogeyman version of Obama because the Right has spent the last 4+ years creating that fantasy.

    They are voting AGAINST Barack Obama, but not as he really exists- a somewhat wonkish center-left politician- but the fantasy Fox News creation.

    And in order to vote for this slick simulation of an actual human being, nothing more than a cynical and soulless character actor, these people who claim to have gay friends are stabbing those friends right in the back. Because, and here we come full circle to the Supreme Court, Romney winning WOULD be disastrous to gay rights in the US not just for the next 4 years but possibly for the foreseeable future.

  52. andrew says

    I have strong opinions on political, social and religious issues. However, I would not shun or lose a friend or family member over them. I stay engaged and try to move them in my direction.

  53. Caliban says

    Have you ever heard the quote, “You have to admit one thing about Mussolini: he made the trains run on time”? It’s a famous jibe against the dictator, that sure he oppressed people and destroyed their lives, but hey, didn’t the trains run great?

    The same thing could apply to voting during the 1960s Southern desegregation fight if you claimed “I have black friends” but you’re voting for Gov George Wallace because you like his policy on property taxes or whatever. If someone was willing to overlook his virulent racism and vote for him for some other reason they were complicit in his racist policies.

    Perhaps it’s time for gay people to take the votes of so-called “friends” for homophobic politicians personally because it IS personal. “Gosh, I’m really sorry that your future rights are being curtailed and the rights you have now will be lessened and stripped, but I stand to get a tax cut if I vote for Romney!”

    Truly, with friends like those who needs enemies? And you should ask yourself whether you really hoping to change their mind (are you really even attempting to do that?) or if you’re just being a huge p*ssy, unwilling to stand up for yourself and your rights.

  54. says

    Tom, that gave me a boner 😉

    And Caliban, you’re spot-on.

    I’ve been witnessing some really heated and NEEDED discussions on these votes via facebook and through conversations with friends.

    A parent telling their gay kid “we do support you, we just feel that Obama wants Iran to have nuclear weapons because he hates America, don’t you understand,son?” – and my friends saying, basically, “you’ve embarrassed and dismissed me for the last time.”

    it is personal. when they vote GOP they’re not supporting you at all. they’re supporting discrimination and bigotry against you.

    this isn’t about not talkin gabout politics until the election and then just “dropping all those who disagree with you” – this is about an ongoing dialogue – do you have that “Friend” or “family member” who even years on now refuses to understand how a vote against your equality is indeed a vote against you?

    have they felt this way “for years”? Have you given them love and friendship and they still cavalierly vote for the party that seeks to demean you?

    Then try something new. Clearly your love and friendship and openness havent’ worked at ALL so far. so try a new tactic.

    it’s personal to us, make it personal to them. how insulting it is to you as a human being that despite knowing you, loving you, in so many cases having given BIRTH to you they sit back and casually cast a vote to keep you a persecuted and discriminated against individual. that any of you would sit and take it as a mere “difference of opinion” shows why our community remains discriminated against – what you permit you promote, and when you sit and take it you make yourself a doormat.

    some of you need to challenge the friendship and love of these people you claim are your friends or family. why does love and friendship revolve around the targeted-minority being a wimp and accepting bigotry? GROW A SPINE and turn the tables – it’s about THEM realizing what they’re doing to YOU – and anyone who can’t have those conversations is revealing a fear that if they dont’ concede their dignity as a gay man, they’ll get dropped and ignored. be a real adult and challenge them.

    for inspiration, some words from our beloved Harvey Fierstein:

    “There’s one more thing you better understand. I have taught myself to sew, cook, fix plumbing, build furniture – I can even pat myself on the back when necessary – all so I don’t have to ask anyone for anything. There’s nothing I need from anyone except for love and respect and anyone who can’t give me those two things has no place in my life.”

  55. andrew says

    I have strong opinions on political, religious and social issues. However, I would never shun or lose a friend or family member over them. I stay engaged and try to bring them over to my view. I am often not always able to do so.

  56. says

    you miss the point, andrew.

    it’s not about you losing them, it’s about them losing you.

    it’s very clear that a lot of gay people on here don’t trust the “love” of family and friends. why else would you continue to let their condoning of bigotry go unchecked?

    it’s not about you losing them because of a vote, it’s about them losing out on having YOU in their life, due to their condoning of bigotry.

    you’re not the bigger man for keeping those people in your lives. you’re the enabler that allows their willful ignorance to continue.

    if they thought they’d lose YOU by voting against you they’d have more incentive to change.

    i say this as someone who’s seen it in action.

  57. Caliban says

    Here’s a question, Andrew, for you and others who say basically the same thing you do. And it’s an honest question, not rhetorical or an accusation disguised as a question.

    Do you REALLY “try to bring them over to my view” or do you keep silent, hoping that eventually they will realize how their vote for homophobes disrespects you by minimizing the importance of your rights? Do you actually discuss these issues with these so-called friends or do you just suffer their opinions in silence?

    It’s an important distinction.

  58. says

    one of the reason some of us are indeed touting the “make it bloody clear you don’t tolerate their condoning of intolerance and prejudice” approach is because we know it brings about results.

    we have others saying “i try to blah blah blah” and yet it doesnt’ seem to be working.

    so try another approach, folks.

