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A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77968] Fri, 30 July 2021 15:40 Go to next message
cm is currently offline  cm

Toe is in the water
Location: Somerset
Registered: May 2017
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Explaining the nuances of how/when/where to come out; the differences between rights and freedoms, and the interaction of all of those with individuals/groups/society is not easy to do within the context of a short story that is also a good read. Henke (somehow) managed it. I think it's also an important story for teens coming out to read. Hats off.

[Edited by timmy to include a link to A Rainbow for Jack]

[Updated on: Fri, 30 July 2021 18:55] by Moderator

Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77969 is a reply to message #77968] Sat, 31 July 2021 02:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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The story was written to mirror many things I have been thinking about lately. It was written in a rush to make the cut off date, so I was unsure how it would be received. I'm very pleased that you liked the story and perhaps the ideas it contained. We live in a tough world, and we have to be smart in order to be happy. I do believe that being out is a choice best made very carefully, and treated as a prize offered to a select few. Hanging a banner around our necks is too often the same as hanging a target on our backs. I don't know about you, but I do not need the approval of the entire world to be happy. I want to be happy with those I love and care about. Life is too short to try to convert the thinking of the too many deadheads in this world today!

Thank you for the comments!

[Updated on: Sat, 31 July 2021 04:03]

Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77970 is a reply to message #77968] Sun, 01 August 2021 09:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro

Toe is in the water

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Messages: 84



Henke,
I believe this is your first story here, so welcome.
I agree with CM's comments and your own thoughts.
An excellent story. Well done.

Will we see more of your writing here? I hope so.

cheers

pedro



Pedro
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77971 is a reply to message #77970] Sun, 01 August 2021 21:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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Thank you for the welcome, Pedro. I do hope to place more stories here. I can't think of a better place to do it.

My thanks to Tim, also, for helping to sort me out on this. This story would not have been published without him.

Very best to all,
Henke
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77972 is a reply to message #77968] Mon, 02 August 2021 00:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cole parker is currently offline  cole parker

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Excellent story from a writer I hadn't seen before.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  Thanks!



Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77973 is a reply to message #77972] Mon, 02 August 2021 16:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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Thanks to you as well!

Henke
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77974 is a reply to message #77968] Tue, 03 August 2021 15:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin

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I'll echo all the positive comments made so far! Blending the type of practical counsel that Jack received into an engaging teen story is not easy... and was well done.

It also makes a further important point about the role that mentors and significant others can have in a teen's life, whether anticipated or not. In this case a surprise from a straight teacher with a large amount of understanding and empathy, who managed to convey some very important information about personal freedome and behavior in ways that were understood and accepted.

Let's hope many teens struggling with coming out and how to do it read this one!



Bensiamin
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77975 is a reply to message #77974] Wed, 04 August 2021 21:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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Thank you. I have enjoyed your stories, too, and am pleased to hear from so many authors, all of whom I admire!

Very best,
Henke
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77977 is a reply to message #77975] Thu, 05 August 2021 21:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin

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I received an email from a reader who had trouble registering on the forum, but asked me to post a question for Henke:

You say you come out selectively and choose your battles. I understand that, but - do you lie about who you are?
That is to say when you are confronted by jerks with zero tolerance do you pretend to be straight?
Because if you don't want to lie and pretend the confrontation is inevitable, isn't it?
Okay, sometimes you can walk away, ignore, not respond, but other times an answer is demanded, so what do you do?

James K




Bensiamin
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77978 is a reply to message #77977] Fri, 06 August 2021 05:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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Hello Bensiamin and James,

I think the rules as conveyed in the story can be interpreted by each individual. It is up to you to decide what you want out of any confrontation. On the question, do you lie about who you are...only you can answer that. For some, it is a safe way to avoid being hurt. Are you willing to fight to defend who you are? Or would you rather avoid a fight? Every individual in every individual situation must weigh their options. Some people are comfortable with denying who they are to avoid trouble. Others are NOT.

If you feel a willingness to defend who you are openly, to stand by who you are, then you do have to admit who you are, and you may have to fight. I personally would not lie about who I am if asked outright. I never have. I find no shame in who I am, and I don't care what the self-righteous out there think of me.

What Mr. Lowery was telling Jack was that there was no reason to go about parading who you are when you really should not care what strangers think, anyway. That you need to guard who you are from those that are not part of your close circle, and who might use that information against you. He wasn't saying not to defend who you are if need be; he was saying that advertising your true self to those you don't value in the expectation that they will accept you is a pointless waste of time. Such an open lifestyle begs confrontation.

I understand that sometimes even if you are not out to everyone, there are people that will suspect. With some, you cannot walk away, or not answer, or ignore them. Some people are so filled with a ridiculous sense of judgment that nothing will put them off. People like that feel they have some sort of RIGHT to know all about you, and to judge you, and even to take action against you for being who you are. For NOT being like them. Some people are looking for a fight, one way or another. If it isn't about being gay, it would be about something else.

For me, in my life, I would admit who I am, and I would stand by who I am. But everyone is different. Every situation is different. Every life is different.

In the end, only the person asking such a question can really determine which answer is best for him.

