Being gay sometimes means you have to be cruel

23 Mar

“With less than half an hour to go, nobody else had arrived and Matthew began to worry. In the distance he could see a burial taking place. “I went over and asked one of the officials where Nazim was being buried,” he said. “She said, ‘I’m really sorry – they have already buried him…Nazim’s family had apparently given him the wrong time for the funeral.” The Guardian

Nazim sounds like a sweet man, which might have been a problem. Lots of gay people are sweet, and it’s the sweet thing to do to care what your family thinks of you. This care can be abused, families can turn cold, abandon you, or suggest you change an innate part of who you are.

The Guardian paragraph struck me: in the case of my death, would my own family do what Nazim’s family did? Would they turn my partner away, or give him the wrong time for the funeral?

I couldn’t answer.

Maybe I can’t afford to be sweet anymore. I’ve crossed a threshold, I’m getting married, and everyone wants to know if my mother will be there. Maybe it’s time I let them wonder, because I no longer care.

Being gay means that sometimes you have to be cruel, but cruelty is in the eye of the beholder. Heterosexual relatives might find it cruel when a gay relatives cease communications, or distance themselves, but what they should understand is that gay people can’t afford to be too sweet or too caring to bigots. When you have an opinion about gay people, gay people often strategize as to how hard they can push you out of their life with the least amount of resistance. If this is the cruelty I must pay for a sound mind then I’ll gladly pay it because my relationship with my partner means too much to me.

Gay Ole Time

24 Feb

kjslate

(Source – Slate)

So what had happened was…

I get a call on Sunday from my aunt, who hasn’t talked to me in years, spilling every feeling she has about my wedding; where is it? When is it? Excitement! Oh and also come fly to LA to talk to your mom because she’s sad.

Why is she sad?

Because I’ve locked her out of my life. I owe them all a “conversation.”

Being gay means that the people you love accuse you of doing things out of malice that you did out of necessity. My mom and my aunt were anti-gay all my life, but now in their elder age (and on the eve of my big gay ass wedding) they’ve forgotten. They made peace with who they were without telling with me. Meanwhile, I made the  independent decision to shut them out of my personal life for fear of losing them totally.

If I had let them in at the time, and if I had heard their homophobia in real time, and regarding me, I think I might have cut them loose forever. I didn’t want that.

Being gay means the entire world gaslights you, not just one person. The gaslighting is for your own good, and for the good of the family. No one has malice in their hearts, but they all question why you responded so cruelly to your gas-lighting (as if it was good for you). My aunt characterized my her and my mother’s views as “old fashioned” but they are both single mothers who had children out of wedlock, and here I am getting married and in a monogamous relationship.

I don’t mean to bring that out to call-out my aunt, or to score points, or to win. I say that in hopes of expressing plainly the psychological torment it takes to hold two opposing thoughts at once:
1) That I love my family, always
2) That they are wrong.

Being gay means you carry all of the above with you on Monday morning when you hear that a person won an Academy Award for writing a movie about a famous gay man that involved stripping him of his sexuality, the very reason he was persecuted. This means you hold these thoughts while Azalea Banks, Antonin Scalia, and others talk and talk about your type, and you desperately hold on to your temper with the steel focus of a Vulcan.

This means that I find it difficult–sometimes–to feel when I am deficient in character as opposed to when I am strong. This is the root of the problem with life as a gay person. The noise in your head, the one that involves moral leanings and rightness, is deafened with static. I can be castigated and honored in one breath. My moral failings can be pitted against my survival tactics and the result can be overseen by a judge who could never know what my life was like.

Sounds like a lot? It’s nothing. Just one point in my life along with every single thing every other normal person is worried about: A future. Kids. Money. It’s just a gay ole time.

Antonin Scalia, Catholic Blowhard

18 Feb

Antonin Scalia recently claimed he wasn’t anti-gay, which is like Satan saying he’s not anti-Christian or anything like that. Antonin Scalia is not only anti-gay, but primeval anti-gay. In every possible reality and dimension, Scalia is the personification of Western Anti-Gay second only to the Catholic Pope maybe. He might not be as anti-gay as the American evangelicals who are attempting to export homophobia to various other countries, but that might only be due to the fact that he’s lazy.

One’s homophobia is only as strong as ones conviction to get up and move around and do something about gays, but Scalia has had a lot of luck in that department and is content to sit on his ass all day in one of the highest seats of power in America where he’s happy to just repeatedly bludgeon homos.