  59. andrew says

    @Caliban: I rarely keep quiet about anything. I don’t require that in order to be my friend or family member that you hold the same opinions as I do, even on important issues, and they don’t require it of me. A lot of the demagogues and extremists, like Kiwi, who post on this site try to beat everyone into accepting their point of view. They like Benedict XVI, think they are infallible. They are the stuff dictators are made out of. Accept everything that they believe or they will screw you any way they can. That’s not the way I roll.

  60. says

    And amazingly, Andrew, your friends and family don’t need to respect you as a human being in order to maintain your friendship.

    when you act like a doormat expect to be treated like one.

    what point of view am i beating people to accept? that everyone deserves Equality? oh, how TERRIBLE of me.

    if your family prefers anti-gay prejudice over loving you then it speaks volumes about their character.

    and you’ll be happy to know that other people with spines and integrity are standing up to have those tense conversations that you yourself are too afraid to have

    I get it. If you challenge your family’s prejudice you’re afraid they’ll disown YOU. Thing is, they’ll never change because they know you’re too scared to call their bluff.

  61. andrew says

    Kiwi you think that you are the font of all truth and that every other poster on this site’s duty is to say Amen to your hysterical rants. I value nothing that you have to say. You think that you know it all and completely understand human behavior. You actually know very little. Your rants don’t impress me one bit!

  62. says

    No, I don’t. I don’t think i know everything. Not by a long shot. But I do know a coward’s excuses when I hear them.

    Take this anger you have at me and throw it back at your family and “friends” who think so little of you that they’re voting to deny your equality and personhood.

    Or is that reality too much to bear?

  63. andrew says

    Kiwi: I have no anger towards you. I have seen you use all this psycho-babble of yours on lots of other posters on this site who don’t agree with you. You pretend to know them, their friends and their families and you don’t know squat. It just drives you nuts that not everyone, even life long out and proud liberal democrats, like me, don’t buy all your B.S.

  64. says

    what B.S.? I’m not the one making excuses for voting against your Equality. That’s your family and friends.

    What B.S. of mine, specifically? It’s your family and friends casting votes against your equality. It’s not me, nor my friends, nor my family.

  65. andrew says

    I never said anything about how my friends and family are voting in this next election. Thats just another baseless assumption that you have made. I simply said that we may disagree on some political, religious and social issues. Unlike you I don’t expect them to walk in lock step with me. You are just like the fundamentalists types who shun their children who don’t believe their religious B.S. I would never shun or avoid a friend or family member who didn’t hold all of my social and political views. You authoritarian types can’t stand differences of beliefs and opinions.

  66. darkmoonman says

    Yes, anyone whom I know who votes for Romney is no friend of mine. If someone whom I have thought of as a friend votes For Romney, then he was friend by deception, and is no friend of mine.

  67. millerbeach says

    Why would I want to de-friend someone considering Mitt? I want them to see what a wonderful life I am living without the dictatorship. Remember, revenge is a dish best served cold. I’ll gain my revenge by simply living my life to its fullest.

  68. Stefan says

    I agree with Fenrox. If you have friends just based on who they will vote for, then those are not friendships. Relationships take work, and we often love and live with and know people that we *mostly* like.

    Let’s remember how things were under Clinton, and Bush, and even what Obama’s stance was until this year. At some point, all those men thought I was less than and acted accordingly. Sorry if the truth hurts, but it’s true. I still have trouble believing that Obama’s position wasn’t somewhat about political expediency. I’ll vote for him, but not *just* because of this stance on gay equality.

    Think for a moment, before de-friending people who might be lifelong friends, about what you’re expecting of them. They’re straight. They don’t know what it is to be gay. You can tell them, but they don’t *know* and some part of them will never understand why it matters to have marriage rights and other rights. I know I have friends dealing with stuff I don’t approve or don’t understand. I try to understand, try to be empathetic, but I certainly don’t let their plights change my vote. Did you know that Obama’s Affordable Care Act privileges even more the institutional option for old age healthcare, making living independently or with family more difficult? I also have family that own small businesses, and can actually show me in dollars and cents how Romney would benefit them more and keep their family afloat. But…I shouldn’t care about that.

    The thing I don’t accept from friends is uninformed support. I could de-friend over that. But if they’re aware of all the positions and how it will affect them and affect me and the country, and they make a choice with that awareness….then I respect that choice. I can’t expect them to vote for me against their interest, because I’m not doing that for them and I never would.

    More importantly, if we stay friends, then I have a much better chance of them becoming vocal supporters of equality down the road. Nothing is more powerful than the voice of a changed mind. It’s more powerful than my voice, and it means more than one vote in one election.

  69. Book7 says

    Yes, very misleading headline. I didn’t read this for days because I thought it was another self-hating gay man supporting Romney/Ryan.

    Lovely letter. I especially love his urging his friends to de-friend him if they don’t agree.

  70. Book7 says

    Yes, very misleading headline. I didn’t read this for days because I thought it was another self-hating gay man supporting Romney/Ryan.

    Lovely letter. I especially love his urging his friends to de-friend him if they don’t agree.

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