Showing posts with label gay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gay. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Remembering Fred Rogers

I once asked a friend who her biggest celebrity crush was, and was surprised when she immediately answered, "Mister Rogers."

"I dream about him some nights," she admitted. "How beautiful it would be to have a physical relationship with a man like that, so tender and kind! I imagine us losing our virginity together."

I have to admit that up until our conversation, I'd never seen Mister Rogers in that particular light; in fact, sexually fantasizing about Mister Rogers was a bit... well, creepy. For me, his show had been the adolescent equivalent of valium: I'd come home from school, fix myself a huge bowl of sugary cold cereal, and zone out in a soothing bath of unconditional love and acceptance for an hour. Mister Rodgers was the proxy for the parents and teachers I'd always longed for. Certainly he was the only adult who ever told me, "I love you just the way you are."

Because Mister Rogers was the masculine embodiment of acceptance and nurturing, qualities traditionally identified as "feminine," many people have assumed he was gay, a notion his new biographer wishes to dispel. 

In fact, Mister Rogers was a pretty radical character for his era. He challenged viewers' perceptions of what it means to be "a real man." 

Perhaps he had a greater impact on my childhood psyche than I have previously given him credit for. After all, I grew up to be openly attracted to men with recognizably "feminine" qualities: Those teachers, nurses, and therapists that combine physical masculine strength with sensitivity and empathy; those "sissy" straight boys who aren't afraid to surround themselves with color or soft sensual fabrics, whose hair is just a little too long, who openly cry at movies or concerts. And then, in late middle age, I took that predilection even further (and I've never looked back).

What explains the enduring appeal of Mister Rogers? Well, even an agnostic like me believes that, as a force for change and a source of happiness, nothing in this world is stronger than love: Mister Roger's call for compassion and the need to embrace tolerance, not only of others but of oneself, has never been more powerful, or more needed.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Few Words About Homophobia

Dude, chill out!

Mr. Sploosh has no clue how much he reveals about himself in this excited little tweet.  People who are confident about their own sexuality do not scream about it in public (or share explicit details of their marital hijinks in their blogs). Most of the straight guys I'm friends with are downright circumspect about their own sex lives, and appear to be fairly indifferent to the sex lives of others (I concede they may just be putting a lid on it when I'm around).*

As followers of the "manosphere" are well aware, misogyny goes hand in hand with bigotry of every stripe, including homophobia.  The New Misogynists loathe any behavior that violates traditional (heteronormative) gender roles.  Their reaction goes well beyond "disapproval" or mild distaste.  Gender variance in any form seems to incite their hatred.  Furthermore, they return to this subject again and again, the leit-motif that runs throughout the 'sphere. Why are they obsessed with tez gayz?

There have been several studies that suggest that men who are "homophobic" are more likely to be sexually aroused by gay porn. I'm not surprised. All my life, whenever I have run across a man who was vociferously homophobic or transphobic, I always suspected he was compensating for a sense of inadequacy, or telegraphing ambivalence regarding his own sexual orientation.  And it's always been a huge turn off, on a visceral level, because those men usually revealed themselves to be complete ass-holes with women as well. 

*Although I wish I had a nickel for every woman I know married to a cross-dresser who feels compelled to assure me, "I'm not a lesbian!"

Friday, March 14, 2014

What American Women Watch On Netflix

So over on Return of Kings, a fellow who goes by the commanding handle "General Stalin" posits that a gentleman can know a lot about a lady by her Netflix queue.

That's probably true, and the same goes for a person's library record.  Every time I pass the pleasant young man at my local library's circulation desk, I have to avert my eyes because he knows more about me than my doctor does.

Anyway, General Stalin claims to have a unique insight into the psychology of American women because a girl he "casually dated" left her Netflix password on his laptop.  Not only did he get to enjoy months of free streaming, he knew exactly what his ex and her roomies were watching (and presumably thinking).

That General Stalin is one nosy dude!  Not to mention cheap. And it occurs to me that confessing to this seems oddly more embarrassing than once failing to return a library book, but I digress...  Truth be told, I would have been sorely tempted to behave in a similarly dubious fashion, especially if I had some "unfinished business" with the ex.

