LOGAN LYNN

  

Logan Lynn: In the Trenches – The Closet Trip

(Originally Published in the November 2012 Issue of Just Out Magazine)

“In the Trenches: The Closet Trip”

My partner and I took a trip to South Dakota this past summer to celebrate my grandfather’s 100th birthday. Before the trip began, we talked about how my extended family on my mother’s side had always been very accepting of me (and my gayness) in theory, but that I had never taken a man “home” and been around all of them while in relationship to test it out. Somewhere in me I knew that everything would be fine with all of them, just as it has been with my immediate family for years, so I didn’t think much more of it.

Almost immediately upon our plane landing in Rapid City, it was clear that we were not in Portland anymore. The woman at the rental car place made some snide comment about how only I could drive the car unless we were “married or domestic partners” which then made her laugh out loud. Imagine – two men married to each other? Ha!

By the time we arrived at the hotel we were exhausted and it was late. We chatted with my parents for a bit and then went to sleep. The next morning we woke up early and traveled to the Badlands, where we spent most of the day. The land was magical and our interaction with people was sparse. We hung out, took photos, and tried not to touch the very cute prairie dogs (which carry plague, come to find out).

We spent the weekend hanging out with all the people who have ever loved me in the world. It was really great for me to get to share them with the man I love, and him with them. My family all celebrated our relationship and welcomed him into the fold without batting an eyelash. It was extraordinary.

Family aside, I could tell some of the hotel staff and patrons were either afraid of my floral bike cap or the anal sex it implied, but Read the rest of this entry »

Logan Lynn: Internalized Oppression – The New Slavery

(Originally Published on The Huffington Post on 3/14/2012)

This past weekend my partner and I went to see a performance of A Lesson Before Dying, Romulus Linney‘s play set in a small Louisiana bayou town in 1948. It was based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Ernest J. Gaines and is about a young black man who has been wrongfully accused, convicted of murder, and awaits his death in the parish courthouse. While in court the convicted man’s life is compared to that of a hog, and this becomes his truth. His godmother enlists the unwilling aid of the town’s young plantation teacher to carry out her mission of teaching her godson to walk to the electric chair like an innocent man rather than the animal the white man has made him out to be throughout his life. Questions of racism and morality are confronted in visits between the two men for the duration of the piece and, in the end, the lessons shared and learned transform them both — along with the entire town.

After the very moving, emotional performance ended, founders of the August Wilson Red Door Project (an organization that “uses the arts as a catalyst for creating lasting, positive change in the racial ecology of Portland”) took the stage for a dialogue about the experience we had just collectively emerged from. Their organization posits that “all people, regardless of personal, cultural, and social history, internalize values and beliefs of the world they have been raised in. While some of these values and beliefs enable creative achievement and success, others create a sense of profound limitation and self-doubt. This doubt can be described as internalized oppression — a process by which people come to accept and internalize the inaccurate myths and stereotypes they have been exposed to.” The idea is that “no one is immune from having to wrestle with a sense that something is holding them back, regardless of background or privilege”, and they founded their organization on the belief that “with the right education, exposure, and support, everyone is capable of growing their capacity to create, to achieve, and to thrive.”

At one point during the very emotional post-performance chat, while illustrating how this particular story speaks to a universal human rights issue and making a correlation between the civil rights movement in the United States and some current world affairs and battles being fought in the name of race and religion in other lands, someone in the audience said the following four words about Americans: “We are past racism.” The room fell silent, aside from a few gasps. I could feel the sting in the air and could see the pain that one sentence had caused in the faces of many others in the room. Read the rest of this entry »

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