Friday, June 29, 2007

Being Gay Isn't for Sissys, and No Study Can Prove Otherwise

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Can you tell whether someone's gay just by the way he or she walks?

David Sylva wants to know. He straps bright red lights to people's bodies and videotapes them walking in the dark. He then shows the videotape to observers (who won't be biased by clothing or hairstyles since the walker is in the dark) and asks them to guess the walker's sexual orientation.

(Watch Video 1 , Video 2 , Video 3 , and Video 4 and see whether you can tell if the walker is gay or straight. For the answers, click here).

Sylva's observations focus on the physical characteristics of the individual's stride, such as the closeness of the knees. (Watch how Sylva uses traits to identify gay people )

Why does Sylva, a graduate student at Northwestern University, care so much about how gay people walk? Because he's one of a growing number of researchers who think sexual orientation may be as basic as how you walk, something inborn that you don't choose.

His premise reflects a growing belief among Americans, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. (Poll majority: Gays' orientation can't change ) For the first time a majority of respondents -- about 56 percent -- said they don't believe a person can change his or her sexual orientation. In a similar poll in 2001, 45 percent said orientation couldn't change. In 1998, 36 percent held that belief. The sampling error for Wednesday's results is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

A growing number of psychologists and geneticists are working on the "nature versus nurture" question -- a question that's set off a highly charged political debate about whether people choose to be gay, or whether gayness is determined by their DNA.

Take Richard Lippa, a professor of psychology at California State University at Fullerton. His studies show that gay people are twice as likely to be left-handed. He also collects photos of hair whorls -- those circular swirls you see atop a man's head. He says about 10 percent of the general population have whorls that rotate counter-clockwise, but about 20 percent of gay men have counter-clockwise whorls.

Lippa acknowledges that studying hair patterns sounds strange. "It sounds a little like the 'Twilight Zone' or voodoo science," he says. But to Lippa, a link between sexual orientation and something that's clearly inborn (like handedness or the way hair grows) speaks volumes. His theory: You can't choose your whorl, and you can't choose your sexuality, either.

"You're born with either a clockwise or a counter-clockwise hair whorl. It's fixed, it's biologically determined. No one's going to argue that your hair whorl is influenced by learning or culture," he says.

Lippa says his next step is see whether there are specific genes that control sexual orientation.
Douglas Abbott thinks Lippa won't find a thing.

"There is no evidence of a 'gay gene,' " says Abbott, professor of child and family studies at the University of Nebraska.

Abbott points to studies that look at the sexual orientation of the offspring of gay people. "If homosexuality was caused by genetic mechanisms, their children would be more likely to choose same-sex interaction," he says. "But they aren't more likely, so therefore it can't be genetic."
For Abbott, the answer to the nature-vs.-nurture question is very clear. "I think the primary causes of same-sex behavior are environmental and personal choice and free agency," he says. "Can someone change their orientation? The definitive answer to that is, "yes.' "

That makes Gerulf Rieger laugh. "Ask a bunch of straight guys [if they could switch to being gay] and they would tell you, 'Are you kidding me?' " says Rieger, a lecturer in psychology at Northwestern University. "So the other way around doesn't work either."

In his research, Rieger shows videotapes of men and women talking about the weather. Observers have been able to predict with great accuracy whether the person talking is gay or straight. "Even within seconds, people are pretty good at figuring out who's gay and who's not," he says.

Like Sylva with his illuminated walkers, Rieger thinks his research points to genetics, and not choice, as the source of sexual orientation.
"It doesn't seem to be the social environment, it doesn't seem to be the parents or peers that make you gay," he says. "It seems to be something that comes from within

You know, the more of this bullshit that surfaces, the more pissed off I get. Hell, we are gay men. We are PROUD of that. None of us would have it any other way. So why is all of this shit face, so called science resurfacing again, especially as Gay Pride Month draws to a close?

So maybe I have the true test if a guy is gay or straight. Suppose I give him big hairy muscle hugs. If he raises his left hand to give me a hug in return, I can probably determine that he is gay. If he gropes me, then there is more of a certainty.
Such foolishness. But yep, it's more of a certainty than guessing when Paris Hilton will get married, settle down and raise a kid or two, without a nanny in tow. Odds of being left handed and gay might be better. Go figure.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Gay Rape, Something That Must Never Be Tolerated


Campaign to raise awareness of gay rape

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Police Chief Heather Fong unveiled on Wednesday a new public awareness campaign intended to shine a light on a rarely discussed yet increasingly common crime: gay rape.

