A Look Back

I was doing some writing today, and I referred back to this post from less than a year ago. It is amazing what we can accomplish in a year. Now hopefully DADT is overturned in the next couple of days and we can continue making progress!

Bill 18-482, Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 Testimony

Testimony by JRH on Bill 18-482, Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 before the Committee on Public Service and the Judiciary on November 9, 2009.

I would first like to thank DC City Council Member David Catania and the nine co-sponsors of Bill 18-482 for introducing a bill that will amend the law and allow for same sex couples to marry in the District of Columbia.

When I first came out of the closet as a gay man to my parents there were many challenges, many of the same challenges every gay man has. Some of the challenges were personal, some involved acceptance, and still others involved my mothers religious beliefs. There were many things that my loving family didn’t understand, like why I would make this choice for my life. Certain things my family still doesn’t comprehend. However, the one thing that stuck with me for all these years is them sitting across the table from me and saying… “We just want you to get married and have a family.” I started to cry, and I looked my parents straight in the eye, with the tears dripping down my face and told them that I was still going to do that.

Back when I made this declaration to my parents it was not legal for me to marry the man I love anywhere in the United States. People were fighting for these equal rights, but this fight for equality was just becoming visible to me. I had no idea how hard of a fight it would be, because I grew up assuming that all men and women are created equal, that “separate but equal” was a thing of the past, a failed experiment that the men and women before me had finally fixed. I was sadly mistaken. The same failed and unequal laws were being applied to the LGBTQ community in the United States. I started seeing this and I felt defeated.

I was starting to feel at peace with who I was a couple of years ago. I had found a group of friends that loved and supported me; I had a good job, and had gotten past the feelings of confusion and hate because of who I was. While my family didn’t openly acknowledge who I was, they accepted me on a one on one basis. This was progress. Then one October evening, I decided to go out with a group of my supportive friends and I met a man who took my breath away. From the moment I saw this man I knew that no matter what, this man was going to be a very important part of my life. Over the next few months we grew very close; it became very rare that we would be out in public without each other. My friends and family were shocked to see me as happy as I was; I was simply a better person when he was around. I had fully accepted myself for who I was and that was freeing. As the summer ended the Doctor and I made the decision to leave Boston where we had been living and move down to DC. The Doctor had secured a job that he couldn’t pass up at a local university, and I had a job opportunity in the District as well.

The Saturday before the Doctor left Boston completely changed my world view. I had gone out for a few celebratory drinks with friends to mark an end to our time together in Boston and we decided to walk home. We were enjoying each others company when suddenly an innocent night was turned upside down. A white car pulled up and a few guys jumped out, one of them attacked me. He screamed “die faggot die,” as he kicked my head into the pavement. He ran off with his friends to his car, driving away, leaving me unconscious in the middle of the street. A witness pulled up, making sure on-coming cars wouldn’t run me over. My friends watched, tears welling up, as they loaded me into the ambulance. I don’t remember anything. I woke up in the hospital. I turned to see my friend in the other bed, also a victim of this hate, still bleeding from his scalp. My own head was throbbing. Even as the world came into focus, I was still confused.

The Doctor was out of town this weekend, yet he was still the first one to make it to the hospital to see me after this horrific attack, except the Doctor had to fight to get into the hospital to see his friends because he was not family and we were not married. This was another figurative blow to the head.

The Doctor was there with me through the recovery. The Doctor was there with me through the nightmares. He slept next to me even when I would wake up punching and screaming as I relived the attack. The Doctor was there with me for the Doctor appointments, and cleaned my wounds, some of which were very gross. The Doctor was there with me to get my mind off of things when I needed to be thinking about something happy all I had to do was look him in the face and I knew he was the one I could count on. The Doctor was the one sitting next to me at the trial, when the man who attacked me pled guilty and got off with no jail time, and the Doctor was the one standing next to me as I spoke out against the violence and the judge who allowed this man his freedom. I knew very early on that this was the man I was going to marry. This strong man who was always there for me was the man that I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

Two years after I met the Doctor, on the night before the Equality March in DC, I proposed to the Doctor and we are now engaged. On October 10, 2009 we made a commitment to each other, and in 2010 we want to be able to get married in Washington DC and we want many other loving couples to follow.

Equality is never something I though I would have to fight for but it is and this Bill is one of many steps in the right direction for all citizens of the United States, straight, gay, bisexual, or questioning. We all deserve to be treated equally and we all have a right to marry those we love. I urge the City Council to pass this bill and set an example for all to follow.

Thank you

Reality TV with Morals?

Last night I was surprised with America's Next Top Model. I generally dont watch this show for any reason other than watching bitchy self centered girls get pissed at each other. And quite honestly I also believe that Tyra takes herself way too seriously.

Last night however something was different. The photoshoot focused on bullying. Each of the models needed to reveal the one word that taunted them as a child, and then they also had to come up with a new empowerment word. These words were then written on their body, and the photo was supposed to represent them overcoming this bullying and sending a positive message.

There were tearful confessions about how all these girls were bullied for being different. Some you felt bad for others you might not have. But one struck me. One girl admitted she was a lesbian and the word that she was taunted by was "queer" and she was concerned about having queer written on her body. I have to admit I was concerned for her as well, and how the show was going to handle it. I could not imagine what would happen if the show allowed for a girl to have the n word written on her. If done incorrectly this could have been mistaken for a photo used as evidence for a hate crime.

However, this model was strong, her empowerment word was free, and this word was written powerfully on her neck. And even though she was tearful you could also see how strong she was. In one single picture, one beautiful picture she established herself as a role model for strong free women everywhere. For once I was in awe.

