It's been quite a year really. Huge political changes in North Africa and the Middle East. I cheer on the one hand, but despair as well, as I read of the persecution of gay men that gets carried out in the turmoil. Scores of gay men have been targetted and murdered in Baghdad, killed just for being gay - this is hideous and barbaric, and it seems like it's not just happening there - we have become a legitimate target, easy to attack with no consequences. Gays don't count as real humans, we're just scum in their eyes. We are so lucky in New Zealand, as bad as things can get here, you won't be pulled into a car, driven off to some wasteland, raped, tortured and shot and then have your body dumped back at your parents' after. You can read more here...
It still amazes me that two men, or two women, or just the fact of an adult being sexually "different" can arouse such hatred and anger, such bile and stupid barbarity. And it's not just the Muslim world, there are Rabbis and Priests, Swamis and Gurus, Buddhists and Hindus who disagree about everything else except on what abominable sinful disgusting things we are.
Closer to home, we had the whole "It Gets Better" project as a response to the publicity around gay and queer youth suicide, starting in the US and then growing and growing. I think it is a great project, so many voices coming out with a positive message. By itself it's not enough of course, but it is a real step in putting positive messages out there for our youth. There was nothing like it when I was a suicidal teenager that's for sure - I had no idea that gay men could lead happy loving lives.
And honestly, life in general does get better as we age. It doesn't get perfect, but we learn how to cope better. I know that's true for me and most people I know. There will always be nasty bullies and shit-heads in the world, but as I get older they affect me less and less.
I listened to two women in their 80s talking about surviving breast cancer the other day and how they reacted to it, and one said "Well you do just get more balanced about things at our age". I love old ladies. They know stuff if you're ready to listen.
And listening is good, it's the gift of time, and as much of a cliche as it is, giving other people your time, giving them your attention, is the most precious thing you can do. Without time, we are nothing, and being open and willing to share it with others shows you respect and care for them in the way you would like to be. It is the greatest gift. And it runs out. Suddenly that friend you cared for is dead, and everything that kept you busy and stopped you seeing them suddenly seems trivial and a mistake. So where you can, give generously of your time, listen, pay attention, remember you're dealing with someone with a life that is as full of joy, worry and drama as your own.
I turned 50 this year, and I really wouldn't want to be 20 again - ok, I'd like my 20 year-old body back, but I wouldn't want to be that youth again. Or maybe when I was 25, I think I looked my best around then, weighed about 15 kgs less, had more hair and a higher libido. But I wouldn't want that head back.
I have had a tradition of getting laid on New Year's Eve, as the best way to see in a New Year, but I'm not sure if that'll happen this time. I'll be up at Urge, with old and new friends, and one of my oldest mates is visiting from London. But if you see this guy and he's looking lost, send him my way...
Whatever you do, I hope you have a great time on NYE, and that 2012 is a wonderful year for you. Thank you to those who give me their time and read what I write, I love hearing back from people about stuff, and am really humbled by some of the things people have told me. Sorry if I fucked you off, but hey, it gets better - promise!
I'm not a great one for New Year's resolutions, but I will try and be nicer in 2012. Honestly. Just don't piss me off.