Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rednecks at the Gay Bar

I was at my favorite gay local watering hole about two weeks ago, when one of the patrons told me and a couple of others in my vicinity a joke.

It was the most vile racist joke I've ever heard in my life. It was not just "politically incorrect" or good-natured racial humor that everyone, black or white, could laugh at -- it's punchline was the "n" word. It is the kind of joke that debases the one who tells it, and also debases everyone who hears it. I was disgusted.

And this was in a gay bar in Greenwich Village in the 21st century!

What's going on here?

Yes, I know there have always been racist gays and homophobic blacks and so on and so on, but on the --mercifully -- rare occasions I encounter these troglodytes I still find it a bit startling. Basically this jerk was telling a redneck joke in a gay bar. His mind-set was the same as people who tell fag jokes. I made this point but I'm sure it went in one ear and out the other.

To their credit, the other people I had been conversing with -- all white -- were also appalled by the joke. The only one who laughed was a guy sitting on the other side of the "joke" teller. The two of them bonded in their thought of me as a humorless [yeah -- right!] person who couldn't take a joke. I and my friends were the assholes -- not them. Amazing. "It's all in fun," said the joke teller.

One of my friends said "If it's all in fun, then go tell that guy at the end of the bar [who happened to be African-American]. " Of course, none of us actually wanted this turd to tell the joke to anyone, but we also knew that he never would.

What creates a gay person like this? Self-hatred, of course. A well-adjusted man has no need to hate another minority group just to feel better about himself. You learn in sociology 101 that prejudice is generally the product of an inferiority complex.

Over the years I have, sadly, met gay men who had issues with Women, Blacks, Jews, and so on, although they are in the minority, let me make that clear. Generally they are not well-adjusted people, and they have issues over their sexuality. I'm sure without a doubt that the person who told the joke is in the closet, and that deep down he's ashamed to be gay. if his parents are still alive he's never told them he's homosexual [although they probably figured it out long ago.] He could probably benefit from counseling or therapy, but he'll never go get help.

He'll just tell his jokes, hoping to encounter the occasional sad stranger who's as fucked up as he is and will also find them funny.

The thing is, he's a middle-aged man who would probably resent being called an old fart. But his jokes -- which used to proliferate thirty years ago and more -- are "old fart," even redneck jokes. They don't make him seem hip or up-to-date, youthful, but very old and out of it. He actually seemed surprised by those of us who found the joke totally offensive. I hope he tries to pick up some younger man someday, tells his little jokes, and discovers just how hopelessly out of date he is. [There was a younger man in the bar that night who also found the joke completely reprehensible.]

It's shocking, shameful, that people like this still exist, but the good news is that where once many others would have joined in with the laughter, nowadays the joke teller is more often put in his place in no uncertain terms.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Schizoid Gays in a Quiet Place

A Quiet Place, an opera composed by Leonard Bernstein, was recently presented at the New York City Opera [not to be confused with the Met] where it got some surprisingly good reviews. A Quiet Place, which had very few American performances during Bernstein's lifetime, began life as a tuneful 1952 one-act entitled Trouble in Tahiti. With an engaging score and a pretty good libretto by Bernstein, Trouble told the story of the dysfunctional marriage of Sam and Dinah. It was a memorable short work, the title of which referred to a piece of "technicolor twaddle" that Dinah goes to see at the movies.

But Bernstein wasn't satisfied with Trouble; it wasn't serious enough, so -- working with librettist Stephen Wadsworth (whose personal life I know nothing of, except that he has a wife) -- Bernstein expanded his little one-act into a full-length opera entitled A Quiet Place, the title taken from one of Dinah's songs in Trouble. It made its debut in Houston in 1983. All of the music from Trouble in Tahiti was used in the new work in flashback sequences.

In the new opera, Dinah has been killed in an accident, and their little boy, Junior, is a schizophrenic. His lover, Francois, is now married to Junior's sister, Dede -- talk about making someone schizophrenic!

Now at this point I must interject that Bernstein was a married homosexual who -- like many married homosexuals do -- probably preferred to think of himself as a hip bisexual. Therefore the whole idea of Francois ditching Junior to marry his boyfriend's sister, may have just seemed like some trendy bisexual chic. In reality, it's an utterly cruel and grotesque situation, which librettist Wadsworth never really explores. I mean, talk about situations that would fuck a guy up. As I wrote in my book The Opera of the Twentieth Century, it's never made clear if Francois' falling for his sister exacerbated or actually engendered Junior's instability. It is suggested that Dede and Francois married out of their mutual love for Junior, who needs looking after, but Francois sings a [second-rate] aria reaffirming his love for and commitment to Dede. Poor Junior.

Perhaps something interesting could have been made of this, but Wadsworth's libretto is pretty lousy, being more pretentious than profound, and does little to illuminate these rather screwed-up characters [I mean, a woman who would marry her brother's boyfriend, and vice versa!], although there's a fairly moving wind-up and Bernstein's relentlessly non-melodic music [aside from the excerpts from Trouble in Tahiti] doesn't help.

What's more interesting is some of the comments Christopher Alden, who directed this latest production of A Quiet Place, made to Olivia Giovetti of Time Out New York Magazine. "There's a lot of Bernstein in many of the characters. [In Francois] there's that fantasy of bisexuality or a gay man suddenly turning straight." As for Junior, Alden says, "It seems a bit of a throwback to the past where anytime gay characters were presented, they had to be shown to be problematical people." While it might have been admirable to present some sort of gay characters in an opera some years ago, it's the Same Old Story when we see a shizoid fag and a "bisexual" man who opts to marry his lover's sister. Sheesh! No thank you, Bernstein!

A Quiet Life looks at homosexuality from the confines of the closet, where Bernstein and others like him resided for most of their lives. It doesn't present a hip look at bisexuality or "sexual fluidity" so much as to all intents and purposes it simply avoids the subject of homosexuality altogether.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Brothers and Sisters" Straight Gay Couple

The ABC-TV series Brothers and Sisters, which has been running for a number of years now, admirably has a few gay characters, as I've noted in the past. The main couple is Kevin Walker (Matthew Rhys, on the left in the photo), who is part of the main family in the show, and his boyfriend Scotty (openly gay Luke Mcfarlane, on the right).

Although it also dealt with other issues, the main storyline for the past two weeks has been a crisis in the marriage between Kevin and Scotty. It's a question if the relationship will survive. It centers on something that Scotty did several months in the past.

Now you might wonder, what did Scotty do? Did he fall in love with someone else? Decide to become an ex-gay? Tell Kevin he was lousy in bed and wanted out? None of the above. The horrible, unbelievable, absolutely awful thing Scotty did was ---

-- have a completely meaningless one-night-stand with another man on a night that Kevin blew him off for an event that Kevin knew was very special to Scotty.

Did I say this was meaningless casual sex? No one caught any diseases. Scotty did not see the fellow again, he did not fall in love with him, he did not have a male mistress or a continuing romantic affair.

It was just one lousy night, sheesh.

But Kevin and Scotty and all of the relatives are acting just the way some straight couples do when there's an "indiscretion." [And let's not call this an extra-marital affair; it was one night or less.] Yes, they are a monogamous couple who had even planned to raise a baby and Kevin is all hurt and what-not, but even women whose husbands stray in this fashion can forgive and move on. Presumably that will be the case for Kevin, but all the fucking angst in the last two episodes, you would think Scotty had impregnated some gal and was planning to march to the altar with her.

It's just all so terribly conventional, so middle-class. Like an episode of Dr. Phil, where he counsels a fat, fifty-year-old housewife who's all hysterical because her husband had sex with a hooker [had sex, period!] or went to a strip club. You can see Kevin on the show whining to Dr. Phil about Kevin's infidelity, even though it happened months ago, that it meant absolutely nothing, that Scotty still loves Kevin, and Scotty only did it because he understandably felt abandoned by his somewhat self-centered and borderline bitchy lover.

Such angst, such hand-wringing! I mean, get over it already! The most (unintentionally) hilarious scene had Kevin's gay uncle Saul (Ron Rifkin), who is seventy and spent most of his life in the closet [he didn't even come out when he learned he had a gay nephew] daring to angrily lecture Scotty, who is such a sweet guy [borderline cloying at times] that it immediately seemed like massive overkill.

[Speaking of Uncle Saul, he didn't come out until he was seventy and he winds up with Stephen Collins as a boyfriend (Collins plays "Charlie")! Even at sixty-three handsome Collins is a mite out of Saul's league. Collins plays the role just a touch stereotypically.]

I recognize there is a movement to "humanize" gays and make it clear that we are just like everybody else -- how depressing -- but the fact is that the gay community has always had its own rules and a freer mind-set. Now that more gay people are coming out of the closet, we're getting the viewpoints and influence of more conservative -- more conventional -- gays. I'm all for the diversity of the gay community, and feel every gay person has the right, more or less, to live as they choose, but there's something a little disquieting about a major gay couple on a popular TV program reacting to what should be a minor incident the way that a stereotypical straight couple would.

No offense whatsoever intended to heterosexuals, but what the world doesn't need is straight gay people.