This episode made a statement about bullying, it made a statement about struggling with coming out, and then during final judging it touched on health and body dysmorphia. The girl voted off (who was a bitch) also looked unhealthy. She thought she was overweight at 110 pounds and needed to lose weight. She saw nothing wrong with her body. But she was eliminated because of this. I only hope that the show will provide her with the help that's she desperately needs.

Hmmm, who woulda thought strong public statements on America's Next Top Model... Maybe Tyra really is the goddess she believes she is... Errr maybe not!


For this upcoming possible project that I keep eluding to, and I will continue to elude to because in a way I enjoy being cryptic, I was asked who my GLBT hero was...

Florence Nightingale? Nah! Gertrude Stein? Reverend Troy Perry (MCC)? Brave man! Larry Kramer? Possible. Harvey Milk? Strong possibility. What about Constance McMillen? Sadie-Ryanne Baker a leading activist for transgender rights here in DC? Gay Penguins?

All of the above are strong answers to that question, but when I think about it, I have to say that my real heros are the people that are working everyday now for the movement. The students and twenty somethings that are putting in countless hours. And those people who spend time highlighting issues and standing up for what is right. And the straight allies that stand beside us in our fight for full federal equality.

I usually don't use names in this blog, but I think for this post I will make an exception. Some of my heroes are people like Jay Carmona and Samantha Ames, Ali Lozano and Ian Goldin. These guys are barely adults and they are mature well beyond their years. When I was their age I was trying to figure out how I could stay in the closet, they are planning events, screaming at the top of their lungs, and standing up for all of our rights. I am very new to the LGBT movement, but I know that we need people like these guys in order to secure the future of our movement.

There are people here in DC like Julia Mandes and Sean Carlson who put together this weekened's Big Commit event, and then I have friends like Mark Reed and his partner Dante Walkup. My friends Phil Attey and Phil Reese. And beautiful straight allies like Momma Jude Stevens and Will Phillips. And then national activists like (wait for it) Robin McGehee and Joe Solmonese... yes I did put them in the same sentence! These among so many others are people who are working every day in many different ways to make sure that we keep moving towards our ultimate goal and they are all my GLBT Heroes...

But if I had to narrow it down to one single person, I would have to say that my own personal LGBTQQI(LMNOP) Hero would be a close friend, dedicated activist, brilliant writer, and wonderful all around guy, David Mailloux. Yes, David I would say you are my hero and my inspiration, one of the first people that dragged me into this movement and an all around normal guy who just fights for what is right everyday. Many times we don't agree on the proper way to get things done, there are even videos of us screaming across the room at each other about DADT, but he keeps me moving forward. He inspires me, and he is a hero to many including myself!

Oh, and here is one of the reasons why David is such and inspiration... he helped me put the polish on this powerful speech that the Doctor and I delivered at the Big Commit this past weekend!

It is a great honor to be here and to be speaking to you all today.

We have fought a very public battle over the past year, but entering wedding contests is not the only thing we have done, nor is it the only thing we want to do.

Those contests have given us the opportunity to share our love with a more accepting society, but also to take on the social stigmas that still exist surrounding same sex marriage. Our willingness to share our story has allowed us to become a part of the important changes happening in our country today.

It is amazing to stand here, in front of all of you, and know that the tide really is turning. We are making progress in each and every realm, in each and every facet of our society.

It was just last week that a CNN poll showed that 49% of people asked believe that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. We are just two percentage points away from our majority. This may frighten our opponents, but it should inspire and energize our community to stand up and say, in a unified voice, I am somebody and I deserve full equality!
Our inspired community needs to rise up and show people that we are just like every other American citizen. That we have a right to love who we love, and that we are not going to harm you or anyone else by expressing that love.

We are changing people's hearts and minds each and every day, and it is only a matter of time before we find the glorious success about which we've dreamed – that is, full federal equality for the entire LGBT population.

We may never change the minds of those like Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown, and those supporters of the National Organization for Marriage but we don't need to do that. We need a majority of this country to believe that love is love, that love has no gender, and that discrimination is wrong.

I have faith that we are moving in that direction. I have faith that people are beginning to understand that our relationships, our unions, our marriages in those places where it is legal can only positively impact their own partnerships. I have faith that this peaceful rally will continue to help us move in the right direction and...

I have faith that all discrimination in this country will, very soon, be history.

While I was trying to write this speech, I glanced hesitantly at the National Organization for Marriage website. After all, I wanted to be educated about the anti-marriage equality rhetoric that the opposition had been preaching in recent months and years.

And I came across this line in one of their pieces...

"Marriage helps create and care for the next generation, helping to satisfy men and women's deep human longings for connection with each other... Marriage works by fostering commitment, trust, fidelity, and cooperation..."

I stopped dead in my tracks for a moment. "Wait a minute! THIS is actually a lovely and open statement. It doesn't just apply to unions between a man and a woman.

Because marriage is about connection. It is about the future. It is about trust, and fidelity, and cooperation. Whether they like it or not, the leaders of the National Organization for Marriage are talking about all unions, all marriages, and not just those between a man and a woman.

If only we could make them realize that.

The National Organization for Marriage wants you – heck, they want EVERYBODY to believe that people like Greg and I can not be committed to one another, that we can not create a relationship based on trust, and that we could never raise children and care for the next generation.

Well, we are here today for one really good reason. We are here to tell Brian and Maggie and the rest of the organization: You. Are. Wrong.

Each and every human being has the capacity and the RIGHT to love, to be loved in return, and to express that love through the institution of marriage.

As Judge Walker so eloquently stated in his recent decision that rendered Proposition 8 in California unconstitutional:

"Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians."

I am not immoral. I am not harming anybody, nor will I ever harm anybody, because of the person I love.