Posters will start appearing on Muni buses reading, "I thought he was a great guy until he raped me." A hot line -- (415) 333-4357 -- is available for reporting the crimes, and a new Web site is up at The campaign comes just before people converge on San Francisco for gay pride weekend.

City officials gathered on the steps of City Hall to discuss the importance of reporting gay rape and sexual assault to authorities -- and doing so quickly so physical evidence can be preserved.

"Rape is wrong not matter the gender, no matter the sexuality," Dufty said. "Our city is prepared to come forward and extend a hand."

Jovida Guevara-Ross, director of Community United Against Violence, said most gay rape goes unreported and that victims' trauma typically lasts well beyond the time of the actual attack. They often experience panic attacks, flashbacks, physical pain and stress.

"We're here for you," she said. "Please call."

Nine cases of gay sexual assault were reported in the city in 2006, but in the first half of 2007, that number is already up to 18. Officials said they believe more attacks are happening this year, but that increased awareness of the importance of reporting the crimes may also contribute to the higher number.

The attacks are almost all happening in the Castro. Anti-crime volunteers began patrolling the neighborhood last fall wearing orange clothing and carrying whistles after two men reported being raped in the area.

One of them, Mark Welsh, spoke up at the press conference Wednesday. He said he was raped by two men on Sanchez Street in September, reported the crime and worked diligently with police -- but that his case went nowhere. He said he had no idea 18 sexual assaults have already happened this year, and that city officials need to do a better job of alerting Castro residents of danger spots.

"I'm appalled and astounded that I'm unaware of all these," he told Harris during the press conference. "There is a lack of communication."

Fong said the Police Department provides maps of where sexual assaults take place, but does not break them out by gender. She said the department will start providing crime maps by gender this week so gay men can see exactly where and at what time of day other men have been assaulted.

Under no circumstances can gay rape ever be condoned or tolerated. Gay male sex is always consensual. Never can a gay guy think that he can force himself on another guy to have sex. If a guy isn't interested in sex, that must be the final word. There is no grey area.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Our Egos and Other Things Have Just Been Deflated. We Aren't the Fashion Queens We Think We Are.

The following is from the current issue of Details magazine.

Who Says All Gay Men Are Stylish?

The idea that all gay men are fashionable is bull—just look at all the friends of Dorothy who dress like they're still in Kansas. Tell us what you think about the myth of gay style below.
-By Katherine Wheelock-

The following article puts us down a peg or two. However to me, it's not the clothes that make the man, but how he wears what little he can get away with. WOOF.

According to a perception that clings to popular culture like a sparkly barnacle, a visit to a predominantly gay neighborhood should yield style enlightenment. Going to the West Side enclave of Chelsea in New York should be like strolling the via Montenapoleone, in Milan. Fashion-challenged men and women should flock to these places and take notes.

Tracing the roots of this myth is easy. The Stylish Gay Man is at least as old as the Magical Negro, and older than the Nerdy Asian. Since time began, homosexuality has been associated with aesthetic acumen. It's a reasonable generalization—one that Edward II, Quentin Crisp, Liberace, and others did little to weaken, and one that understandably sashayed into the late 20th century and the early 21st; most of the openly gay men American society first accepted as public figures were clothing designers.

"This idea comes from how awareness of gay men grew over the last 40 or 50 years," says designer Isaac Mizrahi. "To someone who only knew of three gay people, it looked like all gay men were stylish."

In movies and on TV in the eighties and nineties, gay sidekicks gave sartorial and grooming advice to their messy-haired, mannish girlfriends. The Verdis and the Cojocarus of the world emerged in their wake, and on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Carson Kressley and company began gussying up men. As long as the tip was offered with a cock of the hip and a Mary Lou Retton grin, it was fabulous.

"The conventional wisdom has always been that effeminate men were concerned with style and appearance," says Simon Doonan, fashion pundit and creative director at Barneys New York. "If a movie script called for a character to be fluffy or superficial, they made him a fashion designer. This gave rise to the erroneous idea that all gay men are fashion-obsessed."

But even now that the confetti from the gay-makeover party has settled, the myth of the Stylish Gay Man persists. William Sledd, a 23-year-old Gap manager from Paducah, Kentucky, just signed a deal with Bravo to do an online, critic-at-large—style show based on his video blog, "Ask a Gay Man." This spring it blew up as the fourth-most-subscribed-to video blog on YouTube. Sledd has a side-swept haircut like Clay Aiken and often wears a tight argyle sweater or a slogan T-shirt. He says things like "What's up with all the black? I don't think there are enough pink ninjas in the world." He's entertaining. But what makes him a style expert—besides the fact that he's gay?

