Tuesday, February 12, 2008
LOGO Goes Loco?
WHAT'S SO GAY ABOUT THIS?
Hot on the heels of MTV's moronic A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, LOGO -- the gay (or at least LGBT) network -- offers us a transgendered version of The Bachelor/Bachelorette which they call Transamerican Love Story. The premise has transgendered female Calpernia Addams (are there any transwomen -- or drag queens for that matter -- called, say, Karen or Sarah?) dating eight guys to try and find love --yeah, sure! -- with one of them. The show will proceed like all the others and at the end of each new episode, one of the rivals for the heroine's affection will be asked to leave until a real live love match is supposedly made. Since I doubt if anyone of any orientation has ever stayed together after "winning" on one of these shows, I have to say "Good luck to that!"
Okay, on the gay LOGO network we have a show about a woman (and Calpernia is a woman regardless of her biological origins) dating eight men. In other words, she's heterosexual and most of the men on the program say they are too. So this is to all intents and purposes a heterosexual dating show (if with a twist). How liberal of LOGO. Calpernia will ask questions, go on dates, have little competitions, and act all kittenish just like any other gal on The Bachelorette and the guys will fight to woo and win her, make nasty comments about each other, and ty to act all macho, just like the contestants. Big fuckin' deal.
In spite of that there are a couple of gay things about this program. First, the host is that adorable little "nelly" comic Alec Mapa. (Mapa is a likable guy but he seems a bit out of place with this crew. I think the fact that he is very stereotypically gay -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- had a lot to do with his being hired.) As for the second, we'll get to that momentarily.
Now I wonder. If LOGO wanted to do a gay version of The Bachelor couldn't they have had a guy guy dating eight gay men, or a lesbian dating eight gay women? Couldn't they at least have had a show with a gay transsexual -- they do exist. (That way they could have had their cake and eaten it, too.) I know everything seems to be GLBT these days, but it's almost as if plain old gay is getting lost.
Despite the trendy twists, the program is the usual junk reality dating show with a somewhat interesting "love" object and a bunch of dating rivals who typically run the gamut from pleasant pawns to obnoxious egomaniacs. Calpernia is an attractive and feminine woman who could probably "pass" if she wanted to.
Not that I'm in any way recommending it, but there are some interesting aspects to the program. One of the contestants, a man named Jim, is also transgender. He tells Calpneria, but none of his rivals. Calpernia is surprised (Jim can also "pass") but her reaction is even more surprising -- or is it? She actually says "I would never have known -- he's so handsome." What -- does this transgendered female think that all transgendered men are ugly? Is there some internalized transphobia going on here? Later Calpernia wonders if she'll turn out to be a hypocrite, that she may find it uncomfortable dating a transsexual male. I admired her for her honesty.
An interesting complication is that, like many Female-to-Male transsexuals, Jim has not completely transitioned; he still has a vagina. But apparently Calpernia hasn't fully transitioned either; she still has a penis. So if these two get together -- pardon my crudity and not to make fun of anyone -- we'll have a woman with a dick sticking it into a man with a pussy. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but somehow doesn't it seem as if this sort of makes the whole point of getting a sex-change operation kind of pointless?
One of the guys, Peter I believe his name is, dates both men and women and is, of course, the "gayest" of the bunch after Alec Mapa. His dancing with the guys during a silly harem session leads another of the men, Mark, to make clearly disapproving insinuations about his sexuality.
Mark is so afraid of even being accidentally touched by another man that it leads Blaine to label him homophobic, which is ironic (more on why in a moment).
As for Mark, he's essentially a creepy little overcompensating professional wrestler who is horrified that anyone will think he's gay. He goes out of his way to point out that one shouldn't label someone just because they date transgendered women. I might point out that if you're afraid someone will think you're gay because you're dating someone who used to be a biological male, then you probably shouldn't date transgendered women -- you just can't handle it. Mark has such a pathetic need to be seen as ruggedly heterosexual that he even has the tattoo of a lipstick kiss on his upper arm as if he's the big stud that all the women want! What a dork!
Blaine is pathetic is his own way, as well. He only dates transgendered females. He says he's not straight (and yes he gets points for that) but -- get this -- he also says he's definitely not gay (funny, he doesn't say definitely in that certain way when he talks about not being straight). He doesn't like labels, but bi is probably the one that might fit our boy the best. He says that transgendered females are "the best of both worlds" and that he especially prefers "pre-op" trannies. Yes, that means he prefers transsexual women with dicks. Gee, he's not just a little bit gay? He calls Mark homophobic, but could there be some internalized homophobia going on with Blaine?
There have always been men who like "chicks with dicks." Usually these were drag queens, and sometimes they were hookers. More recently we have pre-op trannies struttin' their stuff in the red light zones (not to suggest that most, or even many, transsexuals are prostitutes). If a guy felt more secure having a homosexual experience -- dicks and all -- with a man dressed as a woman so he could pretend she was female, imagine how secure he feels having sex with someone who's not only dressed as a woman but is one (although the dick might present a problem to certain straight men.)
Come to think of it, how will some of the guys on this show deal with Calpernia's penis?
Straight guys. I don't think so.
Maybe this show is gayer than I thought. But not in the Out and Proud way that would make me feel a lot more comfortable with its existence.
UPDATE: Okay, when I make a mistake, I make a mistake. Calpernia is actually post-op, and her friend Andrea is a lesbian transsexual. I regret these errors. Please see the comments for more information.