I have a very simple solution to the "problem" of same sex marriage. It isn't a violent solution like some NOM followers might support.

My solution is not rooted in bigotry but, instead, in love and an open heart.

It is time that same sex marriage is fully recognized by each and every state.

It is time that this "social experiment" is fully enacted.

Same sex marriage will benefit millions of people in this country, including the children of same sex couples.

Marriage equality will go a long way to putting an end to the discrimination that all LGBT people face. It will show that tolerance is not an option in this country but a necessity. It may even lead to acceptance, which is something about which we all dream, yet don't dare discuss, like some sort of birthday wish that may not come true if we utter the words.

I firmly believe that our wishes will come true soon enough, but we can't stop because people here in Washington D.C. have full equality for its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents.

We must keep going. We must keep fighting. And we must keep believing that a better day is coming soon for every one of us.

It is only a matter of time before equality is ours.

Thank you.

I'm Back... Sorry I Was Gone for So Long

It has been an incredibly long time since I have written on this blog. Things have changed a little bit but things remain the same in a lot of ways as well. It has been months since the end of the wedding contest, but things have remained busy, and The Doctor and I are still referred to as "The Crate and Barrel Boys" and have even been asked to deliver a few speeches at events. Because of all of this I have lost track of writing for this blog, as well as the other blog which I have decided to abandon.

I am sorry for those of you who miss my snarkiness and don't appreciate some politics in this blog (not like I have a ton of followers) but you can read those posts you like and ignore other posts. I am going to make an effort to write here a couple times a week. The idea behind the blog will remain the same, it is about things going on in my life and mind.

It may also serve as some good practice because I may be writting something more professionally in the coming months... more to come on that well, in the coming months!

For now, here is an article I posted on the other blog, that I particularly like, and I don't want to lose, more original and first time stuff coming soon! It's good to be back!

Peter Pan and Equality

I read this story about the "Peter Pan Syndrome" in gay men. It got me thinking a little bit, sure some among us don't want to grow up. Sure many do stupid things. Yes, some gay men are reckless. This is not however, a reason to deny us rights, we shouldn't assume that because some of us act like children we should be denyed equal rights. Plenty of straight men and women act like children. Plenty of straight gay men and women cheat on spouses (Hello, Tiger Woods and Jesse James) and engage in unsafe actions. I would agree that there is an epedemic of drug use in the LGBT community, and while I won't assign blame I will say that the lack of acceptance and feeling alone can lead one to the false high one gets while using drugs. Is this a reason to deny us the right to marry the one we love? Are these actions a reason to deny an entire community rights? I don't think so! Nobody is talking about denying Tiger Woods the right to marry, and my guess is if he does get married again he may even cheat again.

The author, who is a self proclaimed conservative says, "There is a delicious set of ironies coming from the gay pseudo-world that doesn’t escape the public eye. This nebulous community wants validation and recognition in the form of same-sex marriage, ending DADT and comprehensive employment non-discrimination (ENDA.) Yet, what have you been doing to earn society’s respect? Creating a Bohemian underworld in some dark corner of a bathroom stall? Spiraling into a G-hole? Killing your own?" There are also many people who are out and proud, and honorable. We want validation because it is the right thing to do for society. We want validation because we want to grow up, and many of us are working hard and contributing to society.

I am not sure why this article got under my skin, maybe it is because it is validating the discrimination we face everyday. It is saying, yes discrimination is probably bad, but here is why you deserve it! Well, I am not going to mince my words here and that is a load of crap! All human beings deserve the respect of society and they deserve to be treated as equals. Acceptance is key.

I absolutely agree that some people gay or straight need to grow up. They need to learn to be a productive member of society. But in a country founded on the basis that all men are created equal we should all be treated as equal! Oh, and by the way I will continue to "screetch" for acceptance and equality!


So, I am totally addicted to Life... I love watching it. I think it may be even more exciting then Planet Earth! And here is why it is so totally amazing...

Life is all about the amazing things animals do to survive. The way it is filmed is amazing, the animals are unbelievable. You seriously can't make this stuff up... except as you watch it, you can't help but think that Oprah (who narrates it) is making this stuff up. I'm serious you are watching it and you think... "really Oprah? Does that starfish that lives in the freezing waters of the arctic really exude it's second stomach to eat that seal?" But it is true, unless of course she is making it up!

I love it!

Splitting Up

This blog is splitting up... I am going to try managing two at least for now. Those of you who have been following me for a while miss my snarkiness!

I figured I would keep my adventures in retail and life on this blog, and going forward my political and LGBTQ etc posts will be on my new blog. If you want to follow the new blog the name of it is...

The Time for Change Is Now and the address is http://www.tfcisnow.blogspot.com

Hope You continue to enjoy either or both of these blogs!

Days After...

It has been a few days since the voting has ended and I have somewhat regained my Facebook account and I have let some of the madness settle. There is still a long way to go and many things that can happen but the ever so public plea for votes has ended. No matter what the outcome the Doctor and I feel like we have made an positive impact. The long term impact of this contest remains to be seen but I know we have touched the lives of at least a couple of people.

We were touched by the mother who sent us an email thanking us for so publicly taking a stand. "I am so happy my son has a positive role model." I cried as a young high school student sent us a message telling us that we were his hero. And the couple that has been together for 50 years but has not been able to be legally married emailed us to tell us that they were "impressed by our courage." These are the people we unexpectedly impacted in this contest but these are the ones that mattered the most to us.