It’s important to note Scalia’s Catholic-based bigotry for what it is: an evolved form of “love the sinner hate the sin.” The edict comes from the Christian belief in a separation of the body and the soul. You see the body (sin) wants to do bad things (eat, suck cock), while the soul (sinner) is the inner light that lives on in immortality. Because most Catholics are straight bros they invented lots of “outs” for when their body wants to do things to besmirch the soul, which is why, in order to put P in V you need to get married and pledge your soul to Christ. Putting the P in the V was important for Christianity to colonize–((cough))–I mean–“spread” throughout the world, but the world’s overpopulated now isn’t it?

Problem here for Scalia, he believes he’s not anti-gay, and I believe he believes that. As civilization moves away from Christianity, folks like Scalia get left holding the sins of the father A funny thing happens when the world shifts towards secularism and away from spirituality, you start to put so much faith in your faith that you lose sight of God.

The Banality of Azaelia Banks’ Homophobia

12 Feb

Make no mistake I think she’s talented.. I enjoyed Broke with Expensive Taste more than the Pinkprint (fight me!)

It’s surprising then, that such a creative person would have such a boring view on gay men and femininity. 

Why do people of diverse backgrounds seem to evoke the same script when they attempt to talk about their feelings towards gay men? Why do people who don’t know transgender people all refer to them as “transgendered?”  Ever thought about that? I do.

There’s virtually no difference to Banks’ views on the word fag than there is to a spoiled 12-year-old XBOX user. Contrary to what white gays use to believe–I find no difference in what Banks is saying and what white people say. The chorus goes: Fag does not mean gay, it means this other thing. There’s nothing wrong with homos at rest, it’s when they do/act that we have a problem.

It’s almost as if this script is identifiably Western, Conservative, and Christian. Almost as if this isn’t just what you think but what you are repeating.

Banks is right to understand that her views will go punished while others will go unpunished, which means she recognizes the relative sameness of the script she’s reading. Strange then that she would keep reading from that same script, but such is the power of the crowd.

PC Gone Wild: Brian Williams Losing His Job

10 Feb

Brian Williams is feeling the hot fire and I can’t help but think of Brendan Eich, partially because conservatives won’t let that name go. They hiss his name around the campfire. “Remember Eich, remember when they fired one of us for having an opinion!”

Brian William’s lied, or maybe he misremembered. At any rate, his trustworthiness is blown, and it’s a legitimate concern that this impacts his anchor job. Brendan Eich not only had an opinion, he donated money to Prop 8. Both men are being punished for the actions they took. Brian Williams lied and Brendan Eich donated, and yet one pitchfork mob is honored and the other isn’t.

Lying is universally reviled, but working to limit gay equality is still–alarmingly–debatable. The only thing separating the two is the size of the population. Gay people hate lying too, of course, but not every single straight person wants for a smaller population (gay folks) to limit their options, even if some of those options are hateful and detrimental to gay lives. The difference between PC going wild and justice is the size of the outrage.

Straight Outta Compton

9 Feb

I watched this trailer for the Straight Outta Compton film with a mix of want and revulsion. I was only a kid during that era, and because of that proximity I couldn’t make sense of it. Everywhere I looked there was hyper-violence and men so masculine they were outlandish.

It occurs to me, years later while watching this trailer, that NWA’s impact was more of a salve. Their music offered an orderly fantasy to the fucked up chaotic hyper-violence of the time. This was on a local level, but on a national level, that was lost. Any sort of national appreciation of NWA veered dangerously towards macho grandstanding. What the hell would anyone at Rolling Stone understand about growing up in Compton? And yet they lauded NWA.

Sissies, trans women, “dykes,” “fags,” that was the worst thing you could be in 80’s nu-violence. Important to point out that gangsta rappers rapping about those types were talking about brown and black queers as a reference point, ie. the local queers, ie: me.

Read between the lines of any homophobic gangsta rap lyric and you’ll see that it’s only the obvious most “rapey” of queers who are unwanted. Hewing closely to Catholicism and mainstream gay acceptance, gangsta rappers were actually pretty simpatico with what most people of that generation felt. If you were in the closet, and cool, you had a pass.

