We All Deserve An Elio Moment

While my thoughts today are inspired by the Oscar-nominated motion picture, “Call Me By Your Name”, it’s not a review of the movie.

About that, I’ve written that the movie “is stunning, sensual, and heartbreaking” and 22-year-old Best Actor nominee Timothee Chalamet “deserves the Oscar nomination and I could definitely see him as a front-runner”.

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In “Call Me By Your Name”, it’s 1983 in northern Italy and Elio’s summer takes a tender turn when the 17-year-old meets and falls in love with a visiting 24-year-old American graduate student, Oliver, who’s there for six weeks working with his father.

It’s a friendship and romance that’s both approved and encouraged by Elio’s loving parents.  Remember, this is Italy and the ages the story presents are more acceptable in Europe than it would be here in the United States — in the 1980s or today!

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I’ve always been an out gay man even when it wasn’t popular as a high school and college student in small town Kentucky in Ronald Reagan’s conservative, “Christian Right” America.

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For teenagers today, it’s much different than it was in the early-1980s navigating between being gay and living an open honest life when America and the world didn’t want us to be out of the closet.

My mother knew I was gay, but she still couldn’t always hide her concern with how life would be for me or with some of my decision making.

I remember one summer weekend before I started my sophomore year of college.  We lived about 25 miles from my university and an older college student, who lived near campus, invited me there for the night.   My mother was more concerned that I was spending the night with a guy than the fact that I might be taking part in underage drinking.

That first year of college living away from the watchful eyes of my parents was exciting for me as a teenager.

Decades later, I still fondly remember the butterflies I felt staring across the college dorm television room and locking eyes with the mustachioed student that came over and started talking to me.  And, still vivid are the memories of meeting and spending the night with the divorced dad in my neighborhood that was ten years older than me when I was 19.

Those three encounters happened in a one-year time span.

While I’ve gone on to fulfilling and loving relationships in my adult life, they could never compete with the excitement and the loss of innocence for a naive kid experiencing the physical sensations of becoming a young man.

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Watching innocent teenager Elio in “Call Me By Your Name”, in 2018, brought back the rush I felt on those exciting nights in 1983 and 1984.  Now, as an older man, I felt a sense of happiness that those nights were definitely worth it.

Luckily, for all of us, things are changing.

In the age of social media, which pretty much covers the last decade of my career as a television meteorologist, and with my personal blog, my “private” life is played out in public.

That’s given me a forum to educate people on what it’s like to be part of the LGBT community.   It shows people that we’re just like them — we work, we pay taxes, we cook dinner, we watch Netflix and movies, and so on.

It’s been very rewarding having mothers, grandmothers, and aunts reach out to me about how to handle their child or loved one’s “coming out” or being gay.

It’s better now because of the resources available online and in person for LGBT youth (and adults) questioning their sexuality or for parents and friends needing answers with PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

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While acceptance is higher these days, there’s also the backlash that comes with that increased visibility.

The same freedom, strides, and public acceptance that LGBT people fought for and earned (some with their lives) are being stripped away with that hateful man sitting in the White House.

The venom Donald Trump spouted in the 2016 presidential campaign and in his first year in office has given some of his followers, that already had poisoned minds, the power to openly attack (verbally and physically) others based on their sexuality (real or perceived), race, religion, gender, and the list goes on.

Sadly, our transgender friends are the ones feeling the brunt of that hate.

I know that most of the people that read what I write access it through Facebook.  And, according the site’s analytics, 72% of my Facebook followers are women and the ones that correspond and comment the most are straight.

While I want this to touch them, I really hope that this moves beyond my usual circle of readers because they are the ones that need to see it more.  We all know someone that is LGBT and it’s likely that some of them may be questioning their life and future.

In today’s political climate, this is the perfect time for “Call Me By Your Name”.

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I hope that any scared, alone, or questioning teenager or adult from any small town in America — whether it’s the backwoods of Alabama and Mississippi, the “Bible Belt” South, the wilderness of the Mountainous West, or the barren tundra of Alaska — can see “Call Me By Your Name” and know that it’s okay to have their own Elio moment, they’re not sick, and they deserve to find love and happiness!

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Anthony

P.S.  Now that you finished my thoughts, I’m sharing the Oscar-nominated song from “Call Me By Your Name”, “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens.

Also, here are three inspiring songs that got me through those days and nights in the 1980s.

“Never Surrender” — Corey Hart

“People are People” — Depeche Mode

“I Want Your Sex” — George Michael  (Even in this risque song, George was singing about wanting to be “out and proud”!)