We tried to steer clear of the controversy. I know we were competing for votes against some very worthy couples. We all had heartwarming stories and things that set us apart. The Doctor and I never wanted to be identified as "the gay couple" with didn't want to play "the gay card." We are a couple that is very much in love. A couple that has stood by each other through the good and the bad. In our entry we minimized the hatred we had faced because we were entering a contest about love. In the entry we minimized the activist stances we have taken because we were entering a contest that was clearly about love. We entered this contest because we love each other, and then we were off an running.

Many people criticized us publicly or via email of just being any old "gay couple" saying there was nothing special about us, but I think that is an important point. I think that part of the reason we did so well in the contest was because we were a regular couple, who fell in love, and survived a lot of things. A couple that many people could identify with. There is nothing special about two men falling in love, or two women, it happens all the time. But society does not see the normalcy in it. Or is it possible that they do? We did after all make it to the top of the standings.

And then we were attacked for being that "gay couple" in some not so nice terms. We were attacked because of who we were and because the Doctor and I are proud of who we are we didn't back down. We stood by being the gay couple, we stood by our love and we pushed forward. The better we did the more criticism we would get from others. But by now we were on a mission. This became more about the statement we would make then about the Doctor and I. This was about marriage equality and all we had been fighting for. This allowed us to fall into the activist role and begin speaking out once again. Sure we wanted to win the wedding, so we could celebrate in style with our family but this was about our community. We wanted to positively represent our community in this contest now.

"We're Here. We're Queer, Get Used to It" has been a rallying cry but maybe the message we could send by winning the popular vote in this contest is that American's are used to it. That there is a new face of marriage and it has no gender. Last June I wrote an article called "What Have You Done Today to Make You Feel Proud" in my blog. I have done many things in this past year that I am proud of, but this contest has taken it to a whole new level. I am smiling from ear to ear no matter what happens because we can change things. We entered this contest because we love each other, we entered this contest because we saw it as a great opportunity. Is it possible that we can change perceptions on the way... yes, it is and because of that I am Proud!

Make A Difference In A Day

On April 1, 2010 millions of Americans are going to wake up and wonder what joke is going to be played on them. As they open up their web browsers for their morning dose of news they are going to click on a story that couldn't possibly be true, the headline reads... "Same Sex Couple Makes History Winning Popular Vote in National Wedding Contest."

Some will be overjoyed with the headline, others will think it is absolutely horrible, and still others will think that this must be a fake headline because after all it is April 1! April Fools they think! But in just a couple days this could be a reality for Jonathan and Gregory who are currently in second place in Crate and Barrel's Ultimate Wedding Contest. Greg and Jonathan can possibly make history by being the first same sex couple to win a National Wedding Contest. Imagine the excitement and the outrage, and the statement for marriage equality made by simply winning.

With just 30 hours left to vote Gregory and Jonathan need 5000 votes to pull off this incredible upset. They are ahead of third place by almost 11,000 votes! This is LGBT history in the making. Gregory and Jonathan have already received endorsements from GLAAD (http://glaadblog.org/2010/03/01/crate-barrel-holds-inclusive-ultimate-wedding-contest-anti-gay-blogger-attacks/) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (http://www.thetaskforce.org/blog/20100329-tfstaff-weddingcontest). Now they just need one last push to make a difference.

Jonathan is the survivor of a violent hate crime in Boston, and after his attacker plead guilty to nine counts including civil rights violations but served no jail time Jonathan realized something needed to be done. With Gregory by his side he started speaking out about hate crime sentencing and many other LGBT issues. After moving to the District of Columbia Jonathan and Gregory joined the fight for marriage equality, and were the 20th same sex couple to apply for their marriage license in the District on March 3. Their picture from that day was even featured in the New York Times.

Gregory and Jonathan entered this contest on a whim back in February, but as the community rallied around them they realized that this was much bigger than just a wedding contest. This became an opportunity to make a huge social statement. An opportunity to be a part of history as the first same sex couple to win a mainstream wedding contest. Once Jonathan and Gregory rose to the top spot in the contest they faced attacks from anti-gay blogs, and others. After the written attacks Jonathan wrote in his blog...

There is no way that I can drop out of this competition and retreat. I cannot stop being who I am and I need to make a difference. Words are powerful, and so are actions. And just like words of hatred can have power over people, words of hope can have power over people as well. We have the power to change society, we have the power to make a difference.

We all now have the power to make a difference and make a strong statement for marriage equality. It would be great for the community to put these two in the top spot and show the nation that it does not matter if it is two men or two women. It is about love and not gender and Crate and Barrel has the ability to help make this statement.

Voting Link:

More Info:

Thank You From Jonathan and Greg
Less than 48 hours left! If you haven't voted please vote http://www.ultimateweddingcontest.com/entries/22682 please forward to 5 friends. We can win!

I Had to Share

Hey all-

Happy Saturday, I hope you all had a great week. This week was amazing here in DC. For those of you who don't know, the Doctor and I went to the DADT protest held by HRC with Kathy Griffin and then we continued on to the White House where Lt Dan Choi with the help of Robin McGehee handcuffed himself to the White House fence in an act of civil disobedience.

There is a divide on this action, but I feel like it is a necessary action along with everything else that is happening. We need to stand up, speak out, and be heard in all of the arenas.

While the wedding contest may not be as powerful a message as being handcuffed to the White House fence I still feel it gives us the opportunity to send a message that we are here and we are equal. It is an opportunity to do something, and we all need to do something in order to gain our equality, we know that it will not be handed to us but that we need to fight for it.

Enough political speak from me. You have all been an amazing support please continue to be over the next 11 days and please take a second to share the link... http://www.ultimateweddingcontest.com/entries/22682!

And if you haven't had a chance take a look at our new youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3nD-gMkepc

Love you all,

Ultimate Wedding Contest: Too Sweet

We got the following comment on one of our posts today. I have been really good about ignoring such comments lately, but this one sent me over the edge for some reason. And my reason is below the quote!