"Schooling and exposure determine your ability to say what looks good and what doesn't look good, not your sexual preference," Mizrahi says. "It's like saying all black people have rhythm."
And as a walk through Chelsea demonstrates—in the spring, it's often a visual smorgasbord of pink polo shirts skimming potbellies, patch-bedecked denim jackets, and silvery sneakers worn with an 11-year-old girl's naive enthusiasm—the idea that homosexual males have more style sense than any other category of human beings is patently untrue. If you were picking teams, kickball-at-recess-style, for a fashion championship, who would you call first dibs on? Lance Bass, George Clooney, Alan Cumming, Jay-Z, Rufus Wainwright, or Brad Pitt?

Take your time.

Gay men, unlike supermodels and rock stars, have no more knack for looking good in pretty much anything than the rest of us. And while there might be (just barely) fewer gay rumors circulating about the painstakingly groomed, French-cuffed Ryan Seacrest than there are about the black-T-shirt-clad Simon Cowell, it's hardly risky for a straight man to demonstrate an appreciation for fashion these days.

The Stylish Gay Man's days may be numbered. And when he dies, the playing field will be leveled. Entertainment-show hosts and best-dressed-list compilers will stop treating straight men who simply combed their hair and put on a well-cut suit as if they were paraplegics who just completed an Ironman. And the average gay man, saddled with unrealistic expectations for his personal presentation, will breathe a sigh of relief.

"There have been so many times when I wished I was a lesbian and didn't have to care about what I wore," says Michael Macko, vice president of men's fashion at Saks Fifth Avenue. "Why can't I put on dirty sweat pants, a pair of Birkenstocks, a flannel shirt, and think, Which baseball cap will I wear today? It must be nice to buy all your clothes at outlet stores."

Thanks, Details.

I'm afraid that there will always be a little of the fashion queen in most gay men. We tend to buy clothes that dictate fashion. Where we go wrong is buying stuff out of the International Male catalog, that may look good on the model, but would look absolutely terrible on mere mortals such as us.

I got this one hard and fast rule about buying clothes. Buy for comfort, but especially, if you are catalog shopping, buy clothing that looks good on a guy model that most resembles you, your features, your build. Doing otherwise leads to mockery and bitter disappointment.
All of you daddies and dads out there, I wish all of you mega hairy muscle hugs in honor of each of you this Sunday, Father's Day. Even if you aren't a Dad in the traditional sense, you are one in my eyes.

Friday, June 08, 2007

2007 GAY PRIDE Events, A Partial List

Show your pride this year. And if some guy comes up to you bearing hairy muscle hugs, embrace him. That's the best way to celebrate pride.
Below are some of the places and dates when various cities are celebrating Gay Pride.

Partial List of Pride Events

Happy Pride to You and Yours!
Get out and celebrate your pride!

This is a Partial Listing.
There are more events that are not on this list.

