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JAMES MICHAEL MCCRACKEN INTERVIEW WITH MR.DAVID WATTERS... LONDON,ENGLAND
For an upcoming book "Never Blend In" by David Watters featured writer for harvey.milk.com
Role Models- Words to the GLBT Youth.
1) Why do you think it is important for teenagers/young adults to have role models?
I think that many of today's GLBT youth are focused on fun, sex and a put on "Image". What they think would be HOT this minute. A huge need for validation. Primarily from themselves, and if unable to give that to themselves, will go to great lengths to "feel" it from someone, and sometimes, anyone else. Mentorship in a focused environment can help redirect natural talents and "self" objectives. Unfortunately, there is a huge divide in age from those that have made it to the other side of themselves, and back to their "authentic" starting points. Sexual innuendo often pursues and the real objective is often thwarted. Writers and directors could make a huge difference...sometimes "fear of loss of profit" thwarts that. I think the best role models may not be in the GLBT community, but actually pertain to the career, or talent the youth expresses. Many polls I have read suggest that the gay youth would be more open to having "older" friends if they could just be platonic.
2) Do you feel that the media has a role to play in the promotion of positive role models for minority groups?
Yes. I do enjoy the new push in that direction. It may be necessary to promote cultural differences, as well as other matters that affect the GLBT community. The more in the pot the more likely to find something to connect with, and general commonalities for all. There is so much more going on here than just GLBT minority issues though. It is the crippling effect of that basic non-acceptance of being GLBT, that spawns all other evils of today's GLBT community. You can not teach someone to hate themselves, and expect quality production in the future. It becomes a deadly virus that infects us first, then behaves like a parasite by killing the host...in essence..everyone has a lousy day, then you die.
3) Are we beginning to see a greater diversity of LGBT characters in television and, if so, what effect, on those who identify as LGB or T, do you think this will have?
Immensely, I think we all hope to see someone like ourselves. There is such a fear that you are the only one. We are not often equipped to appreciate it though. That requires you to appreciate yourself, and as we continue to turn out young GLBT's that don't, it can be quite a long path back home. Bring plenty of bread crumbs with you. I hope to see more solid parts rather than the spoof of it all. Often, the straights are playing the gays, and the gays are playing the straights. Not sure that this helps The more facets to the characters the better the modeling. We all model behaviors.
4) Have you ever felt inspired to improve your life as a result of the example set by someone you personally knew?
Yes, my father and many,many years later. I only have a couple of memories with him, but he told me once when we where outside painting the house" If you ever get in trouble with life, remember it is only a matter of self control" twenty years later, I was able to start picking up the pieces of my life and that has been a very important key.
5) Have your attitudes toward yourself been affected by the influence of someone you admired?
Yes, in small ways many. All through my life I often heard that " You have great potential" (If you hear that it is NOT a good sign.) Many people tried to mentor me, but none with longevity. Not ever believing in myself, or understanding, that I was the cause preventing my own dreams from happening. Often by trying to please others, and pleasing no one in the end. Chase your dream young, the partying will always be there. You may not even desire that later, but if you do, you will be eating better cuts of meat, and drinking from the TOP shelf.
6) Can you remember a specific time in your life when an adult said or did something which changed you for the better?
Yes, while I was in the military a very special heterosexual male friend , a sargeant taught me this "You can't teach a pig to sing..It only annoys the Pig". You can only change yourself through diligence...invest in yourself, embrace who you really are, not who you think people might want. Don't waste your time fighting others. Once you love yourself ,you will want to surround yourself with people that naturally feel the same way as you. I have developed some very beautiful relationships in the past few years. They inspire me each and every day.
7) When we have a clear view of the principles in which we believe it is easier to make wise and focused choices. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Do you feel that you are living a principle-based life? What values do you live by and why?
