Here we are at another Pride Month.
This website is, and always will be, a safe space for anyone who identifies anywhere in the collective realm of “queer.” Whether that identification is based on sexual attraction, romantic attraction, gender identity, or the confluence (or lack thereof) of all three: you are welcome here.
Not that this information isn’t available elsewhere on this website and across my social media, but occasionally it’s good to write a new post reminding people of who I am and what I’m about. So:
Your host and author, Anthony R. Cardno, is:
· cis-gender male (pronouns He, Him, His)
· of Scottish, Italian and Polish extraction (second-generation in the US on the Scots (Dad’s) side, and either second- or third-generation for the Pole and Italian (Mom’s) side)
· non-denominational Christian with an open and accepting spiritual side (but raised Roman Catholic)
I came out in my late twenties. Slowly at first to my close college friends and immediate family, then to high school and childhood friends and extended family and eventually professionally. The response was a lot of “well, I always suspected but didn’t want to rush you,” which somewhat made each subsequent coming-out conversation easier. I was lucky enough to have a ton of love and support, which so many of my peers did not have, and so many folks now coming out still don’t. My process was perhaps easier than may others, but it wasn’t necessarily smooth. Mom told me she was fine with it as long as I didn’t “embarrass her in front of the neighbors” (polite speak for “I don’t care what you do at college, but don’t mention this around our community”); Dad was honest that if I’d come out as a teen his reaction would have been very different and perhaps even emotionally, if not physically, violent. And of course there were the handful of old friends who said they didn’t care “as long as I didn’t hit on them” (Interestingly, that almost always came from the guys I never even vaguely had a crush on in elementary, middle, or high school.).
Coming Out is NOT a one-time deal. It’s an on-going process as new people come into your life or as (thanks to social media) childhood friends come back in touch. And I’d be lying (or at least committing a sin of omission) if I didn’t admit that I do still find it stressful in professional (day-job-related) settings, for whatever reason.
So coming out happened in my late twenties, almost 25 years ago. But like many people, internally I knew (even if I didn’t acknowledge/accept) much earlier. A recent thread on my Facebook page about “the most obscure shows you watched when you were around 10 years old” reminded me that even at that age I had what I now can admit were crushes on actors like David Doremus (from “Nanny and the Professor”), Ike Eisenmann (from the “Witch Mountain” movies), Brandon Cruz (from “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”), Jack Wild (from “HR Pufinstuf” and “Oliver!”), Tommy Kirk (from a dozen Disney movies), Donny Osmond, and pretty much all of the Brady boys. There were crushes on older guys too, of course … but these are the guys I remember wishing I could be best friends with, have sleepovers with, could just cuddle up with – long before any kind of sexual attraction was evident (and never mind that many of these actors were people I was seeing in re-runs and were thus actually older than me – 10 year old Anthony’s brain didn’t really take that into consideration).
As puberty hit and the sexual attraction component also kicked in, so did embarrassment, anxiety and a fear (thank you, Roman Catholic Church!) that I was inherently evil – or at least not “good.” Those insecurities manifested in several ways. In middle school it came as a tendency to do anything I could to not have to go to school (which my parents viewed as a return of a “habit” I had during my one year in Catholic school in Astoria, NY – but my theories about what was going on there are something for another post, if ever). In high school and for several years thereafter, it manifested as a limited form of self-harm involving scratching my wrists (which I recently posted about on my Instagram).
I stopped physically self-harming a long time ago but I still struggle with depression, insecurity and social anxiety issues, part of which stem from those years of not accepting my sexuality and part of which stem from completely different things.
So naturally as a reader and viewer I tend to seek out the kinds of characters I didn’t see growing up (except as jokes or villains; the subject of a post later this month). As a writer, I don’t intentionally limit all of my characters to those I would have liked to have seen but almost every story I write has a queer character of some kind in it somewhere, and usually more than one. Because we’re not just tokens; we’re a large part of the human community as a whole. As a blogger, I want to support and promote creators who identify as queer or who produce work with queer characters, because we won’t be fully represented at all if we can’t represent ourselves. (I also actively seek out work by creators who aren’t white, in case you’re wondering. Because I want to see work that represents humanity in all its diversity and wonder. But that’s a post for another time as well.)
I love to read, write, and consume pop culture largely in the “speculative fiction” / “genre” realms. I love live theater. I love live sports, too, but it’s very hard to convince me to watch them on televisioin (get me to a game, especially the faster-paced ones like hockey, soccer, basketball, and I’m all in; put it on the television and I’m bored). My sense of humor swings from snarky to puns and back, and if I don’t say something every day that qualifies as a “Dad” joke my nieces and nephews are gravely disappointed. I love my family – the genetic one and the found one.
Today, and every day, I send all my love to my fellow Queers around the world. Wherever/however you identify: gay, lesbian, bi, pan, aro, ace, trans*, non-binary, gender-fluid, questioning or anything I've inadvertently forgotten; whatever your "out" status: publicly, privately, or not at all. You are unique, you are you, and no-one should take that away from you. (Nor should anyone try to force you out if you're not ready or are in an unsafe situation.)
And of course, to my nieces and nephews who identify anywhere in the wide realm of Queer: I love you, every day and always, whether you’ve ever told me you’re queer or not.