Category Archives: Advice & Editorials

Best Advice

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer , Cleveland, Ohio

” To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone…

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone..

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12.. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful..

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.
Don’t save it for a special occasion, Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone and everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles..

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now..

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved..

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere..

40 . If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

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Education Survey

SECTION I: You  and Your High School Experience

Please take this survey and tell us about your environment and happenings.
This survey collects data regarding education experiences of glbtq students including harassment and discrimination as well as exposure to gay role models and culture.

If you wish, enter the name of your High School or Secondary School here.

Location of your school.

What is your graduation year?

Your GPA

Your sex

Sexual Orientation:

How public are you about your GLBTQ identity? Please indicate  any/all areas that you are out.

Would you say you are completely \”Out of the Closet\”?

What age were you when you came out?

Were/are you out of the closet in high school?

Was/is there a GSA (Gay Student Alliance) at your school?

If so, was it openly supported by the teachers and/or administration?

Were/are you aware of any other GLBTQ students in your school?

SECTION II: The Classroom and GLBTQ Issues
Please make sure to answer these questions as honestly as you can and do not be afraid to include graphic material.

Were you ever given reading assignments that openly referenced or included GLBTQ themes? If so, please state the titles and authors.

Were GLBTQ issues ever discussed or referenced in the classroom?

Was homophobia ever discussed or referenced in the classroom?

Were religious topics or beliefs (i.e. God, the devil, Jesus, the Koran etc.) ever discussed or referenced in the classroom?

Were there any books/stories assigned that you personally felt had GLBTQ themes that were ignored or overlooked by teachers? If so, which books/author? Why?

What are some other GLBTQ authors/books that you’ve read for pleasure?

What information do you think would help a student who is struggling with his or her own GLBTQ identity?

SECTION III: Homophobia and Anti-GLBTQ Attitudes in Your School

Were homophobic/anti-GLBTQ attitudes common in your high school?

Were you ever called names for being identified as a GLBTQ student? If so, what names? Do not be afraid to be graphic!

Did any of your teachers and/or administrators tolerate, ignore or enforce homophobic/anti-GLBTQ attitudes? If so, explain how.

Were you ever openly threatened or attacked by other students for being identified as GLBTQ? If so, please give examples.

Do you feel homophobic/anti-GLBTQ attitudes can negatively affect the learning process and your overall experience in school?

Were you ever afraid to participate in class due to anxiety about being harassed for being GLBTQ?

Indicate any connections you observed between racism, sexism, ageism and homophobia/anti-GLBTQ attitudes.

Do you feel that homophobia/anti-GLBTQ attitudes were/are institutionalized at your school?

SECTION IV: Final Thoughts and Suggestions

What other questions could we ask?

Say anything that comes to mind!

survey_questions_per_page = 0;

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Alan Watts on Sex and the Church

So why is sex such an enticing topic, and why is it so taboo?
Some say the West is uptight, and even European tourists to
Florida scoff at the swimwear required at US beaches.  If sex
were actually taught (and practiced!) at school, would it become
as boring as algebra?  This audio lecture from Alan Watts asks
such questions and explains why “Making Whoopie” makes
some people nervous.

Alan Watts – Sex in the Church from John Allen Bell on Vimeo.

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Which One Was the Gay One?

Political cartoonist Chan Lowe writes:

I saw an interview once of an Army veteran from the Deep South who had gone to Vietnam as a young soldier in possession of all the usual cultural prejudices that one would expect. He came back a changed man. “There’s something about being in a unit, knowing that all your lives depend on everyone doing his job,” he said. “You put your life in your buddy’s hands, and he puts his life in yours. You don’t care about what color he is.”

And as far as whether gays can make good warriors, there’s a story about Alexander the Great, who, as legend goes, was gay. His troops were horrified to learn about his lover, who accompanied him on his campaigns as he conquered most of the known world.

What upset them wasn’t that Alexander’s main squeeze was a man; it was that he was a Persian.