"I think voting has slowed because people are finding the other couple more compelling. Personally I find the gay couple too sugary sweet and a bit annoying... I'm getting sick of looking at them. Plus there's [sic] story is not that interesting. I voted for a different couple."

OK let's break this down... "I think voting has slowed because people are finding other couples more compelling..." I am fine with that, there are lots of people with some great stories in this contest. There are lots of couples with compelling stories. I am amazed at the power of love when I read these stories, and they all pull at my heartstrings. This is what the idea of the contest is, its about the story of love. I hope that our story is compelling, but if it is not the most compelling for you, then please do vote for another couple.

"...Personally I find the gay couple too sugary sweet and a bit annoying... I'm getting sick of looking at them..." Well, first off I am very sorry that you are tired of looking at us, I think we are pretty darn cute, but you don't have to enjoy looking at us, that's fine. But seriously we are too sugary sweet. This is a contest about love and winning the Ultimate Wedding. I am pretty sure that when Crate and Barrel created this contest they were looking for people who were in love, not people who hated one another. I am sure some drama would be entertaining but Greg and I truly love one another, we have been by each others sides through some difficult times, and we are looking forward to many many years together no matter what.

Are we perfect? Of course not but we work through all of that, and we are incredibly happy right now. Not only are we in second place and numerous people have voted for us but we have also applied for our marriage license (featured in the New York Times) and our community has rallied around us, supported us, and said some amazingly nice things about us. I know I should and mostly do focus on that but this one comment has gotten under my skin.

Finally, "... Plus there's [sic] story is not that interesting..." Well I am sorry that you feel our love story isn't that interesting. No neither of us are sick at the moment, but we have overcome tremendous obstacles. I never really featured the hate crime in my story because I wanted to focus on the strength of the love that we had. I had 100 words and I wanted them to be about love, not about hate. But our love has overcome this hate and we have done it together, we have done it with the support of the community, and we will continue to do it. I hope that I will never again be bleeding on the street as a man stomps my head into the pavement screaming "die faggot die." But unfortunately I can't promise that this won't happen to me or any other person who is looked at as different.

What I can do however is stand up an openly share my story, I can become a public figure and I can speak out. This contest has given us the opportunity to talk about the hatred I have faced, and talk about getting married. It is not a political contest but it gives us all another venue to make a statement.

I applaud all of the couples who have entered this contest, they all have great compelling stories. Please support them and vote for them, and share the stories. It shows that love is alive in this country and that love can overcome many obstacles. I hope that you find our story compelling, and I hope this post isn't too sugary sweet. If you do find our story compelling please share this post and vote at


A Kink in the Armor

It is 2:44 AM, 18 months since the attack, 12 months since the last nightmare, laying in bed and I have a flashback, I see myself laying in the pavement as a foot comes crashing into my skull. My vision fades to nothing and then I am back laying in bed. Tears are running down my face. I have been strong for a long time, I have fought through my feelings and I have stood up and said that words won't hurt me, that I won't allow hatred to hurt me ever again.

This is supposed to be a time of celebration, not a time of pain. This is supposed to be a moment in time when I can happily proclaim my love for this wonderful man. But instead my head is being smashed into the pavement.

Words are a very powerful thing, words can convey many emotions, yet I can not seem to find the words to express how I feel right now. The words that are being used to describe my love by bigots on other blogs are vile and horrific. Venomous hatred is being spewed from the keyboards of these unworthy humans. And at 2:44 AM 18 months since the attack and 12 months since my last nightmare I am being beaten again, and I am once again being loaded into an ambulance because of hate.

For six months after the attack I would wake up at 2:44 punching and screaming and reliving the moment my life changed forever. It was after all 2:44 AM when the first blow to my skull by Fabio Brandao was logged. And now the words of people have made another imprint on my brain, and imprint almost as powerful as the foot that struck me. I know they are only words, and I can outwardly say that they will never hurt me but subconsciously they do, they harm me just as deeply as the violent attack.

The Doctor's mother thinks maybe we should drop out of the competition to win our Ultimate Wedding. I have thought about it. But if we were to drop out then these bigots would be the ones who would win. They want us to roll over and let them have their way with us. They want us to fear them because they hate us.

Then I think about all that I have been through, my struggle to come out, the lack of acceptance, being attacked for being true to myself, finding the perfect man and loving him openly and honestly, getting engaged and making the decision to enter a contest knowing that it would be a difficult road.

There is no way that I can drop out of this competition and retreat. I can not stop being who I am and I need to make a difference. Words are powerful, and so are actions. And just like the words of hatred can have power over people, words of hope can have power over people as well. We have the power to change society, we have the power to make a difference.

At 2:44 AM I have decided to use my words to do good not evil, I have decided that I will not quit because victory is the sweetest of all revenge, and I will make a difference, so the next boy struggling with who he is can look at me and the Doctor, and see that love has no gender. He can see that if he believes in himself and who he is then he can do anything. I needed a role model when I was coming out, and I can be that role model for many people.

2:44 AM will not mark a moment when hate changed my life, 2:44 AM will mark the moment when love and community helped with my decision to keep moving forward.

Crate and Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest: Love Not Hate

When Greg and I entered the Crate and Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest we knew to a certain extent would would be in the public eye. We knew when we started emailing the link out to people the word would get around. We also knew that when you are in the public eye you open yourself up to criticism, thats why many public figures don't even look themselves up on the internet. I however, couldn't restrain myself, when I started seeing my name and picture popping up on blogs I had to look at what people were saying. Most people were amazing, they supported us and are all trying to help us win. The support of the community was and is heartwarming.

