“So kids, you want to be a drone pilot?”

DSC07855That’s the favorite phrase of my good friend Parker Gyokeres, usually when something goes horribly wrong, which is pretty frequent when you’re dealing with the “electronic divas with bipolar disorder” commonly referred to as drones.

I’m not going to lie, flying remote-controlled aircraft, especially multicopters, is a LOT of fun and I’ve managed to capture some spectacular shots. It immediately adds production value to your project, and turns heads both on location and online. The thing is, there’s a lot more to it than most people realize, and a lot of things that can, and do, go wrong.  Continue reading

Is same-sex marriage a “human right?”

When I sat down and really thought about whether or not same-sex marriage is a “human right,” the answer turned out to be simpler than I thought.

Marriage in its quintessential form is a religious contract, and therefore protected under freedom of religion. Since more faiths exist than just Christianity, and not even all Christian beliefs prohibit same-sex marriage, freedom of religion is actually more of an argument in favor of same-sex marriage than against it. Oddly enough, this fact is lost on a lot of people who confuse freedom of religion with freedom of their religion.

From a legal standpoint, you can make an argument just as strong: the federal government cannot discriminate based on gender, so it can’t prevent you from marrying someone based on their gender. Simple

If you’re arguing whether or not marriage between members of the same gender is a “human right,” I’d actually say no, but not because it’s same gender. This is where things get a little tricky. I argue that marriage in general is not a “human right” in the strictest sense of the word. It’s a contract between two people, whether religious or secular. A contract is not a human right, nor more than a driver’s license. However, it *is* something we should treat with equality because it’s an offshoot of freedom of choice as well as freedom of religion.

Simple enough?

The Modern Celluloid Closet

A couple weeks ago, I watched an HBO documentary called “Vito” at the 2012 Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. I highly recommend it to anyone if they get a chance to see it. The documentary chronicles the life of a man named Vito Russo, a pioneer in LGBTQ rights in America, and the author of a book called The Celluloid Closet.

In the book (and lecture series), Russo talked about how in the early days of cinema, gays were portrayed as perfectly normal people. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that gays disappeared entirely. Over the years, they were slowly brought back, but always portrayed as villains, comic relief, or mentally unstable people. It wasn’t until very recently that the LGBTQ community has come full circle to be portrayed as normal people again.

Watching the movie and hearing about Russo’s work has really opened my eyes to the marginalization of the LGBTQ community within film and TV. Today, I realized it’s not limited to western film either. I was re-watching the second season of “Darker Than Black” today, and found that series was somewhat guilty of it too.  Continue reading

Etiquette of the online culture war

keyboardI thought I’d take a moment to talk about something that’s been bothering me lately. While I appreciate the public outcry over things like Chick-Fil-A’s “family-oriented” funding to fight equal marriage rights, I think there needs to be a level of decorum if we hope to achieve anything with the endless spam created over the internet. In light of this, I hope to offer some suggestions and words of wisdom garnered from my experience as a public affairs guy.

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Coming out, the hardest two words to say

The simple phrase “I’m gay” can easily be one of the hardest sets of syllables to form and give voice, right up there with “will you marry me?” or “you’re adopted.” For someone who is straight, and especially someone who hasn’t been around LGBT people who are just coming out of the closet, I could see how it would be hard to understand exactly what coming out means. I’m sure people can get an idea, much in the same way we can imagine what it’s like to ride a roller coaster before we’ve been on one, or what it was like to be a prisoner in Auschwitz during WWII. However, getting an accurate picture is easier said than done. The only way to really understand without experiencing one of these things yourself, is to look at all the factors that go into it. Hopefully, this blog will help with understanding the internal battles of coming out of the closet.

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National Coming Out Day

I’m mildly surprised, but I only found out about this holiday a couple days ago by accident. I was never much of an activist in the LGBT community or got myself too much into the pride celebrations until this past year. I guess I was so entrenched in DADT that I didn’t let myself give in to the hope that I’d ever be allowed to celebrate that part of me. Even now, the idea seems a bit foreign.

And yet, here I am, bisexual and proud (okay, so maybe still working on the pride part, but I’m getting there). Despite the holiday being anticlimactic after the repeal of DADT less than a month ago, I have to say that the greatest thing to celebrate on this day is normalcy. The sheer fact that I’m sitting on my couch, on a military base, writing a blog about coming out on my iPad, is such a blissful form of normal that it’s hard to describe.

So here’s to normalcy, to the status quo, to the redefinition of the American dream. To my fellow LGBT servicemembers, welcome to life as it should be. To those of you still afraid to look into the mirror, or to open your true self to the world, know that there are people in this world who love you and support you and you don’t have to live in fear. Dare to live, to dream, to love, unburdened by social paradigms, and find the beauty inside your own heart.

Happy National Coming Out Day.

The road to repeal

In the past week and a half, coming out and talking to people openly has brought something into sharp focus: most people really don’t understand the significance of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal on Sept. 20. While it’s true nothing really changed about who we are and what we do in the military, it still makes a world of difference for those of us who had to hide under the old policy.

So, here’s the story of my life – the hidden story that might explain exuberance of those liberated by the DADT repeal, myself included.

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Finding your own style


Many books and websites have been devoted to the topic of photography. Dozens of people claiming their way is best fill communication channels with what they perceive to be “the magic formula” for photography. The very concept is laughable. The idea of photography is vastly different from one photographer to the next, much like the concept of music is vastly different from one musician to the next. Each musician has their own instrument of choice, medium, and style in which they create their masterpieces. Photography is much the same.

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What is bisexuality?

I’ve found over the years that bisexuality is something not widely understood, even within the LGBT community. American pop culture certainly hasn’t helped things with its fascination of two straight girls making out. There are a lot of misconceptions, such as the ever-so-popular “bisexuality is just the stepping stone to being gay,” or that true bisexuality doesn’t even exist.

Well, I’ve considered myself to be bisexual for roughly eight years now, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a “stepping stone,” and I’d say it certainly exists. So what is bisexuality really? I’m not a psychology major and don’t hold any degrees, but I will do my best to explain what bisexuality means for me. Continue reading