Archives for posts with tag: Coming out

Jacob Brown and Andrew Durbin

1.

Yesterday the HRC hijacked another celebrity coming out to further their own white, elite agenda.  Shame on you Chad Griffin.

So, Ellen Pagecomes out‘ with Chad at her side and (as scripted) is immediately hailed as ‘brave’ by the neo liberal media for telling her truth.  Big fucking deal.  Did Ellen Page come out in Uganda, risking her life?  Did Ellen Page use her power and prestige to help those less fortunate lesbians in other parts of the world who risk being imprisoned or worse for the luxury of telling their truth?  No, she talked about how hard it was for her to crash stereotypes.

Poor Ellen.  My heart bleeds for you.

As more and more celebrities come out it is no longer good enough to expect and prepare for fanfare without their truth becoming a political gesture.   It is not good enough for a celebrity in the free world to expect a ‘small gesture’ toward acceptance to be adequate.

Small gestures need to get bigger.  It is the responsibility of every lgbtq celebrity who comes out to address the disparity between their free lives and their oppressed brothers and sisters else where.  For Ellen Page not to mention Uganda, Russia etc. was willful and selfish.

After all, what did she expect… a fucking medal?  No, all she was doing was safeguarding her job and her position and her fame and fortune.

2.

Party last night at Jacob Brown‘s East Village duplex.  Celebrating his birthday were cute thin people, two old farts… me and the perfectly adorable producer Hunter Hill.   Crowd included (amongst others) the delectable poet Andrew Durbin and former MOCA head honcho Ari Wiseman.

I loved that my controversial green fur hat found favor with this cool, queer crowd.

3.

Valentine’s Day, enjoying my burgeoning relationship.

We decided to have dinner at Isa in Williamsburg.  We’d heard good things and it looked very lively when we passed by this summer.

We popped in at lunch time to make our reservation and the young lady maitre’d dutifully jotted it down, took names and numbers and the promise of a two top.

At 8pm we arrived at Isa.  The booking was lost, we were given the end of a community table under a loud speaker playing the most intrusive music, the waiters seemed to be very eager to process EVERYONE in and out very quickly.

We were asked by 4 separate people if we were sure we didn’t want alcohol.

Anyway, I ordered the rustic tomato soup and the skirt steak.  The soup was ok but served in very small dish.  The skirt steak entree was ghastly.  It was like chewing through a shoe.  A rubber shoe.  I sent it back and the duck special was whisked to our table in its place.  The duck was ok, not very well seasoned, the polenta was soupy and badly prepared and $30.  The tiny dish of $7 brussels sprouts were tepid and badly flash fried leaving most of them untouched by the pan… temperature issues at Isa became an irritating theme.

Our coffee was also cold so I left it.

The staff were the kind of people who try to shame you for making a complaint.  Condescending young people who are used to old people putting up and shutting up.  “Do you think you’ll like the duck better.”  He asked after I sent back the inedible steak… he asked as if I had some sort of learning disability.  No, I’m just past 45 years old.  I can hear and understand just fine.

We attempted to leisurely enjoy our dinner but the waiter was eager to snatch our unfinished dishes, “Still working on that?” they pestered.  YES!!  Leave us alone I wanted to scream but I didn’t.  This was obviously the worst choice for a Valentines dinner.   A total waste of time and money.

Here are some recent moments:

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Painted Map

Written for Beige in the UK and published today.

My inaugural letter from America is sent at a time when American secrets and lies take center stage.

I’m staying in Petrolia, Northern California, eleven hours from my home in Los Angeles with Daisy Cockburn, the daughter of Emma Tennant and political journalist and contrarian Alexander Cockburn who sadly died last year.  I am writing at his desk overlooking his wild and beautiful garden.  Alexander Cockburn, like his friend Noam Chomsky, would have slammed the US government for the actions of the NSA recently revealed by Edward Snowden.

Whilst I am amused by the audacious lengths government will go to hold onto its own secrets while harvesting yours… he was not.  Like this present generation of internet babies… I have never valued secrets.  I am an open book. I have always believed that everything I am is yours.

Do you remember the biggest secret you had to keep?  You know, the queer secret?

