Monday, November 13, 2017

Gay Superheroes from Pythor Comics

Sweethearts: Dominion Kid and Blue Jay Boy

I grew up as a closeted gay kid in the 70's and 80's, and as a somewhat closeted gay young adult in the 90's, which was quite a challenge to say the least. One of the things that I had always wanted back then, and that I had searched for but never truly found, was a gay role model in popular culture that I could identify with. Someone who was "just like me". Even a fictional gay character in a comic book or a TV show would have made a world of difference to help me become more comfortable with being gay. Just to see a gay character, someone like myself that I didn't feel was "too gay" or "too stereotypical", reflected in a movie or storybook would have given me the courage to come out a lot earlier in my life... which is certainly a much healthier thing to do than supressing your true identity and feelings for the sake of conforming to social "norms".

With this in mind, I decided that I wanted to write stories that included gay characters in key leading roles which would appeal to kids, teens and young adults. I can't go back in time, but I can work toward helping gay youth and young adults of today find the cultural role models that I never had. This is where Blue Jay Boy and Dominion Kid come into the picture. When Blue Jay Boy meets Dominion Kid there is instant chemistry, and the two young heroes become a couple. They're featured among the main team of superheroes in my Pythor Comics stories about Canadian Crusader and the Canuck Crusaders. I've just begun to write and publish these stories, which I also illustrate, so stay tuned for more as my book series takes shape!

Griffon Shadow, Guardian of the Underworld.
 
Another of my gay superheroes is Griffon Shadow, who is the main character in his own series. Griffon's boyfriend is the long haired winged warrior St. Michael the Archangel, who resides in purgatory as the Keeper of Souls. Together they battle evil forces to maintain order in Hades and prevent the earth from being overrun by evil.
 
I'm quite excited about making all of these stories available in full colour very soon. This page will be updated once the books are available. Until then I've published some mini-comic books online, which can be read for free on my other blog site at Mikey's Art and Puppetry Blog.
 
 
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Text and images copyright Mikey Artelle, 2017. Blue Jay Boy, Dominion Kid, Griffon Shadow and related characters names and likeness are TM and copyright, Mikey Artelle. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Being "In the Closet"

Being "In the Closet" is when someone who is gay has yet to open up and tell significant people in their life about their sexual orientation. Typically, being and staying in the closet causes others to be uncertain of what the gay individual's sexual preference might be, though many will typically assume the person is heterosexual. 

One of the thoughtless and cruel methods of bullying used among teens, as well as some immature adults, is to call someone gay simply if they exhibit what are stereotypically considered to be gay characteristics such as a guy being effeminate, or a girl who is strong and boyish. In such cases, the person being targeted may not actually be gay at all, though sometimes they are but may still be "closeted" around their family, or even to themselves, which makes such bullying particularly cruel and inhumane.

People stay in the closet when they don't feel that it's safe to be openly gay in their particular community or social environment. Unfortunately, one of the realities of the world is that if you are different from the main stream in any way, you are a potential target for the thoughtlessness and cruelty of others. However, such criticism can be diminished when you embrace that which makes you different, love yourself, and realize that you are unique... the only "you" on the entire planet!... as then it is easy to understand just how special beyond measure you truly are.

Even if you are in the closet, your being here right now, on this earth, is truly a miracle!

It takes time to accept being gay and make the first bold step of telling someone. The earlier in life that a gay person can come out, the better it will be for their present and future self. It's not healthy to stay in the closet and it also prevents you from getting on with life, having life experiences, finding a boyfriend, establishing a career, building friendships, and so on.

However, it goes without saying that all gay people do not have the exact same experience with coming out, accepting who they are, and then finding a partner. There's no formula or pattern that must be followed. Everyone is on their own journey and deserves the freedom of coming to terms with being gay in whatever amount of time they need. Variables such as a person's surroundings, the tolerance or intolerance of friends and family, and a person's physical location on the globe, all have an effect on how each of us muddles through it all. This is why some gay folks are able to be so openly gay and have a partner, while others living in the same city choose to be patient and give themselves more time before coming out.

