Gay People, You’re not in a gaydolescense, you’re just broke!

12 Dec

“I had no serious partner and no future plans. I was living an extended youth.” - from the Hypereducated Poor

Sound familiar? Sounds like those narcissistic homos with their gym memberships and their noncommittal SEX PARTIES and the drugs.

Relax, it’s none of the above. That quote is from a woman who is hetero enough to have gotten pregnant by a rocker from the opposite sex, but my brain did immediately pattern-recognize that sentence from any number of gayditorials about how gays are stuck in a perpetual adolescence.

Like this one

Our culture permits – even encourages – an eternal Peter Pan syndrome whereby we can choose to remain young and free at heart. And we do the best we can to keep our physicality in such a state too.

We know with certainty that gay people are paid less than straight people. And we know from experience that adulthood means good credit and ownership, and you can’t have those without money. So what happens when you get older but can’t afford to be an “adult,” well the so-called culture of millenials happens, but it happens not to just one demographic. The infantilization of a generation isn’t a counter-culture idea or a protest, it’s a response to poverty. If the economy puts a price on adulthood then denies it to you, you make due with what you have. Maybe you value what you can control? Stuff that is fleeting.

You have to wonder then, what came first, the culture or the poverty? I tend to think the poverty comes first.

I’m getting married next year, and I do own more stuff than I did in my mid-20s, but I don’t buy the idea that I am an adult because I’m able to afford more things. A gym bunny is accused of being an infant, but what is a gym membership? It’s not ownership, it’s a rent for gym facilities. And that’s just it, we rent everything. I “own” a spotify membership and cable, which of course, means squat. My will would contain tweets and wordpress entries and no assets to speak of.

Gay people are violently driven out of suburbs and we build communities in cities, but the jobs in the cities don’t pay us enough to afford houses. The lives we’re leading aren’t “gaydolescense” they are lives that value the things we do have.

If you are coupled and have good credit, it means you can afford to own more stuff, not because you’re an adult, but because you can split the bill on everything, and the good credit means you’re spared outrageous interest rates. Operating under that assumption means Throuples are even way more adult than I am. If I cease to be in a relationship then do I revert back to adolescence? It sounds silly but it isn’t too far off. I wouldn’t be able to afford the things I can afford now.

It’s important to know this because there is so much self-loathing in the gay community that the loathing clouds out the very practical explanations as to why we live the lives we do. If you don’t know you’re getting scammed then you can’t do anything about it.

LA Plays WIth Itself

10 Dec

This movie.

I watched it on Netflix Instant. Apparently it was only available at screenings because of its heavy reliance on clips from other movies, but it’s now available on DVD and just about everywhere because the use of clips is all fair use, peachy keen, all legals and whatnot.

It’s a 3 hour spectacle of a guy practically droning on and on about how Los Angeles is depicted in movies and I kinda…liked every single second of it? Once you hear the narrator talk about the how the homes of villains are depicted vs the homes of heroes, then maybe you’ll realize what sort of delicious gold mine of nerdery you’ve hit.

Here is the thing: Unlike the narrator of the movie, I have lived in LA longer than he has (since birth) and I hate the city. One of the penultimate revelations is that of the walkers of the city (see: colored folks who can’t afford cars) and how it is they who truly know the city, and it is they whose image has been shunned by Hollywood.

Well I am a walker of LA. I walked from Hawthorne to the LAX bus station to catch a bus to school, and before that from Inglewood to Lennox. When you see a bus station in LA it’s usually abandoned so you sit down with a hope and a prayer that a bus will eventually show up. Hours later one might fulfill your wish. I offer all this up because I’d love for you to watch this movie, but I also need you to have a healthy cynicism over this idea that the noble poor brown people have all the answers that you seek. I am trying to figure it out, to my credit, but I only made a few bits of headway in my thinking of LA. On one of my commuter walks–as a little boy–I encountered the carcass of an abandoned and disemboweled dog, and I realized I lived in hell.

What I mean by that is: Hey, you like LA? Cool I guess.