These two episodes were excruciatingly awful, never more so than when the guy Scotty had the one-night-stand with shows up at the restaurant he owns. The guy was depicted as slick and callow, and at one point he even gets punched in the face by Kevin's straight brother [this uncomfortably reminded me of a gay-bashing]. This happens after pathetic Kevin punches out a completely innocent waiter, confusing him with the other guy. None of this was funny or dramatic, just silly and quite desperate. Surely the writers of the show can come up with more dramatic developments for Kevin and Scotty than this hysteria over a one-night quickie? Even the straight characters on the show don't carry on so over infidelity!

It's great to have gay characters on TV, but when they're poorly handled it seems like a shameful waste of a great opportunity.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's in a Letter?

Homosexual panic can strike at any age.

Take the case of an acquaintance of mine who has an Irish last name with a "Mc" in front.

Several years ago I co-authored a book with a friend of mine and this guy -- we'll call him Mc -- was listed in the acknowledgments.
Unfortunately his name was misspelled with a "q" instead of a "g" and when my co-author went to correct it on the page proofs he made the mistake of underlining the "q." The typesetter interpreted this as meaning to capitalize the "q" so now it was a "Q."

In other words, it looked as if the guy's last name was McQueer or something along those lines.

Now a normal person would understand this was just a typo. I mean, I'm openly gay, why would I want to call anyone a "queer?" This fellow and I were hardly good friends, but we had had no quarrels over the years.

Anyway, he and his girlfriend decided to host a publication party for my co-author and myself [I think this was more for my co-author than for me, and it was probably the idea of the girlfriend and not "Mc," but it was still a very nice gesture. And a very nice party]

Mc went so far as to post the proper spelling of his name on the front door where everyone could see it.

He then went through the book itself and spotted an error and told everyone that I must have been the one who made the mistake -- not my co-author. [The irony was that it was my co-author who made that mistake and also compounded the original typographical error by underlining it!]

As I was a guest in Mc's home, I couldn't say what was on my mind [very, very frustrating for me] so I simply ignored his tackiness.

It wasn't long after this that Mc and his long-time live-in girlfriend got married or became domestic partners or something along those lines. I guess he was scared that because of a simple, inadvertent typographical error everyone would think he was, like, McQueer.

Like I say, talk about homosexual panic [the fear that you are or people might think you are gay]! And this was no teenager but a middle-aged man bordering on senior citizenship!

Well, at least it got him to marry his girlfriend [a lovely woman by the way].

Monday, October 4, 2010

Disturbing Matters -- and the Stonewall Again!

It's a shame to realize that even in these much more [but not completely] enlightened times there are still young gay men (and women) killing themselves. There's the tragic case of Tyler Clementi [pictured] who committed suicide after his roommate at Rutgers and another "friend" taped him having a homoerotic encounter and then posted it on the Internet. These people may not have thought Tyler was doing anything wrong, they may have felt they were doing the right thing in "outing" him, but a.) they were committing a gross invasion of privacy [which would have been the case even had the encounter been heteroerotic in nature] and b.) they should have realized that "coming out" is a rite of passage that everyone comes to in his or her own time. Outing hypocritical homophobes is one thing; an 18-year-old college student is another. [The legal aspects of this are so, sadly, fascinating that you can bet this story will be used as the basis for a Law and Order:SVU episode as well as many others].

Tyler probably had other issues. He seems like a sensitive young man. He was not conventionally handsome but he had a sweet face and other qualities that may have in time attracted someone to share his life with him, had that been what he desired. His roommate took what might have been a tentative first step into finding and accepting himself and turned it, whatever his intentions, into a dirty joke. Tyler may not have killed himself over being gay, but it's clear that having his actions taped and displayed for all the world to see drove him over the edge.

Despite all the achievements in Gay Rights, gay teen suicide is still a very real and terrible issue.

As is homophobia in general. Although things are much better than they once were, there still are plenty of reports that remind us that to some people we're as hated as ever.

Just the other day a man was gay-bashed in the famous [or infamous] Stonewall bar here in New York. Not that this surprises me, as I had an unpleasant encounter there myself many moons ago. The victim was taking an honest piss when they guy beside him asked what kind of bar it was, and when he discovered he was in -- gasp! -- a gay bar, took out his aggression on the customer. Another straight guy joined in. Both of the gay-bashers were arrested.

What kills me is that the Stonewall is claiming they do everything to protect their customers, to have a safe environment for everyone. But how did this [probably] shit-faced straight guy [or self-hater] get into the bar in the first place? There used to be a time when bouncers in gay bars made sure that every customer, especially the straight ones who wandered in, were aware they were in a gay bar, so that they could withdraw -- or be refused admittance -- if their reaction was hostile or negative. Now most gay bars don't even bother to do this, the reason allegedly being that gays and straights mingle more today and no one should be excluded etc. etc. but which really has more to do with money. Years ago straight people entered gay bars with their gay friends, and they were generally cool and respectful. Now we get inebriated meatheads who bounce in, unaware they're in a gay bar or too drunk to care [until they're made aware of it], and gay customers wind up paying the price for it.

I hope the guy who was gay-bashed sues the straight owners of the Stonewall. [Yes, they are straight, don't let anybody fool you. They gave a gay bartender at their other place, the Duplex down the street, a piece of the action and made him manager so they can say it's "gay-owned," which is a trifle disingenuous in my opinion.] The Stonewall gets the overflow from the Duplex, and it's been said that Duplex employees encourage [are told to encourage] the mostly straight, generally drunken tourists pouring out of the Duplex to go to the Stonewall; sometimes they mix with the gay customers like oil and water.

One of the gay-bashers' lawyers claims it wasn't a hate crime. But even if the guy turns out to be homosexual himself, it doesn't matter. If you beat somebody up because they're gay and call them a fag all the while it's a hate crime, be assured.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Bitch Is Back

A few months ago As the World Turns introduced a new character, a doctor named Dr. Reid Oliver [expertly played by Eric Sheffer Stevens, pictured].

Oliver knew he was an incredibly gifted surgeon and made no bones about making sure that everyone else knew it too. His chief expression was one of withering contempt.

In other words, he was sort of bitchy.

I remember wondering if the character would turn out to be gay, then immediately admonishing myself because I know full well that most gay men are not bitchy and I've certainly met some straight guys who definitely were, so I told myself to put that right out of my mind. [I also recognized that it wasn't that I thought gay men were bitchy but that this has been a prevailing and unfair stereotype for many years.]

Now I don't think it was because Oliver was a bit of a bitch -- at least I hope not -- but it turned out that the good doctor was gay. He was brought in to shake up the relationship between Luke and Noah, the gay couple on the show, among other things [his character has shaken up a lot of people actually]. Noah had lost his sight, and Luke importuned [or rather badgered] genius surgeon Reid to come operate on him. For many weeks, during which Noah kept pushing Luke away [he in part blamed Luke for his accident], the two -- Luke and Reid -- simply couldn't stand one another.

But you could cut the sexual tension with a knife.

As Reid began to fall for Luke and vice versa, the doctor started to become a little more human. The somewhat insecure man underneath the obnoxious shell began to poke through.

And finally, after days and days of teasing us, the two finally went to bed. [Okay, not that we saw much of that. Even progressive shows such as As the World Turns aren't progressive enough to handle that.] But I must say the two characters have had some sexy kissing scenes [all the more remarkable if the two actors are straight, which, unfortunately, would preclude their actually enjoying any of the action, more's the pity].

In the meantime, Noah, who had vacillated back and forth between Luke and other guys, finally decided he was still in love with his old boyfriend, but he was heart-broken when Luke told him he now loved Reid.

But just yesterday Reid was in a terrible accident and is now brain-dead. His heart is going to be implanted in another character. Luke was, of course, devastated. [I don't mean to quibble, but these sequences, while not bad, didn't seem to have the impact of similar sequences involving straight characters. Perhaps it was simply because Luke and Reid had not been together all that long. There are still many people, who despite being gay-friendly, don't quite see gay relationships as equal to straight. Perhaps this could have been explored on the show -- or will be. Everyone just stood around talking about how Reid was gone and let's get his heart prepped and so on while Luke stood there in shock; would they have just let the poor guy stand there if it had been his girlfriend who'd died? But then Luke didn't seem all that devastated; perhaps because he felt more of an infatuation for Reid than anything else? Or did the actor simply underplay too much for some reason?]

In any case, the openly and happily gay Oliver went out as a hero; the last thing he did before expiring was insisting that his heart be used for a colleague whom he died trying to help, and whom he didn't especially like.

Normally I would rail against the killing off of an excellent character like Dr. Reid Oliver [his being gay added an extra dimension to someone who was already quite interesting, in no small part due to Stevens' performance as well as good writing] but As the World Turns is going off the air for good later this month. The gay characters on One Life to Live are, I believe, no longer on that show. And I've already written how The Young and the Restless de-gayed itself, although minor gay supporting characters show up now and then to say a measly line or two.

So there won't be many or any gay characters on the afternoon soaps. Still, it looks as if As the World Turns will go out with its long-running gay couple, Luke and Noah, intact. Noah will naturally want to comfort Luke after his terrible loss [although he'll probably feel kind of funny helping him get over someone else]. Frankly, Luke seemed a little stupid blowing off Noah. Yes, Dr. Oliver was a very handsome guy, but even after he thawed out a bit he didn't exactly have Noah's sincerity and sweetness. And Noah wasn't exactly chopped liver. Still, it's hardly unrealistic for a young guy to fall for a pretty face, male or female.