And of course there are people who are going to pick on you, for no reason other than they can, I can deal with it, believe me I don't even like my own hair, but the faux hawk is all I can do to control my out of control mop, unless I shave my head a la Britney Spears and I worry I have a misshaped head! This I can deal with, I'm not running out to the hairdresser immediately and getting a new haircut!

But then there are comments like these that send me over the edge, whether in the public eye or not these comments are not acceptable. Not because they hurt me, I'm a big boy I can take it, but because it shows hatred for our community. It incites violence like that I have had to live through.



click the (top vote) couple tab once at the site and you will wanna
puke! two dudes holding each other. WTF! flammin fagots, go back into
the closet with your anal lube and start saving for future medical

(I didn't activate the link because I don't want to support his blog)

Anyway, what is frustrating to me is that while these are just words they are words that are based in prejudices and hatred. They are words that can harm. These are the words that I heard before my head was smashed into the pavement.

This contest is about fun. This contest is about love. The love that has brought the Doctor and I together, we have lived through some of the worst things that can happen, but we don't want for others to have to live through it. We are in this contest to prove a point, that our love is as strong as any couples, that our love is just as important even if it is between two men, and that our love represents the same love of many men and women in our community. Please make sure that you vote, and share, and tweet, and blog, and support us in our campaign.

Please support love, not hate! And Please VOTE HERE

Crate and Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest: Dear Ellen

Dear Ellen Degeneres:

My name is JRH and I am currently engaged to my partner the Doctor and we are competing in Crate and Barrel’s Ultimate Wedding Contest. While competing something amazing happened the community rallied around us and we are now a same sex couple leading a nationwide contest to win our $100,000 Ultimate Wedding.

The Doctor and I met through a mutual friend in the Boston area and we quickly became the best of friends. I knew from the moment I met the Doctor he would be a part of my life forever. It was a rare occasion that we would be out separately. We were completely at ease with each other, and we knew that we could be ourselves. As the months passed we grew closer, but we knew that the friendship would always be the basis of our relationship.

Our story wasn’t simply a fairy tale, it has been a long road, even before the contest the Doctor and I had to endure a great deal of hatred. I am the survivor of a violent hate crime in the Boston area. A hate crime where my attacker screamed; “die faggot die” as he stomped my head into the pavement. A hate crime where my attacker pled guilty on all counts and still walked away with no jail time.

After all of the attack and the trial the Doctor stood by my side. He held me up and he pushed me forward. He was there with me through the constant nightmares and my struggle to understand. He was also the one who helped me gain the courage to speak out about what happened to me. We both made the decision to help our community by not sitting still. We both became unlikely activists. I even lent my words and experience to a speech read at a protest in Boston, and plan to speak at the Maine LGBT Civil Rights March.

Our love helped us survive this dark time but our love was also stronger than all of this. Our love allowed us to persevere. All relationships are hard, but we had to overcome many obstacles to openly experience our love. But the obstacles have made both of us appreciate what we have and celebrate that we still have a life to spend together. The hate from others has tested our love, and neither of us have any doubt about where we stand. 

I proposed to the Doctor on October 10, 2009 in an unplanned moment sitting in front of the fire in our new place. I knew that no matter what, I needed this amazing man by my side for the rest of my life. The Doctor said yes and we have been engaged now for four months and we love every moment of it.

We will always face those people who do no accept us, but we will stand up together and show them that we are proud, and we are going to be happily MARRIED for a very long time. 

And now there is a chance that we can show the world how happy and lucky we are by winning this contest. This contest means a lot to the Doctor and I, but it will also mean a lot to the LGBTQ community.

I would hope that you would consider telling this story, and helping not only us out, but also help make a strong statement to the world.

Thank you,



Our Love: In More Than 100 Words

Boy meets boy, boy falls for boy, and boys get engaged. The pure existence of our love is not always accepted. We had to deal with hatred from outsiders and support one another in recovery. Our love story involves the evolution of the meaning of love and the perseverance that allowed two people such as us to openly experience happiness. We knew that we were right for each other from the start, we knew that we would always be by one another’s sides and that as best friends we could truly experience our love openly.

If only the complete story of our love could be spoken in 100 words or less. That broad stroke encompasses our lives together but the story is much more complex.

The Doctor and I met through a mutual friend in the Boston area and we quickly became the best of friends. I knew from the moment I met the Doctor he would be a part of my life forever. It was a rare occasion that we would be out separately. We were completely at ease with each other, and we knew that we could be ourselves. As the months passed we grew closer, but we knew that the friendship would always be the basis of our relationship.

As the Doctor’s time in Boston drew to a close he accepted a position down in Washington DC. This is when we reached a cross road in our relationship, and I made the decision to follow the Doctor to DC. A few nights before we were due to leave the Doctor went to the Cape to spend time with friends and family and I went out with a few close friends. This night is when our lives changed dramatically.

As I was walking home from that night out with friends a car approached and four men got out. One of them screamed, “die faggot die,” as he kicked my head into the pavement. Then ran off with his friends to his car, driving away, leaving me unconscious in the middle of the street. A witness pulled up, making sure on-coming cars wouldn’t run me over. My friends watched, tears welling up, as they loaded me into the ambulance. I don’t remember anything. I woke up in the hospital. I turned to see my friend in the other bed, also a victim of this hate, still bleeding from his scalp. My own head was throbbing.

I was sad lonely and confused, but I was told the Doctor was on his way back from the Cape to be by our sides.

Once I was discharged the Doctor took care of me, he took me out to the Cape with his family (the first time I met many of them) and nursed me back to health. I returned to work a few days later and we began to prepare for our move.