Very best,
Henke


Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77979 is a reply to message #77978] Fri, 06 August 2021 16:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin

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Henke;

Well said! I'm only adding anything because as it happens I was writing someting along the same line in the latest Kaiser story. One of my dad's favorite phrases was 'Discretion is the better part of valor,' which is generally considered to be a variation on 'Caution is preferable to rash bravery,' said by Falstaff in Shakespeare's King Henry The Fourth, Part One.

Not only is every life different, but much of life is full of challenges. I second what you and James are saying: one has to be true to oneself, but would add that common sense requires that we do so in a manner that doesn't result in a negative outcome. Jack is so focused on himself in the story that he's not thinkng ahead about the outcomes, and that's the major learning point for him. Sometimes decisions about being true to self are easy and come with no negative impacts. Sometimes the opposite is the case. 

We live in a difficult world, with lots of bias and bigotry, and avoiding the harsh consequences of other people's bigotry can be challenging. I remember learning in ethics class once that rather than what most people expect, that they will learn the formulas to know how to make the correct decisions, in fact the reality is very different. It's not at all black and white. Only ten percent is black, ten percent white, and the remaining eighty percent is gray! There are no easy answers to difficult questions!





Bensiamin
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77980 is a reply to message #77979] Sat, 07 August 2021 05:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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Bensiamin,

I agree with you on the gray areas in life. There are no rules for these areas, only guidelines. Caution is always advised when walking in the dark. Or in the gray.

I have never been faced with a situation so dire that I have needed to place a value on my honor. If someone were to point a gun at my head, and ask me if I was gay, and I knew for a fact that if I said 'yes' that I would be killed, would I then stand up for who I am? My common sense would certainly tell me to lie and live to fight another day. I like common sense, and I place a lot of value on that, too.

So let's just say that standing by who you are has caveats, ranging from minor to major to perhaps even lethal. This adds even more complexity to the question asked by your friend James. But it does very clearly say that the only answer to that question - do you lie or not - is the one that is workable for the situation in which it is being asked in the first place. Truth has great value, and so does honor. But life is irreplaceable, and neither truth nor honor have value to a corpse.

So perhaps the answer is, choose life. Dying for a cause is a noble gesture. But not if it is not necessary. And not if it is not called for.

Very best,
Henke



Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77983 is a reply to message #77980] Mon, 09 August 2021 02:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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Registered: October 2006
Messages: 470



The story, which is excellent (Welcome Henke Smile ), and the resulting discussion puts me in mind of a story published here somewhere around 15 years back where the author draws the contrast between two friends and their personal struggles in being true to themselves in the face of potential or real bigotries. One of the boys comes out and suffers the consequences which are pretty grim for awhile. The other boy does not and also sufferes the self doubt and self recriminations as he watches the bravery of his friend.

Here's the link for those who might be interested in reading... or re-reading Grasshopper's story, "Beyond The Rain"



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #77994 is a reply to message #77983] Wed, 11 August 2021 03:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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Hello Teddy,

Thank you for the welcome.

I have read some of Grasshopper's work. It's memorable, but I am not sure I have read this one. It sounds like a good suggestion, though. Thanks!

Very Best,
Henke
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78022 is a reply to message #77994] Sun, 15 August 2021 01:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bisexual_Guy is currently offline  Bisexual_Guy

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An excellent story.  Over the years, I have thought about many of the things discussed in the story, and agree that picking one's battles is often the way to go.

Personally, I am only out to four persons in the community wheree I live, one person still living in my home town, and several individuals in another place where there are several gay and bisexual persons.  I live in a very repressive area, and mostly just keep my mouth shut.  I do at times ask questions which can help people to think, IF they will.

Well done, sir.
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78035 is a reply to message #78022] Tue, 17 August 2021 04:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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I am aware that not everyone thinks as we do. So what it comes down to is what is best for each individual. This does not mean denying who you are so much as not bringing up the subject. It's not like the first thing that people ask you upon meeting is, "Hey, are you one of them homesexshuls, by the way?"

And if they do, they aren't worth knowing, anyway. Living in a repessive area means living in an area with limited freedoms. Not limited by you, but by THEM. The first thing you always do is take care of YOU. The hell with THEM.

Thank you on the story. On person's POV, only.
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78036 is a reply to message #78035] Tue, 17 August 2021 04:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

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There is one big problem with what you are saying. People assume you are straight. You don't want (as has already been said) to be in people's faces about being gay. BUT, and this is important, you don't want people to assume you are straight like they are, because you are not. One example: a friend of mine is married, often when he states he is married people assume he is married to a woman. That's understandable, but he always has to correct their misconception by saying - I'm married to a man. He told me he doesn't say, I'm gay, simply, married to a man. Most often the reaction is something like, oh sorry! This changes people's perceptions, yes there are gay couples, married gay couples, gay families with children. If he never corrected the assumption that married is only straight heterosexual it could lead to all sorts of complications. Just by being married he is confronted with saying who he is, a gay man, although he doesn't have to spell it out. 

Living in a repressed area leaves you with two choices: fight the repression, or if you think it too dangerous move. The same applies to persons living at home: two choices, you can come out if you are sure your parents will accept you, if not, better to wait until you have a job and can support yourself.

