Posts tagged “youth

My Son’s First Interview!

Wedding June 2014So proud that our older son, Mason, is turning into such a fine young man. He agreed to be interviewed by Rainbow Riot, which is a literary magazine for teen youth with LBGT parents, and he did such a great job. LOVE this kid! Check it out here!


Throwback Thursday: My Finest Acting Moment

DynastySo today’s ‪#‎TBT‬ comes with a story… When I started at UCLA, I wanted to be an actor. The truth was, though, that as I hadn’t yet explored my soul, I wasn’t very good; all artifice and posing. My favorite shows at the time were DYNASTY and KNOTS LANDING, and when they were on, I’d hide in my dorm room with a towel blocking the bottom of the door, so no one would think I was there and disturb me. I was convinced it was my destiny to end up on DYNASTY. I thought–if only the casting director would see me–they’d write a role for me as the teen son of Alexis: a brooding, sexy, tormented young man. I was so thoroughly certain this would happen that I actually practiced my DYNASTY title sequence, walking and turning to look directly into camera, smoldering, as if caught unaware.

As luck would have it, I heard about a special day-long Cold Reading class on campus, taught by none other than the casting director of DYNASTY. I knew that once I made an impression on him, I would find myself on the show. I spent much time picking out just the right outfit and concentrated on this brooding character I’d conjured in my imagination.

There were about 100 actors in the class that day, which was held in a lecture hall, so very little chance of me even meeting the man; still, I felt certain. The whole morning he talked about the key points to cold reading, which requires you to not have any preconceived ideas about the scene, as you have no time to even read it. It is all about being “in the moment.” Finally, as we broke for lunch, they announced that when we returned, one guy and one girl would be selected at random to cold read for the class. MY CHANCE–AT LAST!

All through lunch I ran through imaginary scenes in my head, each one more emotive and darker than the last. I probably even practiced my squinty “sexy pout” a time or two. After lunch, he asked for volunteers who wanted to read, and every hand in the class shot up, including mine. And he picked me! (I knew it!!!)

As the woman and I stood up and walked to the front of the room, we were handed our sides. We began to read, and I tackled it with all the force and passion I’d been storing up since my early days of first watching DYNASTY. I was intense, in a bad way–but befitting an Aaron Spelling production. I was Hamlet, only to find out mid-scene that the piece I was reading was witty, light Noel Coward-quipy comedy. I was utterly mortified, having committed to this part, but had no choice but to see my folly through to the end. After we finished and I returned to my seat, I could feel the other actors shrink away from me, fearful of catching my bad-acting bug.

Which is why I’m a writer.

‪#‎DontCountYourChickens‬ ‪#‎EpicFail‬ ‪#‎WorstAuditionEver‬ ‪#‎IamJoanCollinsSon‬


Mother of Transgender Child Speaks Out

Anderson and Danann

While audiences nationwide became acquainted with Sarah Tyler and her family following their appearance on Anderson Cooper’s talk show, I got to know them in a completely different manner: at church.  Living in conservative Orange County, CA, and being gay men with children, it was important that my partner and I find a church family where every single person is welcome, which we found at Church of the Foothills.  One of our pivotal moments as a congregation occurred when we learned that Danann Tyler would be transitioning from boy to girl, which prompted me to bring in a speaking panel from the Orange County Transgender Coalition to help educate our members.

As would be expected, having a child undergo such a transition caused numerous issues within the Tyler family, at school, in their community, and at work.  Sarah Tyler graciously took time to share with me the journey her family has traveled, including not only the many challenges they’ve faced, but also the joyful child the transition from male to female eventually revealed.

Sarah, thanks so much for agreeing to chat. 

I’m so honored you even think we’re worth writing about!

I’ve been impressed with how gracefully you and your family have not only handled what would be, for most, a difficult situation, but also how you then took that next step, advocating on behalf of your child and transgendered people on a national level.  Most people wouldn’t feel comfortable taking such a public stance.

When it’s your child being mistreated, simply for being different, it’s easy to become an advocate.

Many people may not be aware of your family’s story.  First, tell me a little about your family, and what it was like prior to discovering that Danann was transgender.

Well, I’m a yoga instructor, and a bit on the liberal side, and my husband, Bill, is a police officer, definitely more conservative, and we have two children.  I was always told I couldn’t have kids, but I’m the kind of person who, when told I can’t do something, immediately wants to do it.  I knew that, somehow, we’d have them.

So your eldest, James, how did he come about?

He was a total fluke! (laughing)  But Danann was planned.

Tell me about your pregnancy with Danann.