So the problem isn’t really gays serving in the military. The problem is with people who have a problem with gays serving in the military.

Read the rest here.

Chan Lowe oChan Lowe

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Sex in the 1970s Castro

Q. Dear Men4Men, Tell me about gay relationships in those days.  Were there established couples? Today the big focus is (monogamous) marriages.  Was there a groupsex, everyman for himself, coupling norm?

Josh Answers: I don’t know what to say about relationships in those days. Like today, there were those who went from partner to partner, looking purely for sexual gratification and then there were some who sought out only primary relationships. But even that required a few “test drives” so, like now, there was a lot of promiscuity in the gay community. After all, when you have two sexual aggressors pointed at each other there’s a good chance someone’s getting laid. I’ve long been convinced that straight men would be just as promiscuous as gay men are if they could find consenting partners as readily as gay men do. Couples existed then, of course, but they weren’t as opened or obvious about their relationship, the atmosphere still wasn’t one where that was OK. I grew up in Southern California which was probably a lot more liberal than say Iowa, but you still played your cards very close to the vest and only confided in your most trusted friends. And remember in many places it was still illegal and you could be arrested just on the suspicion that you were gay. It’s curious that at that time, as a result of the civil rights movement, discrimination was being banned if you were , black, latino, asian, disabled or female, but it was still OK to beat up a fag (as long as he wasn’t , black, latino, asian , disabled or a female!). Seems that there must always be some group that it’s OK to hate openly. For a very long time that was and in some cases still is the gay community.

Today I think the move towards monogamous, primary relationships is born out of the fear of Aids and any number of incurable, sexually transmitted ailments like Hepatitis C. Then there are families like yours, a Trimary relationship. Although I’ve participated in a three-way occasionally, I never experienced a triad relationship long-term and I’m curious how you make that work. Personally, I’ve abandoned the notion that I’m incomplete without a partner. I’m old and set in my ways and I’m just as happy spanking my own monkey as I would be going to all the trouble of seeking out someone to do it for me. And, frankly, at 60 it’s not the nagging ache it was at 20. What I look for in my relationships is a lack of static. I’m old enough to realize that everyone is different with different needs and desires and I can’t fault them for having theirs if I want to have mine. I don’t expect everyone I know to agree with everything I think or do, but I most appreciate the ones that shut up about it. I find the problem with long-term committed relationships is that the participants view their “other” as a part or extension of themselves and consequently when their partner(s) does something they don’t agree with they feel compelled to rag on them about it which ultimately creates a lot of tension in the relationship. I have had the same companion for nearly a decade. The truth is we started out as fuck buddies and have never had a romantic or intimate relationship. Still we probably have sex more often that many people. Generally we have what we call “physical therapy” about once a week just to ease that “need” that often causes people to make poor decisions in an effort to find sexual relief. And you know it can’t be bad to exercise your prostate occasionally just to keep things moving. We both feel that the lack of exercise is what leads to prostate ailments in older men and we’re determined to avoid at least that harbinger of age. We don’t consider ourselves a couple in the regular sense of the word, although I’m certain it has that appearance to the outside world. But in 10 years we have never had more that an occasional, momentary tiff and very few of those. I think that is because we let each other seek out and find the solutions to our needs in whatever way we need to without feeling guilty that we’re betraying some sacred trust. My definition of true love is wanting for someone else what they want for themselves, even if it doesn’t include you.

Well, somehow I’ve wandered off the path a bit. Wow, that never happened before!?! I hope at least some of this drivel answers a few of your questions.

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Body Talk: You Are Hot!

Body Talk: Men4Men’s Guide to Fitness
By Jonathan Lovitz
Photo by Mark Bradley Miller

Ask any guy why he joins a gym and the answer will always be: “I want to get hot!” Well guys, it’s my pleasure to break it to you: you already are! When I was asked to write these fitness columns I really had no idea where to begin. Do I tell you about what weights are best; what you should be eating; the yummiest protein? No, none of that matters until you look at yourself in the mirror and realize the only person who you need to worry about impressing with your body is you. Don’t worry, I’ll answer all your questions about getting that beach body you’re looking for, but first things first: let’s chat about why we’re going to sweat (oh yes, there will be sweat) to get there.