You advocate avoidance and if everyone followed that path the world would not change. People do need to act: act to save the planet, act to have their rights and be respected. Union makes the force, finding other gay people can offer a lot of needed support. Even having this website here is an act of support for ordinary gay people everywhere.
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78038 is a reply to message #78036] Tue, 17 August 2021 15:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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"James K wrote on Tue, 17 August 2021 04:54"
There is one big problem with what you are saying. People assume you are straight. You don't want (as has already been said) to be in people's faces about being gay. BUT, and this is important, you don't want people to assume you are straight like they are, because you are not. One example: a friend of mine is married, often when he states he is married people assume he is married to a woman. That's understandable, but he always has to correct their misconception by saying - I'm married to a man. He told me he doesn't say, I'm gay, simply, married to a man. Most often the reaction is something like, oh sorry! This changes people's perceptions, yes there are gay couples, married gay couples, gay families with children. If he never corrected the assumption that married is only straight heterosexual it could lead to all sorts of complications. Just by being married he is confronted with saying who he is, a gay man, although he doesn't have to spell it out. 

Living in a repressed area leaves you with two choices: fight the repression, or if you think it too dangerous move. The same applies to persons living at home: two choices, you can come out if you are sure your parents will accept you, if not, better to wait until you have a job and can support yourself.

You advocate avoidance and if everyone followed that path the world would not change. People do need to act: act to save the planet, act to have their rights and be respected. Union makes the force, finding other gay people can offer a lot of needed support. Even having this website here is an act of support for ordinary gay people everywhere.

--
You continue to hear exactly what you want to hear, and not what I am saying. I am NOT advocating avoidance. I am advocating common sense. I am advocating SELECTION. Each individual must assess the situation he is in and determine the merits of speaking up or saying nothing. Saying nothing is not avoidance. It is saying nothing. And in some situations, it is the only answer. There is a world full of people out there for whom speaking up will change absolutely NOTHING. When you can plainly see that, any other reaction is a waste of time.

Where you and I are butting heads is over the fact that you have one opinion and can't stand the fact that I have another. I stand up for what I believe in, but I do not insist that others do the same, when many are incapable of doing it, or will get themselves hurt because they cannot judge the situation. Your full-throttle approach is just as senseless and inappropriate to winning a battle as doing nothing at all.

Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78044 is a reply to message #78036] Wed, 18 August 2021 09:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13594



"James K wrote on Tue, 17 August 2021 05:54"
Living in a repressed area leaves you with two choices: fight the repression, or if you think it too dangerous move. The same applies to persons living at home: two choices, you can come out if you are sure your parents will accept you, if not, better to wait until you have a job and can support yourself.

--
Had I come out during my working life I would have been ostracised. I workedin the IT industry, in sales and in marketing, an environment where testosterone fuelled maleness was important to the managers, all of whom fought a weekly battle to keep their own jobs. Queers did not ghet hired. TYhey were despised, and allowed to leave after much bullying. Not a fight one could win by coming out.

Had I come out in the 1970s I would have been fired from my first job. I worked for the government and queers were not allowed. Apparentky they spied for the USSR. Not a fight one could win by coming out.

Had I come out in the 1960s I woudl have been sent for conversion therapy, and ostracised by all my peer group. I would not even have had the chance of my first job. Not a fight one could win by coming out. Today relevant members of my school peer group know I am gay. I even came out in the alumni magazine.

You demonstrate little understanding of survival mechanisms. Sometimes we have to hide in order to survive. The battle, if battle it be, can be fought another day. I was not any form of activist until I reached my fifties. Now I am. With maturioty and security I can win the battles I choose to fight



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78049 is a reply to message #78044] Thu, 19 August 2021 04:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

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I should have made it clear that I am talking about today, not life 50 years ago. I appreciate times were different in the last century.
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78050 is a reply to message #78049] Thu, 19 August 2021 07:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
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"James K wrote on Thu, 19 August 2021 05:04"
I should have made it clear that I am talking about today, not life 50 years ago. I appreciate times were different in the last century.

--
Try (a) being gay in Afghanistan today or (b) moving form Afghanistan today.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78051 is a reply to message #78036] Fri, 20 August 2021 02:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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"James K wrote on Mon, 16 August 2021 21:54"
Living in a repressed area leaves you with two choices: fight the repression, or if you think it too dangerous move. The same applies to persons living at home: two choices, you can come out if you are sure your parents will accept you, if not, better to wait until you have a job and can support yourself.

You advocate avoidance and if everyone followed that path the world would not change. People do need to act: act to save the planet, act to have their rights and be respected. Union makes the force, finding other gay people can offer a lot of needed support. Even having this website here is an act of support for ordinary gay people everywhere.

--
That seems a rather short sighted and limited set of options to my point of view. It's obvious those are your only options, and glory be, for you that's wonderful. Where I find fault here is that you are superimposing your limited options on other people who may actually discover there are multiple options over and above what you've limited yourself to, or that due to conditions present in their current circumstance they choose a third option that keeps them safe untils such time as circumstances change or they are actually able to change their own circumstance.

I continue to find it stupifying how many citizens of this world want to dictate the options of others based on their own experience, or their own viewpoints on how things should be. One person's opinion does not a concensus make when it comes to the choices or the safety of someone else. To superimpose such on another is an act of abuse.



