Patience A Gay Man's Virtue

Patience A Gay Man's Virtue

Patience A Gay Man's Virtue

Patience - A Gay Man's Virtue takes readers on a lighthearted, and at times serious, journey through the life and times of the author. Written from the vantage point of a gay man, the book addresses many injustices in the world that affect people outside the gay community.

A journey through life, while riding a roller coaster of emotion, Patience - A Gay Man's Virtue is the heartfelt and candid story of one man's triumph over hatred and bigotry. Inviting the reader to walk alongside him through a world that is anything but fair, this book speaks to the trials, tribulations, and successes that come with growing up as a minority in a world that is not quite ready to accept all people as they are.

"What I have learned in my short three-ish decades of life on this earth is that the world is not tolerant of many things and people, and as individuals, we all need to work on that. Ask anyone who has ever been touched by racism, prejudice, hate crimes, bigotry, etcand by 'anyone' you will soon realise I mean 'everyone'. Everyone has been a recipient of negative human interactions based on some personal attribute," says La Lumiére.

Born in New England at a time long before the invention of DVDs, iPods, the Internet (yes, there was life before the Internet), Hybrid cars, the Snuggie as well as a plethora of other things that have been invented but have questionable practicality and usability, Jed La Lumiere was lucky enough to be born after the heyday of 8-track tapes and the El Camino. He moved to Canada in 2008, and has been bouncing back and forth, like a yo-yo, between the USA and Canada, since.

He spent the first half of his career life as an IT guy. While that job paid the bills and provided a comfortable existence, he wanted to do more than answer phones, deal with computer issues, and write code.

A few years ago he decided to become a personal trainer so he could help people become healthier. He wanted to pay forward the kindness that someone showed him many years ago while losing his own battle with weight issues. Being a personal trainer both in the gym and out has proven to be most rewarding for Jed, but he had the need to write. While he still trains clients now and again, he's focused on reaching people through the written word.

Patience A Gay Man's Virtue
Author: Jed La Lumiere

Interview with Jed La Lumiere

Question: What inspired you to write Patience A Gay Man's Virtue?

Jed La Lumiere: Many things inspired me to write the book. Nevertheless, the largest inspirations, I think, were: my experiences as a gay man growing up in a small town, the injustices that I saw as it pertained to LGBT persons and other invisible minorities, legislative bigotry and the fact that most of the books out there are too LGBT focused, exclusively.

Growing up in a small town is hard enough for many people, but when you are young, struggling with your secret, and you have people openly hating you-peers and elders alike---life is just horrifying. In the wake of equal rights for people of colour and increased equality for women, bigots-most times-will keep their thoughts and comments to themselves, while in public. However, LGBT people are invisible, in more ways than one. With that, anti-gay persons will hate us right to our faces and there is still little protection for us. It is getting better, but until the LGBT community is recognised as equal in all countries-as complete and whole people and citizens-the door is left wide open for support of extremist organisations and anti-gay individuals.

Many people do not realise-choose to remain blind- that the LGBT community is still very much a minority group with many, unattractive connotations associated with it. Coupled with that, the protections that we have as a community vary from country to country and state to state, and our value as humans is validated-discounted-greatly depending with whom you speak. I have been dismissed from jobs for being gay, and I have witnessed transgendered people suffer the same fate. It's just madness and it pisses me off that many countries have come so far to bring equal rights to their people, yet the LGBT community still has to fight to become equal with their fellow compatriots. With a world filled with hunger, war, disease and distain, one would think that in the 21st century governments and other worldly organisations would be doing their best to bring a global nation together, not continue to tear it apart. Together, with LGBT supporters, we will win the war, but with each battle, we must increase the volume of our communal voice.

Lastly, many of the books that I have read about LGBT issues or lifestyles are centred directly on those subjects, alone. That's not to say that I have read every book, article and press release that's out there. However, what I have noticed is the exclusivity with which some of the books are written, and in many cases they focus on the darker, sadder side of LGBT life. What I wanted to do with this book was to be inclusive of all communities and to bring some laughter, light, and unity to the issues that we all deal with as a global people, and not segregated communities. So, yes, the book was written by a gay man, and the issues that I discuss are serious in nature, however; what I have to write transcends the LGBT community. As a result of my work, I hope to reach the heads, hearts, and humanity of millions of people around the globe.

Question: What messages do you hope readers take away from Patience A Gay Man's Virtue?

Jed La Lumiere: My goals are to make my readers laugh, get them to think a bit, make them feel more comfortable in their own skin, and have them relax in the world that surrounds them. We're all linked somehow, and when more of us are relaxed the better off we are as a global community. With six degrees of separation connecting us, we're bound to know someone, who knows someone, who knows-well you get the picture. My point is that I'd like all of the people in my six degrees of separation to be as serene as possible.