Of course, one needs to be careful not to fall into the habit of using "being in the closet" as an excuse for not facing the uncomfortable task of coming out, as avoiding coming out can be unhealthy and detrimental to one's well being. Admittedly, I did just that for many years which I regret, so I am speaking from experience. You are only young once so coming out during your teens or early 20s is ideal. But forcing someone to come out, or outing them against their wishes is wrong and cruel, no matter how good your intentions might be, as being outed only makes a person feel more powerless in a world that they already find overwhelming. I would also add that outing someone under the guise of "helping them" is a selfish thing to do as such an act is not about them but about you. Though you may think you are helping, what you are really doing is making their very personal situation about you, "the helper", rather than about them. If you really have a closeted person's best interests in mind, treat them as an adult and allow them the respect and dignity of being in control of their own life choices.

It must be up to the individual to make the choice one way or the other to come out, when they are ready.

Supporting someone who is gay by letting them be in control of when and where they will come out is the best thing that a friend can do. Simply being a shoulder to lean on and someone to talk to, to confide in, and to listen, is often more helpful than you might realize.

Next page: Coming out again, and again, and again

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Originally Posted March 2016
Last Updated Aug 2017

Legal stuff:
Please post comments below or contact me through my website at www.artellepuppets.ca
The original contents of this blog including text and original photos are TM and © Mike Artelle, 1988, 2017
This excludes the pictures that were found online

Monday, September 11, 2017

Playing with Dolls Doesn't Make Kids Gay

Mego Batman and Robin 8 inch dolls from my childhood.

Here's a news flash! Believe it or not playing with dolls does not make a child gay, nor does it "prove" that a child is gay! The Mego superhero dolls shown above were extremely popular in the 1970's, so much so that they were manufactured for a full decade, from 1972 to 1981. As such, almost every kid in my school played with these dolls, not just the kids who were gay. In fact, boys have been playing with these types of dolls since the 1960's and the toys are still very popular today, mostly among adult collectors who had them during their childhood. Therefore you really can't give gay kids from the 60's or 70's, like me, all the credit for supporting this multi-million dollar industry of "boys dolls" for the past 50 plus years.

Yet, even today in 2017 there is still a stigma about calling these toys "dolls" rather than the preferred term "action figures", as apparently the latter is more macho. It also allows folks to be in denial about the reality that the toy they like so much is in fact a doll. This desire to hide the truth is evidence enough that there is still a strong and false perception that "Boys shouldn't play with dolls", as it is considered in some way an indication of their masculinity and heterosexuality. Such thinking is a ridiculous and outdated concept, not unlike "A woman's place is in the kitchen".

I've posted more about Dolls for Boys on my doll blog, here: http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/introduction.html

My buff little Robin doll showing off his hot little chest!
He's also wearing a tiny pair of removable green underwear with matching elf shoes
while showing off his bare legs, which certainly makes this one gay little doll!
No wonder Robin was my favourite!

The fact is, I would have been gay regardless of what types of toys I played with. Even at such a young age as six or seven I had an awareness of liking the male figure and a specific interest in boys. So in regards to my dolls, when I was in grade one I recall being very interested in the sculpted muscular chest on my Robin Mego doll (above), and liked how his shirt opened at the front to show him off. But my Robin doll didn't "make me gay" because I already was gay, even before my parents had bought the doll for me! And I was a selective gay kid, as I clearly preferred playing with Robin over Batman. Heck, at least my Robin doll permitted me to enjoy an innocent expression of my gayness as a child before the weight of the world would come crashing in on me as a gay teenager!

With my Muppet collection in the mid 1980's when I was about 10 years old.

I also remember as a kid, drawing a picture of the Incredible Hulk and thinking about how much fun it was to draw his pecks and muscles. Then in grade two, I remember being very interested in a boy in my glass. He had blond hair and for some odd reason one day he took his shirt off in class to reveal a white sleeveless undershirt. The teacher scolded him and told him to put his shirt back on right away, and I recall being quite fascinated while watching him. As far as I'm concerned, memories such as these are evidence enough to demonstrate that my gayness is indeed natural... aside from the other more obvious indications during my teens!

So no, playing with dolls does not make kids gay, just as playing with dolls will not make kids heterosexual. The only thing that playing with dolls might cause in children is happiness. Isn't that remarkable!


