Showing posts with label Todd Craig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Todd Craig. Show all posts

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fake News Release: Marriage Equality Comes to Colorado!

News Release

From: One Colorado (Not really…)

Marriage Equality Comes to Colorado! (A Fictional Version of What-Might-Have-Been by Todd Craig)

Denver, Colorado (March 3, 2014) – Let’s face it, the last nine months since the monumental Supreme Court ruling against the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA have been a whirling dervish of activity for us here at One Colorado. As soon as the ruling was handed down, we put into motion a three-pronged attack against the discrimination that existed in the constitution of Colorado.

The first part of our plan was to file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the legality of Colorado’s one-man-one-woman marriage amendment. We weren’t stuck being self-satisfied with our victory regarding civil unions, which created a separate-but-equal status. Seeing as how the Supreme Court’s ruling gave our legal team the exact battle plan as to how best challenge Colorado’s legalized discrimination, we wasted no time in having numerous Colorado couples sign up to be part of the legal challenge. Through our strong connections with the ACLU, we were able to bring our case to trial immediately with an experienced team of high-powered trial lawyers well-versed in social justice issues. Thanks to these efforts, soon thousands of LGBT couples in our state will marry, and Colorado can consider itself more colorful than ever before. Other states like Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky personally thanked our legal team and our organization for being the leader of this wave of successful challenges in courts across our nation.

While our lawyers battled injustice in the courts, our crack team of foot soldiers on the ground mobilized the second part of our plan. They scoured all of Colorado to gain signatures for a ballot measure repealing the Constitution amendment banning same-sex marriage. We knew that even though we lost an election back in 2006, that we shouldn’t be afraid to hold another election – especially considering how the world has changed in the years since. While our ballot measure is no longer needed, our networking has allowed us to connect with many gay-friendly Colorado people, businesses, and community organizations who have pledged their support to keep equality the law of the land through our highly coordinated political efforts and flexing our combined political muscle.

Finally, our vast conglomerate of financial backers and enthusiastic members has allowed us numerous opportunities to promote and elect LGBT advocates in elections across the state. We know that every school board and city council election across our great state is as important as those of our governor and senators. If our immense amount of polling data offers any hints at things to come, our efforts will help make the 2014 elections our most successful yet.

While equality has arrived here in Colorado full-force, we must continue to build and develop our resources to maintain our hard-fought victories and to help protect our rights in the years to come. Please know that we will never fall into the trap of simply being cheerleaders on the sidelines of the great equality battle by simply holding meetings, sending copious numbers of fundraising emails and surveys, organizing awards banquets, coloring poster board signs, and sharing status updates on Facebook like other states’ lesser gay lobbying groups. No, Colorado deserves only the best, and we’re proud to say that our best has sown the results of marriage equality that we’re now all enjoying.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Happily Ever After: A Gay Couple Celebrates 10 Years Together

By Todd Craig
Ten years ago, on New Year’s Day, my world collided with my husband’s world for the first time. Ten years, man. To some couples, like my parents and their 43 years together, I’m sure the number ten is a cute one - like a five year old’s drawing of a duckie; kind of cute.

And yet ten years doesn’t feel like a number to laugh at; it feels like a bigger milestone than the others. This is probably because it is bigger, but there’s something decidedly nice about being able to say that your couplehood has stood the test of a decade’s worth of time. That this boy fell in love with that boy, and they lived happily ever after. He and I are thoroughly connected now - a part of something larger than just ourselves - and the milestones, well, they do seem worth celebrating.

So here at the start of year ten, I began to reflect. Where did those previous nine years go?

For our first year, we dated feverishly. We talked on the phone constantly. We emailed love notes. We planned everything from our next dinner out to what color we wanted to paint the master bedroom in our retirement condo. We made out in the movie theater, and we humped like bunnies in the bedroom. We fell hard and fast for one another, and soon jobs switched, we moved in together, and I proposed. Looking back, I can’t remember a more fun year. I romanced; he swooned. We both were surprised at how we couldn’t stop smiling being around each other.

Year two entirely revolved around two things: buying a house and getting married. Individually, either one of these two tasks represents a stern challenge for a young relationship. Trying both at the same time? Well, you find out real quick like whether or not your relationship will stand the test of time. We faced down decisions for everything from doorknobs to DJs, and every decision carried another bill that needed paying. But by the end of the year, we were married and moved in and borderline bankrupt, but being young and in love in your new home made it worth all of the hassle. The financial worries garnered a few nervous laughs, but we knew that we’d figure everything out somehow.

In year three, like most young couples, we decided to start a family. For us, that meant starting the adoption process, one we were assured would take at least a year, but more likely two or more
according to our Denver adoption agency because we were a gay male couple. We started the process that summer, took the requisite parenting classes and wrote lots more checks. To our shock, surprise, and great joy, six months into the process - that November - we brought home our son, a beautiful infant boy.

Years four and five sped past in a blur of dirty diapers, empty formula bottles, and sleepless nights. We have pictures of these years documenting our efforts as parents. Our infant son looks adorable; we look like shell-shocked survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Apparently, we spent those years passing the baby back and forth between two far lesser versions of ourselves with uncombed hair, dubious personal hygiene, and wearing the same sweat pants and dirty t-shirts for days on end. We were sleep-deprived, money-short, and desperately trying to juggle jobs, bills, and baby while frantically gasping for sleep and sanity like a drowning swimmer gasps for air. Oftentimes, we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when we looked at each other. The reality was that sometimes we did both.