When I started out on the journey to write the book, the first thing I wanted to be sure of was that the book was not all doom and gloom. I love to make people laugh, and this world has a severe shortage of smiles, that's for sure. So, while my messages are clear and concise, they are delivered with humour despite the gravity of issues at hand.

In getting my readers to think a little bit, my hopes were to reach the LGBT community, the supporters of our community, as well as people who are in need of a bit more education and enlightenment as it pertains to LGBT persons. As I stated before, while the book was written by a gay man, and it includes some of my experiences, the lessons and the happenstances can be related to just about any person or community. Many of the issues that surround the LGBT community are easily relatable to equal rights for woman-still and issue despite what many may think-people of colour and people with disabilities. I ask people to look beyond their noses and their comfort levels to see the world through the eyes of another.

Getting comfortable in a society that constantly tries to make you into something you are not, is another hot topic, and goal that I want to reach with my readers. Whether you're short, tall, black, white, gay, straight, male, female, rich, poor, whatever...someone, somewhere is going to have an issue with you, eventually. No matter what you do as a person to fit in or please other people, you are always going to fall short. That's why I think it's a damn shame when people do their best to conform to a society just to feel safe. The two main reasons this disheartens me is because one: Some people spend their whole lives pretending to be something they are not, while missing out on what it would be like to live as the real them. And two: People who let society dictate the direction of their lives end up being spectators to the most wonderful thing we will ever experience-the gift of life. People are born into what they are as it pertains to sex, sexuality, and gender. Love yourself for who you are. That's my message. We are born that way...take it away Lady Gaga. I love that crazy woman.

In short, we all need to relax in the world around us. Anti-gay extremists need to chill out as do the churches and governments that favour anti-gay legislation. First and foremost, allowing same-sex marriage will not infringe on anyone else's rights, churches will not spontaneously combust, and countries will not fall because same-sex marriages are permitted. Canada, The Netherlands, and Denmark have all proven that-as examples. Many of my friends in these nations are gay (myself included) have married, and the flags still fly and the peoples these great nations are still free. Teaching hate is not the answer. It is a problem. It's a problem that is a growing epidemic, which transcends the LGBT community and seeps into the facets of everyday life, for every person. When people are taught that it's OK to hate one person because of his/her differences it becomes very easy to keep adding to the list.

But members of the LGBT communities are not off the hook either, in this regard. As a community, we have to show the world that we are comfortable enough with ourselves to come out as the people that we were meant to be and to fight for the rights that are wrongfully withheld from us. Our communal voice needs to grow in numbers and in volume. The time for complacency has passed and all members of the LGBT community as well as our supporters need to join together to put anti-gay hate crimes and anti-gay legislation behind us, finally. In all states, countries and nations, it's time for true equality among all persons-without exception.

Question: What did you learn about yourself, from writing Patience A Gay Man's Virtue?

Jed La Lumiere: Wow, this is a loaded question.... I guess one of the most shocking things that I learned was that there still so much that I don't know about what is going on in the world as it pertains to the LGBT community and the issues that we still face. Granted, I try to keep my fingers on the pulse of current events in the countries where equal rights for all persons is still an issue, but even in the countries where rights are "more equal" than not, I still uncover many great injustices that invisible minorities face whether they are in the LGBT community or not.

What I wasn't expecting, was the overwhelming acceptance of the book and the worldwide attention that I've received since it's been published. After a lifetime of being told that I was less important, not worth being heard, and not equal to my fellow countrypersons, I began to believe it. I don't anymore. I am worth being heard, I am just as important as the next human, and I am equal. One hopes that when he/she finishes a literary work that he/she will be able to share it with the world but as many writers in the past have realised that is not always the end result. With that, I received just a little more validation in that what I have to say is important, just as much as the manner in which I deliver my messages. People respond well to humour, people like to laugh, and I feel that I have connected to my global community.

I started the book in 1999, but due to the lack of protection for gay people in the USA at the time, and my fear of telling people about the book, I put it away until 2008. In 2008, seeing that rights for LGBT persons was still moving at a glacial pace, I decided that what I had to say needed to be said, and it was more important than any job that I held. Now people are responding to me in a positive way, so I know I did something right. It's funny...I thought I was comfortable with myself, and confident in who I was, but after the last word was written, and the last edit completed, I was really concerned about getting the book published. I had cold feet about what people would say or think when they read the book. It was then that I realised that I was not bringing to the table-in myself-what I was asking others to do for themselves. I was comfortable being me in my community, with my friends and family, but I was not sure if I was going to be comfortable being me in front of the world. So far it's been a great journey and I surprised myself how comfortable I am doing interviews, talking to new friends and speaking about difficult subjects with people who do not know me very well. I just hope that I will be able to continue to touch as many lived as possible with all the wisdom and madness that I have to share.

Question: How have you learnt to deal with negative human interactions?