When I realized I was different, that my sexual/social narrative did not correspond with those around me, I was baffled as to how I should make the difference known.  I was just a child.  I did not ‘come out of the closet’. I didn’t understand why I should make a big emotional announcement. I decided that I wouldn’t tell anyone. My actions would speak louder than words.  It was up to them, those around me, to frame the reveal. Not me.

It was obvious that being queer, telling people that I was queer during the 1970’s… was like letting off a bomb. It was an act of terrorism.  For some, it still is.  Holding my lover’s hand in the street… a rebellion.

So, instead of having a difficult conversation with my secular loved ones about my sexuality, I spoke openly about my same-sex desires, my plans and my heroes.  They looked askance but they got used to it… or else.  I was a teenage whistleblower.

There is nothing more honorable than being a whistleblower.

This month, two extraordinary whistleblowers are top of the news.  Queer hero Bradley Manning and straight hero Edward Snowden.  Manning is currently on trial in a semi-secret military kangaroo court and unlikely ever to be released. The other brave whistleblower, Edward Snowden, a fugitive in Hong Kong, unlikely to see his country of origin ever again.

My gay brothers and sisters in the USA have, on the most part, turned their back on Bradley Manning citing his law breaking as treasonous. Maligning his motives, distancing themselves from his gay story.  Manning’s narrative is bound up with the recently abandoned DADT, a messy ‘coming out’, Manning’s extreme family poverty and the witnessing of cruel and illegal horrors that no man should ever see.

Manning has unwittingly created a schism in the LGBTQ community, cleaving the queers from the gays.  The queers have on the most part embraced Manning, his activism and conscientious objection. The gays have not.  The Queers had Manning elected as a San Francisco gay pride parade grand marshal in late April, but the LGBTQ board quickly rescinded the ‘honor’ after a white male gay outcry.

Queer supporters of Manning held demonstrations, crowded a Pride board meeting and packed a community forum all with the hopes of seeing Manning reinstated as a grand marshal. The Pride board has not budged.

Why are the majority of USA gays so repulsed by Manning?

Perhaps if Manning had been a muscular, army guy of the gay-for-pay porn star variety so popular amongst the gays, they may have ‘evolved’ a different point of view.  Manning is not that guy. He is small and slight and wan.  He joined the army to get an education and ironically ended up educating the whole world.

He is lauded by Michael Moore, Vietnam Vets, heterosexual politicians/presidents and liberal intellectuals all over the world.  His actions are widely credited with hastening an American withdrawal from Iraq and the Arab Spring.

To many across the world Bradley Manning is a hero.

Yet, the gay establishment ignore Bradley. He is routinely ignored by the HRC and GLAAD. He is viciously bullied on anonymous gay, online discussion boards.  GLAAD would rather honor a homophobic, straight film director rather than one of our brave own.

Many of the USA gays who publicly hate Manning are upper middle-class, affluent white men.  They seem embarrassed and angry by his openness, his honesty, his despair.   They call him impertinent, arrogant and narcissistic.  Yet, had Bradley Manning been a bone fide journalist with a fancy ivy league degree he might have become a hero… or like Edward Snowden who currently enjoys the support of over 100, 000 people on the White House petition page demanding a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.

There is no such petition for Bradley Manning.  Bradley was not well-educated… he’s a white trash gay kid with ideas above his rank.

His detractors, formerly closeted gay men, have their own relationship with the truth.  By necessity, after years of experience, they have become slick liars, natural spies, covert experts. In their every day life they create the illusion of perfection: socially, physically and sexually. A tribe of American gay men who have an overwhelming urge to be over-achievers.  They are clean-cut and conservative in appearance, they throw themselves into their jobs with the same fervency they got through school.

They champion marriage and the military rather than the end of LGBTQ jobs discrimination.  They have no interest in helping others in the coalition of oppressed minorities cobbled together by President Obama because they do not consider themselves an oppressed minority.

Why should they?  They are white, affluent and male.  What’s not to be proud of?

Since I arrived in the USA I have (rather proudly) been subject to not one… but two gagging orders imposed on me by white gay men.