By the time years six and seven wound down, we had found a rhythm and a rut of sorts. Wake up, jobs, dinner, sleep for us. Wake up, day care, dinner, story time, sleep for him. We paid the bills. We even hired a babysitter for the occasional night out. The bags under our eyes didn’t completely disappear, but the pictures from this time period demonstrate that we started putting on different clothes for different days.

In years eight and nine, we busted our rut as school replaced day care. Our son, now seven and conquering first grade, plays Legos, watches PBS cartoons, and masters such things as spelling and swim lessons. My husband and I are regularly too tired for regular nights out on the town, but we curl up with our laptops, watch DVDs together, and snuggle in on cold nights. We drink boxed wine. We order pizza on the weekends. Sometimes we go nuts and indulge in a soft pretzel at the mall. We hosted a family reunion this past summer. We’re even planning a vacation, our first together since our honeymoon in Hawaii.

So as we start year ten, we often marvel at how our house became a home, and how our first date became a family. I’m a husband, a father, a teacher, and a writer. He’s a husband, a mother, and a jewelry business’s administrator. Our son runs, jumps, sings, plays, and dreams of catching passes from Peyton Manning someday. My husband and I dream of a ranch house nestled against a remote hillside overlooking a nice patch of empty prairie. We feed the dogs, go to school plays, pay the bills, and make each other laugh. We laugh at first grade knock-knock jokes. We laugh at farts at the dinner table. We laugh at each other. As a family we get the giggles pretty often.

It occurs to me that I have no idea what the rest of year ten will be like, nor do I know anything about the decades after that. I don’t worry about it in the slightest, though. For now, it’s enough to be grateful for ten years of home, husband, son, dogs, dreams, love, and laughter.

In fact, after further consideration, maybe ten years is something to laugh at. After all, it is what we as family do best.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The MileHighGayGuy 2013 Year In Gay Sports Retrospective:

By Todd Craig and David Smith

2013 saw hard-fought progress for LGBT equality on several fronts: in federal law books, in the church pews, and amongst the population as a whole for starters. Yet on the hardwood courts and the grass fields of the sports world where Americans prefer their athletic heroes with equal parts testosterone and John Wayne bravado, the discussion about gay rights and gay acceptance erupted like it never has before.

One of the biggest sports stories of the year, and the one that ushered gay rights to the forefront of the sports world, was the coming out of NBA basketball player Jason Collins. The story, which broke on the May 6 cover of Sports Illustrated, began with the line, “I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.”

Of course, athletes have been coming out of the closet for years, and coming out on the cover of a magazine hasn’t been unheard of either. Yet, none of those celebrities stood seven feet tall. Nor had they out-muscled the NBA’s best over the course of a twelve-year career on the hardwoods. None of those magazines happened to be Sports Illustrated either.

The story served as flash point for the sports media, athletes, and the country as a whole. Reactions twittered in from athletes all over the sports world. The vast, overwhelming majority proved positive and supporting. Even the story of writing the story became a part of the news cycle. Gone, it seemed, were the Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova days of tearful admissions, lost sponsors, and tabloid stalkers. The sports world, it seemed, had evolved.

Even before Collins had come out, Nike offered a sponsorship to the first openly gay athlete who is currently active, even going a step further by producing and selling products and merchandise to celebrate Pride and the LGBT community. From shirts to rainbow shoes, making a significant statement at LGBT and Non-LGBT events all year.

As the discussion reverberated throughout the sports world, more athletes and more sports became involved. Professional soccer player Robbie Rogers came out of the closet and then came out onto the field to play as an out and proud gay athlete. Orlando Cruz, a professional boxer, announced his orientation to the world before a big fight, even going so far as to pose in a rainbow pride undies at his weigh-in.

Rumors also swirled that the National Football League would also soon have its own openly gay player. Sports Illustrated's lead football writer Peter King used the Jackie Robinson movie 42 as an analogy to the trailblazing place where the sports world was with gay rights. His football website for Sports Illustrated even went as far as to detail two gay former NFL players’ lives, their coming out processes, and feelings about the out players playing in the NFL here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The MileHighGayGuy Year In Review: 2013 - The GAYEST Year in American History?

By Todd Craig

It occurs to me that now is as good a time as any to be gay. In fact this past year, 2013, has been anything but unlucky for us. History, when it looks back on this year, will have no choice but to view it through rainbow-colored glasses.

With that said, it’s time to crown 2013 as the GAYEST Year in American History.

Why? For decades it seemed that our progress and acceptance had been limited to certain areas: New England states, the genre of dance music, and Bea Arthur sitcoms to name a few primary ones. But 2013 has seen major changes in our LGBT favor in areas that haven’t traditionally changed very easily at all. Let’s review the good news, shall we?

1. Back in June, the Supreme Court took on DOMA and kicked its worthless, discriminatory ass out of the federal law books of our country. Sure, it wasn’t the wide-ranging decision that many activists had hoped for, but those sneaky Supremes made it abundantly clear what can and can’t happen in regards to marriage law, and in so doing gave attorneys everywhere a step-by-step plan for eviscerating every gay marriage ban in the country. Utah, New Mexico, Hawaii, Indiana, and New Jersey all began marrying same sex couples in the six months after the ruling. Of course, we here in Colorado aren’t quite so active, but at least we can appreciate the victories of others while we wait.