As the World Turns may not have been perfect, but in general the show did a mighty good job of presenting mostly realistic gay characters of some variety and intelligence.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Party Animals

Many years ago I went to see the film version of the rock opera Tommy.

The movie was horrible. it would have been horrible even without its most offensive scene.

After Tommy's uncle (or whoever he was) sings about "fiddling" with the boy -- in other words, molesting him -- the actor playing the part picks up a copy of Gay News [or a similar gay paper -- it's been a few years] and begins reading it. Tommy's father, played by the imposing Oliver Reed, walks in and sets fire to the newspaper, wearing a look that could kill.

So there you have it in CinemaScope and technicolor: Gay man equals child molester.

Author Robert Hofler makes no mention of this scene in his book Party Animals, which is ironic considering the subject of the book is producer Allan Carr, who helped promote and market Tommy with a world premiere party in a New York subway station [where it belonged]. More ironic is that the openly and flamboyantly gay Carr tried to bring a gay aesthetic to his projects as well as a homoerotic ambiance to his parties [and orgies]. NOTE: Other projects Carr worked on in one capacity or another were Grease with John Travolta, Can't Stop the Music, the Village People singing group, the Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles [suave, borderline swishy-if-straight star Gene Barry was afraid to share an elevator with the chorus boys because he thought he might catch AIDS], and a famously disastrous Oscar telecast.

Interestingly Hofler does make note of the sad but not uncommon phenomenon that the stereotypically gay Carr was also full of extreme self-hatred, stemming in part from his body image and hard-to-hide effeminacy. Carr was someone who decided he would make the gay thing work for him without ever fully embracing his sexuality [except, of course, during sex, often with men for hire]. Hofler writes how Carr would often go out of his way to do just about anything and everything for the heterosexual men with whom he worked, but rarely did the same for his gay male friends and acquaintances. "Allan had a way of treating fellow homosexuals like mere employees and straight male friends like the brothers he never had," writes Hofler.

Which, of course, is why Carr probably wouldn't have given a shit about that scene in Tommy.

Hofler's book is quite interesting, even if the star of the book himself may not interest you all that much. Some of the negative attitudes expressed about Carr by people may have had to do with their homophobia but just as often with his glittering, often tacky, lack of substance. I never met Carr but I've met people like him. They can be fun -- until they think you've somehow crossed them, or their extreme self-hatred beneath the callow, "fabulous" exterior begins to come out through the cracks and then explodes.

Not a bad book of a certain time and place in Hollywood and New York, with a back drop of emerging gay rights and gay consciousness, as well as the terrible rise of AIDS.

And Hofler made me laugh out loud with the line: "In time matching John Travolta with a mate of the opposite sex turned into a cottage industry."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Trapped by BearTrapping and Other Matters

A number of items this week:

1.) I joined a gay bear dating site called BearTrapping quite a while ago [in addition to bear411.com, bearwww.com, and silver daddies] but now regret it and will not recommend it to anyone. While most of these sites give you certain special privileges for a fee [while most of the regular services are free] BearTrapping doesn't even let you read the mail in your in box unless you pay the annual fee. I decided I wanted out, but even when I emailed them to say I no longer wanted to be a member, I kept getting emails saying I "had mail." Finally I got an email saying that my membership had been canceled. Guess what? I am still receiving emails from them and there doesn't seem to be any way to get off their list. I mean, I really don't want or need to be a part of this site. I don't even know if the damn thing is gay-owned. Try the other sites I mentioned but forget about BearTrapping -- I warn you you'll feel trapped.

2.) Speaking of bears, back during Gay pride week the Village Voice -- in their annual "queer" issue -- ran a piece on "straight" bears, and supposedly how there are many straight bear-like guys who are becoming friends and allies of gay bears and are fascinated/envious by their freer sexuality and so on. The piece, written by openly gay Joe Erbentraut [whom I totally respect for being openly gay] fits my definition of what in the magazine business is known as a "fake issue" piece. In other words, it sounds provocative but has little basis in reality. I talked it over with some friends of mine, wondering if they've run into any super-friendly "straight"bears and the consensus was "no." [Of course there have always been big, bear-like men in the straight community.] Erbentraut quotes/describes a couple of bear-like straight guys who are gay-friendly and all that, but I just wasn't convinced that all that many heterosexual hairy guys want to hang out with gay bears. I go to bear bars and gatherings and I have to tell you, the number of genuinely and totally straight guys that I and my gay friends have encountered is: zero. And not a single gay man I spoke to has the slightest interest in straight guys suddenly piling into gay bear hang-outs [I mean, wouldn't it make cruising awfully awkward for everyone?] That doesn't mean we gay guys don't have straight male friends, but I wouldn't exactly bring them to the Eagle. The piece also revealed that there is an organization -- a gay-straight alliance -- that actually calls itself Swish! Sheesh. I can't possibly think of a worse name for the group, almost as if its making fun of gay guys.

3.) On the other hand, that same issue of the Voice had a more substantial piece by long-time columnist Michael Musto. It would be easy [and unfair] to dismiss the flamboyant, celebrity-obsessed, very non-bear-like Musto as "frivolous" -- he's a very different kind of gay guy from me but there's room for all of us, right? -- were it not for the fact that he has always remained committed to Gay Rights and often writes quite intelligently on the subject. In his Gay Pride piece he writes: "We're in the weird position of being incredibly glam and popular in our culture, yet denied equal rights on a daily basis." [In this he's referring to gay marriage, "don't ask, don't tell," and the fact that gay men can't donate blood.] In addition, "the church is still demonizing homosexuality... As they insanely set about trying to remove every gay clergyman one by one, you wonder : 1.) Who'll be left? and 2.) every time a straight teacher molests a child, should the school system try to remove all the heteros?"

[One thing I disagree with here is the way some gay activists sort of do the same thing the church does: confusing pedophile priests with gay priests and blaming "celibacy" on the problem. I've written about this in the past.]

In the article Musto also has some interesting things to say about GLAAD and their objection to a movie on transsexuals. [reprinted on a web site unfortunately called fags. org. I've no doubt the name is meant to be all in-your-face and ironic, but to me it's as bad as Swish.]

Anyway, more on bears and the anti-bear backlash [possibly another "fake issue," LOL] in the future.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

When It's Time to Call for the Check

When you're on a date with a guy, you know it's time to call for the check -- or a cab-- when he says:

NOTE: Most of these are based on real comments by real guys, either said to me or someone that I know.

1.) "I'll never love anyone as much as I love my ex-wife."
Well, then, we sure don't have much of a future. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not your ex-wife.

2.) "I'm actually bisexual, and I think my preference is women." Then shouldn't you be dating a woman?

3.) "Adult protective services made me move out of my aunt's house because they said she wasn't getting enough to eat." If you think you're gonna eat me out of house and home, forget it!

4.) "I've been thinking of leaving the priesthood." You're -- a -- fuckin' -- priest!!!

5.) "I love to bareback and I say 'fuck you' to anyone who objects! After all, it's my ass, isn't it?" Well, it may be your ass but it's my body and my dick has no intention of entering into it. [While it may be comparatively rare, tops can get HIV.]

6.) "I love you, do you hear me, I love you, I said I love you!" [In bed, from someone you've known only a couple of hours.]

7.) "C'mon, I can tell that you dye your beard. I mean I can see the gray roots." Yes, I dye my beard. I dye it green on St. Patty's day and orange on Halloween. Anything else is none of your fuckin' business.

8.) "You like man-boobs, don't you?"

9.) "You and I are about the same age, aren't we?" [From someone who's a good twenty years older than you.]

10.) "My father and I had an incestuous relationship for many years. After he died and was cremated, I dipped a spoon in the urn and ate some of the ashes." Remind me not to go to your next dinner party.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Self-Hating Homos Are the Worst

First of all, I think we all agree that it's great news about the gay marriage victory in California, about which you can read more all over the Internet and the gay blogosphere.

Unfortunately, it's distressing to know that some of the most vocal opponents of gay marriage have themselves been homosexual.

Take the case of Tom Brock, a Lutheran minister in Minneapolis who not only speaks out against gay marriage, but is against ordained homosexual ministers -- despite the fact that he lies awake every night hungering for a man while praying that his desires will go away [Don't hold your breath, asshole!]

Brock is a self-hating homo. His "secret" was discovered by a undercover gay journalist who attended meetings of Courage -- what a joke! -- a Catholic group of self-hating homos. [The implication, of course, is that it takes courage to deny one's natural gay feelings, when it's actually far more courageous to embrace them and come out of the closet.] Talk about the blind leading the blind!

Brock is a 57-year-old virgin. He doesn't consider himself gay because he's never had sex with a man -- or anyone. [In this he's being disingenuous. True, he's not gay in the Out and Proud sense, but he's still homosexual.] He thinks no one is born gay but that "things go wrong." He thinks all practicing homosexuals will go to hell.

In other words, Brock is a complete idiot.

Brock was outed in the magazine Lavender -- sheesh, how I hate that title! -- by presumably gay journalist John Townsend. Townsend has supposedly gotten some flack for being "undercover," but how else was he supposed to infiltrate the group and get the skinny? By announcing that he was doing a story for Lavender?