Both ex-intimates, both terrified of having their secret gay lives revealed.  Professional white men, a 32-year-old and a 45-year-old.   The younger man works for a famous publishing house and is perhaps the most interesting because he supposedly respects the first amendment.   The other, a rich businessman caught lying and cheating.

The former was well ensconced in his comfy closet when I first met him, about to be married to a women, living a double life. When I found out about his deception I told him,  “Either you tell the woman you are deceiving… or I will.”

When I tell white gay men this story they are outraged.  They blame the deceived woman for being dumb.  Their thinly veiled misogyny revealed.

“How stupid of her to not realize he was gay.”  they scold.

One Saturday morning two years ago he told her he was living a double life.  After he came out of the closet he had a great deal of sex with many men then settled down with the man he intends to marry.  Free from her sociopathic ex she is now in love with an honest heterosexual.  Of course… he demonizes me.  She probably does too.  No good deed goes unpunished.

Like a lot of over-achieving well-closeted gay men, the publisher operated under the “Best Little Boy in the World” syndrome, a term from Andrew Tobias’ seminal coming-out autobiography of the same name, published in 1973, describing a certain type of middle-to-upper-class gay man.

Gay men are still terrified of the truth: personal or public. Their worst fear when growing up was having their gay truth revealed.  We all want to control the message.  Nobody wants to be told that they are queer ahead of their own declaration.

Many gay men still behave like small boys grappling with who and what it means to be gay.  Scarred by shame, they loathe any queer person who draws negative attention to him/herself in case it tarnishes them or the gay corporation.

They loathe Bradley Manning for outing the nation.

When gay men are ready to tell the truth about being gay they demand recognition and plaudits for doing so.  A heroes welcome for coming out of the closet.  Yet, after this initial flush of candor, their honesty only extends so far.

Beyond the great revelation there is a darker side to being gay that the gay white elite doesn’t want you to know.

They have gone to extraordinary lengths to make you think we are JUST LIKE YOU.  They are still placating their heterosexual parents, school mates and the straight friends who don’t mind them being gay… as long as you don’t do anything gay around me.

The gays don’t want you to know about the meningitis epidemic, the continuing HIV epidemic, they don’t want you to know about their loneliness, their propensity for STDs, the unreasonably high gay adult male suicide rate, the sexual unmanageability, drug taking, racism, sexism, classism, narcissism and ageism that blights the gay ‘community’.  They don’t mention how they routinely commodify women’s bodies/reproductive labor so they can have children. They don’t want you to know just how hard it is to be straight acting, to be ‘masc’ or to find themselves remotely attractive when they look in the mirror.

They don’t want you to know that for many LGBTQ… it doesn’t get better.

Manning broke the first rule of the white gay American elite:  Don’t rock the boat.

The gay businessman’s gagging order expires early next year and he will, inevitably seek to extend it.  The publisher will do the same.  The problem is:  as they know all too well… the truth is eventually revealed.

I met a man.  A medical doctor.  He was well put together, handsome, the president of a large gay organization that supposedly represents the interests of the gay community.  Our trusted servant. He couldn’t stop crying.  Under his well cut trousers he had a permanent needle in his leg for jacking meth. He begged me not to write about him.

I couldn’t make that promise.  He is the perfect white gay American metaphor.

In modern America secrets both public and personal are simultaneously considered defending and deflowering at the expense of the constitution. At both micro and macro levels this secretive bipolarity has come to define my stay in the USA.

 

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Bearded Straight Man

1.

Holding onto the past. Cluttering up the present.

2.

I saw athlete Jason Collins on the TV. He was being interviewed by Oprah.

As I listened to him tell his story I thought a great deal about other people I had known who lived as adults in the closet.

Collins was not involved with a woman when he came out.

He was single.

For those gay men who are married or engaged to women when they come out the trauma this causes the woman cannot be underestimated, yet somehow their trauma is ignored.

The woman from Connecticut hoards craft materials she intends to use. She never uses it. Her house is uninhabitable.

Her husband left her for another man.

A lie is revealed. The life of the lie is shared. Often those who have lived unwittingly with a liar also feel that they have lived a lie.

My important gay writer friend mocked Collins ex girlfriend Carolyn on Facebook.

He made fun of her for ‘not realizing’ Collins was gay. Not realizing that she was living with a lying sociopath?