Months later, I sat in the courtroom, finally seeing the face of the man whose violent attack sent me to the emergency room. I watched and listened as he admitted his guilt and his hatred. He was guilty on all nine counts including four counts of civil rights violations. 

My head was spinning and my legs were trembling as I approached the microphone to deliver my statement. I described what the attacks had done to me. How I awoke every night at 2:44 AM reliving the nightmare and how I could never look at my “home” of Boston the same again. 

Returning to the bench, I was comforted by the Doctor and another of the victims. We squeezed hands, knowing that we were all lucky to be alive.

It was a surreal experience.

As the Doctor and I returned to Washington DC, we were determined to move on, but there was still something nagging me inside. How could this man who openly expressed such hatred be free. So with the Doctor by my side I became an unlikely activist and began to speak out. The community rallied around us and for the first time in our lives we realized that good can come of every situation. The Doctor never questioned me, he supported and loved me and he knew this was important. As the press picked up the case he even acted as a press secretary directing the madness around me.

Our love was stronger than all of this. Our love allowed us to persevere. All relationships are hard, but we had to overcome many obstacles to openly experience our love. But the obstacles have made both of us stronger, the hate from others has tested our love, and neither of us have any doubt about where we stand.

I proposed to the Doctor on October 10, 2009 in an unplanned moment sitting in front of the fire in our new place. I knew that no matter what, I needed this amazing man by my side for the rest of my life. The Doctor said yes and we have been engaged now for four months and we love every moment of it. We will always face those people who do no accept us, but we will stand up together and show them that we are proud, and we are going to be happily MARRIED for a very long time.

It feels so good to say MARRIED and know that in a few months we will LEGALLY be married in DC, and our relationship will begin another exciting chapter.



Community can be defined in many different ways, but the idea is always the same. And its funny I feel like I belong to a lot of different communities, the one at work, the one in DC, the community in which I grew up, and of course the LGBTQ community.

What has amazed me over the past several months is how honorable and gracious the LGBTQ community is. When I was struggling with the after effects of the Hate Crime attack in Boston, not only did I have the Doctor by my side but I was surrounded by the love and compassion of the community. When I was struggling with the after effects of the trial I had my friends by my side and the Doctor with me, but I also gained new friends who helped me cope. Friends who stood by me and spoke up. Friends like Don Gorton, David Mailloux, Gary Briggs, and Brad Reichard to name just a few who literally organized protest and wrote stories about what was happening.

And now this same community is standing with the Doctor and I in a much happier time. This same community is spending time and energy trying to help us win our dream wedding. Sure it seems like a small thing, but for the Doctor and I it is heartwarming, most people struggle to feel like they belong, we know we have support and love, and we want to return that love and support to you! Thank you all so much for all that you do, that you are doing, and what you have done, you are all amazing and I am so happy to be a part of this community! I promise you, the tear that I have in my eye while writing this is a tear of joy, and it feels very good!

And if you haven't voted yet, please CLICK HERE

Ultimate Wedding Contest Link

For those of you having problems linking in to vote from Facebook click on the link below and vote for us!


The Blizzard of 2010 Parts I and II

There are many things that I can say about the Blizzard of 2010. I am not really sure however where I should start. But it all boils down to I have been stuck in the house for five days at this point. Friday around 11am I left work. i was in a good mood, I figured that there could be things that were worse than being snowed in for the weekend. I bought some food, bought some alcohol, and scrambled to a number of stores to try to find some fire wood. I found the firewood and I was home. The snow started to fall, it wasn't too bad, the snow fell through the night and got progressively worse, but I was able to take some great pictures of the snow. By Saturday a majority of the snow had fallen. The Doctor and I went outside for a walk, it was beautiful. We were able to venture out a few times to places close by. But what amazed me is that in 3 days my road and the roads around mine had not been plowed. Then on Monday we had to go to the supermarket because another storm was coming, we walked to the supermarket with our backpacks and we were amazed that most of the streets had not been plowed.

Where are the snow plows?

It is now five days after the first snow flakes have fallen, we are two storms in, and there are still no plows that have gone down the street. How have we not had any plows? I have lived in cities for a long time and I know that DC isn't used to this but really get the plows out on the streets, clean the roads. They keep making excuses and I don't want to hear it anymore, yes lot of snow, yes hard to deal with, but here is a hint...


Last night (Tuesday night) I finally saw a plow on our street, the DC government truck was driving down the street with the plow UP. Here is another hint, putting the PLOW DOWN will help clear the streets.

the Ultimate Wedding Contest

Our love story.

Boy meets boy, boy falls for boy, and boys get engaged. The pure existence of our love is not always accepted. We had to deal with hatred from outsiders and support one another in recovery. Our love story involves the evolution of the meaning of love and the perseverance that allowed two people such as us to openly experience happiness. We knew that we were right for each other from the start, we knew that we would always be by one another’s sides and that as best friends we could truly experience our love openly.

Three important details about our Ultimate Wedding.
The three key things for our wedding are simply friends, family, and fun. We want a simple, but elegant affair at an outdoor vineyard in the DC area with our family and friends from across the country. Our family and friends are very important to us and our dream day would not be complete unless we were surrounded by all of them. And we want all of these people to be able to celebrate our love for each other and enjoy a memorable occasion.

Our everyday dream day.
Beauty, tranquility, and love characterize our perfect day. A perfect day for us is a day that is very similar to our wedding day. It is a day that we are free to spend together and to enjoy the company of our friends and family. One of our favorite weekend pastimes is venturing out to the vineyards in Virginia with a small group for a wine tasting and picnic. It gives us the opportunity to enjoy each others company, be absorbed by our surroundings and get away from the hectic lives we lead in the city.