My problem with Townsend -- and I want to make clear that he may have been misquoted -- is his saying that Brock is "free to do what he wants to do and say what he wants to say." My problem with that is that while even Brock may admittedly have the right to free actions and free speech, he is in essence practicing hate speech and I don't see why that should be allowed to continue. Every time he uses the media [he has preached on Twin Cities cable access for twenty years] to denounce the gay lifestyle and spread lies about its origins and "sinful" nature he is doing irreparable harm, especially to impressionable young people, some of whom still commit suicide when they realize they're homosexual -- thanks to attitudes espoused by Tom Brock and people like him.

Of course, with the weak-tea activism of today, people will talk about Brock's "right" to be a homophobe instead of organizing pickets and handing out leaflets with information that runs counter to Brock's lies and distortions. I can imagine just how long my old group the Gay Activists Alliance would have put up with this fool!

Here's the truth about Brock. He has a negative self-image both about his looks and his sexuality. He's 57 and has never found a sex partner, and I for one don't believe that he hasn't tried. I've met guys like this. They never get laid -- or in Brock's case have never gotten laid -- and they're so bitter about it that they start to hate all gay men, all homosexuals and indeed homosexuality itself.

Of course, the chief object of their hatred is themselves.

No Tom Brock has never had sex with another living sole ...

And he's out to make all of us pay for it.

What a turd!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How I Will Spend My Summer Vacation

Trying to stay cool!

I'll be back in early August -- if not before -- with brand new posts on:

Supposedly "straight" bears.

An odd episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent where a man marries a women because he had the hots for her brother [!?]

The way that the odd, pre-Stonewall "deification" of "straight" men doesn't ever seem to end and what it says about some gay men's feelings of self-worth.

Some bizarre and interesting gay goings-on in assorted films and TV shows, such as a gay football team on Bones.

When it isn't advisable to sue a blogger who says you're gay.

Some unvarnished truths about bisexuality, "straight" guys [ or "straightguise"] who have sex with men, and internalized homophobia.

And more!

Sunday, June 27, 2010






Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I have written before about the events for Fireflag, the gay firefighters group, at Ty's bar on this blog.

A couple of weeks ago they had another event. There is, as I have said, a buffet, and for five dollars you can enter a raffle in which the prizes include a substantial amount of cash [at least $100 and generally more].

There are guys who come in, stuff their faces with food, and never buy any tickets. The issue that some customers wouldn't be around for the drawing was addressed: consider the five bucks a donation they were told [I mean you're getting good food]. Or give your tickets away. If you know somebody in the bar, given them your tickets and ask them to let you know if you win.

Well, at this particular event one of the Fireflag members sat by the buffet selling tickets. A few people slipped by while he was getting ready, but he told everyone else that they had to buy tickets before they ate. I thought this was an excellent idea and told him so. "It's an uphill battle," he told me. And this for the gay firefighters who risk their lives ... ?

Suddenly two guys I had never seen before rushed up to the buffet, grabbing plates. He told them the buffet was only for ticket holders. The first guy started screeching at him that he "gave every month" or something along those lines, even though I had never before seen him at a Fireflag event or even at Ty's. He became hysterical, and even called the fireman a faggot. Then the other guy who was with him snapped at the same fellow I hope your house -- or the bar, I foget which -- burns down.

Lovely! Talk about bitchy queens who need some valium -- or therapy.

Some people go berserk when they see free food [or an open bar]! The night before the Fireflag evening I had been at a wonderful event given for the 30th anniversary of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. [No, I was not one of the old wrecks they were preserving!] After awards were given out to notable village establishments and individuals, there was a reception up the block at the Forbes Gallery. Inside the lobby there was a table of food. I went in the other room to get some wine and when I returned the table was absolutely surrounded by people -- mostly seniors -- three deep who were gobbling everything they could get their hands on and wouldn't make room for anyone else to get a nibble. I said to a young lady watching this spectacle; "You'd think they hadn't had a decent meal for weeks!"

Luckily, as this was the 30th anniversary, the Society went all out, and there were not only two open bars with every kind of top shelf liquor imaginable, but waiters came around with trays of delicious appetizers, so nobody went hungry. It was a Class A event.

Now most of the people gobbling up everything on that table were straight, but I bet they wouldn't have paid a measley five dollars for all the free food and booze,either. It's not that the people at the Society gathering -- or the men at Ty's -- can't afford it, but there's just something that makes people go crazy when it's free. I know of at least one man who goes to every free buffet at every gay bar he can find, even though he has plenty of money and goes out to dinner two or three times a week. No, he doesn't give five dollars to Fireflag. Fuck him! [I mean even Larry, the wonderful guy who makes the food every month, buys tickets!]

I guess it's human nature, and not especially a gay thing. But I do wish that some of the hungry tightwads at the Fireflag events were more supportive of the organization and their gay brothers.

As for those two screeching queens who made such a fuss. Happy Gay Pride, brothers -- and go to hell!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Troubling Questions About Aaron Vargas

20/20 recently did a story about Aaron Vargas [pictured], who shot to death a man named Darrell McNeill who had allegedly sexually abused Vargas since he was eleven.

Vargas did not go to the police [although other alleged victims did] but went out to McNeill's trailer and shot him dead. No matter how heinous McNeill's acts, he would not have gotten the death penalty for them, but that's what he got from Vargas. [Vargas claimed that he was afraid McNeill would molest his young daughter.]

However, let me say upfront that I have little sympathy for pedophiles. I am tired of the confusion they cause in that some people mistake men who molest little boys for gay men, who are only attracted to adult males.

But here's where this case gets interesting. Vargas and McNeill apparently continued the sexual relationship long after Vargas became an adult.

A psychologist -- Dr. Michael Welner, I believe -- interviewed on the show seemed to have very little knowledge of this sort of thing, but suggested that Vargas was somehow under McNeill's sadistic control or something along those lines which is why he continued to have sex with him. Maybe.

I don't know. Maybe this is true. On the other hand I think people tend to have sex with other people they're presumably not attracted to for some kind of gain -- monetary or something.

In other words, I think 20/20 only touched the surface on this story. There's a whole lot more going on here that the program didn't reveal. The motive seems to be cut and dry: Vargas killed the man who molested him for years. Yet why now? What was the true reason behind his sudden actions?

Reporter Chris Cuomo asked Vargas about the adult sex he had with McNeill and what that might indicate about someone, and Vargas responded that you might think that someone who did that was "'a fag." [So right away we know what Vargas thinks of gay people. And sadly, maybe of himself? Self-hatred 101 anyone?] Cuomo immediately said/corrected him: "they might think you were gay." Italics mine.

One might also wonder why it was necessary to murder McNeill to supposedly keep him away from Vargas' daughter [assuming he had any interest in molesting her in the first place]? It seems Vargas could just tell the guy to stay the hell away from his home and his daughter -- I mean he had the gumption to shoot him [in front of his wife] -- and tell the child's mother to lock the door if she saw him coming.

Again let me make it clear it's not that I have sympathy for McNeill, but more that the 20/20 program raised so many red flags and other issues. Many of the citizens of Fort Bragg rallied around Vargas but I got the sensation that it wasn't so much they were glad he'd killed a molester, but that they might as well have been cheering that he'd killed a "fag," that to these conservative people there was little difference between the two. The shame for Vargas and for other boys abused isn't so much that they were victims but that they "indulged" in homoerotic activities.

That's another problem I have with predators like McNeill. They are not "gay men" but they like sex with males. But they are not part of the Out and Proud Healthy, Accepting Gay Community, but rather are closeted hypocrites who victimize children who can't defend themselves. McNeill portrayed himself as a married heterosexual pillar of the community, while he had sex with men and boys. Was it more about power than anything else? Untouched by gay liberation these sad, pathetic creatures fuck up their own lives as well as others. One man reported that his younger brother committed suicide due to McNeill's actions, or at least that was what he felt had happened.

I've no doubt that some of the boys McNeill allegedly molested were born gay. But their first homoerotic experience was not a healthy, positive, mutual one, but one of rape and molestation. One man interviewed on the program who claimed to be McNeill's victim was such a positive portrait of self-loathing that it was hard to look at him. [I wanted to say to this guy, okay, being molested by a man doesn't make you, or mean that, you're gay, but if you are gay, it's okay! Not okay to be molested, of course, but okay to be gay.] It may be possible that some heterosexual victims of male-male child abuse can become confused about their orientation -- maybe -- but I've no doubt that some gay victims may find it impossible to ever feel good about being gay.

I can't quite bring myself to cheer for Aaron Vargas, however, not only because he circumvented the justice system and prevented some of his fellow victims from getting the closure they may have gotten by seeing McNeill on trial and facing his accusers, but because I have this nagging doubt that it wasn't [or at least wasn't just] his alleged molestation that drove Vargas to murder McNeill. There's something else going on here.

We may get the answers someday, but we probably won't get them from 20/20 -- or Aaron Vargas.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Of Newsweek and Gay Actors


A recent article in Newsweek has some [professional] gay activists and gay actors upset, and I can't blame them.

The article claims that straight actors can play gay but gay actors have a problem playing it straight.

According to the author, a Ramin Setoodeh, this is even a problem when the actor is non-stereotypical. He thinks that because the audience knows the actor is gay, they won't or can't accept him in straight, especially romantic, roles.

The latter point may have some validity to it, but it seems to me that if an actor is really good in his or her role, the audience will forget that they're acting and accept them in the part.