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78052 is a reply to message #78051] Fri, 20 August 2021 05:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

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It is exasperating that my comments get misinterpreted and twisted.
1. I already said I was not talking about Afghanistan or any other country hotspot (the comment was moved to another thread, but I clearly stated I was not including countries which imprison, torture, or execute gay people).
2. I appear to be accused of imposing my views, which is not the case. I am expressing what I think, I am not telling you what to do.

When I say: "Living in a repressed area leaves you with two choices" this is expressing my view, I simply omitted to keep repeating, in my opinion, because it seems obvious it is only my opinion, one point of view, expressed in opposition to a forming general consensus, redressing the balance. If you have other (multiple) options for being who you are (a gay or bisexual person etc.), then what are they, let's share these alternatives, the more choices the better, I just don't know what your other options are?

[Updated on: Fri, 20 August 2021 05:46]

Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78053 is a reply to message #78052] Fri, 20 August 2021 07:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
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Messages: 13594



"James K wrote on Fri, 20 August 2021 06:45"
It is exasperating that my comments get misinterpreted and twisted.
1. I already said I was not talking about Afghanistan or any other country hotspot (the comment was moved to another thread, but I clearly stated I was not including countries which imprison, torture, or execute gay people).
2. I appear to be accused of imposing my views, which is not the case. I am expressing what I think, I am not telling you what to do.

When I say: "Living in a repressed area leaves you with two choices" this is expressing my view, I simply omitted to keep repeating, in my opinion, because it seems obvious it is only my opinion, one point of view, expressed in opposition to a forming general consensus, redressing the balance. If you have other (multiple) options for being who you are (a gay or bisexual person etc.), then what are they, let's share these alternatives, the more choices the better, I just don't know what your other options are?

--

Even so, Afghanistan translates well to the teenage drug gangs that seem to have their own pitiful, pointless, yet terrible reign of terror on, for example, the streets of London.  Stabbings, shootings are common, and are rites of passage for new gang recruits. You can't be gay, and you certainly cannot leave.

I'm glad you are making it ever more clear that these are your own views. Please look, though, at how they have come across, but look through the eyes of a casual reader here, not through your own eyes as the writer. Your views come across as advice, but the advice is imperfect.

I tried hard to prevent this thread hijack. I guess I will just roll with it

[Updated on: Fri, 20 August 2021 08:16]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78061 is a reply to message #78052] Fri, 20 August 2021 15:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

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"James K wrote on Fri, 20 August 2021 05:45"
It is exasperating that my comments get misinterpreted and twisted.
1. I already said I was not talking about Afghanistan or any other country hotspot (the comment was moved to another thread, but I clearly stated I was not including countries which imprison, torture, or execute gay people).
2. I appear to be accused of imposing my views, which is not the case. I am expressing what I think, I am not telling you what to do.

When I say: "Living in a repressed area leaves you with two choices" this is expressing my view, I simply omitted to keep repeating, in my opinion, because it seems obvious it is only my opinion, one point of view, expressed in opposition to a forming general consensus, redressing the balance. If you have other (multiple) options for being who you are (a gay or bisexual person etc.), then what are they, let's share these alternatives, the more choices the better, I just don't know what your other options are?

--
Misinterpreted and twisted? That wasn't you yelling 'coward' as us for not supporting your views? That's stepping over the line of opinion, friend. It's all in the wording, and that wording was insulting.

It isn't just me that's saying something different than you here. Standing up for who you are has its place. I prefer that road, myself. But I also have eyes and ears, and know very well when that road is closed.

You really needn't differentiate between Kabul, Afghanistan and any other city, anywhere else. Everywhere in this world, there are people who will do you harm for being gay. If you do not remain aware of the situation you are in at all times, you will eventually run afoul of one where you least expect it. The view that the world of today is so much more accepting than the world of fifty years ago is deceptive. There have always been many people that don't care one way or another about you being gay, but the social conventions of the times did not let them take that view openly. Today, the environment IS more accepting, but largely because of the fact that people who don't really care feel safe holding that attitude openly because the law says it's okay for them to do that. A lot of the human race really doesn't care what others do as long as they aren't harming someone else. They will express the view that you are within your rights if asked, and even say supportive things. But let the laws go back the other way, let the majority opinion (or the perceived one) change, and these same people will shut up in a hurry. BECAUSE THEY DON'T REALLY CARE.

That is not intended to overlook all the really caring people out there that simply want the best for others, and will support their being different. That is a growing crowd, especially among younger people, but it is still not a majority by any means. Not yet.

So you do you. The only people I am concerned with are the ones around me I care about. I DO NOT CARE what some stranger thinks, and I am not going to waste a moment trying to impress him or her with who I am. Have fun with that.

And lastly, the world YOU live in now where you feel safe expressing who you are is the way it is because of older generations (like MINE) that have stood up for that. So you just go ahead and thrust your lip and your chest out every time someone assumes you're straight. That's okay for YOU. Some of the rest of us are more wary of the people around us, and our experience is our guide. And that's okay for US.

Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78066 is a reply to message #78052] Fri, 20 August 2021 18:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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"James K wrote on Thu, 19 August 2021 22:45"
2. I appear to be accused of imposing my views, which is not the case. I am expressing what I think, I am not telling you what to do.



--
Well... In the words of that most disgusting of Americans, Rush Limbaugh (may he live in eternal torment in the hereafter), "Words mean things."

