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Stuck like a bird in a cage

Hi Darren, I listened to the "Sex Panic" episode. You seem to have the ability to unfold new beginnings and to help people to get off the merry-go-round of life. I have a question about my individual behaviour. After been indoctrinated for over 30 years, everything is now on my terms but I feel like a bird in a cage. The cage door is open and it’s up to me know to step out to fly and sing, but I'm stuck. Thanks for this message, Darren. I am starting to feel comfortable with who I am.

We cannot forget our history

Darren, I listened to your comments and while you were speaking, I thought about previous occurrences of this behaviour. A Japanese schoolmate of mine was born in a camp in the US during WWII. Their home was taken and they had to move to a new state after their release. The mindset of the United States has a history of harsh and murderous treatment of others but a person needs to search diligently in our history. There are things to hide because we do not want to pay for our privilege of forcibly taking the land from those who lived here prior to the arrival of any Europeans. In addition to that were persons carried to this continent in chains and kept in forced labor plantations. One response of course is, “Well, that was way before our/my life.” Then. “Let's kill people in the name of religion.” I do believe change is necessary, it may need to be one person at a time, but from the compassionate communities of those who want to change, this need to continue. So spaces for those who wish to lead are open and waiting.

The truth about the way we communicate

I found this essay really inspiring because it hits on the truth about the way we communicate. I found this particularly interesting: "We end up ‘eating our own’ if we don’t agree with something that another queer person says or does." In our own communities, we expect each other to think and speak on the same wavelength, so when we disagree with each other it becomes personal.

Struggling with my body image

Hi Darren! My name is Aj and I’m a 21-year-old gay man from Virginia. I just read your article from April on The Good Men Project about body image and I think I just need some advice from someone who might know what I’m going through. I’ve struggled with my body image (specifically the amount of body hair I have- I come from a Jewish family, some stereotypes are based on truth) for basically my entire teens and until now. I used to shave everything off but now I can’t reach everything and it would be entirely too cumbersome to try and maintain a clean-shaven body, so I’ve stopped. Making that decision made me feel really good and a bit empowered honestly. But now that I’m over a year into my minimal-manscaping journey (this may be TMI), I’m having some of those insecure thoughts come back. They ebb and flow and I like to think that I’m confident and then I look at my body hair and immediately worry what others might think of me, or that I’ll never find a man who will like me despite it. I don’t really know what I’m asking, other than some advice that isn’t “Just learn to love yourself.” If college taught me anything (I just graduated), it’s that vague stuff like that never seems to stick as much as the practical. Thank you for listening! A young gay, AJ