Sunday, January 13, 2013

30 LGBT writers you must read before you die: Paul Monette

Becoming a Man:  Half a Life Story “When you finally come out, there's a pain that stops, and you know it will never hurt like that again, no matter how much you lose or how bad you die.” ― Paul Monette

Paul Monette was an openly gay American author, poet and activist born in 1945 and best known for his honest and revealing essays about gay relationships and later on in life, his battle with AIDS. Like many Monette grew up conflicted about his sexual identity, but his growth into acceptance of whom he was and his celebration of self through literature makes Paul Monette a writer worth reading. READ More

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Goodbye To Forever

Life always takes the time to remind us we don’t have forever. That is why it is so important to love who we are inside because tomorrow won’t remember us if we don’t take the time to smile today.

It was a still moment on a simple day. I was a bit grumpy on that particular morning, barely saying a good morning to co-workers as I sat down at my desk to begin another eight hours of the same routine. As I looked up at my computer monitor, the first thing I saw was an email from my friend Michael. I clicked it open and what I remember most as I read were the cloudy skies outside the window as I turned to my left. I remember that moment of hesitation as my mind took the time to catch up to my heart as I read the words:

“I have something to tell you”.

My heart started beating fast as my eyes scurried to find out the news. He mentioned that an acquaintance had passed away. I was a little relieved but it was shocking news because it was someone who I saw frequently in the gay scene and someone I didn’t even know was sick. This person was one of those individuals I took for granted but at the same time someone I found amusing. It gave me sadness because I didn’t take the time to get to know him. I guess I figured I had time. I thought I had forever to get to know the true meaning behind his eyes and the true definition of his heart that usually stayed hidden behind a wide smile and multiple wise cracks. There were so many of those little things – from a nickname he called himself to the constant joking around he always did – that I grew to appreciate and miss. After finding my mind stranded inside a few minutes that seemed like hours, I deleted the email and realized what’s here today can be gone tomorrow.

It is evident in all walks of life. We spend so much time being angry at someone or so much time hating someone for who they are that we lose touch of the importance of every single person who enters our life. We know this and we remind ourselves all the time but how often do we really take the time to breathe and just enjoy what is around us. We often mark off our calendars or rush through our weeks to get to the weekend. Before we know it something has happened to someone else that makes us stop and say “damn!”

As I talked to and got to know a few older men who lived during the 80’s who have lost friends and acquaintance because of AIDS, I realized there wasn’t the same amount of prevention or education back then as we have today. I’ve been lucky so far not to have experienced as much loss as they have. But the email I found in my email that morning made me think and made me realize that consequences are real. There is no tomorrow if we don’t embrace our now.

Every day that we turn the ignition to our cars or take a walk there is a risk. We don’t have much control over most things that happen around us. This guy that I knew was probably looking forward to a next birthday or a holiday or simply the next day and never got to see it. It really made me look at myself and how I treated others online and in real life. Online we can get carried away because we don’t really know the people we interact with and the same goes for people we rarely know in our daily lives. We don’t really know what a person is going through or has been through in their lives and we take for granted how our words can affect someone.

There is no guarantee of a tomorrow; there is no guarantee of a change to apologize or understand a person’s differences. Because of that experience and experiencing daily the fight for the equality of respect, I strive to be that voice remembering those who didn’t get the chance to fulfill their lives. Whether they were taken from this world due to illness or took their own lives do to bullying or the pressure from constant judgment, some of those people never got the chance to experience the feeling of acceptance.

There are times life teaches us to open our eyes and celebrate the vision of living.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lost Ones

I write for their eyes
as I narrate the loneliness they feel
 from inside the of hidden identities
that have become immersed
within the transparent confusion
 of society’s delusion.

Some are brave and stand alone
on judgment’s concrete stone
 afraid to shine their difference
in the dampened skies where hateful
plagiarize their souls to be ashamed
of how they were born;

some are young, abandoned and living
in houses that don’t feel like home.
 They are trying to be clones
of who they are told they have to be
but in their hearts they just
 reach for the moment where
 they can be free

and some are reminders of me—hidden sexuality
 searching for air
 and the right to breathe their own
civil liberty.  I write for their pride, their beauty
 and their strength

I write for every emotion
they feel they need to keep locked up
Inside/afraid no one would understand;
 afraid there would be no one
on their side

and I write for their courage;
 the everyday journey
of new discoveries and the celebration
they will inherit by loving who they are
 because they will be loved.
I write for them and I write for who

 I used to be – lost ones
ready and searching to be found.