Each week RuPaul tells her ladies on Drag Race that they’d better remember who really comes first because “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love someone else.” Amen, Ru. Amen.

Listen, body image, like that gorgeous muscle boy you stare at each time you go to the bar, is a bitch. Every ad in every magazine shows us glistening pecs and rippling six-packs that lead us to believe that we’re not worth squat unless we can grate cheese on our stomachs. I’ve traveled to every corner of the United States and met guys of all ages that buy into that load of brilliantly-designed marketing bull. Sure, sex sells, but you’re not a pair of underwear or the swankiest new all-organic-zero-calorie-high-energy cocktail being endorsed by Lance Bass. You are a gorgeous man who is already sexy just because you’ve embraced who you are. Working out, eating right, and keeping your body and brain healthy are what make the wrapping on the present firm and desirable, but it’s the man inside that matters.

I promise there will be no more soapbox speeches about loving yourself, and no, I don’t mean what you do in your spare time. All I want you to think about is who you’re really looking to “get hot” for when you’re working out. If it’s anyone other than you, he’s not worth it. Trust me. It took me a long time to figure that one out, and now that I have I’ve never felt better.

In the coming months I’ll be giving you plenty of tips on building all the muscles you want to work on, all the foods that are best to eat, and all tricks to looking your best no matter what your body type. With my tips you’re going to look and feel the best you’ve ever felt. Just remember that there will always be some guy younger and more fit than you, but he doesn’t have your heart. That’s the sexiest muscle you’ve got!

Let’s get physical!

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Op Ed: Why


“What a piece of work is man” Hamlet asserts in a sentiment newly vivified by the musical Hair. “How noble in reason.” Surely the phrase refers not only to mankind as a whole, but also to the individual. Complicated though we may be, gay men are certainly a “piece of work.” Contradicted by society, yet mainstreamed into something akin to an ethnic group; lumped together with lbq and t, yet stereotyped as party boy horndogs; seen by anthropologists as uniquely able to serve the greater good, but banned from military service , adoption, marriage and in some countries still simply outlawed – the place of the contemporary gay male seems to be no more certain than before 1969’s Stonewall Riot. Visible, yes …perhaps. But how noble in reason are the after-hours gatherings and online hookup? There is much more to being gay, or bi or straight!

Unlike true “ethnic groups,” most gay boys do not grow up with gay parents. There are no traditional cultural standards that the rest of the family share. A gay boy is alone in his experience – except for other gay men. We learn from each other – sometimes happily, sometimes the hard way – but we learn. Where once we had to lurk in questionable places to find one another, our “culture” has learned to look online for connections. So it has become easy to find gay sex and porn on the internet, but where is that community of truly adult men, sharing and co-operating to forge a healthy gay society? Where does a young “queer boi” go for reliable information, advice and true friendship?

For the Boy Who Was Me
I remember being 13 – hell, lots younger than that – and being full of questions about sexuality and trying to understand my own feelings. It wasn’t easy to sort out when my father informed me that “oral” meant “talking about it” and referred to gay people as being “bent.” Even among supposedly liberal Peace Corps folks it seemed there was still a love that dared not speak its name. The only role model in the mass media was Jodie Dallas of Soap, so I desperately looked for answers in the advice columns of my father’s Penthouse magazines or grandfather’s books like Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask – which assured me that all gay men were cross dressers. Furthermore, you could tell a man was gay because he would watch your lips when you talked instead of looking you in the eye.

Well, I thought, not me! What I was, was… well, I just didn’t know! The word “bisexual” did not even exist for me until high school. The concept of gay love, as in real and meaningful same-sex relationships, practically had to be force fed. It seems no amount of globe trekking can completely erase strong Midwestern roots.
As it turned out, I did fit in to the gay world. If only I had seen the FAQ “I’m gay, now what?” when I was a teen.® is for that boy, seeking to find his place in our strange “ethnic group.”