And yet, the impact that NWA had on brown gays must have been astounding. I can’t speak for everyone, but the climate in South-Central LA was noxious, full to the brim with know-it-all gangbangers, wannabe gangbangers, friends of friends of gangbangers. You couldn’t really tell who actually-was-in-a-gang and maybe that was the point. A mob of hyper tough no-faggy scary brown and black folks could maybe fend off the police? Maybe protect the women folk? Maybe carve out a decent but short life in LA? Imagine being gay during all that, and having no money or direction to leave. There is no Weho in Compton or Inglewood for good reason.

Years later and we’re still dogged by this. Still finding each other through the internet, still bearing our straight outta Compton scars, sacrificed by our own people, thrown away into a holy kiln while the rest of the tribe continues to weather the exact same curses blighted onto them from the 80’s.

That trailer was something. That time was something. It wasn’t all bad, it was also home.

More - Black Trans Woman Killed in Compton

My Husband Is Not A Bad Christian

13 Jan

It’s a sign of just how far gay rights have come in America that TLC would be called out for even acknowledging a worldview that isn’t fully accepting of gayness. These objections aren’t about winning legal rights, or enfranchisement, or even civility; they’re about winning total cultural acceptance of homosexuality. - Emma Green, The Atlantic

Wrong, of course, on all counts. A total cultural acceptance of homosexuality would be impossible for a nation that can’t even agree on whether someone (or anyone) is actually racist, so nobody really expects a total cultural acceptance of homosexuality or homosexual acts.

What people do want is accountability.

My Husband is Not Gay is an American television show about how whacky and screwed up Mormons are aired in a nation whose Christians are more than happy to send their own children to ex-gay reparative therapy centers. TLC wants to have their cake and eat it to, to show the ridiculousness of ex-gays but to also do their best not to to blame Christians for their participation in institutionalized reparative therapy.

Christians, and many other religions, groom ex-gays. They teach gays and trans people into self-loathing, then magically offer the cure. The miracle here is that gays exist despite the grooming, but it seems religious people are the least prone to identifying miracles.

Accountability, not total acceptance, would be nice. It would be nice if TLC was honest and wanted to actually critique ex-gay institutions across all religions. It would be nice if Christians accepted their part in the ex-gay movement and threw their voices in supporting ending–not only reparative therapy–but anti-gay anti-trans grooming.

Or we could call them extremists and wash our hands of any responsibility. This is a religious problem. Not a gay one.

Erasing Extremists

9 Jan

What an interesting time to be alive and flooded with thinkpieces. Interesting because for the first time in a while few of these thinkpieces agree with each other, and the ones that do agree with each other make strange bedfellows. The dividing line cracks right down the center of murder of 12 people in Paris by alleged Muslim terrorists (at the time of writing this very little has been verified).

No matter what you think about the tragedy there seems to be two ideologies forming.

1) This act of terror is a aberration and the work of extremists

2) This act was a tragedy but was a long time coming due to oppression

I have little interest in critiquing Islam. It isn’t my place. As an American and an ex-Catholic I am more than happy to spend the rest of my life tearing that particular religious wall of bullshit down, but I am interested in the two ideologies above.

1) This act of terror is an aberration and the work of extremists

This is supported by mainstream Muslim organizations (collected here and here) and seems to be most polite way of going about this. It’s also a very traditional way of responding to religious-based violence.

2) This act was a tragedy but was a long time coming due to oppression

This is the more interesting of the two because it points to a darker reality than the one above, and it erases extremism without people realizing that it does so. This op-ed by a radical Muslim cleric expresses the pains of consequence, not aberration, not extremism. This op-ed makes the tragedy universal, and puts forth the idea, again, of historical oppression having consequences, driving people towards sad ends.

Here’s the thing, the above two articles are by Muslims, one radical one not-so-much, but a large number of mainstream (and independent twitter) lefty voices agree with the sentiment. Slate on Charlie Hebdo’s and Parisian racism, and this Joe Sacco cartoon.

Think about any acts of terror or extremism done in the name of people you belong to. It doesn’t have to be murder, it can be stalking, gamergate with nerds or the college rape epidemic and men, riots, the death of the two NYPD cops in New York, really think about these and consider the two ideologies above.

Which do you believe? You can’t believe both. Either the work of extremists defy the stated wishes of your group, or none of us are extremists, we are all just powder kegs waiting for enough push to go off one day.

If extremists exists then we must live with their possibility at all times–and our work will never be enough to truly keep the peace. If they don’t exist then we are all responsible to put in the work to keep the peace, and any disruption to the peace is a collective failure.

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.

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