Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Jackson: No Gay Icon

I find it a little disturbing that on the gay blogosphere I've come across this attitude that if you don't love and admire Michael Jackson that makes you both racist and homophobic.

Let's make one thing clear. Michael Jackson was no gay hero. Biographers are now coming out with alleged details about his sexual involvements with men, but he certainly did his best to hide this from the public. Out and Proud he was not.

Yes, yes, he and Liz Taylor were AIDs activists of a type, but please let's remember that AIDS IS NOT A "GAY" DISEASE and I'm sick of the way so many people seem to forget that. Fighting for AIDS patients does not necessarily means someone is pro-gay. To my knowledge Jackson never spoke out in favor of gay rights.

Jackson was not just dealing with self-hate issues as a possible homosexual, but also as a black man. His bleaching of his skin says a lot. Some people feel that Jackson may actually have been an unacknowledged transsexual, transforming himself into Diana Ross -- or possibly a Caucasian version of Diana Ross. In any case, he did not speak out in favor of transgender rights, either.

Not being a fan of Jackson's hardly makes one a racist, as some have charged. Just sticking to the African-American community, I can think of dozens of entertainers who put Jackson in the shade. Sammy Davis Jr., just to name one, was about a hundred times as talented as Jackson. It wouldn't be fair to compare Jackson's "moonwalking" to ballet, but even the average Broadway dancer probably had more skill than Jackson. And he was certainly no Fred Astaire.

And many people have felt uncomfortable with Jackson being held up as some great American figure, what with all the questions about him and children. True, he may not have been a pedophile, but what does it say about him that he would actually sleep in the same bed with other people's children. I mean it's not even appropriate to share a bed with young nieces and nephews, but other people's children?

Jackson may have had his good points, and I would certainly never say that he was untalented. Of course it's terrible that he died at fifty when he might have had many, many years ahead.

But it's ridiculous to think of the man as a gay icon or hero, when he was neither.

I'm sorry if this will piss some people off, but it's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.

Batwoman is a Lesbian

Okay. There's been a shake-up in the wonderful world of Batman. Dick Grayson, the first boy partner known as Robin (who became known as Nightwing when he grew up) has taken over the role and costume of Batman, while Bruce Wayne, the original Batman, is either dead or missing. The new Robin is a snot-nosed ten-year-old with attitude. [Of course Batman could have been charged with endangering a minor were it not for dramatic license.]

But for our purposes, the more interesting news from the comic front is that the new Batwoman is an Out and Proud Lesbian.

This new take on Batwoman [there was another character by that name way back in the sixties] was introduced some time ago in a DC Comics maxi-series called 52. She was revealed as a lesbian when she was caught checking out a woman. [I thought it was kind of a tacky debut myself.] Now she's been given her own series in the front of Detective Comics, beginning with issue # 854. [This is the same Detective Comics in which Batman debuted way back in the 1930's. No wonder he retired. He's really old! By the way DC Comics takes its name from Detective Comics, not from AC-DC.]

In her real identity, Batwoman, Kate, is wealthy (like Bruce Wayne) and has a girlfriend, a lawyer named Anna, who is very jealous. She doesn't know her gal pal is Batwoman, so she thinks all those late nights out are spent in the beds of other women. She wants a serious relationship and thought that Kate wanted the same. "The thing that kills me is that I like you, Kate, I really do. You're smart, you're sexy, you've got a sense of humor, and you don't think fabrics begin and end with flannel." [Oops! Stereotyping alert anyone?]

The Batwoman series has interesting art by J. H. Williams III. The strip is written by Greg Rucka, about whom I know nothing. He's been quoted as saying that Batwoman is "Out and Proud" and will stay that way. I hope he resists making her bi and getting her involved in a straight relationship. There are so few gay characters in comics as it is. The lesbian community is as diverse as the gay male community, but will Rucka make her a realistic gay person? But how can anyone who dresses up in a bat outfit and fights crime be realistic? In other words, he'll have to be granted some leeway, but still ... At least she's not a super-butch caricature.

One of the most interesting lesbian characters in comic books was a female cop who appeared in Superman stories around ten or so years ago. The Man of Steel was definitely sympathetic and pro-gay in those tales. She was in a committed relationship and had a daughter from an earlier life. Don't know if she's still around.

Is Batwoman perhaps a leather lesbian? Maybe in one issue she can join the Lesbian Sex Mafia [this is a real group of lesbians into the leather/kink/s&m/fetish scene]. But that's too obvious a way to go.