© 2012
Tarringo T. Vaughan

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Letter To Him

Dear Him,

I once saw you standing on the corner once before/hidden
in the mirrors of self-blame and masked by feelings of shame.
You thought no one knew you; you thought no one heard
the true language of your heart and you thought no one cared
 --at least that’s what you feared

And now I see you standing free for the world to see—
you have become a victory and now I see you breathing, relaxing
and no longer suffocating inside feelings
suppressed by the non-acceptance of ignorance
that had you locked away in a closet unaware
 of the many layers of your own importance.

You felt lost in a maze of confusion with no way out;
locked inside a place where dark illustrated illusions distracted
 your pride and self-love; a place where your thoughts and feelings
failed  to come together in fusion—

but finally your  confidence has collided with strength
and tall you stand as you are a champion of life:
One who have defeated

those who have judged and continue to judge;
those who still try to trip your presence and make you
                                  fall back in that hole of fear
but you rise and refuse to go back there;

you have shown the world that  this too is life
through self-discovery and  the makings of you. 
I see you standing now as a sculpture beautifully constructed
 by the artists known as courage, strength, dedication
 (a new found appreciation)

and the pride that now defines happiness
and a self-worth that has become priceless.

 You are the many who walk brave.



© 2012
Tarringo T. Vaughan

Monday, October 17, 2011

It Was All About The Sex

 he said “I’ll Call you”.
As I turned over in my queen size bed partially covered with the scent of him, I knew that call would not come. I can still hear the echo of his footsteps followed by the creak in the door swing shut all these years later. 
And why?

Because I felt like a god damn fool, an idiot, a used piece of chewing gum spit out for a new flavor. I thought his smooth words and attractive eyes were sincere; I thought the way he touched me was for me and not just to get me. He said the right things, made all the right moves, even pretended to listen to my heart. But you see, he was a playa in a game that I never read the instructions to. All these years later I now realize how easy it should’ve all been to figure out. 


I was a piece of ass and it didn’t feel good when you didn’t sign up for a one night stand. I’m not even going to say it’s a gay thing or man thing because I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. It was all about that sex that night. He called me and politely asked me to dinner. We met, caught a movie and I cringed as his hand touched mine because I wasn’t use to the affection in public. But at the same time I melted because it was a moment I wanted.
The movie ended and there we were back at my place. I was shy and he made me feel comfortable with just his smile. A kiss led to more and although in my head I knew it wasn’t smart to go further, my body did the talking that night. And you know what? I thought the night would lead to many even though deep inside I felt I was probably one of many that he romanced and seduced and left laying in a half made bed of sweat.

And I turned out to be right. He was the first that I experienced that within the gay world and he sure wasn’t the last. You really can’t see it coming no matter how much you shield yourself. But I’ve learned that if it’s going to be just about sex, then I will get mine too. The gay world is lonely enough without being left behind.

“Tee, Is that you”, he said years later in a dark club.

I looked and said “Yes”. He looked at the muscles on my body and the new confidence I had and said “You look great”. I nodded and walked past. He tried the rest of the night to get my attention. But I pretended not to notice and ignored him like he ignored my heart. A friend asked me who he was and as he walked behind me, I said in a loud voice.

“Oh just some guy who was lousy in bed, it was just about the sex”.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some Say Love...

"Written Before I Found Love Again"

I still remember…love.