Another point the Newsweek author misses, incredibly, is that actors act. It may be impossible for some stereotypical gay guys to act butch on stage or on camera, but I have seen cases where even a "queen" can act very masculine when called for. I have met actors off-stage who were very butch in a play but rather femme in real life as well as vice versa. I remember even Harvey Fierstein played a straight gangster in a movie and was marvelous and completely convincing. That's why it's called acting.

Rock Hudson certainly had no trouble loving up the ladies in his movies and while he may not have been a great actor, he came off as convincingly "hetero." In fact, it annoys the hell out of me whenever someone -- gay or straight -- suggests that there's no chemistry between a leading man and a lady [or the other way around] because one of them is gay. Often you have two straight actors playing lovers and there's still no chemistry. Some people think the two actors have to be screwing off-screen before they can be believable as a couple. The truth is that a lot has to depend on such factors as basic acting ability, how realistic a couple they make in the first place [65-year-old guy and babe of 20?), and an intangible rapport between the two actors that may or may not show up on camera.

I don't know anything about Ramin Setoodeh. Don't know if he's straight or gay, or if he's gay whether he's Out and Proud or some self-hating homo, all I know is that with his ill-advised Newsweek column he's taken a giant step backward.

With its shrinking readership, let's hope Newsweek doesn't influence producers who were thinking of hiring a gay actor for an important straight role -- including a romantic lead -- and now may think twice about it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Sad Good-bye to Harry

I met Harry Weider (pictured), who died last month, at a party and was immediately taken with him. Harry was a Gay, Jewish, Disabled Dwarf, and he fought for rights for all of those groups. Life gave him a lot of issues to deal with, and he dealt with them with intelligence, humor, and tenacity. He was a very sweet and likable man. He was active in ACT UP, which fought for the rights of AIDS patients, served on community boards, and was always an advocate for the disabled and gay people.

In his late fifties, Harry had just started getting into opera. Knowing I was into opera and had written one tome on the subject, he emailed me a few times on the subject in general and on specific operas that he was planning to see. His always lively e-letters were always intelligent and opinionated in the right way. We also discussed the best places to go have a drink, as not every bar was comfortable for a man who had trouble walking and sitting. [Apparently he had a hearing impairment as well, which I was completely unaware of. I assume he was able to read lips.]

He frequently asked me to meet him for a drink, but unfortunately, the timing was always off. I hope he didn't think I was blowing him off, because I thought he was a genuinely fascinating person and wanted to know him better. Reading various tributes to him I realize that there was a lot I didn't know about him, a lot I didn't get the chance to appreciate.

I got a message from Harry via Facebook a few months ago, importuning me to sign up so that I could look at his "stories and photos." Well, I signed up, went to his profile, and discovered that there was nothing there but his name and photograph. The next time I saw Harry I said, "I only signed up for that thing because you wanted me to see your stories and pictures and there was nothing there." Harry laughed and said, "That's because I haven't put anything on there yet!"

Some of the tributes I read about him by fellow board members and politicians with whom he crossed swords focus -- in my opinion, too much perhaps -- on his feistiness, albeit affectionately, but he was also a good-natured man with a great sense of humor and warm personality.

Harry was leaving one of the frequent meetings he attended when he was struck and killed by a cab. He died on a Thursday. His funeral was on the very next day, which unfortunately meant that he was buried before many of his friends and acquaintances even knew of his death. I know there are a great many people who would have loved to have been able to pay their last respects to him, although a great many people did attend.

He is survived by his mother, a Holocaust survivor. My heart goes out to her.

So, I'll have a drink to Harry's memory tonight. And hope that wherever he is, he's givin' 'em hell and having fun.

You can read more about Harry here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gay and Running for Office?-- Bring Out the Girlfriend!

Well, I at least find this amusing.

In Philadelphia two people are running for the House in a heavily gay district that is known as the "gayborhood."

One of them is a lady named Babette Josephs. The other is a man named Gregg [more on that spelling later] Kravitz, who is pictured.

Ms. Josephs claims that Kravitz told her he was gay.

Gay. Not bisexual. Not straight. But gay.

[Okay, let's get to the spelling of that name. I know I am always railing against stereotyping and the like, but whenever I see a guy who spells his name with two consonants at the end -- you know, Ronn instead of Ron, Donn instead of Donn, or Gregg instead of Greg -- I always think: gay. No offense, but I find it kind of, well "queeny."]

Anyway Since Gregg with two "g"s told Ms. Josephs that he was gay, the lady was a bit surprised when he showed up with a young lady in tow, and introduced her as his girlfriend -- not gal pal or female friend, but someone he is dating.

Now -- just when he's running for office -- Gregg with two "g"s has suddenly become "bisexual."

See, Gregg wants to have his cake and eat it too. He can reach out and touch more heterosexual voters by producing the girlfriend -- see , guys, sure I'm queer and all that, but -- wink, wink -- I'm really a reg'lar fella, I got a girlfriend, see --ain't she a babe -- I'm not a total --- sshhh -- fag, I dig chicks just like you do.

But Gregg can also appeal to LGBT voters by claiming to be bisexual, and if you doubt or question or dare to say that a bi guy with a girlfriend is not exactly on the same planet as a homosexual man who can't even get married, you'll just be called "biphobic."

So Gregg-- whatever he may be [but keep those two gs in mind] -- is a fairly clever fellow.

But I feel not clever enough to fool Babs. I mean, Babette.

Ms. Josephs seems to feel that Gregg is actually a straight guy, cynically saying he's gay, then bi [so he can be seen in public with his girlfriend] to get LGBT votes.

But let's remember, he spells his name with two gs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Archie Goes Gay

Last year the big news in Archie comic books was that ol' freckle face -- who must be over seventy at this point, having first appeared in Pep comics in the 1930's -- was getting engaged to either Betty or Veronica [what -- no Jughead?]

The big news this year is that the Archie comics line is introducing a gay character!

"Kevin Keller" will first appear in an issue of Veronica that goes on sale in September. Veronica becomes smitten with him, but he has no romantic interest in her, poor thing.

Kevin has been described as a "strapping blond" who beats Jughead in a pie-eating contest. I'm sure he can beat Jughead in a lot of things.

As far as I know the rumors that Jughead will be "outed" as an asexual are entirely false.

Seriously, this is an excellent development. If Kevin appeals to the readers, I can imagine that other gay characters will be introduced as well. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. How "open" will Kevin be? I'm glad they resisted making him a dork or -- sorry -- a "big queen."

Okay. I'm willing to watch the occasional soap opera episode with gay characters in the privacy of my own home. But now to monitor this I'm going to have to actually buy issues of Archie and Veronica?

What I won't do for the cause!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Perfect Husbands?

What's it with all these guys named Peterson murdering their wives?

First there's Drew Peterson, the former police sergeant, who's been charged with murdering both his third and fourth wives. I can't get why four women would marry this guy. If he walked into the Eagle I wouldn't give him a first look, let alone a second one.

Then there's Scott Peterson, whose wife Laci went missing. He was later convicted of murdering her [first degree] and their prenatal son [second degree].

And then we've got Michael Peterson, the subject of at least one book [A Perfect Husband by Aphrodite Jones], a foreign documentary, a made-for-television movie starring Treat Williams as Peterson, and many, many hours on Dateline, 20/20 and other news programs.

The most sensational aspect of the case was when the male prostitute Brent Wolgamott was called in to testify that he and Peterson had made arrangements -- never fulfilled -- to hook up for paid sex.

First let's deal with the hustler, also known as "Brad." Whatever he is, Wolgamott is not too bright. He was quoted as saying that the majority of his clients were "predominantly straight with minor homosexual tendencies." Apparently he's never heard of married homosexuals. It makes no sense that a man with supposedly minor homosexual tendencies would explore gay porn web sites with abandon and want to hire a male hooker for sex.

As Jones writes in her book "from the explicit nature of Michael's e-mails, it was obvious that he was not only an adulterer, but that he was perhaps more homosexual than straight." She adds: "the thought of [his murdered wife] Kathleen's marriage being a sham, especially when she was paying for everything ... was all the more hurtful to her sisters and [her daughter] Caitlin."

Michael Peterson claimed that he was "bisexual" and that Kathleen already knew that. He enlisted his brother to say that he knew about Michael's bisexuality since they were teens.

Well, whether Peterson was "bisexual" or just a married, ashamed homosexual -- and I think the latter is more accurate -- I don't think his wife knew the score.

Of course, most married homosexuals don't want to murder their wives, just cheat on them.

Although I must say that more and more we're learning about the gay secret lives of certain men accused of murdering their wives or at least making them disappear forever. [Recently there was the case of murder victim Karen Tipton, whose husband David had gay porn on his computer.] Sure, some of this may be an attempt to demonize a suspect, give him another motive for doing away with the little woman, but given what we know of the whole "down low" business of homosexuality, much of it is probably accurate. While the whole business of murdering your wife in the 21st century because she finds out you're gay [with the resultant exposure, divorce, and financial loss] sounds like a bad Law and Order episode, apparently it sometimes happens.

In any case, it's safe to say that these men -- these murderers of women -- are not Out and Proud members of our community, but dysfunctional and often sociopathic losers whose poor wives pay the price for their inability to accept themselves.

In any case Michael Peterson is spending the rest of his life in prison.

Just as many of these guys spend their whole, pathetic lives in the closet.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Let's Not "Thank" Rick Warren

I had very mixed emotions a while back when I read that some gay/LGBT organizations were offering praise to homophobic pastor Rick Warren.

