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.