Toronto Digital Queeries has been listing Pride events for free since 1996. Michael is the founder of Gay Toronto's - Queer West Village and Gay West Community Network (a GLBTQ community centre) in the queer west-end of Toronto, Ontario
Canada - Pride by Provinces, cities 2007 (updated May 11, 2007)Calgary, Alberta - Single day events June 1, 8, 10 and 16, 2007 Edmonton Alberta, June 15-24, 2007 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Date not set, 2007
Saint John, New Brunswick August 12-19, 2007 Montreal - Divers/Cité et la Fierté August 1-5, 2007Okanagan Valley, Date not set, 2007 Ottawa Pride - August 17-26, 2007Prince George , June 30 to July 8, 2007Vancouver B.C.Pride Parade, August 5, 2007Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sunday June 1 to 10, 2007Yellowknife , North West Terrorities No Pride event, 2007
Pride Events - Province of Ontario, Canada 2007 (update May 11, 2007)
Barrie, Ontario, Simcoe County - No Pride events since 2004?Cambridge , Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario, Pride postponed until June 2008. Cornwall Ontario - September 1-2, 2007
Durham Region
, Durham Pride Weekend, June 8 to 10, 2007Guelph, Saturday May 26, 2007Halton, Ontario, Milton, Oakville, Georgetown - Fall Pride for Halton on September 8th, 2007 Hamilton , Burlington, Niagara Region, Ontario - June 9th to 17th, 2007 London,Strafford, Woodstock area, Ontario - July 19 until July 29, 2007. Peel. (Mississauga, Ontario) No Dates set for 2007 Peterborough, ON No date set for 2007 Sarnia-lambton, Ontario - No pride day plans 2007Sudbury, Ontario- July 16 to 22, 2007 (new website) Sault Ste. Marie , ON No pride day plans 2007Toronto ON - (old gay village) Pride Parade on Yonge St., June 24, 2007 2 pm.Queer West Village - Toronto Home to largest queer festivals in North Ameica - Queer West June 15-22. & International Q Fest Oct.
Windsor Ontario - July 23-29, 2007
United States of America -Pride Events by city and state 2007 (Completed Saturday June 2,)Allentown PA Saturday June 16Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - June 8-9 Annapolis, MD, USA - Wednesday August 25Arizona, USA Phoenix - April 14 & 15 Atlanta, Georgia USA - June 23-24Austin Pride, TX, Austin Pride Parade June 2ndBaltimore , MD, USA - June 17 & 17Bangor Maine, USA - Southern Maine Pride Saturday June 16 Birmingham, Alabama, USA - Central Alabama Pride June 1-10 Boise, Idaho, USA Boise Idaho Pride (nothing planned since 2004)
North Carolina, June 8 & 9 Brooklyn , New York , June 9Boulder Col, USA (no event planned 2007) Boston, Mass., USA - June1-10Buffalo, N.Y. Burlington, Vermont - Parade June 3rdCape Cod - August 25 - Location: Mallory Dock/Club 477 Cedar Rapids PrideFest, Iowa, June 2Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - Charlotte Pride (no date set, 2007) Chicago, Illinois, USA - 38th Annual Parade, Sunday June 24Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - June 9 & 10Cleveland, Ohio, USA - Cleveland Pride Saturday June 16Columbus, Ohio Columbus Pride June 22-24 Columbia, South Carolina, USA September 22-24 Connecticut Pride
- Saturday June 30Delaware Pride , Delaware - Saturday September 15Dallas Texas - Sunday September 16 ParadeDenver, Colorado, Denver Pride June 23 & 24 Des Moines, Iowa - June 3-10Detroit, Michigan, USA Motor City Pride June 2 & 3Duluth , MN, USA Duluth Pride Festival - Labor Day Weekend September 1st, 2007Erie, Pennsylvania, Pride Picnic - June 2, 2007 Flagstaff , Arizona, USA - June 8 & 9Florida, South, USA - March 3, 2007Ft. Lauderdale, Florida - March 10-11, 2007Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA (no glbt pride since 2005) Gainesville. Florida, USA Gainesville Pride (no date set 2007)
, Pennsylvania, USA - Harrisburg Pride, Saturday July 28Hartford, Connecticut, USA - Hartford Pride Saturday June 30 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - Honolulu Pride Sunday, May 27th thru Saturday, June 2nd Houston, Texas, USA - Houston Pride Saturday June 23Jacksonville, Florida, USA - Jacksonville Pride, Saturday July 28Jersey City , NJ - Jersey City Pride, Saturday August 25 Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - (server down?)Long Beach, California, USA Long Beach Pride May 19 & 20, 2007
Long Island, New York USA- Huntington, Long Island Pride Rally, Parade, and Festival Sunday, June 10, 2007 Los Angeles-West Christopher Street June 8, 9 and 10, 2007
, Minnesota South Central Pride Festival - Saturday, September 8, 2007 Memphis Pride, Tenn., Mid-South Pride June 10Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA Milwaukee Pride June 8, 9 and 10Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA Minneapolis Pride June 15 to 24 Monterey, California July 13 & 14Nashville, Tennessee, USA PrideFest - June 1-3New Haven, Connecticut, USA - New Haven Connecticut Pride Saturday June 30 New Jersey, USA New Jersy - Sunday June 3rdNew Orleans , Louisiana, USA - Southern Decadence August 29 to September 3rdNew York City New York City, central pride - New York City Pride Week - June 17 to 24
North Carolina, USA NC Pride will take place on Saturday, September 29, 2007 at Duke University Oklahoma City , Oklahoma, USA Oklahoma City Pride -June 15 to 24Omaha, Nebraska, USA Omaha Gay Pride - June 8 & 9 Orlando, Florida, USA Orlando Gay Days - May 29 to June 4Palm Springs, California, USA - Palm Springs Pride Festival - November 3 & 4Pasadena, California, USA - Sunday September 17 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA -Philadelphia Pride - Sunday June 10th.Phoenix, Arizona , USA - Phoenix Pride Parade & Party In The Park - April 14 & 15Pine City, Minnesota. 3rd year to celebrate "Pride in the Park" on Sunday, June 3rd from Noon to 5:00 P.M 2007Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Pittsburgh Pride - June 16, 2007
Portland , OREGON, USA Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans Parade and Festival - June 16 & 17 Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, USA Raleigh Pride - September 29th. Rochester- New York State - July 14, 2007St. Louis, Missouri, USA St. Louis - PrideFest 2007 will be June 23-24,San Antonio, USA San Antonio Pride - June 16 St. Petersburg , Florida, USA June 30thSan Diego, California, July 15, 21 and 22San Francisco San Francisco 37th Annual Pride June 23 & 24 San Luis Obispo, county California, USA San Luis Obispo Pride July 4 to 8San Jose, California, USA San Jose Pride - June 9 & 10Santa Barbara, California, USA Santa Barbara Pride June 5 to 12 Santa Cruz, California, USA June 3rd
, Georgia, USA - Saturday, September 15th, 2007Seattle, Washington, USA June 24th.South Carolina, City of Columbia, Black Pride June 18 to 24 Tucson, Arizona, USA Tucson Pride - October 13 Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA Tulsa Pride - June 2 to 8Utah , USA Pide June 1 to 3Washington DC, USA 32 Annual Pride celebration June 9 and 10Virginia State, USA - September 29th 2007