A Million Dollar Gay Fuck Up

9 Dec

Let’s call this article about Chris Hughes what it is: Homophobic (peep the “yuck” tag). And I don’t even like Hughes, or Sean Elridge (or any rich person really), but this sentence puts the whole thing over the top:

One suspects that had this couple been heterosexual and conservative, the initial media attention would not have been quite so toadying.

That sort of sentiment could only come from a worldview so removed from reality that it needs to speak in Fox News language to communicate. How many times have I seen glowing biographies of people (especially heterosexuals) who are mediocre at their job but nevertheless have acquired wealth? How many heiresses? Royals? I’m drowning in them.

We would have no doubt been treated to endless stories about how a “rapacious” “right-wing” millionaire, who had done nothing to earn his fortune, set out to destroy one of liberalism’s great institutions all the while enabling his power-mad spouse to “buy” a seat in Congress. But everything about the Hughes-Eldridge pairing militated against such a portrayal. The prospect of a fresh-faced, conventionally liberal, gay couple hit every media sweet spot.  

Where are these endless stories exposing “rapacious” millionaires? No literally tell me. I would love to read them!

Also we’re conjuring the ghost of the gay agenda here (or the gaytriarchy) that idea that there is a liberal push for gay people, and not that–you know–Chris Hughes is superrich and lots of media folk slobber all over rich knobbers. Just look at his partner in crime Mark Zuckerberg.

Ta-Nehisi Coates gets it

When people discuss TNR’s racism, Andrew Sullivan’s publication of excerpts from Charles Murray’s book The Bell Curve (and a series of dissents) gets the most attention. But this fuels the lie that one infamous issue stands apart. In fact, the Bell Curve episode is remarkable for how well it fits with the rest of TNR’s history.

Why blame the gay agenda when you can blame our rich history of idiocy? Andrew Sullivan is a gay man, but TNC doesn’t go there, doesn’t insist that Sullivan shoulda-known-better, or that Sullivan was coddled by a liberal gay agenda. It’s a matter of fact that Sullivan’s idiocy comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is a history of white supremacist mediocrity.

Continuing on to Chris Hughes

In this sense it is unfortunate to see anonymous staffers accusing TNR’s owner Chris Hughes of trying to create “another BuzzFeed.” If that is truly Hughes’s ambition, then—in at least one important way—he will have created a publication significantly more moral than anything any recent TNR editor ever has. No publication has more aggressively dealt with diversity than BuzzFeed. And not unrelated to this diversity has been a stellar range of storytelling and analysis, that could rival—if not best—the journalism in the latest iteration of TNR.

Cue death drop 

All Hail Perez Hilton: Evil Sissy

5 Dec

perezhilton

If this were a thinkpiece it would read “in defense of Perez Hilton” but it ain’t, and you can’t defend him. Perez Hilton is a pug-nosed pixie of malice. A minor Joker. He started as a celeb gossip blogger who treated celebrities with absolutely no respect, and the style was ripped off and made mainstream by TMZ, so he evolved into an adult man-child pariah, a goblin, whose hate flirts with nihilistic glee. When fighting words are flung his way he is the first to show his face, daring you to punch him–and many do. He spouts racism, sexism, misogyny, transphobia, every phobia, and offers no explanation other than complete callousness.

And yet, despite all of the above, Perez Hilton’s greatest sin remains his remarkable sissyness. DESPITE his bigotry, his detractors (even gay ones) remain transfixed on Perez Hilton’s faggotry. Every time this motherfucker comes up in the news, I am beset by anti-gay commentary by supposed allies. Yesterday I caught a quickly deleted anti-gay tweet from WomanAgainstFeminism and I got personally into it with Christopher Carbone and his supporters.

Because Perez Hilton breaks the social contract between homos and heteros, that one that goes unstated, the one where, if we behave as masc, then they give us rights, he has now become a figurehead for me. Perez HIlton is a coalmine canary plunged into the darkness of your sleeping homophobia, and when he comes back full of bruises I know something’s up with you.