Jed La Lumiere: The first thing that I have learned is that if someone is negative toward me because of some aspect of my person, whether known or assumed, and they don't actually know me, is to disregard them. Hate and negativity stem from fear and ignorance. While I hope to educate people through my messages, I understand that not everyone is willing to learn or listen. Those who are ignorant, or misinformed more often than not, as I have found, are not willing to accept those who are different than they are, but more so they are looking to start an alteration of sorts, and that is not something that I am going to feed into. As I stated before, the masses will find some attribute about a person and use it as a weapon. Some people hate the poor, some hate the rich, some hate people of colour, and others hold distain toward immigrants.

I have also learned that hate and fear only have power if we allow it to be so. When the media or political powers get hyped up on anti-gay issues and it gets a positive response, these entities will continue to push such agendas with the hope of continued greed and success. If we, the global people, turn our backs to such hate, debates over equal pay for equal work, same-sex marriage, and equal rights for all will no longer be hot topics, rather they will rapidly become more commonplace versus common conversation.
Lastly-through many trials and tribulations-I have come to the realisation that the fear and hate that people harbour against me, the LGBT community or any other minority group for that matter, has nothing to do the people in which the negativity is directed. People who choose to remain in the dark about things they don't know and blindly hate others because they have nothing better to do, have issues that stem from their own insecurities and lack of information. Coming to this epiphany helped me get over the idea that I was the one with the problem, and that there was something wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with me. I am who I am, I like who I am and I am the person that I was meant to be. However, many people do not embrace themselves, or others, and as a result they segregate themselves from what they don't know, and place themselves on some artificial, egocentric platform where they feel safe from things they choose not to come to terms with.

Question: What would you say to someone who was afraid to "come out of the closet?"

Jed La Lumiere: DO IT! Whatever your secret, whatever you are hiding, there's no time better than today than to come out with it and start living the life that you were meant to have. I have helped many people come out of the closet, and no matter how scared they were beforehand, as soon as they did it, they were so relieved and their lives, and loves turned around. That is not to say that there will not be some turbulence as you rise up to meet the person that you are meant to be, but once you reach cruising altitude you will be glad you put things in motion.

I, like some people, was outed by someone, a stranger for that matter-a story for another time-so I did not have an option to come out when I was ready. I was forced out, and that is not an option that I would suggest to anyone. What I have found to be most common is that people are their own worst enemies when deciding whether to come. They build these fantastic allegories and horrible outcomes in their minds when the reality really is not that bad. Many are afraid of losing a job, family members, friends, what have you, but none of those things are worth a lifetime of hiding. There will always be another job, and you can always make new friends. Concerning the family...if they do not love you for who you are, you don't need them. Harsh, but true.

Whoever said you can't pick your family could not have been more inaccurate.

In my life, I have lost two people very dear to me because they were afraid to come out to their families. Their fear was so great that they decided to end their own lives versus talking to a family member about their sexuality. If someone does not feel comfortable talking to a family member about coming out, I suggest they find a friend, or professional to talk to-someone they can trust. Many early teens and young adults feel trapped, they need an outlet, and talking to someone is a much better route to take over suicide.

Often times I have heard the excuse, "Why should I come out, my business." Yes, that is true. It is your business, but as a business, if you are not true to the product that you are selling (yourself), your marketing is going to suck. It may not be anyone else's business what you do in your spare time or with whom you bed down with in the evening, but it is your life and a life of running from friends and family is not a life at all. Always living in fear that someone will find out your big secret is no way to go on day-to-day. All of that fear and tension is going to harm the body, mentally and physically. Lighten your load, get your secret off your chest and live life. Believe it or not, the very secret that you are hiding many may already know, and in some cases they are just waiting for you to come to them.

Question: What is the best advice you could give someone growing up gay in today's world?

Jed La Lumiere: In short: Believe in yourself, fight for your rights and never let society dictate how you should live your life. You are who you are, and there is nothing wrong with you. That is unless you are an axe murder or serial killer. Then there is something seriously wrong with you. Other than that, the only way you will ever reach true success in life is to be honest with yourself every day, in every way. When you are honest with yourself, and you work to make your life the best that it can be for you, then everything will fall into place. The world is scary enough without adding more stress and more fear into everyday life. In the words of Josh Groban, "You are loved." Know that and remember it, always.

Full equal rights for all minorities will not happen if we are not confident in our worth and ourselves, as humans. We have to believe that we are worth being heard, we have to believe in the good in others, and we have to have enough trust in ourselves to do what is right for us even when the current norm of society tells us otherwise.

Each day the LGBT community is gaining ground in a world that is still not ready to accept us as we are. Every time someone stands up to defend themselves and their community; we are one step closer to winning the war on hatred. The steps that we have made in the last fifteen to twenty years would not been as great or as effective without the communal voice that we all share. Never lose that voice. Listen to your heart and show the world how wonderful you are.

Interview by Brooke Hunter




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