Some months ago, in an interview on ABC, Warren [pictured] -- claiming he had gay friends [no self-respecting gay person would want Warren for a friend] -- basically confirmed that he thought homosexuality was immoral and that "decent" homosexuals should abstain from any gay relations or relationships. He said that even though he was attracted to other women at times, he "abstained" from affairs out of decency. Similarly -- to his way of thinking -- a "decent" gay person should abstain his or her entire life from having homosexual relationships! "It's all about character," he said.

In other words, it was better to be a closet case, an "ex-gay," or be in a sham relationship with a member of the opposite sex than to be Out and Proud and in a happy relationship with a member of your own sex! Those of us who are not ashamed or guilt-wracked over being gay are of low character.

Okay, I get why some LGBT activists recently applauded Warren when he spoke out against a anti-homosexual Ugandan hate bill, saying it was "extreme, unjust and unchristian toward homosexuals." I get that some gay activists feel that the more "Christians" who speak out against hate bills, the better it will be for the gay community in the long run.

But at the same time -- just look at who they're praising!!!

True, Rick Warren may not want gay people to be put to death, but he wants us to lead lives of self-denial and self-hatred -- which is more or less the same.

So he spoke out against the Ugandan hate bill on youtube. Good for him -- and big deal! It's essentially attitudes like Warren's that lead directly to the extreme measures taken against gays in other nations, and the prejudice and hatred that still exists in the good ol' USA.

So, we can say that Warren may be doing the right thing here, but praising him, acting like he's an ally?

That is just ridiculous!

This illustrates my problem with the comparative weak-tea approach of gay activism today. Can you imagine New York's militant Gay Activists Alliance praising Rick Warren? We may have said he was doing the right thing for a change, but we would never have let it pass that he himself was a homophobe of the first rank, negatively influencing millions of Americans about gay men and lesbians. It's his attitude that keeps many gay people in the closet, creates self-hatred in innumerable gay men and lesbians, and leads to suicides among gay teens, especially in the bible belt.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

TV Lesbians

Not having done a hell of a lot with their dizzy gay male couple, Desperate Housewives has now introduced a lesbian couple -- sort of. It all started when one of the housewives discovered that her late ex-husband had left her a topless bar that he owned. She convinced one of the strippers to seek a different line of work, and this gal moved in with Katherine [Dana Delaney, pictured] who lived across the street from housewife one. Katherine had supposedly been strictly heterosexual to that point. In fact, she had a nervous breakdown when the man she lived with went back to his ex-wife (the same housewife one] and re-married her. Meanwhile her new roommate -- the ex-stripper -- confided in her that she was a "card-carrying" lesbian. The ex-stripper was a sexy, very feminine gal -- the kind guys call a "babe" -- and it's interesting that they resisted making her a typical TV bisexual [more on that later]. Katherine, who might more accurately be called a bisexual (although this was not suggested and the term was never used), couldn't deny her attraction to the ex-stripper, and the two not only went to bed together but more or less became a couple. This in spite of the fact that Katherine tired to convince the other gal -- and herself -- that she was really totally heterosexual. In the most recent episode Katherine decided that she wanted to pursue a relationship with the ex-stripper, but hated having her neighbors knowing all about them -- so they are apparently going to move out of the neighborhood [and perhaps leave the show?]

We all know that it's not that unusual for people to come to grips with their homosexuality as they approach middle-age or later [Katherine is 40], so I wasn't necessarily bothered by that factor. I'm not certain why a "card carrying" fully accepting lesbian would necessarily want to pursue a relationship with someone who is still clearly full of internalized homophobia. Of course, Katherine -- while not a "babe" like the ex-stripper as such -- is quite attractive, and has a lot of love to give. In any case, neither woman is stereotypically butch and I guess that's a plus. Now if only they could work on those two silly gay guys.

On a show called Melrose Place -- a new version of the old series -- there is a character named Ella. In all the press releases and write ups on the show it was mentioned that Ella is "bisexual." She's a typical TV bisexual in that she has no LGBT identity of any kind, is seen making out passionately with a couple of women, but is only shown in bed with guys. Recently she tried having a relationship with a guy named Jonah, but she found it too smothering. Maybe because she prefers women? The show simply won't deal with it. They had an openly gay guy who was Ella's boss -- and who was written out as soon as Heather Locklear rejoined the cast so that she could become Ella's boss -- but the word bisexual has never been used, and neither Ella nor her friends ever talk about it. It's as if the people behind the series said "We'll make Ella 'bisexual' to be contemporary, and maybe straight guys will tune in to see this babe making out with chicks. But she'll never be, like, a dyke."

If Melrose Place really wanted to be hip, it would have made Ella a "card-carrying" lesbian who perhaps interacted with men for career reasons [not that she doesn't do that] but for now she's just a cartoon bisexual -- or maybe not even that as they haven't shown her flirting or kissing another gal in months.

Sheesh. The shows I have to sit through just to monitor gay images!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Law and Order Gets One Right

I've already registered my dismay with what I felt was a really awful "gay" episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

But, in the interest of fairness, I did enjoy an episode of the regular Law and Order program about a week or two later. This wasn't a '"gay" episode, per say, as it encompassed a number of different issues, but it certainly had plenty of gay material.

The story had to do with a gay man who is murdered, gay-bashed, by a homophobic young punk. This fellow is arrested, put on trial, and quickly convicted of the crime [a great scene has the prosecutor getting his mother to reveal her own homophobia on the witness stand]. But the members of an Innocence Project take up his cause, and claim that the jury didn't have all the facts: the gay man's lover -- actually his husband, as the two were married in Massachusetts -- was allegedly having an affair with another man at the time of his partner's death, and had even seen a divorce lawyer for advice.

How would I have felt if the gay guy were guilty of murdering his lover? Well, as long as it was made clear that it wasn't his sexual orientation that made him murderous I guess I would have been okay with it, as gay people -- like straights -- are imperfect human beings; the gay community, like any other community, has both good and bad members. Still, I won't deny that I'm glad it didn't work out that way.

From there the story took a dramatic shift into examining the possibility that some of the people who work on these Innocence Projects -- they work to overturn convictions of people they either think are innocent, didn't have a fair trial, or both -- are not only gullible on occasion but massively overzealous. The main witness at a hearing is a drug dealer who sold meth to the dead man and who now claims that the man's husband asked him to find a hit man. To say the drug dealer lacks credibility is an understatement, especially when it's revealed that a member of the Innocence Project sort of wined and dined -- and may have coached and even paid -- him.

Then there's another twist as the woman who heads the project reveals that D.A. Michael Cutter (Linus Roache), who prosecuted the gay basher and is fighting the motion for a retrial [and is also a former student of hers] never really got his B.A. due to a lack of credits [although he did graduate law school], calling his entire career into question. [What makes it worse is that she reveals this to defend a gay-basher who is not innocent.]

In a powerful scene, Cutter --- knowing he could be throwing his entire career away [and who is hetero]-- refuses to give too cushy a deal to the loathsome gay basher, so appalled is he at the thought of the man serving too short a sentence for such a heinous hate crime. It all ends on a very satisfactory note, although the repercussions for Cutter may not be known until upcoming episodes are aired.

The script, by Richard Sweren and Julie Martin, tackled a whole variety of issues, had the obligatory twists and turns [none of which were dumb and improbable as in that SVU episode], and was altogether excellent. The gay aspects were just one aspect of the story, and were handled quite well, presenting gay characters who weren't perfect but recognizably human [unlike Kathy Griffin's supposed "lesbian activist'].


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Of Priests and Pedophiles

I confess I'm getting awfully tired of child abuse among the Catholic clergy being blamed on homosexual priests and on celibacy. Homophobic Catholics want to blame all the "fags" who somehow managed to get into the priesthood, and -- to my surprise -- there are gay activists who claim the celibacy rule is responsible for the abuse. Say what?

By this thinking, the vow of celibacy is responsible for priests molesting little boys [and on occasion little girls]. But think about it: if a priest is going to break his vow of celibacy anyway, why do it with a child? There have been plenty of cases of priests having affairs with women and other adult males -- I remember one news program did a report on a priest who'd fathered about a dozen children! -- which seems to prove that even priests will go with their instincts. A hetero priest [all two or three of them] wants sex with women; a gay priest wants sex with men ...

And a pedophile priest wants sex with children.

Because, apparently, there have been more cases of abuse among boys than girls, the gay priests have been blamed for the epidemic of abuse. But any sensible person knows that there is a big difference between a homosexual and a pedophile, and that supposedly homosexually-inclined individuals are no more likely to molest a child than their heterosexual equivalents. There have even been cases where some men have had sex with boys but have no interest in having sex with adult males. And cases where men are attracted to both boys and girls, the youth being of more importance than the gender.

I firmly believe that most of the priests doing the abuse are pedophiles first and priests second. They are attracted to the priesthood the way other child molesters are attracted to other vocations because they know they will have access to young people and will also be in a position of trust. Child molesters are sexual predators, and we all know -- or should know -- the lengths to which sexual predators will go to claim a victim. On the surface it may seem absurd that a man would become a priest just to have access to children, but sexual predators are consumed with thoughts of their prey and how they can get their hands on them. Many of them seek jobs which would place them in close proximity to the very ones they want to victimize.