I was absolutely positive, when I was pregnant, that I was going to have a girl.  I just knew it.  But, in all honesty, I was rather hoping for a boy.  You know, already having one, there were some benefits to having another, such as not having to buy any extra clothes, etc.  Still, when they told me I was actually having a boy, I felt that they were wrong.  The pregnancy with Danann felt entirely different than with James.  With James I had no morning sickness, but with Danann, I was sick for the first six months.  I kept thinking the doctors had it wrong, but then, at delivery, they told me that I’d had a boy, and I was like–cool!

What was Danann like as a baby?

I’ll use the male pronoun, because pronouns for transgender people can be tricky.  But when Danann was a he, he was a really happy, calm baby.  He was serene, loving, content–we called him our little Buddha.

When did you first notice that all was not as it seemed?

My husband and I took James on a trip, when Danann was two, and left Danann with a friend for the weekend, who had a young girl.  When I went to pick Danann up, he was standing there in a dress, with nails painted and everything, and just looked so happy–the happiest I’d ever seen him.  I was sure my husband was going to freak out, so I asked Danann to change.  He started crying and got very angry.  And from that day on, things were different. (more…)


Is It Ever Okay To Call Someone a “Pansy”?

My partner and I are white gay dads with two amazing sons, both of whom are African-American. This season, we finally gave in to their many years of begging that we allow them to play tackle football. We’d previously refused, thinking them too young. We were concerned about not only the possibility of physical injury to the boys, but also the enormous time commitment it would take. Now 10 and 12, we decided that the time was right, and finally acquiesced. What we failed to consider, however, was how our unique family structure might factor into the dynamics of such a macho team sport, and the potential for consequent emotional injury.

While the kids have practiced the last several weeks, loving and hating every grueling moment, last night found one son’s team on the field, in the middle of a drill, when one of the assistant coaches yelled, “What are you? A bunch of pansies?”

I heard his words, echoing across the grass, and felt like I’d been punched in the gut. All those taunts through the years stay with you, even if you’ve risen above them. I immediately walked over, called my son off the field, and told the coach we were done. We were going to switch teams. And he let us go…

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Disqualified from High School Contest, Gay Teen Speaks Out

Kearian Giertz is the gay Fullerton, California, 17-year-old who made national news headlines last week, following his disqualification from a school contest for his statement supportive of marriage equality. During an annual rite of passage at his high school, known as the Mr. Fullerton Contest, Kearian was asked, in front of an audience, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?,” and expressed his desire to find his life mate and be legally wed, only to find himself disqualified by a school administrator, who had his microphone cut off.  Upon hearing his story, several elements stood out to me as intriguing.  First, compared to my own angst-ridden life in high school almost 25 years ago, it was refreshing that this young man felt comfortable enough to proclaim his desire to wed another man.  Second, I was impressed by how quickly the high school responded to his disqualification, firmly supporting Giertz’ right to free speech and calling the administrator’s actions inappropriate.  Lastly, I was struck by how, upon being disqualified, instead of reacting with the expected anger and hostility,  the teen and his friends chose a more peaceful option, turning this disqualification into a teachable moment.

Having recently written my own letter to my high school bully, I was curious as to how today’s youth were coping with harassment on campus, as well as in their daily lives, and sat down with Giertz, fellow out-teen Blake Danford, and heterosexual, LGBT-supportive Katy Hall, all friends since 7th grade and now Fullerton Union High School seniors, to discuss what it is like to be out and gay in school, as well as the event which propelled them into the headlines.

Kergan Edwards-Stout:   First, let’s start with you, Blake.  When did you first realize you were gay?

Blake Danford:  I first realized I wasn’t really attracted to girls around 4th grade, but came out as gay in 8th grade to a girl in my English class, who was a lesbian.  Eventually, I told a few others, about 5 people total, but it wasn’t until my freshman year I began telling even more people.

Edwards-Stout: At what point did you tell your family?

Danford:  I came out to my mom in my sophomore year.

Edwards-Stout:  And she’s been supportive?

Danford:  Definitely.  I think it was actually harder for me, as I was expecting her not to be.  It was almost like, “Wait, are you really okay with this?” Her support almost seemed fake to me. My parents divorced when I was three, so I’m still not completely out to my dad’s side of the family, as we don’t see them.  Anything out of the norm is not okay with them.  I’ve had them tell me, directly, that if I ever “became” gay, they’d kill me on the spot.  And I assumed that was how everyone would be, so my mom’s support really threw me.  But I’m really glad her support was genuine.

Edwards-Stout:  Kearian, what about you? Did you always know you were gay?

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