I remember all the possible feelings of being cuddled in another’s arms; the soft caress of eyes interlocked for moments of eternity. I remember the aroma that lingers when love fills the air like the breath of a warm rain ready to shower the earth with radiance. There was once a time I thought love was a myth. I was a young teenager waltzing in a maze of my own imagination just feeling like I would never find that feeling of magic. I learned love was like a dream but no one ever taught me the many personalities of love. As I’ve grown and continue to grow I’ve learned that love is not just that magical feeling two lovers orchestrate on mountains of passion, love is also inhaling the tears and moments of sickness. Love is standing by someone when they are at their weakness and love is about letting go. Some say love creates those moments of healing and self-renewal and I say love is the lead vocal in this song called life.
One night I stood in a crowded club watching like I tend to do. I saw two younger men who found each other in that same club. They were introduced by circumstance and took a chance by allowing their hearts to dance. I thought to myself how happy they looked and I was happy for them. Every time their smile gazed into each other’s eyes, there was electricity that filled the air. They were creating a music that symphonized throughout the night. I remembered that moment as my own, right there, in that very club and it made me once again yearn for the warmth of just having another soul think about you that way. I missed the comfort of another’s heartbeat vibrating throughout my own body and that night as I watched these two lovers I wondered about their journey and if they would be able to survive the obstacles and if they would still look at each other with that mesmerism once flaws were exposed. Some say love is limitless when it is unconditional. I watched love grow that night.

On the same night I continued to voyeur this new connection. I watched them hold each other and interact with friends. They were like magnets always finding their way back to one another. This was something refreshing in the gay community; it was a magnetism I once had but had given up on because a lot of men just want that one night stand or that one time claim to your heart. As the night went on I took my eyes off the couple and focused on my own enjoyment which just led me to get drunk off of memories of what I had and I leaned against the bar just wondering why so quickly did love yank its claws out of me without warning. Some say love strikes you when you least expect so I guess it can go both ways. Some say love can only exist between a man and a woman but everyday someone is proving that wrong. Somewhere two women are laying on a couch dozing off in to each other’s minds and somewhere two men are sitting on a porch watching the stars align in the shape of their hearts. Somewhere the love I once had is thinking about me as I think about him and before me that night two young lovers were exercising their love into a new strength. Some say this love is a sin but how can it be wrong when it is so beautiful when it just feels right.

© 2010
Tarringo T. Vaughan
Diary Of A Gay Black Man

Saturday, May 14, 2011


There are many fears in the world and everyone is afraid of something. Sometimes we don’t realize our own fears until we are faced with them. A co-worker screams suddenly and intensely every time she spots a spider; this is her arachnophobia: a phobia that many people besides her have, but a phobia that can be overcome through more exposure to spiders and that can be the case for many of our fears. As a child and into my early adulthood I was afraid of my own image in the mirror which is something they call Eisoptrophobia; something I never heard of but after realizing what exactly it was I understood my own fear. Time has healed me, seeing myself and loving myself more has healed me although there are still times I don’t like seeing images of myself. And I’ve heard of fear of heights, animals, the outdoors but I never thought or realized there were people with a fear of me.
Homophobia: The fear of homosexuality or fear of being homosexual.

Where do I begin here but to say I use to have the fear of being gay myself. When I started to realize the possibility, I decided I wanted to hide it or hoped it was just a phrase. Overtime I realized I was hiding who I was out of fear of society’s view on me. Not sure what they would call that kind of phobia. But I and so many others suffered from it. In fact I know many who still do. Homophobia is indeed a fear but it more is defined as hatred or is it cowardice? To an extent I can understand how hard it can be to accept difference, especially when there is a lack of knowledge or exposure to that difference. Isn’t that where we get many of these phobias? Times are getting better though as people are becoming more open minded and accepting but of course the more things change the more things stay the same. Homophobia isn’t cool these days so I find that it’s hidden as is racism or any other prejudice out there. But there is still small mindedness rampant out there.

Some people have a fear of thinking…(for themselves) called phronemophobia and a fear of knowledge called gnogiophobia. Yes, there’s a name for all kinds of fear. And I actually think homophobia contains both of those fears. An openness to think and openness to knowledge when it comes to those we see as difference. And when there are differences even within that subgroup we really have to open ourselves up to understanding or attempting to. Homophobia is something that more pisses me off than hurts me as an individual because if your content with yourself then there is no need to try to make someone else feel small or “Queer” for not being like you. And I’m going to say this as I know some are homophobic when it comes to my blogs (this one in particular). There is no worst phobia out there than the fear of yourself. Think about that.