I agree completely with this statement. I think that if we can prune back two ways of thinking (right and left) we can make great leaps forward as a whole people. I hope that we will heal ourselves, and be less reactionary. The pain you feel inside is yours alone, the best anyone else can do is to declare empathy....ask yourself is that what I want? Is that a loving environment for myself? One day it will be important again, to become what you envisioned as a child to be...much pain will then melt away. We are all our own worst obstacles to overcome...really. Some take more years than others. If you are a stuck as a giver, or a taker, you are no longer growing. Lastly remember as Smokey the Bear would say.."Only you can prevent Forest Fires".
8) Do you embrace the notion that you can have a positive impact on the lives of others in even one single meaningful moment?
Yes, I have chosen to walk in that spirit. That is one of the few choices in life that we really have inherently. To make every moment as pleasurable for all involved as possible. ( Note: include self here) To remember, rather than have boundaries with ourselves, we should try to have unconditional love for who we have become, or change it, as we maintain healthy boundaries with others. That is true self love.
9) Do you accept the fact that anytime you are interviewed or in the public eye that you potentially assume the role of character educator?
Yes. I think we all have the potential to have that impact on someone, whether we realize it or not. We really should learn to embrace that as a part of life. It is important to NOT do that which YOU are ashamed of , it will not do any one favor in the long run.
10) Are you aware of this responsibility and these teachable moments and, if so, what kind of character traits are you modeling?
I try to take a daily walk with these things, Integrity,honesty (primarily with myself), perseverance, and lastly a true love with anything I am expressing. This all gets more mandatory as you age. If you were to hold true to these things in your youth, you would be twenty years a head of a lot of folks. Attractive is so much more important than sexy or HOT! You will see... trust me.
11) Within your work setting have you encountered discrimination and, if so, how did you deal with that situation?
Yes, many times and it is often so well disguised as something else, except for the military before "don't ask don't tell" that was overt, and completely unnecessary behavior. I went through two "witch trials" in four years. I am not considered effeminate, so I do feel pain for those that are. They often made GLBT's that crumbled to them, my roommates trying to out me. Many abusers feel that gay's are "whipping posts" and that they are probably used to it. I have heard this before. I do always assert in these instances if present. We really should all observe the "Golden Rule" even if nothing else fits. Always "own" your image...it will be either your friend or your foe. Stand in your grace.
12) John R. Selig said in HWFmag, Role models are important for all of us but for LGBT youth, role models can often save lives! Every athlete, movie or television star who comes out, helps. So do politicians and local figures. Instead of focusing on stereotypes gay youth can have somebody to look up to, with hope instead of despair for their futures. How important is it for popular sports figures, musicians, actors, politicians and local figures to come out at the height of their careers and how will this benefit the LGBT community?
WOW in the height is a bit sacrificial. A fan base disturbed later, can destroy an artist as we have all seen. I would rather hope, as we are now seeing in America with artists like Ari Gold, RuPaul and others, that a young talented person can always be themselves. That is a "Position" we just need to assume, and go forward as they have. That is a basic human right. I have the most respect for them. Our own self hating behaviors are killing us.
13) Is it true that Fundamentalist religious institutions are guilty of preaching hate towards gays and, if so, what effect does this have on the progress of society?
Yes, in America they are.
Self defeating behaviors for all parties involved is the end result. To much time is spent holding perceived ground, rather than forging ahead, and mentoring the obvious maladaptive along the way. People clearly need to spend more time studying themselves and helping others than the opposite.
14) Should separation of church and state be more clearly defined in law?
I think it is here. However, as long as you allow lobbyists, there will be problems in the sanctions blurring. We in America have so many primary beliefs to re-evaluate. Things are quite the opposite of the way they were intended often, just to make a buck here and there.
15) Are gay role models part of our education system and culture?
No, they are not. In fact, are we not battling the saying "That's So Gay" now?
I think we will need more than three states in America to accept same sex marriages before we will see it. Many of us are just waiting for the old guard to die off and they are. It does surprise me how accepting my travels were in Europe and how accepted I was every where. Many of the famous LGBT we know and love here are mostly European, and from centuries ago. I guess its that universal "Not here" thing. We must help young people to accept and love themselves, otherwise many horrors are born along the way and needless time is wasted, if not lives.