If you don't want to be misinterpreted then use the correct pronouns that reflect what you actutally mean. Try using "I" or "me" instead of "you" for beginniers. It will produce much less misunderstanding and ambiguity as to the intent of your words.

For instance, you could try doing that in this sentence:
"Quote:"
Living in a repressed area leaves you with two choices


Just a thought...

[Updated on: Fri, 20 August 2021 18:43]




“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78068 is a reply to message #78066] Sat, 21 August 2021 03:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

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To highlight a couple of points:
1. Timmy said: You can't be gay, and you certainly cannot leave.        
2. Teddy said: Try using "I" or "me" instead of "you" for beginniers. It will produce much less misunderstanding and ambiguity as to the intent of your words.
3. Henke said: That wasn't you yelling 'coward' as us for not supporting your views?

Point 1, you could leave London, before Brexit you could leave the country, now it's more difficult.
Point 2, everybody uses "you" in the same sense as I did, see point 1, Timmy uses "you."
Point 3, you are upset by the word coward and rant contradictions. The older generation made the world safe for gays - And lastly, the world YOU live in now where you feel safe expressing who you are is the way it is because of older generations (like MINE) that have stood up for that. You also say - You really needn't differentiate between Kabul, Afghanistan and any other city, anywhere else. Everywhere in this world, there are people who will do you harm for being gay.

So you made the world safe for being gay but everywhere people will do you harm? I think I really do need to differentiate Kabul from the rest of the world, certainly at this time. Living your life thinking there are people lurking ready to attack you for being gay, I have no answer to. I don't think you live in London with Timmy's teenage gangs (which even were it the case, those gangs are a very small part of the capital's population), so you must live somewhere you don't feel safe being who you are, I guess?

I have a different outlook on the world. I believe most people are good, do care about others, and generally living in Europe we are pretty safe. In the US there are aspects, like carrying guns and the police shooting people, which make me concerned enough to think twice about going there. However, North America is half a continent and I have no doubt the image in my head that gives me concern is the one from the media (like the London gangs) and very far from the reality of life in most of the USA.

My personal experience is that I have been surprised at how easily being gay is and I have never encountered any particular problems, certainly not life threatening. Perhaps I view the world through rose tinted glasses or live a charmed life, but that's not a bad way to live (in my opinion). 
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78069 is a reply to message #78068] Sat, 21 August 2021 07:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13594



"James K wrote on Sat, 21 August 2021 04:56"
1. Timmy said: You can't be gay, and you certainly cannot leave.        



I said you could not leave the GANG. London was an example. These gangs are drug associated and have long tentacles. An  example is the county lines construct.

"James K wrote on Sat, 21 August 2021 04:56"
Point 1, you could leave London, before Brexit you could leave the country, now it's more difficult.


It is the GANG you cannot leave. Try it and find out whether there is life after death. Your concept of The UK as a closed nation, one difficult to leave, is, at best, unusual, but is a side issue.

"James K wrote on Sat, 21 August 2021 04:56"
Timmy's teenage gangs (which even were it the case, those gangs are a very small part of the capital's population)


You have attempted reductio ad absurdum. Regrettably, expressed in this manner, this is patronising. I rather dislike "even were it the case", because you have just been explicit and called me a liar. That is unacceptable.

Please do not seek to misinterpret my words, nor to accuxe people oflying, nor patronise other people. This is very close to returning to the original behaviour. Discuss matters with pleasure, but recognise, please, that this is not a debate, and that oratory and debate tactics will not work here. Dogma and cant have no  place here.

I was pleased that you had moved towards being a good citizen here, but I am forced to wonder if that was a short term tactic rather than a true modification of behaviour. I had chosen to forget that you had suggested previously that I was comparable with "some manic psychotic teacher" when warning you about your behaviour here. So, once again, I suggest you go outside the room and consioder what you have said and how you have behaved, and then come back in when you are ready, and apologise for the mnanner you are treating people here, at the same time changing that behaviour. If you cannot do that then stay outside the room.

[Updated on: Sat, 21 August 2021 07:53]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78070 is a reply to message #78068] Sat, 21 August 2021 09:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1542



"James K wrote on Sat, 21 August 2021 04:56"

My personal experience is that I have been surprised at how easily being gay is and I have never encountered any particular problems, certainly not life threatening. Perhaps I view the world through rose tinted glasses or live a charmed life, but that's not a bad way to live (in my opinion). 


--
Of course I'm glad that that's your experience. And I hope it's an increasingly common one.

But it isn't like that everywhere, and it hasn't always been like that. I've been living as a fully-out gay man for over 40 years now. I was queerbashed badly enough to need medical attention twice in the 1980s, and spent 20 years not on speaking terms with my father (though we eventually made up a bit). We do make progress in many areas ... but some of it is about it being safer with people that one knows or is vaguely acquainted with (this includes "drug gangs" - I was certainly on speaking terms with a fair number of members of such when I lived in Tottenham).

There's a lot to be said for "pushing the boundaries", and much of our progress is due to those of us who've done it, in whatever way. But - and it's a massive "but" - doing anything without some awareness of the risks involved is just damn stupid. I made the decision that I would be fully out (though not "rubbing peoples noses in it"), and have no regrets, but it's not because I'm not aware of what's fairly safe and what isn't, but because my personal conviction doesn't let me back down on this. That means that there have been places and situations I've avoided, but I've never modified my behaviour in other respects. I have no idea who knows I'm gay, and just assume that everyone knows, so for a couple of decades have not, for example, censored my conversation, though it took me some 15-20 years to reach that point.