The General summarizes his findings as follows:

First, young American women watch a lot of "sexually deviant movies and documentaries."  The General was dismayed to find that "a small group of average white single American girls, who grew up in nice neighborhoods with good families, cared far more about sex than romance. I hardly ever saw a romantic comedy or critically acclaimed tear-jerker on there."  

I'm not a young woman, but even when I was I generally loathed romantic comedies and treacly melodramas (with a few notable exceptions).  But I did, and still do, treat myself to the occasional kinky documentary.  Ever since my ten year old psyche was permanently scarred by "Mondo Cane," I've had a predilection for viewing the bizarre margins of human behavior.  I have watched more than one documentary about "sex dolls", for example, a phenomenon I find morbidly fascinating. 

Second in popularity, according to General Stalin's informal survey, were independent movies with "strong female leads" especially those that featured women overcoming perilous situations, like "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."  This makes perfect sense to me.  People (not just women) enjoy watching characters they can identify with who use their wits and fortitude to triumph over evil.  From this, the General concludes that "single women want to be fucked raw and treated like filth by bad-boy miscreants, but they also want to make these men suffer for not showing them respect and honoring their strength and independence."  WTF?  I would come to the opposite conclusion.  Both men and women love watching horror and suspense for a number of reasons, but the desire to actually be a real victim (or perpetrator) is not one of them.

I've already confessed that horror and true crime are my guilty pleasures.  My Netflix queue is jammed with unwatched "Disappeared" and "Deadly Women" episodes.  Ann Rule books are my "go to" trashy reading.  I scare the bejeezus out of myself for an hour, then turn on the lights and realize how safe and cozy my life actually is, have a hot cup of cocoa and sleep like a baby.  Sadly, my partner does not share my passion, so I have to indulge myself when she is not around.

Finally, the girls whose Netflix viewing he was obsessively monitoring had a taste, broadly shared by the American public, for "Reality TV." 

OK, I agree with General Stalin, that is just plain indefensible.  I'm proud to say that I never watch Reality TV shows.  Except for the ones about plucky dwarfs and adorable polygamists.

BTW, why can these guys never discuss American women's media tastes without referencing Sex and the City, a show that has been off the air for a decade?  It's beginning to seem like a kind of tic.

General Stalin describes himself as "a passionate but misanthropic cynic who is tired and beaten down by the shortcomings of Western civilization, currently living a life of quiet desperation."  I feel his pain.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm right in the middle of "Blue is the Warmest Color,"and I'm just getting to the "good parts" if you know what I mean (and I know that you do).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quack Quack Quack

If there is one thing that jacks the jaws of Angry White Guys more than feminists, it's the gays.  Which can make libertines like Roosh rather strange bedfellows with the Christian Taliban.  Or loveable rednecks like the "Duck Dynasty" clan:
The last defenders of "freeze peach?"  
Daily reminder: you are not allowed to criticize homosexuals if you want to retain your employment.

That's not exactly true.  You are probably safe in criticizing an individual homosexual on any number of grounds.  What you are not safe in doing (anymore) is criticizing homosexuality itself (unless your place of employment is, say, the Westboro Baptist Church). 

Of course Roosh is referring to the scandal du jour around Phil Robertson's "suspension" by A & E from the "Duck Dynasty" reality show.

My Facebook page was peppered today with posts from Tea Party "friends" outraged at this infringement of free speech.  So I forced myself to read what it was that Daddy Duck actually said.  The message was remarkably incoherent given its brevity:

It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.
So essentially he states his preference for vaginas versus anuses as receptacles for his manly part, which is fair enough... and also because of "sin" and "logic," which is... oh, never mind.

The point is, as me old departed mom was wont to say, "A chacun a son gout," said the old lady as she kissed the cow. And really, who watches "Duck Dynasty" but the folks who are apt to share Mr. Robertson's point of view?  But apparently A & E decided blatant homophobia no longer flies on what passes for "mainstream entertainment" these days, even on a vehicle as shamelessly low-brow as "Duck Dynasty."  Here in America, we love our white trash freaks, but we like 'em cute and affable, like the ineffable Honey Boo-Boo herself.