Friday, June 01, 2007

Catching Up on Stuff

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Took some time off and packed some of my leather and headed out to International Mr. Leather in Chicago last weekend.
Really had a great time. A lot of leather studs came out to play and party. Went to all of the events, and for the most part, had a great time.
The leathermart was the place to see and be seen. Also the grand lobby of the Palmer House Hotel was always crowed. Too bad that parts of the hotel were undergoing renovations for this year and part of next year. The work area cut into the lobby meet and greet space.
No surprises at the contest. The favored 3 were chosen, and nobody, except the other 17 semi-finalists went home disappointed. The show moved along with precision and was quite enjoyable.
It has taken me several days to recover, but I now feel ready to resume my normal leather life.
What is fascinating about IML is that you can strut your stuff, bare butt in chaps and booted, shirtless, harnessed, whatever. The confines of the Palmer House was each guy's personal fantasy playground. And most guys took full advantage of that opportunity.
The entrance to the hotel warned visitors that the entire hotel was booked for a private gathering until Tuesday morning. Seeing gay men controling their total environment, if only for a weekend, was empowering to watch and participate in.
This segregation was to the leather communities benefit. It served to allow us to enjoy our fetish and sexual freedom without harassment. The same, you will read below, has just happened in a gay hotel and bar in Melbourne, Australia.
Gay pub wins right to ban straights
Tue May 29, 10:16 AM ET
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An Australian hotel catering for homosexuals has won the right to ban heterosexuals from its bars so as to provide a safe and comfortable venue for gay men.

In what is believed to be a first for Australia, the Victorian state civil and administrative tribunal ruled last week that the Peel Hotel in the southern city of Melbourne could exclude patrons based on their sexuality.
Australia's equal opportunity laws prevent people being discriminated against based on race, religion or sexuality.
But Peel Hotel owner Tom McFeely said the ruling was necessary to provide gay men with a non-threatening atmosphere to freely express their sexuality.
"If I can limit the number of heterosexuals entering the Peel, then that helps me keep the safe balance," Peel told Australian radio on Monday.

McFeely said that, while the hotel welcomed everyone, its gay clientele had expressed discomfort over the number of heterosexuals and lesbians coming to the venue in the past year.
He said there were more than 2,000 venues in Melbourne that catered to heterosexuals, but his hotel was the only one marketing itself predominantly to gay men.

Victoria's state human rights commission backed the ruling, saying it was in line with equal opportunity guidelines defending the rights of groups subject to discrimination.
Commission chief Helen Szoke said the hotel's gay clientele had experienced harassment and violence. "(They) also have felt as though they've been like a zoo exhibit with big groups of women on hens' parties coming to the club," Szoke told reporters.

McFeely told the radio that the hotel had received homophobic telephone calls since news of the ruling was made public.
I have visited the Peel Hotel on one of my visits to Melbourne. While I never felt uncomfortable, I didn't like straights mixing in with the rest of us. Sometimes it is better to have our own places to hang out and enjoy each other in an inviting environment. I really don't like to give big hairy muscle hugs to anyone other than woofy guys like yourself. That's my perogative. And I am sticking to that preference.