“There’s things that you guess/And things that you know/
There’s boys you can trust/And girls that you don’t/
There’s little things you hide/And little things that you show”

 

 

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Connie Huizenga on January 29, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Anthony, Another well written and current blog. I truly hope that this blog reaches at least one person that needs the support. I also hope that your blog reaches more people that need education, their mind opened, and to learn acceptance.

    I’m convinced that people don’t accept what they don’t understand. My thoughts on that topic are 1. If you don’t understand, learn, investigate, seek knowledge, ask questions. 2. Do some soul searching. Why do you, the one doing the soul searching, think that you have the right to tell someone else who to love?

    Personally, I have enough to do with my own life and relationships. I don’t need to get so involved with someone else’s relationship to pass judgment. I don’t live with anyone other than my husband and I don’t have enough information on anyone else to pass judgement, other than, everyone deserves to love and be loved.

    Reply

    • My dear friend Connie,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read my thoughts and for sharing yours.

      The compliment is greatly appreciated.

      As I’ve always said, if I can reach one person and make them more accepting, I’ve succeeded. And, if that one person enlightens one person, etc., the world will be a better place.

      Love is love.

      Take care and thank you again.

      Love,
      AP

      Reply

  2. Posted by Tammy Ridpath on January 29, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I definitely agree with Connie. People don’t accept what they don’t understand.
    I feel that most of those white bread, racists, homophobics don’t have any friends except those with the same pea brains and they don’t care to learn. Just like trump. They don’t know people. This past couple years, I have heard the dumbest comments come from people I have known for years. Maybe I’m the ignorant one for not seeing their true faces, but God bless you for your patience and compassion. You are an inspiration. As a Caucasian, straight, obese, democrat, Christian woman with all types of friends, some of the haters just blurt things out and assume you agree. I always have to work on my response, because sometimes you want to slap them upside the head. It would be easy because I’m also a hairdresser. 😮 However, I try to be diplomatic and tolerant and kill them with kindness, sometimes…….

    Reply

    • Tammy,

      I love you just the way you are.

      I know that we, as a country, have always had disagreements, but I fully believe that the past two years have been the move divisive and hateful.

      I’m not sure how we move forward from where we are, but I hope it happens.

      Take care and keep up the good fight, my friend.

      Love,
      AP

      Reply

  3. Posted by Gigi Robertson on January 30, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Anthony, I really loved this blog. While reading about this subject, you should write a book. Very informative and also personal. I never heard of this movie, but I do want to see it.
    Listening to George Michael’s song, which I have always loved, I never really thought about those first lines. Now I understand. Thank you for this blog… ❤

    Reply

    • Gigi,

      Good morning and thank you. I’m glad you checked it out.

      I’m already writing one, but it was just going to be for my family. But, now that I write publicly, who knows. 🙂 LOL

      Have a great day, my friend.

      AP

      Reply

      • Posted by Gigi Robertson on January 30, 2018 at 8:09 am

        It would be a great read, so even if it is for your family only, it would be a great book. 😊

  4. Posted by Pamela Sue on January 30, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Good read, Anthony. Take care. Pam

    Reply

  5. Posted by Jenny Wilson on January 31, 2018 at 5:41 am

    Anthony,

    When I was 9 I had just moved into a neighborhood with my Mom after living with my dad for a year (My mom had lived there for some time before I moved back with her).. Well, one morning at around dawn I woke up to someone calling my mom’s name outside the apartment building we lived in. We lived on the second level and at that time it was still safe to keep the front door open all night long. I went outside and looked down the stairs and low and behold, there was the most beautiful man I had ever seen in my life! Believe it or not.. He was wearing a jock strap, Lmao! Come to find out his name was Bryan, he was a male stripper and bisexual, and one of my mom’s best friends. Him and I became close and I fell in love with him (not in the relationship way) but more of a father figure type of way. He would yell at me like a caring father would when I wore too much makeup, wore my pants too tight, etc.. There are so many things I could tell you about us that impacted my life in a way no one else ever has, He ended up passing of Aids when I was in my 20’s and that was one of the most heartbreaking memories of my life. Bryan was my first impression of what we now call the LGBT community. Since then I have known and have been friends with many gays. I’m happy I learned at an early age that being gay isn’t wrong, bad, disgusting or whatever word prejudices might want to call it, and I am happy to pass along to my children the same thoughts and feelings I have so they grow to accept everyone for who they are. You are one of the most thoughtful, caring and accepting people I know, and I am so happy to have found you on face book. Keep being brave and standing up for what you know and believe in and I will be here, right by your side, always.

    Jenny

    Reply

    • Jenny,

      Thank you very much for sharing that touching story. It’s amazing how some people touch our lives (sexual or non-sexual) in those impressionable years.

      Here’s to Bryan and all that he taught you. 🙂

      AP

      Reply

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