In any case, these priests are not gay men [hardly Out and Proud gay men in any case]. They are pedophiles. And even if they were allowed to marry or didn't have to take a vow of celibacy, they would still spend most of their waking hours scheming how to get their hands on their victims. Even the ones who honestly -- if that's the word for it -- felt the "calling" to the priesthood did so because they knew their sexual desires were verboten and placed them outside the norm. They had no problem taking a vow of celibacy because they had no real desire either for men or women. And they probably fool themselves into thinking that their actions with children don't constitute true "sex" -- in that they're right, as molestation/rape etc are not healthy sexual acts -- so they haven't broken their vows.

Moving from pedophile priests to homosexual ones, these are men who are so full of self-hatred, so ashamed of their natural desires, that they'd rather have no sex for the rest of their lives than have sex with another man. They not only have no problem taking a vow of celibacy, but indeed hope that it will help keep them "pure" for the rest of their lives -- while they go about like capons making sympathetic noises to troubled members of the parish and doing whatever it is priests do. Including denouncing the gay lifestyle and spreading homophobia.

But when they do break their vows and have sex, it isn't with children -- it's with grown-up guys.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Law and Order: SVU Hits Rock Bottom

You know I've complained that I'd like to see an honest-to-goodness gay activist on one of the Law and Order programs, but what they gave us instead on last night's Law and Order: SVU [3/3/10] was anything but.

Comedienne Kathy Griffin [who seems to have latched onto the LGBT community as some sort of audience niche] played Babs Duffy, supposedly a lesbian activist who heads a group with a cute name. Although she is criticized by another character for concentrating on lesbians instead of the whole LGBT spectrum,- -- what's wrong with that; I mean, she is a lesbian [more on that later] -- she snidely snaps at Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) when they say they support the LGBT community: "That's L G B T Q I A community!" [Yes, the Q is for questioning, the I is for intersexed, and the A is not for Asexual but for Allies. Stabler remarks that he just isn't up on his political correctness and I could have kissed him, even though Meloni is not my type.]

So right away we're getting inconsistencies. But it gets worse.

Babs is all worked up because she believes an unknown man is targeting lesbians. It turns out that she's right. But one of the first suspects is actually the lesbian lover of the first victim; she is a very tough, aggressive, and violent lady. The show's recurring gay character, the nice Asian-American psychiatrist, of course explains that the gay/lesbian community is just as diverse as any other community -- very good point -- and this rather butch brutal lesbian is only one type of gay gal.

It's good that this point is made because the show also has one lesbian saying "we don't hang out with a lot of men," and completely ignoring the male Stabler, when most of the lesbians I've met not only don't ignore men but have many loving male friends.

Meanwhile Babs, who's so concerned about this investigation, bothers to stop to sort of flirt with the pretty D.A., and even comes on to Detective Benson.

But wouldn't you know there's a Law and Order twist, which might have looked good on paper but is just disastrous. The strident, ever-so-lesbian Babs has actually been dating a man for the past few months and told no one. Seems that at about age forty-five she realized she was also attracted to the opposite sex. She's realized that she's actually bisexual.

At age forty-five?

I mean, she never noticed that she found some men attractive long before that? Are we to believe that? True, she may have spent most of her time with women in her adult years, but surely she hung out with some guys in high school and college. Surely she saw men in magazine and TV ads. I mean, come on!

I'm sure the writer -- a guy named Daniel Truly [truly you jest!] thought this was very clever and all pc and hip bisexual and all that -- but it's also remarkably stupid.

People may repress their homosexuality -- but their heterosexuality! I doubt it. If Babs came to realize -- rightly or wrongly -- that she was bisexual, why wouldn't she have re-invented herself as a bisexual activist long before this? I mean, they do exist after all.

It's almost as if they were reinventing that awful old cliche: a woman is only a "dyke" until she meets the right man -- giving it a pc "bi" twist. But it still comes off as Godawful!

Realism was sacrificed for the all-important twist, but Truly could have delivered the twist and saved himself from severe script embarrassment in a very simple manner. Suppose Babs had been romancing this guy not because she was bisexual, but because she suspected he was the killer and wanted to get inside his head or something along those lines. Sure, when she finds out the killer is targeting her she's understandably "petrified," but she also comes off as a pretty tough broad. In any case, the show could have come up with a more believable explanation for why she was involved with this mysterious fellow.

At least Truly resisted making Babs straight. Just as we've now got imbeciles claiming that some guys who seek out sex with men [outside of prison, mind you] are really straight, I figure it's only a matter of time before there will be dumb-nuts claiming that some women who seek out gals to have sex with are really hetero as well.

Now I have met a few obnoxious gay activists in my day, and I have certainly met a few totally obnoxious bi-identified women, but Babs -- lesbian or bi -- gets the prize for one of the most obnoxious activists of any stripe ever. In her belligerence [it is suggested she acts like a nasty "dyke" to cover up her craving for men or some such stupidity] she comes off more like a caricature than a real person. I don't think Griffin will be getting a Emmy for this portrayal; in any case she doesn't deserve one as her performance is only average.

Even more annoying is that the publicity for the show claimed that Griffin shared a kiss with Mariska Hargitay. Never happened. Instead Griffin -- as Babs -- locked lips with Christopher Meloni and asked male Detective Stabler to call her for a date.

So this is Law and Order's idea of a "lesbian activist!"

Were there changes made to the script? Did supposedly gay-friendly Griffin ultimately balk at the idea of playing a "dyke" and prefer to go "bi" instead, sharing a kiss with the male detective instead of the female? [Frankly a kiss between Babs and Olivia Benson would have been ridiculous, as Benson has never been depicted as either gay or bi in all these years, but did they have to go to the other extreme instead?]

At least the script had enough sensitivity -- if you could call it that -- for Babs to realize that many of her followers would feel betrayed [it wasn't clear if she had a lesbian lover or not, who would especially feel betrayed on more than one level] and it didn't go so far as to make them out to be "biphobic" bigots, although who knows what would have happened had there been enough time to go into all of the ramifications. Like I've said before, the fast-moving Law and Order programs throw all sorts of things and issues out at the viewer but never take time -- never have time -- to explore these issues in any great depth.

In any case, middle-aged gays who "suddenly" realize that they're attracted to the opposite sex are generally just unhappy people who want to go straight -- they are not militant lesbian activists who simply took, like, half of their lives to realize they were really bi! The very idea is not only ludicrous but idiotic; even offensive.

So I'm still waiting for a real gay activist to show up on Law and Order.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hold That Tiger!

I've been a bit disturbed with all the goings-on with Tiger Woods and his infidelities, the public's reaction to same, and his apologies to his wife, children, mother, and virtually everyone else on the planet. What for?

You might wonder why do I care about a presumably heterosexual guy and the fact that he was unfaithful with many women. The problem for me is the sheer puritanical attitude toward sex that has been displayed. Gays have been victimized by this same attitude for generations.

As far as I'm concerned, Woods' infidelities are between him and his wife. If he wants to apologize to her -- if she wants to stay with him or head for divorce court -- it's their business. Most men -- most human beings -- are not monogamous by nature anyway. This was something inflicted on us by religion and conservative mores. Certainly I don't see why a philanderer -- or anyone who's sexually active with more than one person -- has to apologize to the public for his or her carryings-on.

And the hypocrisy! Male editors ran headlines such as "Lock Up Your Daughters!" and the like with Woods' photograph, yet most of these guys a.) are also unfaithful to their wives and/or b.) wish they got as much action as Tiger did. Isn't a lot of the sanctimonious attitude toward sex due to simple jealousy? He's gettin' some and I ain't so I'm gonna make fun of him and make him pay.

The thing is: Isn't Tiger what many straight guys aspire to be: the super-stud with lots of girlfriends? Isn't virility the big bugaboo with so many guys? Isn't the need to be seen as a "tiger" with the ladies responsible for so much male insecurity, for homo guys being on the down-low or saying they're bisexual when they really aren't?

In our society guys who sleep around are "studs." Women who sleep around are "sluts." And gay men who sleep around -- you can just imagine!

So Tiger is a "stud," and the same society [men and women alike] that thinks that's what all men should aspire to be is now excoriating him for it.

You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

And even single straight guys who sleep around get that same combination of admiration and condemnation. This is one of the few cases when in a sense a hetero is being put down for his sexuality [not that it in anyway compares to gay oppression].

With a dominant, entirely puritanical mind-set like this, no wonder gay marriage is such a struggle. [Jealousy comes into play here as well. Think of all those miserable straight couples hating every minute of their married lives and the envy they feel for gay couples who actually love each other and aren't getting married for all the wrong reasons. Not that there aren't great and successful straight marriages, I should add.]

One of Woods' lady paramours claims that Woods has had sex with men. I believe this was and is unsubstantiated. You can imagine the mea culpas if Woods had been caught with his pants down in the men's room. Imagine if he really were a Don Juan homosexual. Imagine the condemnation that would come his way -- and the apologies he would be mustering. I can hear it now: "I am not gay or bisexual. I'm a straight guy who went off the path due to too much liquor or post traumatic stress disorder." Or who knows what?

Just once I wish one of these adulterous guys would say: "I should have told my wife I wanted an open marriage because monogamy is not natural. I had a great time getting laid all over town and I feel no regret whatsoever. Sex is great! Don't you wish you were having the hot time I had!"

Don't hold your breath!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Labels and Identities

Some people in our community have problems with those of us who have "gay identities."

