Blog

‘Spitting on Gays in the Subway‘ – Unfortunately, my latest article is a first person account of being the target of anti-gay bullying, however much my ‘white male privilege’ didn’t want to admit it… via The Huffington Post

spitting-on-gays-in-the-subway



In defense of the mentally ill, Donald Trump is NOT one of us.

My latest article for The Huffington Post explains why I’m personally offended by the media’s irresponsible & cavalier mis-use of the phrase ‘mentally ill’ to write off Trump’s bizarre behavior – & you should be too.

Or at least not you, I, nor the media are in a position to diagnose him.

Because that’s what mental illness is – a serious diagnosis to be given by a professional. It is not a pop culture phrase to be thrown around as an insult to an unhinged media magnet.

Because who is really being insulted when Trump is called ‘mentally ill’? Certainly not Trump – the media is helping him by letting him off the hook with an excuse for his rampant lying & hate mongering instead of doing the more complex work of seeking a motive behind his bizarre behavior.

The people really being insulted when mental illness is used in the pejorative sense are the millions who suffer from the myriad of mental illnesses, anywhere along the spectrum. The people who are already dealing with the stigma of the struggle, who don’t want to be considered ‘weak’ for seeking help are the victims of this misnomer.

Worse off than the ones like myself who have already dealt with the stigma attached to asking for help but have done it anyway are those will now be further dis-incentivized about ‘coming out’ after seeing the serious topic of mental health so cavalierly thrown about in such a negative light to explain away the seemingly inexplicable actions of someone as acidic as Donald Trump.

Is he a narcissist? A sociopath? Quite possibly but it’s not for us to say and even if so, these are personality disorders, not the mental disorders like depression, OCD or schizophrenia that are being inaccurately alluded to on a daily basis in the media.

As someone who has suffered from, confronted and dealt with bipolar disorder, it’s already extremely disconcerting to hear highly emotional, demonstrative people regularly written off as ‘bipolar’. Or indecisive, disorganized people described as ‘schizophrenic’ – these are specific clinical diagnosis for long term, pervasively painful illnesses that shouldn’t be used to describe behavioral or personality traits.

Mental and mood disorders are also not always obvious in a persons actions and certainly not diagnosable from a distance – I am bipolar but often come off as the calmest, least emotional people in the room. You can’t diagnose someone based on their public persona and it is irresponsible, inaccurate and offensive for the media to try it – especially in regards to someone like Donald Trump.

A massive disservice is done to every person who sincerely struggles with these issues when ‘mental illness’ is used as an insult to write off Donald Trump’s unacceptable behavior not to mention how much further it lowers the level of our political discourse to not hold to task the Presidential nominee of a major party for the vitriol he spews.

It’s bad enough when mental diagnosis are mis-used in common conversation or popular culture references but when the media start to use it to describe someone as toxically offensive as Donald Trump an organized effort needs to be made to educate the public about what these words really mean and it should start with an apology by the mass media who is spreading the stigma we’re working so hard to get out from under.

 



Coming Out

Coming out is inherently terrifying – there are so many horror stories that my expectations were low, getting through it and back into the arms of my lover was all I really hoped for.

Looking back ten years later I may have done myself a disservice by leaving so much unsaid. It’s a pattern I’ve developed into a lifestyle as I let myself believe I should just be happy to eat at the same table as my straight relatives.

So I returned to the topic by interviewing my Mom since she was the first person I came out to; not just to see it from her point of view but also to confirm a suspicion I’d long since held…

I originally broke the news on the way to the mall for ‘back to school’ shopping so I could avoid eye contact and she’d be forced to keep her cool enough to avoid swerving off the road. This served me well as we started to shop, looking at clothes instead of each other – comments on sizes and colors interspersed with questions like ‘Are you sure’? ‘How long have you known?’ & ‘What about Nora? I thought you loved her?’

She suggested we delay telling my Father so she could ‘prepare’ him for the news but I suspected she’d told him herself and used the time to bring him around before I approached. When a few weeks later she said he was ‘ready’ I was too grateful to question her. I told him over dinner at a chain restaurant and he simply nodded before saying he always knew I was ‘special’ – a comment I didn’t know how to take but was content to let sit in silence as I picked at my over cooked steak.

Not only did my Mom confirm this during our interview but went a step further to relay that he had been so troubled by the revelation that he cast blame upon her for ‘feminizing’ me so she took him to a therapist who explained you can’t make someone gay; it’s not an illness, a malfunction or a punishment.

I hesitated to include this in the interview because I didn’t want to cast aspersions on my father. It hurt to know he thought someone was to ‘blame’ for who I am but it’s more important he was able to evolve beyond his prejudices and misinformation to embrace his only son. I give him credit for using his love of family to lead to a wider understanding of human sexuality and even more for not letting me feel the brunt of this personal struggle.

Would he have evolved on his own were our relationship not directly threatened? Probably not – change is hard and we’ll stay stuck in our ways until pushed in the right direction. Sadly, that’s not the case every time but I’m grateful I didn’t let that fear stop me. Too often being homosexual is viewed in a tragic light and while those are the stories we remember, more and more often coming out is an important opportunity for families to break their codes of silence and connect on a deeper level. One confession deserves another and I’ve since learned more about each one of my family members than I ever could have imagined before I made the first move by coming out.