2. Second to the Supremes, we gays took a big leap forward when the newest Pope uttered the words, “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” With that one phrase, Pope Francis hit a control-alt-delete on years’ worth of fear mongering, hatred, intolerance, and well, judgment from the Catholic 

hierarchy and their followers. Of course, he also added that homo-sex is still a sin, but whatever. Catholics, both old and young, have a new leader and a new perspective, which has given rise to such stories as this one from last week about students at a Catholic school protesting the forced resignation of their vice principal for marrying his husband.

3. Not only did the Catholic Church backpedal on their fight against all things gay, but so did the Mormon Church. Mormon history, when it came to us gays, is one filled with hideous examples of shunning and cruelty, a persecution ironically not unlike what many early Mormons went through. In their checkered past the Mormons have never been the most inclusive, only allowing African Americans into their flock in 1978, and their attitudes and actions towards LGBT folk certainly weren’t much better. The high point of Mormon involvement in gay hating came with the passage of Prop 8 in California, much of which was credited to the financial and vocal support of the Mormons. Yet, for winning the battle, they lost the war, as was brilliantly written on Mother Jones here. Consequently, the Mormon Church, like the Catholic Church, is preaching a new perspective based on inclusion and love. Sure, they and their members still have a ways to go as seen with whack-o sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card, but then again, every step forward is a step in the right direction.

4. The Boy Scouts of America also took a step into the 21st century with their decision to allow gay scouts to participate in their ranks. Their hardline stance against gays earned them nothing but bad press, dwindling participation, and lost donors. While the decision disappointed many who wanted acceptance of gay scout leaders, too, the pressure is still on the organization to continue expanding its inclusive ways. This has been seen in recent stories about aircraft giant LockheedMartin withdrawing their financial support as well as in smaller contexts as with this church in Cheyenne, WY who refused to allow its building as a meeting place over the continued banning of gay scout leaders.

5. When it comes to the music industry, we gays have both been loved and scorned – often times by artists on the same top 40 list. This year though, two artists made big splashes in genres where LGBT people aren’t usually celebrated, much less sung about. For the better part of the year, listeners couldn’t turn on their radios without hearing Macklemore’s Same Love while the video garnered over 100 million hits on YouTube alone. The rap song about inclusiveness and the love of queer folk would have been unheard of years ago, and yet in 2013 it’s a career-launcher. Similarly, no one’s ever started a country music career with a song about two boys falling in love while drinking around a campfire, but that’s exactly the trick Steve Grand pulled off this summer when his All-American Boy video went viral. 


So as 2013 draws to a close, it’s important to step back and appreciate our progress this year whether it be in the federal law books or on the R&B music charts. We may not have equality for all in 2013, but we’re a helluva lot closer than we were in 2012. Our federal laws have changed. Our biggest opponents have evolved in their attitudes and actions towards us. We have gay-proud faces and role models in communities where they have always remained hidden and silent.

And that progress is certainly history in the making and well worth celebrating.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Life Lessons: A Gay Man Turns 30

By Todd Craig

In school, our favorite teachers were the ones who inherently understood you. They knew when you were struggling. They knew when to help and when to back off. They knew when you needed encouragement or an attaboy. Those teachers radiated kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness as they escorted you through everything from cursive writing to graphing equations.

They just knew you.

Life is not that teacher.

Life’s lessons are usually cruel. Cold is a good adjective. Life doesn’t care about you, your feelings, or anything else for that matter. Life’s lesson is that you are the slowest gazelle in a field of lions.

Last weekend, my husband experienced one of those life lessons.

You see, last August he turned 30 – or in gay years 112. Thirty is a big milestone because it means you’re well beyond prom, cheap beer, and going out on Thursday nights amongst other things.

I can speak with authority on this subject because 30 for me was twelve years ago. (Side note #1: I realize this also means, as the great philosopher Billy Idol once opined, that I “rocked the cradle of love” when it came to selecting a husband. My response is: Yes. Yes I did.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Meet the MileHighGayGuy Bloggers: Todd Craig

MileHighGayGuy blogger Todd Craig is a freelance writer, teacher, husband, and father to his five year old son, Joshua. He enjoys making ends meet, golfing poorly, and writing about life's experiences from his home in Colorado Springs.

Check out some of his articles here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

After DOMA, Prop 8. Rulings: A Little Less Conversation; A Little More Action, Please

By Todd Craig

A few weeks have passed since the Supreme Court rulings against DOMA and Prop 8. In that time, states across the union have jumped at the opportunity to further the cause of marriage equality. Gay groups in Illinois, which has a civil unions law and a gay marriage ban, are legally challenging the second-class status such laws mandate.

In Pennsylvania, the A.C.L.U. has challenged the legality of that state’s gay marriage ban, using the Supreme Court’s rulings as the template to dismantle the discriminatory statute.

And in Colorado? Well, we’re apparently listening to the crickets chirping.

In a July 2 article published in OutFront, One Colorado director Brad Clark outlined the vision for Colorado’s main LGBT advocacy group’s path towards marriage equality: town hall meetings this fall “… aimed at discussing the path forward.”

Let me get this straight (pun intended): While other states already have lawsuits in motion fighting for marriage equality, our primary political lobbying group here in Colorado is planning meetings to discuss what to do?

Does anybody else feel let down by this?

Sure, One Colorado wants to be deliberate here. They know that we lost an election before, and they clearly don’t want to lose again. Although in retrospect, 2006 might as well have been 1956 for all of the change that has happened since, and the polls certainly would agree.

To be critical, it’s obvious that other states and their LGBT groups have already held their discussions and have decided that now is the time to act. In Colorado, I guess talking about acting is supposed to be as good as acting itself.

It’s not.

I realize that our gay marriage ban is written into the state constitution, and I get that no such ban has ever been overturned in the history of our country. It’s a big task; I get that. I really do.

But what I also realize is that the Colorado’s constitution has been changed over 150 times. From a legal standpoint, we have one of the most easily amendable constitutions in the country. On the day after the Supreme Court’s rulings, the Denver Post reported that a ballot measure to void the amendment in question could be easily held by gathering just more than 85,000 signatures statewide.

So yeah ... shouldn’t we get started on that?

I realize that elections are expensive and require man-power, money, and coordination in massive doses.

Elections may be expensive, but talk is cheap.

I realize you need to have political networks, savvy leadership, a vision for success, and the wherewithal to make it happen.

I thought that maybe we already had that in place based on the political victories extolled by One Colorado in the legislature and in last November’s elections. They certainly had no qualms celebrating the Supreme Court’s rulings by sending out a series of fundraising emails, one of which from Brad Clark featured the line: “But there’s something else we know – something that gives us incredible hope today. We know that in every corner of this state, Coloradans have shown they are ready for a conversation about why marriage matters to all couples – straight and gay alike. And in the coming weeks and months, we must come together as a community to ensure that conversation is carried out.”

Lovely prose, I suppose. But if Coloradoans are so ready to have the conversation about marriage equality to the point where we’re encouraged to donate our hard-earned dollars to the cause, why are we so not ready to have an election or to file a lawsuit? What have Pennsylvania and Illinois got, that Colorado doesn’t?

Besides quick and decisive action on the marriage equality front, that is?

Here in Colorado with nothing but talk on the horizon, we’re left to watch and wait and settle for second rate. Apparently, while other states have coordinated their efforts into action, all that we LGBT Coloradans can look forward to this fall is discussing a path forward.

Someone once said that talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand. In the more colorful parts of Colorado, talk is all we’re getting on marriage equality from our own LGBT political leadership, despite our low demand for it.

Perhaps then, when supplied something lesser, it’s time to demand better.

Friday, June 28, 2013

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: Todd Craig

"On the night after the big Supreme Court rulings against DOMA and refusing to hear Prop 8, while gays across our country celebrated, my husband stewed angrily.

'For most of us, nothing changed,' he said, livid at the celebrations going on around him on Facebook and otherwise.

There was no consoling him out of his mood.
And after some reflection on my part, it occurred to me he’s right.

While gays and lesbians in same sex marriages celebrated wildly, the rest of us were left to watch and wait and wish. Our turn will come someday.

Well, someday sucks.

No one, repeat no one, likes to watch someone else enjoy something you want but can’t have.

Here in Colorado, it has never been more apparent that civil unions aren’t civil; with no federal recognition, they’re separate and unequal and decidedly lesser.  The time for marriage equality is now.
What the Supreme Court ruled muddied the waters for those of us who live in states like ours. On the surface nothing changed, and beneath the surface lay a murky mess of unanswered questions and a bounty of legal loopholes and codified contradictions between the state and federal levels of government.

The Denver Post reported that Colorado’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman could be challenged with a ballot initiative, provided we gather a little over 85,000 signatures statewide.

Let’s get cracking.

This is the time when our political lobby has to step up, not back off. (One Colorado, I’m looking in your direction.) We need to have a ballot measure drafted. We need to start collecting signatures now.  The polling shows us that we have the support. Our governor backs us. Our legislature backs us. We have the momentum.

We need to strike while the iron is hot.

And while that’s going on, we need someone to file a lawsuit against the current amendment. The Supremes did us a solid by laying the groundwork for how to attack codified discrimination. It doesn’t stand the test of fairness, so it deserves a vigorous challenge. Legal precedent has now been established.

As individuals, we need to follow Minnesota’s lead. We need to talk with our friends, our families, and our neighbors about what marriage equality means. We need to talk about fairness and compassion.  We need to talk with everyone and campaign for everyone’s support. If it can work in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, it can work in Colorful Colorado, too.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. 

When we were kids, we brought cupcakes to school on our birthday. We made sure to note how many kids were in our class so that everyone could have one. Why? Because it was fair, and when you celebrate, you want to celebrate with everyone.

The Supreme Court rulings were nice, I suppose. And we’re a little bit closer to free, I suppose.  But it’s no fun watching other kids eating cupcakes when you don’t get one. 

So rather than wait for someone to hand us a cupcake, let’s grab some ingredients and get started.  We’ve got some work to do, Colorado.

The time is now. The support is there. The momentum is ours. The goal is worthy.  