For Ira and Josh
Thank God for the freedom of adulthood! Once away from High School and family my own pre-electronic social network grew and at 18 I found two wonderful gay friends. One was twice my age at 36, the other was twice his age at 72. Josh and Ira spent their youthful years in 1970s Castro and 1940s New York City respectively. Their perspectives on life, love and sex were nourishing to my hungry spirit. Josh spoke of a land and time where gay men were brazen, prideful and ran the show. Ira assured me that despite the crazy people in the world everything was going to be all right. This advice helped greatly as life began to heap on challenges perhaps unique to gay men in the 1980s. So it is in their honor that® carries forth a tradition of social cohesion.

For Jay
My freshman year I had the dubious distinction of being in love with the first poor boy to fall to HIV at my college. At first the school administrators told me not to speak with anyone about it. I thought I was going to die and there was no place to turn for help! But that gave way and in 1987 I helped to organize the first press conference in the State of Florida to address AIDS, attended by Barney Frank, and helped to set up education programs for all USF students. The phrase Silence=Death emerged at that time, and it can be interpreted in many ways.

So many voices have been silenced. An entire generation of role models and other resources have been lost, and® is also a response to that missing component of our culture.

For Bart
Sadly, it seems that coming out and “mainstreaming” has not been enough to create a healthy gay norm. The media glorifies youth and sex and a party lifestyle that is more fitting with the 90s than current economic and social conditions. For many of us there is a disconnect so egregious that it becomes unbearable. Although he survived everything else, the prospects for a well-off and handsome spirit named Bart seemed overwhelming as he became older and grew away from the supposed “ideal.” In the end he took his own life, a tragedy that might have been averted if there had been a place where he could find support and community.® is for men like Bart who are looking for more community as we age and change.

For Clayton & Milaine
In rural Michigan a young gay boy was having a bad day prompting his teacher to ask “What’s wrong?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“It’s about your boyfriend, isn’t it?” Much to Clayton’s surprise, the teacher did understand! “You know,” she continued, “my oldest son is gay, and he has been in a relationship for over twenty years. So I am sure, whatever it is, you can work it out.” Her words helped the young man through his troubles, but later she said “I wish there was a web site I could send him to where he could learn about being gay from people in the community – a safe place that is not just about sex and hook-ups.”® is just such a place, dedicated to Clayton, his teacher and men and women of all ages who struggle to find their place in a confusing and often unfriendly world. It’s also dedicated to those teachers, family (like my own Mom) and others who want to help their loved ones through their struggles.

For Topher® started out as a BBS chat room back in 1992 and the domain name was registered for the BBS operator “Topher.” With the web came much better chat and email, and it looked like and other sites would fill the void. Meanwhile, Topher moved away and the domain name® fell into my lap where it has been held in trust all these years. While it may take the sophistication of a cave man to make money with smut, that easy route was simply not the right one. Now it is time to use the domain to the greatest potential, and so® is a place for gay men of all ages to communicate, share and grow a healthy community.

For You!

Most of all,® is for you, dear reader. We hope you will find answers to the questions that you have about sex, relationships, society and your own body and mind. We invite you to share your own thoughts about our articles and essays and help each other to grow and contribute to our queer “ethnic” group.
What kinds of things should® focus on? That is partially up to you. We welcome bloggers and writers to share their views of the gay world: places, people, ideas and experiences. We welcome you to join the community and engage in an adult discourse – intercourse in its’ highest meaning. Your experiences and your perspectives are important and may just be the words another man needs to hear. Join the conversation at® and be a part of the community today!

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Gay Culture in the Heyday of Castro

Editor’s Note: With so much ado about Harvey Milk and the Castro hey days, we asked our friend Josh to tell us what it was really like.