This Pride Month I’m reminded how important it is to be open and transparent.  I was apprehensive to share my privileged story but it was worth telling because it is beautiful and for me, being an out gay man is a beautiful thing.

 



– Full Article over at FourCulture

Brett Gleason’s Music For Humanity: Manifest
by Ann Marie Papanagnostou

Brett Gleason is an artist who can’t be put in a box. He’s a DIY singer, songwriter and musician who spends much of his time churning out indie rock masterpieces (and the occasional hand painted underwear) from his home studio in downtown Brooklyn. Brett is currently working on his second album entitled Manifest and he’s using Kickstarter to get folks involved in his creative process. Anyone backing this project will immediately receive ten Manifest demos in addition to cassettes (remember those?) and custom designed t-shirts, and he’s sharing highlights of his process as he goes along. It’s his way of going from “do it yourself” to “do it together”. Brett is doing things differently with Manifest so I decided to ask him a few questions about it.

This album focuses on the not-so-small topic of being a human on Earth. Can you elaborate?

Yes, I can! So, my first record was very insular, it focused on internal conflicts and my bipolar disorder; it was all about ME ME ME. Now that I have somewhat gotten it together, I’m actually trying to participate in life…which is just as hard! This world is a scary place. I feel like I just arrived on Earth and I’m taking stock of humanity for the first time. There’s even a song called “Humane” where I literally try to define what makes us human…spoiler alert: it’s our imperfections.

What makes Manifest different from your previous release?

Aside from the major thematic differences, this record just plain sounds different. I’ve gotten rid of most of the electronic elements and have beefed up my use of guitars. A bunch of the songs also have glockenspiel, which is fun to say as well, plus horns and strings which is why this record is a bit more expensive to make than the last one. I’ve also simplified a lot of my song structures which I think will make for a more immediate, emotional impact.

What artists had a significant impact on your music? Who are you listening to now?

This record was heavily influenced by PJ Harvey – which is funny because I just got into her in the last year and have been obsessively consuming her catalogue. There’s something so raw and vulnerable about her that I wanted to tap into. She’s also so fearless about changing up her sound on every album, which I admire the hell out of. This project definitely stems more from my love for singer/songwriters like Fiona Apple or Elliot Smith than my big band heroes like The Smashing Pumpkins or Nine Inch Nails.

You’ve chosen Kickstarter to raise funds for Manifest. What makes crowdfunding so appealing?

I wish I could say I turned down major label backing to rely on my fans or that I don’t want to tap into my trust fund just yet but the truth is: I have no choice. I make a very nuanced, literate alt rock music that doesn’t lend itself to quick categorization or obvious singles. I’m also an out gay artist who doesn’t make pop or dance music. Simply put, there’s no obvious way to market me so labels won’t touch me.

That said, by crowdfunding I have complete creative control to make the kind of record my fans and I want. It also also brings people into the creative process and helps alleviate the loneliness of being a completely DIY solo artist. I play just about every instrument on the record as well as record and engineer so reaching out at the pivotal moment of funding is a great way to broaden my inner circle and get some good feedback. I may be completely reliant on my fans but it’s not just financial, it’s also emotional.

You’ve got some great perks lined up for your Kickstarter. My favorite is the hand painted underwear. How the hell did that come about?

I’m a crafty nerd and I like to personally make as much of my merch as possible! It started with t-shirts for my last Kickstarter. I got a silk screen stencil of my logo and just started fooling around with it. After about a dozen ruined shirts I realized I could put this on anything and made a pair of ‘Brett Gleason’ boxer briefs as a V-Day present for a special dude last year. Now they can be yours!

If your fans don’t see something listed as a reward on Kickstarter, you’re offering to fulfill their unique requests. That’s brave, Mr. Gleason. Is there anything you won’t do?

Haha, yeah I’m not afraid of my fans! This record is for them so I’m all ears about what rewards motivate them. I can’t promise I’ll oblige everything but I’m very open-minded and non-judgemental. I’ve definitely gotten some unorthodox requests over the years which and have stepped outside my comfort zone a bit to oblige but you’ll have to wait until my memoirs for more details…



Hey there! I’m here today to announce that I’ve almost finished my 2nd album ‘Manifest’ and it’s vastly different from my debut record –

As opposed to insular tunes dealing with internal conflicts this record looks out into the world I’m now trying to find my way in to deal with the universal themes of love, death, time, consciousness and sex.

Simply put, this album is about Being Human on Earth. It’s both incredibly simple and incredibly complex, much like being human.

It’s not science fiction, it’s not a horror story: it’s a man letting down his defenses and honestly taking stock of his place in this world.

Please help me complete and release the very special ‘Manifest’ to the world by supporting and sharing this Kickstarter campaign – I promise not just a beautiful record but a front row seat to the show and an artist who sincerely wants your participation. Being a solo artist can be lonely, I have so far played and recorded every instrument alone and look at this campaign as not just a necessary way to raise funds but also to bring in some outside ears for perspective and feedback.

Thank You! THANK YOU! T H A N K Y O U ! !! !!! couldn’t continue working so hard if I didn’t have a solid group of wonderful folks ready to catch me if I fall and to sing along when we succeed <3

xBG

What the Funds Are For:

$1500 drummer/studio time + $3000 mixing + $1000 mastering + $2500 music video + $1000 CD/Cassette production + $3000 PR = $12,000

Here are the demos for ALL the new songs, ALL backers will get an immediate download: