Friday, October 13, 2006

Playing the Gay Card and Being Dealt a Bad Hand

I haven't quoted a favorite magazine of mine, "Details" in a long time.

The current issue contains two gay themed articles.

The first one, while I never thought about it, talks about gay guys who get themselves into a corner, verbally more than anything else, and con the straight person into not thinking harshly of them, because they are gay. They are asking for sympathy, because they are gay. That is definitely a new one on me.

The second article is more compeling. Written by that "running with scissors" dude, Augusten Burroughs, he focuses on all the shit we as gay men take on the airwaves and in the media.

The new Martin Scorsese flick, The Departed, loves making references to fags and queers. So what else is new, in a macho movie. We get verbally assaulted each day by those who manipulate the airwaves. Now with the Foley shit, we are again referred to as depraved, immoral, dangerous, and as a whole, a threat both to children and to the sanctity of marriage.

But when something bad happens in the gay community, such as gay bashing, it seems that the media doesn't really care. They never seem to report the inequity of the current system. They feel, so what if the system prevents us from seeing our loved ones in hospitals; big deal for those who have adopted children live in fear that someone might take them away. Augusten makes a very valid point, ". . . if gay people were fully accepted and respected, then their (our) torture and murder would matter a great deal to people in the United States".

If we are liked at all, it's because some of us can tell great jokes and are witty. But face it, if we are perceived as "queeny" or shishy, we find ourselves not taken very seriously by straight society. So for the most part, we just have to take it, shut up, and go along with our lives.

I guess this is the state of gay life these days, a sobering reality. We shall see the fallout of the Foley scandals. If nothing else, a change in party politics might be of some long term benefit to our cause. Throwing out some of radical right wing politicians such as Santorum, might be to our advantage in the future. Let's hope that some small change results, and the hatred spewing jerks that run Washington might be replaced by a kinder, gentler politician.

I know we live in the here and now, but how about the prospect of a Gay Jewish President in the future? While I have not read, David Levithan's Wide Awake, it begins in the near future with the election of Abraham Stein, the first gay Jewish president. This is a surprising follow-up for an author whose debut, Boy Meets Boy, was heralded by Booklist as a "revolution in the publishing of gay-themed books for adolescents." That novel imagined a high school romance remarkably free of coming-out angst, and was selected by the American Library Association as one of 2004's Best Books for Young Adults.

Nextbook, a super site, recently interviewed David Levithan, and I have taken some of that review and posted it here.

"Wide Awake centers on another high school relationship, this one between Duncan and Jimmy, who've progressed well beyond their first kiss. It's also a novel about growing pains: teenagers struggling to refine, and stand by, their beliefs—personal, sexual, spiritual, and political—and a country trying to do the same. A few chapters in, Stein's supporters are still celebrating when opponents call the electoral results into question—a turn of events which creates doubts about Duncan and Jimmy's relationship, too. Soon they're both headed to Kansas, with a bus full of protesters, among them Elwood, a 12-year-old whose Christian parents won't let him have a bar mitzvah; Janna and Mandy, a pair of progressive "Jesus Freaks;" and a few adults old enough to remember that "the good old days needed a lot of improvement."

So maybe David is on to something. It sure would be nice to see a future President's husband giving his spouse in public big hairy muscle hugs of support and congratulations. Now that would be an ideal world. Definitely worth thinking about.


Bruce said...


I wonder how much the sexual or ethnic identity of a head of state or key political figure really means. Austria and France, two countries that have had recognized, serious problems with antisemitism, have had prominent Jewish prime ministers. Pakistan, Turkey, and Israel, all countires in which women hardly enjoy social equality with men, have all had women heads of state. And Barney Frank, my favority gay congressman, danced with his partner at the White House.

This is not at all to say that the election of gay political figures is not important. But as I said in a post on my own blog on gay life in Europe, even legal rights don't necessarily imply social acceptance.

For the population to take outrages against gay people seriously, you need a much more profound change in the fabric of society. Election of gay politicians and enactment of gay rights legislation is a start. But it is only a start.





Joshua said...

No offense - Bruce, but you are like Mr. Debbie Downer - sometimes; wandering around blogland picking apart people's well written stories and views! Why can't you leave it at that, bud? I haven't seen you yet compliment someone's story. All's I see you do is find flaws in it; when there really aren't any - just a different point of view :)

BIGMallrat said...

Yeah, society needs to change before real change can occur. However, protecting the rights of the minority is the expressed responsibility of Government. Well, except in the US.
Oh, and it's a lot easier to pick apart someone else's ideas than to come up with your own.
Or, it makes some people feel better to put down others.
Oh, and "your pretty on the inside, sweetie." (thanks mom!)