Then we can truly celebrate."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Time Is Having Its Way With Me

By Todd Craig
As of April 29, 2013, I am 42 years old. 
For as long as I’ve lived, being gay has been a young man’s game made up mostly of drinking, dancing, and sleeping around.  At yes, at 42, I’ve discovered that age has its trappings.
My hair is thinning, and what hair I have left is graying.  I work out like crazy - not to get swoll, bruh - but to keep from being swollen from that one carb that I ate last week.  To wit: a few weeks ago, after a ridiculously tough workout, I slumped over in the steam room afterwards, exhausted and frustrated at my lack of progress.  There protruding from the middle of my unchiseled pecs was a bright white chest hair.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
There are other indicators that time is beginning to have its way with me, and they’re not all physical.  I can’t think of a single movie in the theater that I want to go see right now.  To tell you the truth, I don’t even know any of the titles, what any of them are about, nor even know who’s in them.  I really only want to see movies with Meryl Streep, and I’ll wait until they come out on DVD so I don’t have to wait in line for an overpriced ticket, thank you very much.
I can’t even pretend to be young either.  I look better in a button-down and slacks than I do in a designer t-shirt and jeans.   I drink vodka, not beer. Taco Bell doesn’t sound good anymore, and besides I’d need three days to work it off again at the gym.  Saving for retirement is more important than driving a new car.  I buy shoes on clearance.  At Kohl’s.
At some point in the last ten years, I turned… middle aged.
And as hellish as it sounds, I don’t think I’d trade it for anything.
First of all, I’m married. I have been with the same man for almost a decade now, and we make a pretty impressive team. The whole dating scene is long since gone, and I don’t miss it in the slightest.  Being young and single has its perks, but not one of them is equal to waking up with my husband draped around my body, snuggled up all warm and cozy as he does every morning.   When we change the sheets, we’ve worn ruts in the mattress where we sleep.  After eight years we laugh at the same jokes, and we know how one another thinks.  We exchange glances so nuanced that we have entire conversations without using words.  Long gone are the days of wondering what he’s thinking about.
Good riddance.
We also have a family in a little six year old boy who is full of energy, love, hugs, and farts – not necessarily in that order.  He bounds out of bed at 7 on Saturday mornings excited for breakfast and cartoons and the new day and his Star Wars Legos.  Sure, when I was single, I could sleep in until noon, but now I stumble out of bed, pull on some jammy pants, and start making pancakes.  It’s what we dads do.
Who needs sleep when you have blueberry pancakes?
And now, instead of weekends of drinking and dancing, I mow the lawn.  Sometimes, I sneak out of bed early to watch CBS Sunday Morning and read the paper in the quiet of the morning.  That’s about as exciting or sexy as my life gets anymore.
What my life is though is fulfilling.  Together with my husband, we’ve built a nice home, a beautiful family, and with apologies to Jimmy Stewart, a wonderful life.
The generations before me weren’t so lucky.  AIDS killed too many before they even reached 42; being gay was a young man’s game because very few lived to see middle age. Before that, an unhealthy mix of discrimination, fear, hatred, and societal expectations forced others into trying to live straight lives based in deceit and dishonesty.
So here I am, a gay man age 42:  husband, father, career man.  I live a rich, beautiful, life rooted in openness and love in a way that weren’t really possible for those generations before me.  For that, I’m grateful.
Certain aspects of gay life are best left to the young, I suppose.  The dancefloor is a place for twenty-something hardbodies.  I’ll let their plates be full with looking good, expensive fashions, and trying to get laid.  
My plate is full enough already with these blueberry pancakes for my son. 
And shhhh…  don’t tell anyone, but I kinda prefer it that way.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In Defense of Fems