Next page: Being a gay teenager in the 80's and early 90's

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Originally Posted March 2016
Last Updated Aug 2017

Legal stuff:
Please post comments below or contact me through my website at www.artellepuppets.ca
The original contents of this blog including text and original photos are TM and © Mikey Artelle, 1988, 2017

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Cutest gay couple ever!

 
I found this photo online.
This picture of a cute gay couple kissing is so adorable!!!
I love this photo!
 

Conclusion


A handsome Christmas photo from 1994 when I was 21.

Although being gay hasn't been easy for me, I am very proud of how I endured and persevered over the years. The struggle has knocked me down a number of times, but I always, always get back up. I'm not made of Teflon or steel, I'm just very stubborn which in this case is a good thing!

When I was very young and came to understand the social and political situation that goes along with being a gay man, I also eventually realized that while I may not have been given the choice to be gay, or the choice to be in a Catholic school, or the choice to be in this specific predicament, I knew that the choice to always get back up again after being knocked down was something that nobody else could decide but me.

And here I am, a stubborn, shy warrior, still standing.

For that, I give myself a big gold star. Without question there were times when I didn't get back up right away. Sometimes it's necessary to be patient with yourself and take the time to think things through, find some support and talk to someone. But I knew that I would get back up again when I was ready. I refuse to let those who poisoned my young mind win this battle, so I will always get back up. Not only is this a promise that I made with myself, but it's also something that I owe myself. After all, it's rather silly to be down about others treating you with disrespect if you aren't going to treat yourself with respect either, so I owe it to myself to always get back up.
 
It quite remarkable that today society has changed so drastically from when I was a child. There is an entirely different outlook towards homosexuals now that is positive and supportive. So while it's easy to stay stuck in the same familiar mindset of the past, the truth of the matter is that today I also have the choice to move on and leave all that unwanted negativity behind. 
 
I can choose to replace those feelings of shame, self-hate and anger with positive feelings of pride and self-love for who I am. Quite simply, I cannot continue to let the negativity of those who are anti-gay determine the extent to which I can live a life of happiness. That is my choice to make, not theirs.
 
Clearly, I needed a lot of time for my own journey, but I can now say without any fake pretences that I like being gay and I'm happy that I'm gay! It's part of my unique personality. The lessons that I've learned from my struggle to accept being gay have made me a more compassionate person. If given the choice today between being gay or not I wouldn't change a thing. I'm proud to be gay, and if you're a gay guy like me, I hope that you're proud too!

Carry on brave warrior! Onward and upward!

Thanks for reading! ;)

-Mikey

 Here I am with all of my hand-made superhero puppets in March 2016 when I was 42.




...and another picture of Chachi! ;)



THE END


Next Page: Gay Stuff: Cool Websites & Info
 
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Originally Posted March 2016
Last Updated Aug 2017

 

 
Legal stuff:
Please post comments below or contact me through my website at www.artellepuppets.ca

The original contents of this blog including text and original photos are TM and © Mike Artelle, 1988, 2017
This excludes the pictures that were found online including those of Chachi from the TV series Happy Days. (Scott Baio, thank you for existing! You are a handsome, dark haired, hot stud muffin of boyish 70's perfection! ...and cute too!)

Internalized Homophobia

In addition to what was mentioned in my previous post, I continue to cope with what I strongly suspect is the most annoying, persistent, frustrating, and ultimately depressing case of internalized homophobia that a gay guy could possibly have, and I'm not being sarcastic. This is the beast that needs to be slain!

This button sums up the situation nicely!

The condition is a direct result of my staunch Catholic upbringing along with disparaging attitudes from society in general during my childhood, which is an environment that I had to live in throughout my teens up until my mid to late 20's. Essentially, because I was hardwired as a kid to be afraid of being openly gay and taught to believe that there was something wrong or abnormal with being homosexual, I have those same irrational instincts as an adult. Logically, I know that my gayness is perfectly natural yet at times I have difficulty with expressing it no matter how much I may want to.

