This post is going to be a melting pot. I say that because initially I wanted to review 'The Velvet Rage', a book that has been on my must read list for a while that I finally got around to reading last week. But then I came across two other stories that I believe re-enforces exactly what the author conveyed in the book. Like The Velvet Rage, this post is going to be broken down into three sections. I will refrain from getting on my soapbox(God knows I want to) because I really want to open this post up for discussion.
The picture above is of 48 year old Jerome Pitchford, a resident of Milwaukee and a longtime deacon of Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ. He is the latest suspect to be charged with soliciting sex in a public park.Police say after church on Sunday afternoon he was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious behavior at Milwaukee's Estabrook Park.
The criminal complaint says he was looking for sex with another man. He exposed himself, to what turned out to be an undercover police officer.
Parishioners and a neighbor of Jerome Pitchford say they're stunned that he was caught up in this kind of activity.
“I just couldn't believe it and I was still wondering was it true, because I couldn't believe it cause he's such … a gentleman," said Bernice Sykes, Pitchford’s neighbor.
He’s not only a gentleman, but a deacon, a youth counselor and mentor, says one parishioner who wanted to he heard but not seen. "I'm so speechless, i can't believe that," the parishioner said.
"I can't believe it, but I hope that he will get … a little therapy and get himself straightened out,” Sykes said.
Watch the video here.
The Velvet Rage is a book by psychotherapist and author Alan Downs. Inside he outlines the three distinct stages to emotional well being for gay men. The first stage is "Overwhelmed by Shame", the second stage is "Compensating for Shame", and the third stage is "Discovering Authenticity". Below is an excerpt that will hopefully make a lot of sense to you by the time you reach the end of this post.
"We hid because we learned that hiding is a means to survival. The naked truth about who we are wasn't acceptable, so we learned to hide behind a beautiful image. We learned to split ourselves in parts, hiding what wasn't acceptable and flaunting what was. We learned to wave beautiful, colorful scarves to distract attention from our gayness-like the matador waving a red scarf before the bull to distract the beast from gorging his body. We became experts in crafting outrageous scarves.
The truth is we grew up disabled. Not disabled by our homosexuality, but emotionally disabled by an environment that taught us we were unacceptable, not "real" men and therefore, shameful.
A Poem: Author Unknown
I found the poem below on an AOL message board and I've been "feeling some kind of way" about it ever since. I'm not sure if my interpretation of the poem was the author's intent, but let's say he moved me- but not in a good way. Click on the image to enlarge.