I'm a bit torn on all this - there's something exuberant and appealing about youngsters in the joy of the first flush of coming out (as there is for youngsters of any sexuality going through "first love"), and I have no wish that anyone should chuck a massive damper on it. But I do think that it's difficult for kids to find a balance between freedom and safety, as it's something that largely comes with experience, and, sometimes, learning the hard way.

I'd like to thank Henke for the story, and everyone for the debate it's provoked. It's a serious subject, and a number of good points have been made, though I do think a slightly less confrontational tone might have helped.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78071 is a reply to message #78070] Sat, 21 August 2021 10:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

Getting started

Registered: August 2021
Messages: 22



I apologise unreservedly to anyone and everyone for being confrontational, or misinterpreting, never my intention, nor did I mean to call you a liar Timmy, I just don't understand how a person cannot walk away from being in a gang and start a new life somewhere else, even in a different country, refugees and asylum seekers do it all the time. And to NW, I am sorry about your past experiences, but I hope, well, I believe, it is not the same today.
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78072 is a reply to message #78071] Sat, 21 August 2021 11:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13594



"James K wrote on Sat, 21 August 2021 11:49"
I apologise unreservedly to anyone and everyone for being confrontational, or misinterpreting, never my intention, nor did I mean to call you a liar Timmy, I just don't understand how a person cannot walk away from being in a gang and start a new life somewhere else, even in a different country, refugees and asylum seekers do it all the time. And to NW, I am sorry about your past experiences, but I hope, well, I believe, it is not the same today.

--
Thank you.

The gangs are insidious and all pervading. They entrap youth, removing any and all hope. If only it were as simple as walking away, but it is like walking away from any organised crime. It proves fatal in the great majority of cases. I realise that I am making what might appear to be a dogmatic statement here, but research will bear out what I have written. I would far prefer a world built on your beliefs

[Updated on: Sat, 21 August 2021 11:51]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78073 is a reply to message #78068] Sat, 21 August 2021 21:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

Getting started

Registered: July 2021
Messages: 15



"James K wrote on Sat, 21 August 2021 03:56"
To highlight a couple of points:
1. Timmy said: You can't be gay, and you certainly cannot leave.        
2. Teddy said: Try using "I" or "me" instead of "you" for beginniers. It will produce much less misunderstanding and ambiguity as to the intent of your words.
3. Henke said: That wasn't you yelling 'coward' as us for not supporting your views?

Point 1, you could leave London, before Brexit you could leave the country, now it's more difficult.
Point 2, everybody uses "you" in the same sense as I did, see point 1, Timmy uses "you."
Point 3, you are upset by the word coward and rant contradictions. The older generation made the world safe for gays - And lastly, the world YOU live in now where you feel safe expressing who you are is the way it is because of older generations (like MINE) that have stood up for that. You also say - You really needn't differentiate between Kabul, Afghanistan and any other city, anywhere else. Everywhere in this world, there are people who will do you harm for being gay.

So you made the world safe for being gay but everywhere people will do you harm? I think I really do need to differentiate Kabul from the rest of the world, certainly at this time. Living your life thinking there are people lurking ready to attack you for being gay, I have no answer to. I don't think you live in London with Timmy's teenage gangs (which even were it the case, those gangs are a very small part of the capital's population), so you must live somewhere you don't feel safe being who you are, I guess?

I have a different outlook on the world. I believe most people are good, do care about others, and generally living in Europe we are pretty safe. In the US there are aspects, like carrying guns and the police shooting people, which make me concerned enough to think twice about going there. However, North America is half a continent and I have no doubt the image in my head that gives me concern is the one from the media (like the London gangs) and very far from the reality of life in most of the USA.

My personal experience is that I have been surprised at how easily being gay is and I have never encountered any particular problems, certainly not life threatening. Perhaps I view the world through rose tinted glasses or live a charmed life, but that's not a bad way to live (in my opinion). 

--
Wow. Okay, let's take this in the same order you listed them. 

1) I never claimed to have made the world safe for being gay. I said that the acceptance you are enjoying today is partly the result of older generations that came before you being visible and THERE. And continuing to be visible and there, until they developed enough of a political presence to be taken more seriously. I still do not think the world is a safe place to be gay. Just little pockets of it are comfortable.

2) Yes. No matter where you go in the world, you will encounter people that will want to hurt you because you're gay. The difference between Kabul and London is one of degree. Statistically you are far safer in London than Kabul, but not if you run into that one guy that is happy to hurt or kill you because you're gay. And NOT because you insisted on impressing the fact that you are gay on some stranger just to make yourself happy. People that will do you harm for being gay are everywhere. This is not paranoia, it is a fact. 

3) I also tend to view people in a positive light. Acceptance is a wonderful thing, and there is more of it today. It is a lot easier to be gay in 2021, and especially out in the open. I don't live my life in fear or paranoia, and I don't think people are lurking out there, waiting to get me.  I have quite a nice life, actually. But I do not go around insisting that people be aware of my sexuality, nor do I expect everyone to accept it. I really don't care about what strangers think.