By Todd Craig
My husband rocks a Coach purse.  He loves his Capris.  His last mani-pedi featured a brilliant red paint on his toes and French tips on his fingernails.
Yes, my husband is unapologetically feminine.  He often times uses feminine pronouns to refer to himself.  He swishes into a room and put the flame into flaming gay.
And I love him for it.
Too often, I hear my single gay friends talking about how they want someone who’s straight-acting.  They want someone who’s a man’s man.  Someone with whom they can drink beer, watch sports, and have manly raunchy sex with.
What they don’t know is what they’re missing out on.
See, I used to think the same way.  The two men that I dated before my husband were both ex-Marines.  I told myself back then that same thing I hear so many other gays say: No fems.  And while I bounced from man to man, date to date, relationship to relationship, I held fast in that stance.
It never occurred to me that the reason I hadn’t found “the one” included my own prejudices.
Dating is tough.  You’re constantly putting yourself out there, trying find someone with whom to connect, make friends, laugh, dance, and fuck all night while spending too much money on expensive drinks, leaving your emotions open to heartbreak, and trying to avoid STDs.  Sometimes it can feel like Mission Impossible.
So why would I have been so stupid as to limit my playing field and make dating even more difficult?
After nearly a decade with my feminine husband, I’ve learned just how silly my personal discriminations were.  As we were dating, his mother surprised me with a question one day.  She asked me what I thought her son’s first job was as a young teenager growing up in the back country of South Carolina?  The answer?  He caught and gutted catfish by hand at a catfish farm. 
And I was going to guess Mary Kay representative.
Turns out that my husband has a little Field and Stream snuck in the depths of his Vogue self.  Who knew?
True Story #1:  When we moved my possessions to Colorado Springs after a whirlwind six months’ worth of dating, we rented a rather large truck and filled my car with whatever else didn’t fit.  I offered to drive the truck, but my fem husband-to-be politely declined.  On the trip down I25, my Honda Civic struggled mightily to keep up with the U-Haul for the first few miles.  By Castle Rock, the truck was long gone.  When I pulled into the parking lot of our new apartment, he was leaning against that big truck with his arms crossed.
“What took ya?” he asked.
“Umm… highway safety?  Reasonable speeds?”
“Man, fuck that,” he said smiling ear-to-ear and patting the hood of the U-Haul, “I made this big boy my bitch!”
"Huh," I remembered thinking.  The fem likes to barrel down the highway driving a loaded-to-the-brim mass of metal at ridiculous speeds.  Who knew?  Turns out that there’s nothing sexier that a fem boy with a bit of manly swagger.
Don’t think for a moment that my husband wishes he were a girl.  Yes, his favorite color is pink.  And yes, he’d rather plan a wedding than a Super Bowl party.  But trust me, my feminine husband is all man when and where it counts.
True Story #2:  During a financially tight month about three years ago, the power windows on my husband’s car quit on us.  It was the third or fourth such catastrophe to hit that month, and there wasn’t money left in the bank to pay for an expensive car repair.  I told him it was going to have to wait until next month. 
That next day while I was at work, I received a text from my husband.  He had sashayed his way into a local auto parts store, told them his problem, and bought a new motor for his window.  Apparently, the auto parts store employee walked him out to his car and showed him how to take apart his door and explained how he could wire the new motor into place.
I came home to find tools spread out on the garage floor and grease on his white undershirt and under his French tips.  “Look at this!” he exclaimed, hitting the button and making the window go up and down.
"Huh," I thought again.  “How much did this cost us?”
“Just $45 for the motor.  I took the door apart and installed it myself,” he said with more than a hint of pride.  I gotta admit the surprise of his automotive prowess, his white undershirt, and grease-stained manicured hands was a contradiction of masculine and feminine that was an almost ridiculous turn-on.
I’ve learned a lot from my husband over the last few years.  The biggest lesson is that what makes us male and female has little to do with what comprises masculine and feminine.  When I was single and dating, I was indeed one of those who didn’t want anything to do with overly feminine guys.
Then I met my husband.
Turns out that the living personification of swish can gut a fish.  He also drives a truck like a bad ass and doesn’t mind a little grease under his French tip manicure.  Had I not let go of my no-fems policy, I’d have missed out on the most amazing man I’ve ever known.
Of course, that would have saved me a few thousand dollars on Coach bags and nail salon visits over the years, but believe me, I just chalk those expenses up to the cost of happiness.  For I know now that sometimes in order to find your prince, you just might have consider a queen.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Marriage Equality: Feeling the Earth Move Under Our Feet

By Todd Craig

What a crazy couple of weeks, huh?

The Supreme Court finally heard the challenges to DOMA and Prop 8, gay marriage once again firmly took control of the news and social media, and now…

Now we wait.

But while we’re waiting, was it just me, or, with apologies to Carole King, did you feel the earth move under your feet?

Evolution doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen over the course of a couple of weeks, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t feel that way.

I woke up the morning of the hearings primed and ready to go. I logged in, monitored the live twitter feeds and Supreme Court blogs. I dutifully changed my Facebook profile picture to the HRC equal sign logo and donned red for the morning’s festivities.

By midday, my Facebook was a stream of pro-equality memes. By the afternoon, everyone’s profile picture represented equality. By evening, my gym was filled with guys wearing red workout clothes. By nightfall, I felt something very strange.

I felt equal.

The Supreme Court should rule on both cases sometime in June. Sure, I’ll hope for widespread rulings, but I doubt that will happen. Who really knows?

But a better question might be: Who really cares?

Rush Limbaugh
Seriously, there’s no way to lose here. If the Supreme Court’s ruling is wide ranging, hooray! We’ll get married as soon as possible. If the Supreme Court’s ruling is narrow, the outrage that will occur will only inspire the momentum into further action. We’ll go out there and earn our rights the hard way, state-by-state, election-by-election.

After what happened this week, I’m not sure there is anyone who can stop us now. Momentum is on our side. Even Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly came out in support of gay marriage, while uber-right-wing-blowhard Rush Limbaugh acknowledged that gay marriage was inevitable. I mean, c’mon, for those two to be saying things like that, well, that’s not just the sound of evolution, that’s the sound of the other side admitting defeat.

Sure, there are still haters out there. But they’re sounding more alone and more shrill by the minute.

What I do know is that for the first time in my nearly 42 years of life, I didn’t feel different. I didn’t feel like a gay outsider in a straights-only America. I felt like my concerns were heard. I felt understood. I felt like my friends, my family, and my country stood up and said that they really did feel like all men were created equal. I felt that someday soon, I wouldn’t be getting a commitment ceremony or a civil union; I felt that someday soon I‘d get married.

That’s huge.

There’s no other explanation for the evolutionary leap other than the earth literally is moving under our feet. The sky is tumblin’ down.