What’s interesting here is that Perez Hilton isn’t the most evil gay, but he might be the most evil sissy. Because we are plunged in a hatefuck society that demeans the femme; Perez is the biggest target. The scientific racism of Andrew Sullivan  (and his overall lousiness) gets a quiet disagreement from most people. Why? My suspicion is because he is covered in the respectable aura of masc gaydom mixed with white intellectual approval. Andrew Sullivan has probably ruined more lives than Perez, but he does it under orders of heteronormativity, so it’s given the go-ahead.

Tim Cook has an anti-discrimation bill in his name, but his company has lead to death. Death! Perez Hilton could only dream of that villainy, and yet, Perez is the one seemingly at the head of Christopher Carbone’s silly gaytriarchy.

Here’s my point, plain as day, your vile homophobia is showing. All of you. Perez Hilton is a bastard but he’s 1/10 the bastard that our society is. He’s not the Joker that Gotham deserves, he’s the Joker that Gotham needs. And I’m watching all of you.

A Respectable Riot

26 Nov

Saw lots of opinions about riots on twitter which is strange because I don’t think many people on twitter have ever been in a riot. Anyway, having lived through a riot, here’s what I think.

Riots suck, except if you’re of age, then I can imagine them being incredibly cathartic. I imagine the ideal age for a riot is maybe 16-22? And the ideal gender is male. Lots of things have to occur for you to be of age during a riot, unfortunately for the majority of people, like me, we’re either too young or too old when a riot occurs.

A lot of rioters are jerks, but it doesn’t mean they are necessarily wrong. A lot of righteousness is mixed in with a riot but also a lot of defeat. Riots are derided by assholes to defame a community with boots on its back, but they’re also used to romanticize a struggle. We say that riots spark movements, but it isn’t that clear cut. Riots spark certain people to start movements, but the starters of a movement are rarely the rioters. This is why I have been drawn to Victor Hugo’s characterization of the fictional french revolutionary Enjorlas:

a charming young man who was capable of being terrible

The terribleness of Enjorlas is incompatible with society, and even if he was right all along, he has to be put down (mega spoilers, sorry!)

There are people who don’t riot but who share the anger of the rioter; academics, scholars, writers, celebrities, protestors, pre-existing organizations dedicated to your cause. That they don’t riot, and that they can express this anger in un-terrible ways makes them the leaders of a movement by default. Their anger is palatable.

The movement ends up eventually eating the rioter, or whitewashing them. We forget the nefariousness of a looter and we want the public to forget too, and the cycle of respectability starts up again.

I was too young to riot, and even if I was of age, I wouldn’t have rioted, but my anger isn’t above a looter’s. My anger also isn’t any more respectable because I can express it in writing and they can’t. And because of that anger I can’t help but see red when I hear that communities in pain should behave. 

I think whitewashing a riot is irresponsible because it dehumanizes a complicated population. I worry that, as a movement starts, the rioters are forgotten.

The last thing I have to say is about Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman who was there at the Stonewall Riots AND who took a seat in the subsequent gay liberation movement. Here in her own words are what happened in the movement after the riots:

After Gay Liberation Front folded and the more reformist Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) became New York’s primary gay rights group, Sylvia Rivera worked hard within their ranks in 1971 to promote a citywide gay rights, anti-discrimination ordinance. But for all of her work, when it came time to make deals, GAA dropped the portions in the civil rights bill that dealt with transvestitism and drag—it just wasn’t possible to pass it with such “extreme” elements included. As it turned out, it wasn’t possible to pass the bill anyway until 1986. But not only was the language of the bill changed, GAA—which was becoming increasingly more conservative, several of its founders and officers had plans to run for public office—even changed its political agenda to exclude issues of transvestitism and drag. It was also not unusual for Sylvia to be urged to “front” possibly dangerous demonstrations, but when the press showed up, she would be pushed aside by the more middle-class, “straight-appearing” leadership. In 1995, Rivera was still hurt: “When things started getting more mainstream, it was like, ‘We don’t need you no more'”. But, she added, “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned”

Gay Jail is Magic

19 Nov

Loved this article on LA’s gay jail, but I feel like there’s some subtlety in it that maybe is too subtle. Slate Outward described the article like this:

On Tuesday, L.A. Weekly released an astonishing story and accompanying video about a place that’s so miraculous its existence feels like a mirage: the gay wing of the L.A. men’s central jail. Before I spoil any of the fun, you should go ahead and watch the profoundly humane, often hilarious video. -Outward

Soooo maybe I should make it not subtle:

IF THIS PLACE IS SO GREAT THEN WHY IS IT JAIL?