And there it is. In my story I simply made the claim that insisting that others accept you being gay is an unreasonable attitude to take, and one that can get you hurt if you have not read the situation clearly. If you feel a need to correct the assumptions of everyone you meet, that is your call. But everyone is different, every life is different, and every situation is different. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to being gay. People need to understand that it is okay to remain in their comfort zone and not feel peer pressure to be out just because someone like you insists it's the only way to do it.

You have made the claim that, 'My personal experience is that I have been surprised at how easily being gay is and I have never encountered any particular problems...'.

You said it. In YOUR personal experience. Which is different from my personal experience, and Tim's, and different from the personal experiences of everyone that reads or posts stories on this site. You do what works for you. Fine. Stick with that. But it's not for everyone. Everyone needs to form their own opinion on this subject.

I find repeating myself in ever simpler language, over and over, so that you can understand, to be tiring. My suggestion to you is that you not read my stories in the future, since you clearly take exception to my point of view. I find these circular, repetitive arguments boring. I have experessed my opinion, you have expressed yours, and let's leave it at that.

Now go away. There's a good lad.

[Updated on: Sat, 21 August 2021 21:28]

Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78074 is a reply to message #77968] Sun, 22 August 2021 06:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

Getting started

Registered: August 2021
Messages: 22



I am using my best efforts to play nice. You, Henke, are being patronising. You believe your view on being gay. From what you say your view is, beware, someone might hurt you. It is a view you are putting forward as a way to live. A view which may have been appropriate in the 1980's or whenever, but not today. I would hate to think young gay people need this out dated advice, even though it is simply your point of view, it is very negative. 

I will not go away, I cannot leave things with such negativity, which harp back to the past. The world belongs to the next generation and we will make it ours. Without all the bad stuff you have experienced. And, yes, I'm speaking for more people than only myself. We want to be free of your way of thinking, your attitudes, your history, it's depressing. Leave it in the past where it belongs, it's not for today! I'm not even sure it worked for yesterday either.
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78075 is a reply to message #78074] Sun, 22 August 2021 13:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro

Toe is in the water

Registered: March 2014
Messages: 84



The beast is out there seeking whom it may devour:

https://inews.co.uk/news/gay-couple-attacked-birmingham-hate -crime-1152602

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-57579987

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/homophobic -leith-street-assault-three-men-arrested-following-abhorrent -attack-against-two-gay-men-in-edinburgh-3338003

All recent news items

T
he past is, alas, reasserting itself. Think of the roll-back of LGBT rights in Eastern Europe, stronger anti gay legislation being introduced in Russia and certain African countries. Never, ever, think it cannot happen here.





Pedro
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78076 is a reply to message #78075] Sun, 22 August 2021 15:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

Getting started

Registered: August 2021
Messages: 22



Fine, there are attacks on gay people because they are gay. There are attacks on black people and asian people, Jews, and any other identifiable groups that some deranged persons want to vent their anger on for whatever psychotic reasons.

The past is not reasserting itself, in my opinion. What we see are nationalistic movements and xenophobia. And that applies to the UK as well as some eastern European countries. Hungary is a good example of a country in the EU passing anti-gay laws. However, there is a lot of pressure from other member states to change that. Some are calling for the expulsion of Hungary, that however is a counter extreme reaction.

Russia and certain African countries are other examples of nationalism, sometimes mixed up with religion.

"Never think it cannot happen here," I take to mean in Europe or the USA. But what do you mean exactly? Anti-gay government and laws? In a few countries there is a split, UK, USA. These two nations are split and the anti-gay side could win. I hope not, probably less likely now Trump has gone and the UK, I don't know. I can't judge the UK from the media, but there does seem to be an obsession in that country about paedophilia. Is this real, or manufactured by the media? Whether real or not it could a bad thing for gays who have always suffered the bad press of corrupting youth. This national obsession has extended to the royal family and Andrew's accused affair with a 17 year old young lady. As if!! To qualify the comment, at 17 you are an adult in all but the law and who could honestly tell if a young woman or man is 16, 17, or 18?

Perhaps you are right, the USA and UK could join the ranks of Hungary and Russia, I do not think there is any chance of that happening in other European countries. 

You paint a dark future with your warning, but doesn't that reinforce the point of being who you are and being seen. Black and Asian victims cannot hide to escape the bigots, you may say orthodox Jews could change their clothing, hats, and cut their hair, rather like gays could refrain from pink and wearing makeup. But no one should.


Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78077 is a reply to message #78076] Sun, 22 August 2021 16:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13594



"James K wrote on Sun, 22 August 2021 16:32"
Black and Asian victims cannot hide to escape the bigots, you may say orthodox Jews could change their clothing, hats, and cut their hair, rather like gays could refrain from pink and wearing makeup. But no one should.


--
Pink was the colour of princes until just  under 100 years ago. Odd how things change.

"No-one should" is interesting. No-one should need to, no. But, while folk need to it is wise to decide whether to do so or not.

Things have improved, but  things can always go backwards. It was not wise to  be on the membership listy of  certain German  clubs in the  1930s, thoiugh folk jo0ined because they  thought liberal liberation was at hand. The truth was that their name was added, voluntareil;y, by the queer folk themselves, to the guest list for extermination camps.