After seeing all those news reports, after seeing all of those equality signs, my heart - again with apologies to Carole King - really begin tremblin’.

Because soon, gay marriage will be around.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Meet the MileHighGayGuy Bloggers: Todd Craig

Todd Craig is a freelance writer, teacher, husband, and father to his five year old son, Joshua. He enjoys making ends meet, golfing poorly, and writing about life's experiences from his home in Colorado Springs.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Meet the MileHighGayGuy Bloggers: Todd Craig

Todd Craig is a freelance writer, teacher, husband, and father to his five year old son, Joshua.

He enjoys making ends meet, golfing poorly, and writing about life's experiences from his home in Colorado Springs.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Denver Broncos Fever Dreams: Matching the Broncos With Their Pop Culture Counterparts

By Todd Craig
My father, as avid an athlete and sports fan as there has ever been, raised his boys with sports in the backyard and sports on TV.  And while I never mastered any specific athletic endeavor with any degree of proficiency, I did grow up with a passion for sports, athletes, and their stories.
More specifically, I grew up a fan of the Denver Broncos.
I was six the first time Denver went to a Super Bowl and lost.  I was a college freshman the last time they went to a Super Bowl and lost.  Broncos fans suffered for their cause. We were mocked. We were seen as lesser.  It was not cool to be a Broncos fan.
And then, just as time was running out on the career of the greatest Bronco of them all - John Elway - the Denver Broncos went and won two Super Bowls in a row, sending their fans into the stratosphere and sending Elway into immortality.
But success doesn’t last forever, and for the last dozen years or so, the Broncos have returned to their also-ran status.
Until now.
You may not have noticed, but Denver is again crazy for their Broncos.  The signing of thoroughbred quarterback Peyton Manning has brought the team back to the top in the NFL, and as a lifelong Broncos fan, I’m thrilled.
My husband, who doesn’t give a shit for anything that involves balls (well, almost anything),  just rolls his eyes whenever I dial up the NFL on Sunday afternoons.  But with the playoffs fast approaching and a Broncos team that is clicking like Dorothy’s ruby red shoes, now seems like the perfect time to get my husband to watch and appreciate them the way I do. This season has been so magical, so filled with great stories, that I should be able to find a way to translate them to fit his gay lexicon.
And that got me thinking, if these Broncos were famous figures from pop-culture, who would they be?  Let me know what you think about these, and if you have further ones, make them in the comments section below.
John Elway is Cher.  In the gay world, no one is bigger or lasted longer than Cher, and for those reasons alone, she and Elway make a good pairing.  But there are other reasons for this comparison as well.  Cher started off a skinny teenager with a big talent – just like Elway.  She had early success and her career spanned decades – just like Elway.  She was dead and buried and written off as washed up – just like Elway.  She’s known for her comebacks – just like Elway.  The Broncos were a mess just two years ago, and when Elway reinvented himself one more time in the role as the team’s highest executive and brought forth one more renaissance, well, the results proved almost Cher-like.   He’s ba-a-a-ck!
Peyton Manning is Tony Bennett.  Who is that old guy singing with Lady Gaga and Michael Buble, you ask?  The timeless Bennett, who like Manning, has surrounded himself with a new team of talent and brought his timeless class back to the forefront.   My husband likes to say that Peyton Manning has cat-daddy swagger, which he’s picked up on from any of the three-million commercials he’s featured in.  But there’s something special going on with this old guy Manning this year.  Given up for dead and cast aside like yesterday’s news by the Indianapolis Colts, Manning has teamed up with a bunch of youngsters in Denver’s receiving corps to make some pretty sweet music that spans the generations and is as timeless as it is classic.  Bennett, like Manning, may not be a gay icon, but a little cat-daddy swagger appeals to us all.
Champ Bailey is Beyonce.   Isn’t Beyonce like the perfect songstress ever?  Well, the same goes for Champ Bailey as an NFL cornerback.  They’re both thoroughbreds in style and performance.  They’ve both been around forever and have constantly delivered the goods year in and year out.   Beyonce’s Destiny’s Child years can be compared with Bailey’s years as playing for Washington.  But stepping out from those early successes carried both risk and reward, and neither has disappointed in the years since, pumping out hit after hit and classic performance after classic performance.  Both Bailey and Beyonce are the gold standard at what they do.
Elvis Dumervil is Lil’ Kim and Von Miller is Nicki Minaj.  Denver’s pass rushing defensive end and tornado of a linebacker have been wreaking havoc on the Broncos’ opponents all year long.  Dumervil has long been a beast to contain, and like Lil’ Kim, has had a scrape with the law in his recent past.  Miller is the fresh, younger version that’s seemingly everywhere, much like Nicki Minaj.  Sure, there’s a bit of a rivalry as to who is Denver’s top blitzer, but as with any rivalry, we fans are the winners after every rap they make.
Eric Decker is Channing Tatum.  Denver’s young wide receiver from the University of Minnesota equates nicely with Tatum.  He’s fap-fap-fapulous.   Seriously, google image search Eric Decker, take four to five minutes for yourself, and thank me later. 
Honorable Mentions:
Willis McGahee is Madonna.  Probably washed up, and there’s a fumble here and there, but still producing better than most.
Demaryius Thomas is Adele.  Holy shit!  If this is how you start off, we’re looking forward to many, many more years of amazing!
Dishonorable Mentions:
Tim Tebow is PSY.  Wow!  That was an insanely catchy tune that made no sense and was as improbable as it was addictive.  Yet even as it was happening, it was obvious that this was a one-hit-wonder to everyone.  The same goes for PSY.
Josh McDaniels is Milli Vanilli.  A greater fraud has never been perpetrated.
Jay Cutler is Rupert Everett.  So much talent.  So much potential.  So much whining.  So much a douche.  I’m embarrassed that I ever had anything to do with you.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sleeping Together: Fantasy Versus Reality

