Pride and Prejudice

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I do so like these ‘themed’ posts – after ‘Sense and Sensibility’ I really couldn’t resist this (although I am going to struggle to find a gay/acrobatic/fitness content for Northanger Abbey)… thanks, Ms Austen…

Actually there are two themes going, since I am working through the ‘senses’ in relation to ‘Loving Dave’… well, he probably deserves it, but he’ll have to wait for the next post…

‘Pride’. We both support and hate these ‘gatherings’ at the same time. ‘Proud to be gay’? Well, for us it’s just the everyday story of our life and times. Are others ‘proud to be straight’? Probably they don’t think about it, and we don’t either. So, whilst we can understand the objectives of ‘Pride’ marches and gatherings, we wouldn’t explicitly support them or attend them either. They do rather push the extremes of ‘gayness’ down the throats of folks who would otherwise be unconcerned… or, indeed, those who are mistakenly prejudiced but it probably makes them even more prejudiced at the sight of semi-naked guys wearing makeup and rainbow outfits. Not our ‘fitness’ image at all…

backyard boy

Appreciate him? Or indeed, the headline guy above? That’s what we like. Fit guys who care about their appearance and what their bodies can achieve. Not purple feather chokers and fake wings…

Another ‘Pride and Prejudice’ example concerns my super-fit son Leo. I have written about his issues being bullied at Middle School before, and thought they were overcome. I persuaded him that his own pride in ‘showing off’ in Phys Ed that he was already a talented acrobat and could do stuff the others couldn’t even dream about was not going to win him more friends. So, he sensibly backed off, and it all stopped.

Until one of the coaches stepped in, started ‘having a go’ at the fat kids who live on a diet of TV, hamburgers, fries and non-diet Coke, suggesting that ‘Leo’s dad could help them gain their fitness and they might stand a chance of getting into this or that team…’

Oh dear. ‘Leo’s dad’ (me) certainly doesn’t want an unwilling class of fat kids showing up at the house (or the gym) demanding suitable treatment. As if they would – they probably can’t get their fat arses off the couch in the first place. But this coach doesn’t seem to understand that such stupid suggestions simply re-awaken the prejudice these losers have against the fit kids… So now Leo is on the receiving end of ‘teacher’s pet’ type bullying again. I called that coach today, and let him know exactly what I think. Hopefully, he got the message. And full marks to Leo for telling me.

Cover1 ThumbCover2 ThumbIn the brief days Dave and I spent in an American High school, we had a brilliant coach who was not only exceedingly favourably disposed towards acrobatics but was also (privately) gay and a member of the private gym nearby. In the books I called him Andy but, for understandable reasons, perhaps that was not his real name. Sadly, he left the local schools scene for pastures new, and support locally for the art of handbalancing and so forth has largely gone. Knowing a lost cause when we see one, Dave and I and our acrobatic mates now devote our energies through the local gymnastics centre, when we’re not professionally performing. Maybe Leo is destined for the same route, and I’m confident he’ll hold his own… but sometimes I wonder if he wouldn’t have been better off if he couldn’t do a handstand but liked baseball and these other nonsensical American team sports!

Oops, just lost a load of US followers there…

By the way, there is a third book which doesn’t feature Coach Andy (he’d gone by then) but completes the trilogy of finding gay love, developing as performers, and includes a few more side dishes of adventure. Just saying… (and yes, there are e-book versions).

So, we are who we are, and we are where we are. Appreciating fitness, being gay and understanding what gay guys like. But behaving responsibly (we like to think), not ‘imposing’ our gayness a la ‘Gay Pride’ marches and so forth. Trying not to have to confront prejudices but, at the same time, not holding back to defend our right to be what we are. And, above all, being fortunate enough (despite being gay) to have fathered a child each, defending to the hilt the right of those kids to be their own person(s) and not to have to run the gamut of stupid prejudices because their parents happen to be gay/lesbian. To be caring and understanding of all the kids in our care as gym coaches, and always treating them appropriately according to the codes and standards which their parents have a right to expect. I’m sure that if pictures of Dave, me, or any other coach appearing next to naked in a gay pride march appeared in the media, that our coaching activities would come to a sudden halt! Parents… your kids are safe with us!

Sporties73

OK. Now let’s feed the minds of our discerning readership with a selection of fitness inspiration, which I hope we can all support without prejudice:

slant

qGommy0

on the bars

A happy lad…

Major Cuties208

First steps in acrobatics:

first steps

Let’s meet in the car park?

car park

…or better, in the gym!

tumblr_n6ptalNhQ11slpnjwo1_1280

tumblr_n9wnsvtPDs1r8x9g8o1_1280

If you haven’t got access to a gym, improvise!

tumblr_n38qxa45M21tufjy4o1_1280

Just a patch of grass will do…

tumblr_naeyqooqAq1syuvebo2_1280

tumblr_nbhmmjirdn1syuvebo1_500

Have pride in yourself – this develops the drive to get to work on improving yourself…

tumblr_nbkd4ylNm91rbugovo1_500

Find some like-minded friends…

tumblr_ncgccv_UY191sp9rmjo1_1280

…and let this final guy be your inspiration. He may be in a wheelchair, but look what he has achieved!

wheelchair lifter

If anyone has a right to be proud… he has to be the star!

 

 

 

 

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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One Response to Pride and Prejudice

  1. Pingback: Persuasion | Tony Cavanagh

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