For example, I went to the mall the other day (in the summer of 2016) to speak with a sales rep who turned out to be a very cute young guy in his 20s. He had a very chatty, friendly demeanor, and long hair that looked really attractive on him. If I were 15 years younger he would be the kind of guy I'd want to go out with. While we were talking I got the sense that he might be gay (which gay folks refer to as "gaydar") and found myself becoming more curious about him, impulsively studying him to see if he really was gay. In that moment when I was experiencing those gay feelings of attraction for him I suddenly became fearful about being gay, rather than feeling good about it. As such, I ended the conversation with him quickly and left the store in order to avoid feeling attracted to him. This is a completely irrational response for me to have toward my own gayness, but the fearfulness just keeps dogging me. 

Doing away with my internalized homophobia would make me feel like this guy!

Thankfully my internalized homophobia doesn't affect me all of the time. As I mentioned earlier in another post, I do have gay friends and have had a few boyfriends in the past. However my internalized homophobia has prevented me on many, many occasions from simply being myself and saying what is actually on my mind. In the past it has caused me to miss out on making new gay friends, talking with cute guys that I'd want to go out with, using my gaydar to meet gay guys who might not be out, making myself open to having a steady boyfriend, flirting back with a guy who is flirting with me, being openly gay in general, and establishing a long term relationship with a partner.

Dealing with internalized homophobia isn't as simple as just saying "get over it already". To do so would be dismissing it as trivial which is not helpful at all. Internalized homophobia is a complex issue that requires a tremendous amount of patience and understanding to sort through as you work to peel back the layers and expose irrational thoughts. More importantly, it's critical for me to remind myself that this internalized homophobia is not my fault. It is the result of being mentally abused during my childhood when I was forced to conform. When, as a boy, I was made to feel so fearful about my natural gay feelings that I am still fearful at times even as an adult.

As I understand it, those who are aware of their gayness when they are a child or in their teens are more at risk of developing internalized homophobia, where as those who become aware of their gayness in their 20s or as an adult are less at risk.

Therefore in order to overcome my internalized homophobia, I have to push through my fear and acknowledge that I am gay, acknowledge the struggle that I'm having with being gay, and talk more about it. To that end, I've taken the bold step of adding "Mikey's Coming Out Story" to my blog, and I've even included this section discussing internalized homophobia! Take that you nasty dragon!
 
So now my internalized homophobia is exposed for all to see! Without question, I'm working on it and I will slay this beast. Despite that it has already taken me a long, long time to get to this point, I need to continue being patient with myself. Sometimes though, that's very hard to do, especially when I think about all the years that I've missed out on living my life just being my true self....
 
Next page: Conclusion
 
Back to "Mikey's Coming Out Story" Main Page
 
Back to Home page
 
 
Originally Posted March 2016
Last Updated Aug 2017

Legal stuff:
Please post comments below or contact me through my website at www.artellepuppets.ca
The original contents of this blog including text and original photos are TM and © Mike Artelle, 1988, 2017
This excludes the pictures that were found online

The effects of conforming

Here I am with one of my puppet characters, Pythor the Barbarian, in 2010.

One of the unique things that a lot of gay people experience as a result of supressing their identities during their teenage or young adult years is a delayed adolescence. As we are so involved with conforming to the surrounding social norms and expectations in our earlier years, gay guys like me often miss out on all the normal things that a teenager and young adult is suppose to do, such as going on a first date, or dancing at the prom, and so on. In addition, gay guys who go through what I did have fewer opportunities to genuinely develop their social skills or dating skills, and therefore are more likely to end up single later in life when most heterosexual couples are settling down and having kids.

As such there is a domino effect that comes into play which causes a gay man's usual "timeline" for life events to be thrown out of sync with his age. So if you ever see a grown man who is gay acting like a teenager, or if he comes across as being immature for his age, now you know exactly why. He is simply acting out those social situations which, by no fault of his own, he missed out on earlier in life. I've been fortunate to have had some memorable experiences with my past boyfriends, however in some ways I still find myself dealing with this delayed timeline effect now that I'm in my early 40's. For starters, I certainly hadn't planned on being single at this point of my life! Being such a shy person complicates things even more, so I have my work cut out for me.
 
 
 
Next page: Internalized Homophobia
 
Back to "Mikey's Coming Out Story" Main Page
 
Back to Home page
 
 
 
 
Originally Posted March 2016
Last Updated Aug 2017

Legal stuff:
Please post comments below or contact me through my website at www.artellepuppets.ca
The original contents of this blog including text and original photos are TM and © Mikey Artelle, 1988, 2017