By Todd Craig
When I was single, I had these Cinderella dreams of life as a couple.  I romanticized growing old together.  I imagined snuggling up and drifting to sleep in the arms of my man on cold winter nights as if life outside were a Thomas Kincade painting.
The reality is that Thomas Kincade is dead, and his paintings, like those dreams of snuggly sleep, weren’t real either.
The ninth anniversary of the first date with my husband will be here in a few days.  Nine years, man.  That’s a pretty good start on something special, and it’s definitely enough time to have learned a few things along the way.
The biggest myth these past nine years exposed is this: We don’t snuggle up together and fall asleep in each others' arms.  We’re a couple.  We love each other deeply.  We’re deeply devoted to one another, too.  But for us, sleeping together has nothing to do with those single-person idyllic dreams of drifting off to slumber amidst nightly cuddles.  Instead, the reality has been a bit of a rude awakening, pun intended, for us both in that regard.
Sleeping Together Reality #1 –The first sign reality differed from fantasy was when I learned that my man has cold feet.  They’re colder than the damned sidewalk, and they’re unnaturally cold twelve months out of the year.  In the depths of winter, those footsicles are the first things that greet me upon getting into bed. 
You know those idiots who do the polar bear plunge of jumping into an icy lake on New Year’s?  They have nothing on me.  They do their little jump once a year.  Me?  I do it nightly.  Honestly, the temperature of his feet hovers somewhere between Canadian cold front and Absolute Zero.  Probably closer to the latter.  It’s gotten so bad that I flinch when I pull back the sheets.   My testicles have withdrawn so many times that they’re on a first name basis with my kidneys.
My spirit has been so broken that I recently bought a heated mattress pad for us.  It has twenty different settings of heat with Level One being a gentle radiating warmth and Level 20 being enough to take a frozen pot roast to medium rare perfection in less than three minutes.  Even at that setting and after a few minutes of thawing time, there is still a nightly negotiation between his feet and my body that I always lose. 
Sleeping Together Reality #2 – I’ll be the first to admit, I love snuggling.  I love to pull my husband close to me, drape my right arm across his bare torso, and hold him close to me.  Sounds good, right?  Not to him.
In his world, my arm weighs about thirty pounds.  The weight of my arm is uncomfortable and confining to him, so there’s no possible way he can get to sleep like that.  Every time I reach across with my arm, in his mind I might as well be laying a sandbag across his chest.
Turnabout is fair play, for as much as I like to snuggle with my arms, my husband likes to get a leg up on the competition, pun intended again, by snuggling with his legs.  He has this weird thing about not wanting his knees to touch, and his solution to this problem is to throw one or both of his legs over me once I’m asleep.  I don’t know if anyone else in the world has ever had this done to him, but let me inform you, having half of a person draped over you twists your spine in some rather unnatural positions that even the Karma Sutra would take a pass on. 
Sleeping Together Reality #3 – Never in all my years of dating did any boy ever tell me that I snored.  There are probably a number of reasons that I never heard this, including the fact that many times we didn’t actually get to the whole sleeping part of the night, but regardless, I’ve always believed that I was a silent sleeper.
To hear my husband tell it, however, my breathing is the perfect combination of the whistling winds in a canyon, the roaring engine of a 747 taking off, and a truck downshifting on the interstate.  A couple of weeks ago I was in a deep, dark sleep when all of a sudden, WHAM! I got an elbow in the ribs.
“What was that for?” I mumbled.
“You were breathing out of your mouth funny.  You were making this weird clicking noise!  Shhhhhh-pop! Shhhhh-pop!  Shhhhh-pop!  Over and over and over again.”
I began to comment that I was probably laboring to breathe due to the fact that I had his legs draped over me when I was elbowed in the chest a second time.  He suggested that I should keep my mouth shut while I was both asleep and awake if I didn’t want any more pointed elbows heading my direction.  That harsh reality was colder than my husband’s feet, and it was enough to convince me to roll over and keep my smart ass comments to myself.
All in all, there’s nothing quite like falling in love with the man of your dreams.  The Cinderella story is well known to us all, and when you’re single you cling to those relationship dreams and all of the idyllic images that go along with them to get you through the challenges of dating and the single life.
Reality isn’t always perfect, however.   Sometimes Prince Charming has cold feet.  Sometimes Prince Charming snores.
And the reality of sleeping with someone, like those elbows to the ribs, can be a bit of a rude awakening from what you hoped it would be.
I love my husband with all of my heart, and marrying him is the best thing that I’ve ever done.  Would knowing that we wouldn’t be snuggling blissfully to sleep every night for the rest of our lives change my single mind about marrying him?
Would his cold feet have given me cold feet?