There are many, many things that make up me -- make up all of us -- as an individual, and being gay is only one of those things, but it's important to me. I don't define myself by my sexuality, but I don't pretend it doesn't exist or has absolutely no importance. Yet you can tell from the title of my blog that I have many identities and all of them are important to me. [It's amazing how some people focus in on the "Jewish" or the "Gay" and ignore everything else. Perhaps my most imporant identity is "Author."]

You often come across people who say "I don't like labels." If they're celebrities, it generally means that they're gay but don't want to say so publicly, no matter how often they've been spotted making out with a guy by Perez Hilton or his spies. It's rather comical at times. You feel like saying, "sure you don't like labels, but you do like guys, don't you?"

Non-celebrities who hate labels -- or at least the "gay" label -- often are dealing with perhaps unacknowledged issues of shame. They're gay -- they just don't want to call themselves that, or have anyone else calling them that.

Recently, on a gay message board, I came across two opposing posts on the issue. The first ended with: "Labels are dangerous. They cause us to question ourselves by forcing us to conform to perceived niches of difference, rather than an ever-changing spectrum of existence."

But the very next person posted: "Labels are only as bad as we allow them to be. We label to help us make sense of our world and our place in it.

I've never understood this terrified run from simple identification. I suspect more often than not, it has more to do with abject terror of what accepting a particular label (in particular gay or bi) means for a person's feelings of self-worth. So I can stuff my face with cock but as long as I say I'm straight I'm still normal and ok and acceptable? There's a river in Egypt full of these people. Me personally, I'd rather follow the dictum, 'Know thyself.'

And frankly, the only way labels for sexuality would not be necessary is if every single person were bisexual and even then everyone would have to be equally bisexual in the same way. I dare you to find a room full of bisexuals and get them to do that. HAhahaha!"

I which I could give this person credit for his wise remarks, but he's, unfortunately, anonymous. I love his statement: "I've never understood this terrified run from simple identification." It's called "internalized homophobia." And may I add that labeling yourself -- gay or anything else -- does not mean that you're forcing yourself to "conform to perceived niches of difference." That's just a lot of double-talk. You can be gay all your life and go through a lot of changes and broadening experiences on many levels. as it isn't all about sex.

For minority groups like ours, having a Gay [or Black or Jewish etc.] identity is generally an expression of pride, the opposite of the shame that inflicts some members of our and other communities. There are African-Americans who bleach their skin, straighten their hair, and date only white people, and others who are intensely proud of their blackness and -- while they may date or marry a non-black -- do not do so because they think non-blacks are superior. There are Jews in this country who changed their names to one less obviously Jewish [such as the filmmakers even in the days before the holocaust], which was the Jewish equivalent of going into the closet.

What's wrong with being proud of who you are?

What's wrong with having a gay identity and labeling yourself as gay?

As this is Valentine's Day, let me add that there's nothing wrong in loving [that is, not hating] yourself.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who's Watching the Watchmen?

Okay, sometimes it takes me a while to catch up with things.

I'm talking about a movie that came out last year entitled Watchmen.

A little background.

Watchmen was a 12 issue maxi-series published by DC Comics in the eighties. It answered the question: what if there really were costumed heroes in our world, and what if they were every bit as fucked-up as everyone else, with neuroses, sexual hang ups, and the whole magilla. [In general comic books began asking that question even before Watchmen was published, but the series was, for lack of a better word, a little more "adult."] Mentioned throughout the story is the first group of heroes, called the Minutemen, who formed in the 1940's.

The series even had gay material, some of it overt, some subtle, most of it ambiguous. [And, of course, most it it was left out of the film version].

A little background on the guy who wrote the mini-series, Alan Moore. Apparently Moore and his first wife lived in a kind of menage a trois with a woman who was lover to both Moore and his wife. [This is all courtesy of wikipedia]. Moore was quite pro-gay. He stopped working on a strip for a British paper when the paper ran an anti-gay editorial. He, his wife, and their mutual female lover worked on a pro-gay comic that protested homophobic policies of the government.

All good.

Then his wife, the lover, or both decided that they weren't so much bisexual as lesbian -- or else they fell so in love with each other they didn't need Moore -- and the two of them took off. With the kids.

Now, after that, I don't know how Moore felt about gay rights or lesbians in particular. So let's examine Watchmen first.

The comic is quite long and involved and I won't recount the entire story here, only look at the gay stuff.

Rorschach, a psychotic, super-conservative, right-wing hero who's wanted by the police for his outlawed vigilante actions, is fairly homophobic, but he's conservative on just about everything. Ironically, he's just about the only hero who tries to do the right thing at the end.

[I must state right here that Watchmen is an unconventional and unpredictable comic book, not standard in any way, shape or form. To coin a cliche, it defies expectations.]

One of the heroines, who is dead before the story proper begins, is named Silhouette. She and another woman become lovers and are bounced out of the group [which at this point is still called the Minutemen.] This is not unexpected as it is the 1940's. Years later, one of the other heroines in the group, now retired, admits that -- while she didn't like Silhouette, presumably for other reasons -- she felt badly about voting her out, as well as hypocritical, as everyone knew that two of the male members were involved in a sexual relationship. Silhouette and her lover are murdered by one of the former's long-time foes. [All of this is referred to in passing; it is not part of the storyline as such.]

In the movie, during which he hear much of Rorschach's internal thoughts, he says that Silhouette was a "victim of her immoral lifestyle" or something to that effect even though that was hardly the case. But remember, Rorschach is crazy. [In the comic he wonders if one of the other heroes, Ozymandias, is a homosexual, and makes a note to investigate.]

Also in the movie, during the credit sequence, we see what appears to be the wild, manic, joyous celebrating in the streets that occurred at the end of WW 2. Remember the famous picture of the soldier bending over a nurse and giving her a smack? Instead we see a costumed heroine -- presumably Silhouette -- in place of the soldier, giving a lady nurse a really hot smooch. [Of course it's two women, which for some reason turns on some straight guys, so while it's great, it isn't as edgy as it would have been showing a male soldier kissing another guy.] Still, the movie gets points for that.

A few paragraphs up I mentioned how there were two gay guys in the Minutemen. Reading between the lines of the comic -- it was not really part of the main storyline -- they were butch Hooded Justice and handsome Captain Metropolis. You have to read all the text extras in the comic book to piece it all together. When DC Comics put out a Who's Who entry on the Minutemen, it mentioned Silhouette and her lesbian scandal, but not that these two guys were lovers. [I won't be paranoid and I'll say it was because Silhouette's sexuality was mentioned in the comic portion and the guys' only in the text portion, but still ... makes you wonder.]

Hooded Justice sort of used a heroine named Silk Spectre as a beard. When another "hero" called the Comedian tries to sexually assault her, HJ comes to the rescue, and while he's beating the Comedian, the latter figures out that he gets off on it. In one of the text extras [issue # 9, I believe] there's a reference to HJ beating up "boys" or "punks" and having embarrassing public squabbles with the good Captain. [Again, none of this was part of the main storyline, all of it having happened in the past. Both characters were presumed dead.]

As for the movie: We never see either of these characters, not even in flashback. During a dinner conversation where they share memories, a character named Nite Owl says to a female former heroine : "You didn't know those two were ... ?" Presumably he was referring to HJ and CM being a gay couple, but who knows?

Although they are minor characters, there are two lesbians in the main -- or present-day --storyline of the Watchmen comic. One of these is a butch, old-fashioned gal named "Joey" or Josephine, who drives a cab. She buys Hustler at a newsstand and looks at the pin-ups. Yet she also asks the news vendor if he'll post a flyer for a benefit for Gay Woman Against Rape ["You gotta be kiddin' me! the vendor snorts, or something to that effect.] Of course, a woman who's in a group named Gay Woman Against Rape would hardly read Hustler, but it turns out that that's a bone of contention for Joey's femme lover, who shows up an issue or two later. This leads into a fight between the two women which becomes physical, with Josephine knocking her much smaller lover to the ground and kicking her as others around them, concerned, try to intervene. Josephine, either a self-hating lesbian or just so furious at her lover she'll say anything, screams: "I wanna be straight and I wanna be dead!" [Huh?]

This all just happens as a back drop, a vignette, to the main storyline, which ends with half of New York being wiped out. Presumably Josephine gets her wish -- not about being straight, but being dead -- along with several other minor characters we've been introduced to over the length of the story. [For the record, Moore's first wife and their mutual lover were named Phyllis and Deborah, respectively, and I don't think either of them drove a cab!]

Of course Josephine and her lover are not in the movie -- which, considering what happens is probably just as well. Also they really didn't have much to do with the main plot. The comic book is worth reading [it helps if you're a comics fan, and while Watchmen The Comic has some depth to it, it ain't exactly Shakespeare] although you may gnash your teeth at the really stupid ending, a mistake which is pretty much repeated in the movie, with a few alterations. The comic book, at least, was suspenseful, but the movie -- although it has its moments -- is long, silly, and all told, not too memorable. [Those of you who want to spend hours exploring the various sub-texts of the comic can do so, but as for me, life is too short. I liked it, but I didn't like it that much.]

There were many more, much more upfront -- and upbeat -- gay characters in comics after Watchmen. More on that in future posts. [For instance, in the late 90's a comic called The Authority featured a gay male couple among its prominent heroes. And I've already posted on the new gay Batwoman more than once.]