Photo: Castro Street Fair 1977

In the pre-Aids era The Castro was a smorgasbord of delights; physical, visual, sexual, even spiritual.  Very few people knew what a rubber was much less used them with any frequency.  Drugs were still a big part of the party scene and the bath houses were guilt palaces of sexual abandon.

I lived in San Francisco in the late 70’s (76-79) and about the time I moved to St. Thomas Aids was just beginning to rear it’s ugly head.  We were hearing about the “gay cancer”, KS, a rare cancer most common in men of Mediterranean  extraction.  No body knew what caused it and certainly no one had a clue as to how to treat it or why it was appearing with alarming frequency in the Gay community.  More than one of my friends fell victim to this horrible disease.  It was a very scary time for everyone, but especially gay men.  My departure from San Francisco, oddly enough, was prompted in part by the same forces that attracted me to the city in the first place.  It was so gay at that time that you were constantly on display, by choice or by circumstance and it was difficult to to accomplish any task in public without getting openly cruised repeatedly.  It became almost intrusive.  Eye candy is one thing, being treated like just another sexual conquest or a piece of meat is quite another.

Fortunately, although I was by no means a prude, I wasn’t big on multiple, totally faceless sexual encounters.  I at least endeavored to know the name of the owner of the dick I was sucking and only occasionally fucked with someone I hoped would remain a stranger. To this day I thank the stars for that discretion and that I left the City when I did or surely I would have joined so many of my friends in a slow and painful demise, ostracized by society in general and shunned by even my own people.  And as much as I may have complained about the sexual isolation of living on a small island in the Caribbean, that fateful decision probably saved my life.

I don’t know how much more I can tell you without responding to specific questions, so feel free to ask if you have any.  Oh, the stories I could tell you!!

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Gay FAQ: I think my loved one might be gay.

I think my loved one might be gay.

Congratulations!  Many people do not have the honor of knowing someone gay or at least don’t know they know someone.

You might be asking yourself – “well if he/she is gay, how to I treat them”?  The answer to that is VERY simple and VERY important – you treat them like they are your loved one.  Any other response is inappropriate and not loving.

You may not be pleased that your loved one is gay – or you may love it – either way – it is what it is and YOU need to deal with it – it will help your loved one deal with it.  Trust me they will have plenty to deal with in the various forms of discrimination that we are forced to accept in the lack of equal rights:  marriage, adoption, legal access, job and housing discrimination; the list goes on.  If LOVED one is how you really refer to this person – do just that love them, support them, ask them questions, learn about them, care about their lives.

It may make you uncomfortable to talk about their life but ignoring it is very hurtful.  Ask them if they have a significant other just as you would ask your straight loved one.  Make sure invitations include “guest” or the person’s name, just as you would a straight friend.  Introduce that person to others the way your gay friend would choose to have you do that – “this is Jason’s friend” can be very patronizing where “this is Jason’s partner” can be very freeing and respectful to everyone involved.

There may be a number of hurdles for you to get over – but in the end you and your loved one will both be much closer and respect will be the word used to describe how you feel about one another.

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Gay FAQ: I am gay, now what?

I am Gay, now what?


I so want to leave this answer at that one word but I am sure my editor needs and wants more so here goes.

You finally admit to yourself that you are gay.  Good for you.  You have thought about this for ages.  You may have pondered the consequences of this realization with some fear – some excitement and certainly some hesitation.  But you have come to the realization and now what do you do?

You behave the same way you would if you woke up one morning and discovered you were straight.  You move on with your life WITH INTEGRITY.

Open up the box that our society seems to prefer we all live in and see what’s out there.  There are so many parts of your life that you will explore, straight or gay, that you need to allow your life to take you places you might not have expected you would go.  Be open.  Pay attention to your head and your heart and you will be a joyfilled and happy gay person.

Learn from generations past.  There are things out there that will hurt you.  Know what they are and avoid them when you can.  Pain will make you grow – so will mistakes and you will experiences both on your journey.  You would experience the same things if you were not gay.

Embrace who you are.  Cherish you life and the way you love.

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