Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Black Men: Are They All Really Athletic?

My first cultural exposure to gay men was "Homer's Phobia". As I've probably stated before, when a young gay man whose childhood consisted of playing with Transformers rather than Barbie dolls starts to realize he's gay, and the only cultural evidence he has to go on is John Waters and nelly steel mill workers, it does not end well. I spent two damn years in the closet, denying who I was.

When I did finally accept who I was and came out to my family, I began to think about stereotypes. How they color the mainstream view of gay people, and how they affect us when we start to realize who we are. Well, who better to explore, in depth, the deep-reaching, perception-coloring world of gay stereotypes than John Fucking Stossel?

That's right, folks; in an article that continues ABC's long-standing tradition of sensitive and truthful portrayal of gay people, Stossel quotes Carson Kressly, male dancers, male stylists, and a gender studies professor whose work has been linked to eugenics outfits and resulted in him stepping down from a teaching position at Northwestern University. Not quoted are any queer psychologists, queer media critics, lipstick lesbians, any gay man who has served in the military, any gay man who has played on a gay rugby team, any gay man who has played on a straight anything team, Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich...

I am tired of this shit. I am tired of all queens, all the time. I am tired of the heterocentric media reinforcing the idea that us queers are best for hairdressing and fashion, and that anything else is a pipe dream. What I want, and what I want right fucking now, is a well-rounded, strong, active role model for gay youth in the media. Just so that they, unlike I, don't have to deal with the kind of drivel that drives them so far back into the closet, you can smell the mothballs.

I have to admit it kind of horrifies me that young people today are looking to the media for any role models at all. And yet, I guess if your local community is lacking in them, where else are you supposed to look?

Yet another reason to be glad I'm living in Austin, where we have retired state representative Glen Maxey and former sheriff Margo Frasier, for starters. And a handful of personal friends and acquaintances who my kids see every day, working the same jobs and living in the same neighborhoods and raising their kids just like the rest of us.

But not every place is like Austin, and that's a fucking shame.
I like John Waters, myself, but I like to think he's being ironic. My boyfriend seems to think he's being earnest, and it horrifies me.

He's also into drag, and my rule on that is "not in the house".
Badger: Yeah, it was the same way here. I knew of no one big who was gay and male, and my parents thought it would be best if I made my own decisions... which is why I went through not only a regrettable period of suffering and homophobia, but evangelism (fucking "Left Behind" novels and my teenage paranoia...). I was surprised when I was 15, and was probably closest to coming out, and my mom told me about all her gay friends when she was younger, one of whom visited me when I was a baby just before he died of AIDS. I look back on it sometimes and think, "Why didn't you tell me? You knew perfectly normal gay people and you didn't tell me when I honestly thought about picking up an Exodus pamphlet?"

Daniel: After coining "teabagging", I do think John Waters is nothing but ironic. And now that I'm older, I like his stuff. It's just, when a ten-year-old is exposed to that, it can't help.
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