That they are in jail is a given to a certain class of writer, one that maybe believes that good people are innocent and bad people are criminals.After Ferguson, after statistics like this, who still believes that?

According to the Human Rights Watch, people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but they have higher rate of arrests. African Americans comprise 14 percent of regular drug users but are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses. From 1980 to 2007 about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African American.

Despite being in jail, the people in the original article seem to be no danger to anyone, in fact, many of them like the communities formed around their incarceration. Is this because it is a “good thing” or is this because no alternative community or means of support has been presented to them? The people profiled are not the gays on tv, or the trans people in magazines, but they are the rough and tumble brown and black people who are too odd to fit in their respective hetero communities. They are the unintended victims of racist policies that criminalize drug abuse, but because they are faeries, they are magic, and have turned their lot in life into a very meager benefit.

When you write about gay misogyny, it is them you talk about, the drag queen, the uneducated ones, the brutes, the ones without a home. You say they dislike you, I say they have good reason to.

Latasha Harlins

18 Nov

I think I’m just doomed to swim around the topic of the LA riots until I’m old and sick of thinking about it, then I’ll think about it some more.

Today I’m stuck reading about Latasha Harlin’s murder by Soon Ja Du. The short of it is Latasha tried to buy some juice but store owner Soon Ja interpreted this as an attempted robbery. Soon Ja attacked Latasha then shot her. A court tried Soon Ja, found her guilty, but gave her no jail time. This all happened when I was nine-years-old so I was pretty clueless as to why the subsequent riots included destroying stores owned by Koreans, or why all my local businesses suddenly had big signs reading “Black Owned.”

Cluelessness a running theme in Los Angeles at the time. Most of my friends were Chicanos who didn’t know much about their heritage. Many of them listened to the local Power 106 radio station, they embraced a mixture of old world and new world machismo, but were clueless of the more queer aspects of Mexican culture (it took white people to teach me about Frida Kahlo, and her face contextualized the painted faces of cholas).

I mention Power 106 as a very central cultural thing. They played hip-hop non-stop, Tupac in particular. California Love was on repeat when I was a kid, but Power 106 lacked nuance. It was itself steeped in pop culture, only interested in pushing the image of hyper black and brown masculinity, only interested in selling that image to white suburbs. I don’t remember them playing this song by Tupac – Keep Ya Head Up

As you can see, it is dedicated to Latasha Harlin. It is an almost overly sensitive painful and emotional rap ballad. It doesn’t parse well with the image of the gangsta rapper. And I never really listened to it until today.

After the riots were over, Soon Ja’s store was burned to the ground.

Kim Kardashian: Slave To The Rhythm

14 Nov

This article is good, so very very good, so please read it.

First off, those of you declaring that these pictures are “history-making” need to chill out. There is nothing new or even original about this spread. Renowned French photographer Jean-Paul Goude just dug into his archives, pulled out some of his old favorites and recreated them with reality TV’s reigning It Girl.

Which led to me googling Jean-Paul Goude. Which leads to this

Ahh the iconic photos of Miss Grace Jones! I’ve seen them before of course. That search then leads to the music video Slave To The Rhythm. Apparently the music video (music by Grace Jones) is constructed from several Jean-Paul Goude photographs. Grace Jones was his muse.

I’ve seen this video before, and I loved it when I was younger. Now I see things I didn’t see before. The blackface, but not only the blackface, the insistence of blackface, the promise of communal love and acceptance if black people can live alongside blackface.