In Afghanistan today news suggests that the new leaders will be exterminating LGBTQ people in compliance with their interpretation of Sharia law. That was not the status quo last week.

The USA just came close to a revolution at the end of Dictator Trump's reign. How safe do you think LGBTQ folk would be in the USA under Trump 2.0?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78078 is a reply to message #78076] Sun, 22 August 2021 16:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13594



"James K wrote on Sun, 22 August 2021 16:32"
This national obsession has extended to the royal family and Andrew's accused affair with a 17 year old young lady. As if!! To qualify the comment, at 17 you are an adult in all but the law and who could honestly tell if a young woman or man is 16, 17, or 18?




--
The concern with Andrew, Epstein, Maxwell, et alia is not the age of the sexual partner but the fact that the partners were procured and trafficked  for  sexual purposes, allegedly.

In general society has agreed that sex with underage people it is not appropriate and has legislated for ages of consent,  ages whcih vary from nation to nation. In the UK it is 16. Below that age legislation makes it a criminal act, yes, even of both parttners (all?) are under 16. That does not make it paedophilia, which has a different real definition. Age of consent reform in the United Kingdom has all  the historical details you may need on the UK's age of  consent history. Ages of consent in Europe is also of interest. You may follow the links within at leisure to learn more than you ever wished to know.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78079 is a reply to message #78074] Sun, 22 August 2021 17:05 Go to previous message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

Getting started

Registered: July 2021
Messages: 15



"James K wrote on Sun, 22 August 2021 06:10"
I am using my best efforts to play nice. You, Henke, are being patronising. You believe your view on being gay. From what you say your view is, beware, someone might hurt you. It is a view you are putting forward as a way to live. A view which may have been appropriate in the 1980's or whenever, but not today. I would hate to think young gay people need this out dated advice, even though it is simply your point of view, it is very negative. 

I will not go away, I cannot leave things with such negativity, which harp back to the past. The world belongs to the next generation and we will make it ours. Without all the bad stuff you have experienced. And, yes, I'm speaking for more people than only myself. We want to be free of your way of thinking, your attitudes, your history, it's depressing. Leave it in the past where it belongs, it's not for today! I'm not even sure it worked for yesterday either.

--
No. You are just as adamant that your view be the correct one as you say I am about mine. I have said, for the fourth or fifth time now, that everyone must make their OWN decisions on how to react to the world. This is not going backwards, this is not being depressing, this is not being negative. It's being REALISTIC. I am not pressing MY WAY, I am saying that everyone must be free to decide their OWN way. For the very LAST time, everyone must choose how to be gay in the world around THEM. Not YOUR way, not MY way, but THEIR way. What is it about this you simply cannot understand?

If your way works for you, that's great. Do it your way. But it's not for everyone in every life or every situation. Neither is the way I do my life. Yes, you can make your way in life in the open in some places and some situations, and be fine. In other places and other situations, it can get you hurt or worse. The idea I am expressing is that it's DIFFERENT for everyone. People need to be AWARE, and act accordingly, is all I am counseling. If you find fault with that logic, you simply are not living in the same world as the rest of us.

Let's set gay aside entirely. Depending on where you live, you can be walking down the street, minding your own business, and be the victim of a shooter, a gang attack, a robbery, a bomb, some crazy in a truck or car, or some political or religious attack. If you walk about in this world unaware of your surroundings, you may become a victim. If you see a group of men on the street carrying guns, you go the other way, right? Or would YOU insist on keeping walking towards them, because that's your RIGHT, hoping for the best?

Rights are bullshit when it comes to people that refuse to recognize them. Expecting your life to be guided by so-called 'rights' is blind to the way the world operates, and to the way human beings think and act. I said in my story that living a life expecting acceptance from others is unrealistic, because IT IS. I am not trying to be depressing or negative. I am simply stating a truth. Going around with your chin stuck out, daring anyone to hit it will eventually get you a taker that will do just that. Because that's the way people ARE. Failing to recognize the dangers in being different - being a minority view - is simply not very bright. 

There are also places to live that are so peaceful and serene that nothing will EVER happen to you no matter what situation arises. If you live in a place like that, you can certainly have a life that is far less guarded. I am all for that. But everyone can't be so lucky.

The very same instincts we use as we move about in our daily lives should guide us on being gay. That has all I have ever been saying. Assess the situation your are in, the people you are with, and act accordingly. And I am absolutely tired now of saying the same thing over and over. I am not pressing MY way. I am suggesting that people choose the best way to live their OWN life. YOU have no more say in how others do their lives than I do. 

Your ambition to change the world is admirable. A will to discard the trash of the past is the mantle that EVERY new generation dons. And every generation does make some small progress. But to decide you are simply going to ignore the way the world IS in pursuit of a better way is careless. Fight your fights, and do it your way. But you cannot demand that others do it your way. Each one of us must decide how to approach the future on his or her own terms.

And I really, REALLY think we have exhausted this conversation. I have stated my perspective over and over. I am not saying it is for YOU. I am saying everyone must be allowed to determine their own path, and you counseling to go hard and stand tall and be proud is bad advice for some people in some situations. 

[Updated on: Sun, 22 August 2021 17:29]

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