Kudos to Roosh for doing the right thing and reminding his impressionable readers that homophobic, sexist, transphobic, and racist remarks are likely to cause them to lose their jobs, and that the "manosphere" is, purtroppo, not "the real world" in which the vast majority of us working stiffs must function.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I defy anyone who has ever loved -- or who has ever wanted to love or be loved -- not to be profoundly moved by this young man's story:

This simple heartfelt video upload on Youtube inspired the documentary Bridegroom, which has been shortlisted as one of the best of 2013.  It makes an emotionally powerful case for giving gay couples the right to marry.

Of course, if there is one group that the New Misogynists fear and loathe more than "feminists", it's teh gayz.  (And teh tranz. And anyone else who is not hetero-normative according to Old Testament standards.)

It makes sense, in a way.  Variances in gender identity and orientation really mess with their most cherished core delusions about their rightful position in the world, about the very nature of human nature.  It's not surprising, either, that they have come up with various flimsy theories to explain male homosexuality which lay the blame on modern women (their unseemly bids for dominance, their nasty hypergamous ways).  Roosh, predictably, has posited that American men turn gay because of a lack of attractive, available female partners.  

It seems at first a stunningly weak theory given the scores of historical heart-throbs who had to hide their homosexuality lest they disappoint their legions of female fans (Richard the Lion-Hearted, Rock Hudson, Rudolf Nureyev, and Dirk Bogarde spring immediately to this female mind).  
Dirk Bogarde (sigh!)
However, while I was living in the middle east, I talked to a number of men who cited the strict sexual segregation of those societies to "explain" the undeniable existence of homosexuality.  And certainly people (and other animals) that would otherwise seek heterosexual pair bondings will make certain... accommodations... in captivity.  Still, it's hard to make the case that 21st century western societies, with their slutty, liberated women, are driving men into each other's arms.
In a conversation Roosh reports, he asks a gay man whether he "pitches" or "catches."  For a guy with Roosh's cultural baggage heritage, this is a crucial distinction, because in Iran and Turkey, the one who penetrates is perceived as "less gay" than the one who is penetrated, and that is because he is assuming the dominant, "masculine" role.  In other words, it's not the sexual act that defines one's sexuality, but the role one performs in said sexual act.  The "active" player maintains his masculinity, whereas the "passive" one forfeits his, and is thereby degraded ("feminized").  (This dogged insistence on gender-determined roles also helps explain why the Iranian government offers gay males the option of sexual reassignment surgery as an alternative to hanging.)  One of the lessons I learned from spending twenty years in the near and middle east was how culture shapes our very definition of what "homosexuality" means.

Lately, it seems that Roosh has been ramping up his anti-gay rhetoric, lauding the homophobic policies of Putin and the promotion of horrific anti-gay thuggery in the former Soviet Union.  This is just one way that the New Misogynists are oblivious to the way the global winds are blowing in favor of increased tolerance.

It's only been one year since Washington passed marriage equity, yet it's already hard for me to remember when gay colleagues were chary of mentioning their partners at work.  Watching the documentary Bridegroom this afternoon reminded me there's still a road to travel, but all the squawking and flailing of the "manosphere" or other far right reactionary groups will not stop the acceptance of gay civil rights.  And in that small way, at least, the world is becoming a better place.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy First Wedding Anniversary!

My boss mentioned this morning that she and her wife are planning a belated honeymoon in Hawaii over Christmas, the lucky dogs!  Some balmy weather and sunshine sounds mighty good to me right now.  We're experiencing a cold snap.  Instead of the usual unflagging drizzle, the temperatures have been plunging into the teens overnight.  

It has been a year today that Washington State has recognized marriage equality.

A year ago, my girlfriend and I helped celebrate by attending a public wedding reception at the Paramount Theater downtown.   I don't think I've ever been in the middle of such a deliriously happy crowd before.  The open (free) bar and trays of delicious donated cupcakes certainly contributed to the festive spirit.

My girlfriend and I haven't talked about getting married yet, but now that she is "legally" a woman, I'm sure we both recognized how passage of this law affects our relationship too.

I am fortunate to live in Washington, the state where I was born and raised and plan someday to retire and die -- despite our gloomy weather, insane traffic congestion, and occasional earthquakes.