Nimoy, Tovey and Stereotypes

Leonard Nimoy worked hard to escape a future limited by his being typecast as Mr. Spock; arguably the most iconic character from the Star Trek universe. He struggled to express other aspects of his personality, interests and talents. Of which he had plenty. It is quite possible (certainly ‘common wisdom’) that such effort made the resulting output (photography, books, music, tweets, and plenty more) all that much richer: art through struggle, art through striving. The image of the suffering artist is another stereotype. I don’t think that a life filled with poverty, death and disease are essential elements for creative output but it sure seems they often assist us in reaching the deepest reaches of our true Self.

His first biography is entitled “I am not SPOCK” and a later one is “I Am Spock” – I suspect the truth is that he was “Not Just Spock“. Certainly his Author’s Page at Amazon is filled with diverse titles.

As I understand it, a tenet of Buddhism is that ceasing to struggle against, to accept, what ‘must be’ is a path to peace. As with so much advice I think it’s a mixed truth. Too quickly ceasing to struggle against death cuts a life short- denying friends and loved ones the full measure of a life and who knows what other achievements. Surrender at the right moment and perhaps experience a peaceful passing. The secret seems to be balance; perhaps best summed up with the iconic Serenity Prayer.

But I didn’t intend to dwell on death. Rather the thoughts prompted by the passing of “Mr Spock” are how we as queer folk, we creative types, may benefit from achieving a balance of the stereotypes often applied to us: queer, gay, Top, bottom, feminine, masculine, flamboyant, normal, closeted, withdrawn, anal-retentive… Rather than saying “that’s not me” perhaps we need to accept- nay, embrace- that many of these are (to a greater or lesser degree) a part of us. Despite the best efforts of marketing and political ‘experts’ to reduce each of us to a single, simple target demo we are rich, diverse, complex beings. Fundamentalism is any approach to complex issues (spiritual, political, sexual or any other) that attempt to offer a single, universal solution. Life is far too rich for such restrictive world view.

As I was finishing up this post the following story crossed my Facebook feed: it seems that openly-gay actor Russell Tovey (now in HBO’s Looking said that “I feel like I could have been really effeminate,” but thanks his Father for “not allowing me to go down that path” (as reported at Fusion.Net). It is worth reading the full Guardian article for more background; Tovey was bullied for not presenting a ‘sufficiently masculine’ appearance. While I can appreciate the fear such an attack brings up (I’ve been assaulted, gay-bashed, more than once) his reaction is the less-empowering ‘identifying with his attackers’.

We must never forget:
The Stone Wall
To those who came
        before me
Stood tall and proud
(Sometimes on their knees-
        but still proud)

Spoke out against oppression
(Sometimes in whispers
        but still speaking)

Fought the good fight
Beaches, bars and, at times,
        on the street
Stood up and said

Never took the ‘easy way out’
Finally took a stand
        inside the stone wall.

© Copyright 2011 Brian Gryphon All rights reserved.

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I presently work nights in a warehouse that serves a group of mid-market clothing brands. Sales are weak- hours are being cut in every (non-management) area. If this was strictly a reaction to poor products (quality or selection), bad pricing or weak marketing I could say “Fine- free enterprise weeds out the weak“. If it was a sign that consumers generally are wiseing up that a consumption-based society must inevitability consume itself that would be progress- painful as it is- that could bring a better world.

Sadly I am convinced it is but another indication that the once-powerful Middle Class is being replaced with an oh-so modern neo-feudalism (now with Internet access). Henry Ford realized that if he under-paid his employees they would not be able to afford the cars they made. Few (if any) of those who make the eGadgets we love could afford to purchase one. We’ve let manufacturing be ‘out-sourced’ overseas (low wages, lax or non-existent worker protections) as we feed our consuming desire to be the most materialistic people to ever inhabit this reality.

Working for barely-above minimum wage, with no benefits, I can not afford to purchase the products that surround me. I have not gone to a movie theatre in well over a decade and recently ‘cut the cable’ in favour of buying food. Not that I am devoid of entertainment. While I enjoy on-line media I refuse to just watch fictional programs to escape- so I know not everyone is blind to what is happening. Although there are plenty of people who seem unable to understand their own contributions to their own destruction.

People are beginning to realize we are not without options. Change can happen. Change WILL happen. New sacrifices will be demanded. If the “1%” wise up in time it won’t have to include their very lives. Even the numbest herd of sheep may awake to the insanity surrounding them.

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Soul-Satisfying New Career

Although the exact date that full marriage equality will arrive in Ohio is not known, it is starting to look as if it will be in the foreseeable future. In preparation for that date, I am working to establish myself as an accredited humanist Celebrant/ Officiant.

I am already ordained in the Universal Life Church and licensed to perform legal weddings in the State of Ohio. My former professional sales career and extensive community volunteering provides a solid foundation for this new career. My Officiant website is set up and listed (for free and low-ranking) at and Although my plan is to offer reasonably-priced Celebrant/ Officiant services, the field is filled with many high-end services and so advertising to the target market requires substantial funds.

This crowd-funded project will cover:

  • Training & registration as a Humanist Celebrant ($150);
  • Memberships in American Humanist Association, Americans United and local affiliates ($75);
  • Vestments, Forms, Certificates and supplies ($150);
  • An initial Marketing budget ($650);
  • Fees and cost of Premiums ($175)

Premiums (Thank You gifts):

This isn’t the sort of project that results in a book or recording that could be offered as a Reward; I have selected some of my photography. I hope you’ll find something interesting or inspiring:

Bronze Level $25 Donation

One 12″x18″ Art Poster. Select from:
Rabbit Reading Room,
Shoefiti 2327,
Lotus Clamshell,
Taro 1736,
Iris Pondside


Silver Level $50 Donation

One 12″x18″ Limited Edition Art Poster “Sunlight Tower
Limited to 10 donations

Gold Level $75 Donation

One copy of “Shoefiti” full-colour paperback book, 64 pp, autographed

Platinum Level $100 Donation

Copy of “Every Day: Miracles” paperback and one Limited Edition Art Print “Sunlight Tower
Limited to 6 donations

Rainbow Level $250 Donation

One copy of “Shoefiti“;
One copy of “Every Day: Miracles“;
One copy of Limited Edition Art Print “Sunlight Tower“;
One copy each of above five 12″x18″ Art Posters

Limited to 2 donations

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Eight Years

Morna Lusty (nee Glasheen) April 28, 1929 – Feb. 19, 2007

Mom is missed and always loved by her children, Bruce, Karen, Brian and Kathy,
lovingly remembered by her grandchildren Christopher, Kennie, TJ, Melissa and Kayla,
and great-grandchildren Julian and James
Memories of her will be shared with grand-daughter Heather
and great-grandkids Alaura, Dominic and Bella.

As I reflect on Mom, and the numerous ways she blessed my life, I recall how as a kid, I would often see a movie or tv show (or read a book) that had a fascinating woman with an interesting career, and exciting adventures that seemed so glamorous. And I would at times wish to have such a Mother.

In time I realized two things; first being that, of course these were fictional lives. The greater truth is that Mom gave me something better. I can’t recall one instant in my life when I didn’t know, with certainty, that I was loved.
Loved unconditionally.
No matter what I did.
No matter who I was, or who I dated.
And more, that she never doubted I could do anything I set my mind to.

I have learned over the years that very many, too many, people haven’t had that blessing.

All contents © Copyright 2007 By Brian Gryphon

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