It’s kind of disquieting. Wrong. Racist. This is racism borne from love. Jean-Paul Goude says he loves black bodies, but all of the black bodies in his art are disfigured, exaggerated, and ripped apart.

Read on Goude’s original shoot:

“The subject wears an ‘exotic’ hairstyle and ‘smiles’ for the camera in the pose of a ‘happy savage pleased to serve,’” she says, “which suggests her complicity in having her body depicted as a literal object, a ‘primitive’ vision to provide pornographic pleasure and intoxication presumably for a white male spectator.”

And a Daily Dot writer’s reaction to Kim Kardashian’s face in the shoot meant to mimic the original shoot:

She looks almost innocent: playful and unrestrained. She looks happy, she even looks kind of funny. 

Something is very very wrong with us.

Overheard in A NY Barbershop

13 Nov

[scene: 2 barbers and a patron]

Patron: You hear what happened last night? An actress killed her husband. I think her name was Reese…

Reese…

Reese.

Barber 1: Witherspoon? Reese Witherspoon?

Patron: HAHAHA NO WITH A KNIFE! HAHA <<makes stabbing motions>>

Barber 2: Reese Witherspoon killed’er husband?

Barber 1: Oh boy people are crazy nowadays huh?

Patron: HAHA That was a good one. This guy told me that joke….

Barber 2: <<scrolling through an iPad not paying the patron any attention> Says here she’s dead. Reese Witherspoon is dead.

Barber 1: She’s dead? She killed her husband or she’s dead? Which ones is it?

Patron: She died? When did she die. That’s awful. She’s really beautiful.

Barber 2: Very beautiful.

<<Patron and Barber 2 whisper to each other while Barber 1 cuts my hair>>

Barber 2: Oh it was a joke.

Patron: Yeah it was a joke.

Barber 1: It was a joke? haha she’s not dead?

Barber 2: She didn’t kill her husband.

Barber 1: Haha that’s how rumors get started.

FIN

Michael Sam’s Dad Is Not Thrilled

12 Nov

“Michael Sr. is never going to be the spokesman for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. He’s not thrilled about his son’s sexual orientation. But he also hasn’t disowned his son. He never says his son is going to hell. He doesn’t talk about trying to cure him or make him straight. In his own rough-hewn, coarse way, Michael Sr. has accepted that his son is gay. “I love my son,” he said, “and I don’t care about what he do.” – Buzzfeed

Let’s talk about the awfulness of the statement, because it is awful,and it is one of those things I see in thinkpieces–however well written–that reveal deep ignorance.

Do LGBT kids (especially of color) require their parents to be anywhere near spokespeople for PFLAG? I didn’t even know what PFLAG was in my neighborhood. And as POC Queer folks are we cursed to be responsible for our parents lack of “thrill” about who we are? Because being gay, or being any sort of way that isn’t 100% macho or of your gender, causes ones parents not to be thrilled.

I recognized the un-thrill in my Mother’s voice when I told her I was getting married.

“Congratulations” She said. That was it.

A lot of my white gay friends and my partner were incredulous about my relationship with my mother. “You mean you haven’t told her you are gay?” I hadn’t, at least not directly. I told her directly that I was getting married, and she said congratulations, and she told my sister she was upset that I hadn’t “come out” to her in person.

Being gay, you get a lot of barriers put in front of you, barriers of propriety, about how you didn’t do something the right way, or you didn’t say the right thing. My mother is “not thrilled” and “hasn’t disowned me” and she also “loves me” in her “rough-hewn” way, but it is a love that is exhausting to accept because it speaks in code to avoid any direct truth.

Is that how love is supposed to be?

Exhausting?

We are cursed, because we look like them, so we are required to explain them; by the middle class, by academia, by thinkpiece writers, by the upper-crust, by white gay friends. When we succeed in any way, we are asked to explain our own parents. If we do we are apologists, if we don’t then we are poor victims of abuse, regardless of the situation. Meanwhile the burden of their love weighs on our successes. We are our family’s victims and we are their educators. We come from them but we must always be a higher form than them. We must be perfect.

I plan on inviting my mother to my wedding. I hope she makes it.

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