16) There are still extreme cases of parental/ and family rejection faced by young people within the LGBT community. What would you say to the family of someone LGB or T to help them understand the needs of that person and also to help themselves cope/adjust to their new understanding of this family member?
You must accept yourself first. There is nothing wrong with omission, although it can make a bit of a mess at a later point. Often a parent will someday say "I knew that all along" "its really such a bigger deal for you than anyone else." If you family does not accept you ...love yourself, and make the best environment you can, until you are able to go out on your own. There are GLBT crisis centers in every country now to help assist and talk with you if you are in danger. The point is don't get there...keep who you are to yourself until you really know who you are. That's the safest thing.
17) How can a parent become more accepting and supportive of their LGBT children?
Simply to understand that to be different is not alone bad. Rather than focus on what is different, how about be different, and help research their talents and natural abilities, then the obvious, how to make money with that. A successful happy child will grow up naturally to return the favor. Possibly, to even set you free of all the things you have figured out about yourself finally. ..You know you wanted to take those pottery lessons...The safest thing to invest in other than yourself ,is your children..period. No doubt the best way of getting love back to yourself.
It becomes more a gamble, as your other relationships drift to the outer rings of Saturn.
18) Should schools address the special needs of their LGBT students instead of ignoring that such needs exist?
Yes, I feel that there needs to be strict enforcement of "Hate" demonstrations of all kind. People whom hate others, generally hate themselves, or they would not project such an image. We must learn tolerance and enforce self control. I really feel like we are lacking in these disciplines. We are such a new country these traits are not engrained over the centuries like Europe. The military would be an excellent opportunity to learn these things, if " Mom and Dad" neglected them. Europe is ahead of us with this the mandatory military experience. I think it is also a great chance to get free education to pursue your dreams, even to see Europe. There is a lot to be learned in even a four year commitment. College is very important to broaden the mind. If you can stand in the middle ( grey area) it is much easier to reach to both sides. "Work smarter not harder."
19) What advice can you offer someone who is struggling to come to terms with their sexual identity or orientation?
First I would address the gender issue. I think that if you are transsexual you need to make that a priority for planning. The earlier you can start treatment the better the end result. By 18, in the worse cases, you should already be well read about it, (online is a very valuable resource). Look for things that match rather than the odd comment or suggestion, and making Dr. appointments...electrolysis hurts, and sometimes scars. Start young before you have much facial hair. Voice training works both ways. For FTM my advice is "Put your man skills" on early. Chest bind daily. Don't pretend your a man, no lies needed, just don't by speech be a woman, or vice versa. People often just accept you naturally, so be natural. Its easier than you think. Don't worry about others accepting you, make sure you accept yourself. Love yourself first...Then you will soon be surrounded by the right people. If not, look for them along the way to reaching your goals. That's where the important ones are busy themselves. If you are with someone and it is not baring fruit for both it is not a healthy relationship.
20) How can society move forward in its perception of minority groups? Do you feel hopeful that our similarities are more recognized than our differences and that progress is being made?
We must learn to embrace others beliefs for themselves, and be respectful once again. America is perceived as being an arrogant country abroad. I am often shamed by this arrogance myself. Arrogance and ignorance are very closely related. I hope this perception is soon changed globally with our new leadership. I think that in this year 2009 much progress is being made in the GLBT community to reach across our own divisions. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are encouraging mentorship. We must learn to self validate and be of healthier mind. If you feel alone you are not loving yourself.
" If you are your own best friend, you will never be lonely" American Idol ...David Archuleta..
Moderation is key in all you do, and address your own addictions.
Chinese fortune cookie say "Behavior is a mirror in which everyone shows his own image."
"The Flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and Beautiful of all"
...Chinese Emperor in Mulan