So what is this all about? Its about a contest to pay for our wedding! Crate and Barrel i srunning a contest and all I need you to do is click on the link and vote for us! Please and thank you!


Breakfast Bread

On Sunday we went to Ris for brunch. A good friend of ours work there (please refrain from the waiter jokes) he is a great guy and he has heard all of the waiter jokes from me already. Ris is a new restaurant in DC, and as many of you know, I am way to picky of an eater to write a restaurant review, so I won't do that, I'll just recount a fun story from the morning!

Our friend invited us to come into his restaurant on Sunday to enjoy brunch, and against his better judgement he agreed to be our waiter, so he was asking for it when he got five very picky, and very annoying gay men to wait on. This would probably be his worst nightmare under normal circumstances. We all sat and perused the menu, and stamped our glasses on the table since they had developed rapid leaks and all of the mimosas disappeared. As we reviewed the menu we all had a few questions, of course we had to obnoxiously berate our friend with these questions, and he answered them all in stride, although with a bit of an attitude (normally I would be deducting dollars from his tip in my head but I gave him some slack). And then we all cam across the menu item simply listed as Breakfast Bread...

"Excuse me waiter, what is Breakfast Bread?"

Snarky waiter replies... " I don't know, Toast?"

I reply, "Well then why do you list toast as a separate item two lines above breakfast bread, are you sure it is toast?"

"No, maybe it is some special bread"

In a good humored jest, "Will you mind finding out for us?"

Waiter huffs and leaves the table, we all get a good laugh, of course we don't really care but we are getting some enjoyment out of the scene we are causing. Another woman, the manager I am assuming comes up to the table...

"I apologize for my staffs incompetence, Breakfast Bread is a daily special created by our pastry chef, today's Breakfast bread is a cranberry orange scone"

Our friend returns from the back, smacks me upside the head and we order some breakfast bread for the table, along with our other brunch items. When the five breakfast breads arrive on the table we all grab one and before you know it five cranberry orange scones have been devoured and not even a crumb remains on the table.

It turns out that Breakfast Bread is really good and if you ever go to Ris in Washington DC you should order this breakfast bread. It is not toast but a delightful pastry from an excellent pastry chef. Now I do love carbs but this was my favorite part of the meal. It was even worth being hit for.

I want to thank my friend for putting up with us on Sunday morning, and I want to thank Ris for not kicking us out, and I definitely need to thank the pastry chef!


The other night I was discussing a book I had recently read with the Doctor, I told him that I hadn't written a book review about it because I wasn't quite sure how to without spoiling the book. This book was very conceptual, and the author had to be very crafty to succeed in this concept, and he did. The Doctor suggested that I make a diorama like you do in third grade, and then take a picture of it and post it as my book review on my blog. I laughed, and thought the Doctor was crazy.

I thought about the idea, and then decided that the Doctor might not be so crazy after all, but what would a diorama for this book really look like? It would have to be abstract, because the concept of the book is rather abstract. It would have to show growth in a certain way, and it would have to show how the stories of the characters cross, but it can't be to obvious, not that the story is obvious but I don't want to give anything away. There would need to be shades of grey, but then again, grey wouldn’t express the right energy and emotions.

And then I realized I didn’t have a shoebox… or for that matter any artistic ability, so the diorama idea was probably out of the question, so I grabbed a piece of paper, and started to doodle.

A hand print, parallel lines, stick figures, airplanes, computers, cars, swirls, shading. Blues, red, orange, black, pink! Some words here and there. This madness on my paper all created one story, that all came together in the end. This randomness was an amazing book entitled Await Your Reply… I am sure that the author would be offended with my “art work” that was inspired by the book and by the Doctor, but hey I tried! And I don’t think I give any key points about the book away either!

DD Retirement Home

We were working on a Sunday and it has been a long week. My boss called me on my way into work and asked if I wanted to pick some donuts up for the staff. Since I was still driving in I said sure, "I'll stop by DD on my way there, but I may be a few minutes late."

As I pull into the Dunkin Donuts parking lot I notice that there is an over abundance of Oldsmobile and other large cars, as a matter of fact I drive around the building once and notice that there is no place to park. I wait a few minutes and then spot a car leaving. I pull into the spot and head inside. As I walk in I notice that the line is out the first door, it is a Sunday, so this isn't totally unexpected, but then I look around. The average age of the customer had to be around 80, I was the only one in the Dunkins that didn't have grey hair, and I'm not exaggerating. They were all very nice, and the staff was very efficient. It appears they are used to the Sunday crowd of seniors. The line moved as quickly as a line full of senior citizens can move, and as I approached the cashier politely greeted me and looked at me like I didn't belong!

I ordered the donuts, paid, took one more look around, and sent a message to my boss, " I am just leaving the Dunkin Donuts Retirement Home: The place to be if you are over 80 on a Sunday morning!"

I'm Sorry I Have Been Gone

Dear Blog-

I am sorry that I have been gone for so long, as usual the Holidays are crazy and this year was especially insane. I promise I will return very soon with funny stories about work (Rush is starting soon) and life (after all I am planning a wedding) and all the other random things!

My first post however, will be about my Nook... you know the new e-reader from Barnes and Noble, the device that blows Kindle out of the water! Ummm, yeah I love it. I wasn't sure that I would love it, but I do. It is probably the best money I have spent in the last year (except for the engagement ring). I can download books on the go and they show up on my Nook and I can read them on the train without lugging a multitude of books all over. I have had it for several weeks now and I absolutely love it. I know they are hard to get right now but they are totally worth the wait. Go and order one now I am sure you won't be disappointed!

I promise, I will be back soon with more great posts.