My friend is a gay man who has had sex with women and dated women yet he can barely disguise his misogyny.

Like so many gay men he is, whether he likes it or not, a separatist.

Carolyn is an intelligent, kind and articulate woman who was duped by a liar.

I listened to Collins wondering how this man was cast as the hero?

He’s not the first athlete to come out of the closet, many women came before him and some men.

The Collins cocktail of gay, black and startlingly good-looking is somehow more intoxicating than remembering that Martina Navratilova had come out decades before.

Collins hopes that his coming out will ‘make it easier’ for others to do the same yet… it seems unlikely.

Is his coming out really a coming out at all?

He will only really know how it feels to ‘come out’ once he is back on the team.

At the moment he is cushioned by celebrity and an American media fascinated by his ‘bravery’.

Is he brave?

He is not a normal black kid from the ghetto.

He is not the normal black kid at the local church.

He is not a kid. He is not normal.

Celebrity assures him of that.

If you identify as LGBTQ then every coming out is circumstantial.

There will never be an easier time to come out because most everybody wants to fit it. To fade away. To avoid the glaring spotlight even if that spotlight is no longer hostile.

No one wants to say: I am different. Not today, not in America… where individuality is scorned.

Jason’s parents look suitably loving on the TV. They know they’re going to ‘love him no matter what’, they’re going to ‘get through it’.

I wonder sometimes what the expectation is for those new, enlightened parents who suddenly have a gay son or daughter to dote on.

Judging by those who now look sweetly at me and my partner whenever I am brave enough to hold onto my lover in the street… their reaction may have changed but the feeling I have remains the same.

They look at us… like I look at a particularly fluffy puppy. “Ah, how sweet.” They want to say. “How fucking adorable.”

I know they want to stop us and tell us how fucking adorable we are.

Those people who gawp and smile supportively are just as irritating as those who glare disapprovingly.

I don’t want you to have an opinion about us as we walk in the street.

I have no opinion about you.

Jason Collins coming out also poses questions about others who have not come out sooner.

I mean, If Jason Collins can do it… why can’t you? Why is it an issue? How could you not tell us the truth?

But Jason Collins has The President, ex President Clinton (the DOMA signer) the President’s wife Mo to congratulate him.

They are ‘proud’ to call Jason their friend.

Well, Jason Collins and those other gay people I allude to… they are adults. They came out as adults.

They can control the outcome.

They are ‘straight acting’ there was ‘no clue’, no tell-tale fabulousness, no lisp, no prepubescent flamboyance.

He was never harassed, he was never told ahead of time what he was before he knew himself.

Jason Collins comes from a ‘close and loving’ family.

Like other gay men who came out late in life… if their family was so close, so loving…why couldn’t they come out sooner?

What did they think they would lose?

The closer the family the harder the riddle.

The fantasy that one has for ones children, the perfect future… the wedding, the christening… cannot include a same-sex partner?

Well, no… not if you have invested in the lies your adult child told… again and again.

Lied to those very same people who now bathe you in their unconditional love.

Obviously, my ‘coming out’ as a teen… was very different.

Having no real option… was all at once a blessing and a curse.

I was brought up in a different age.

My coming out was an act of terrorism.

I threw it at them like boiling water and told them to get used to the burns.

3.

Meanwhile, there’s a teenager in Northern England struggling with his decision to reveal the truth.

He saw me on TV and sought me out.

He told his family he was gay… face to face.

He told his friends on Facebook

Tonight he told everyone how miserable he feels. How dark this place is.

Jason Collins has not helped him. He does not have the President of the United State to support him on Twitter.

Feeling different, facing a new world… not as an adult but as a child.

Things don’t get better… because he now has the prospect of British parochial gay life and all that entails.

He has predatory men to deal with at the local bar, he has rampant desires that remain unfulfilled.

I think he regrets not waiting.

It’s a big deal coming out when you’re a poor kid a long way from the big city.

It always will be… however many athletes steal the limelight from boys like him.

There are certainly occasions in one’s life when one wishes for a different outcome. Yesterday was one of those days.

Most of the day was just fine. Dan headed upstate to see his father and I was left with vacuuming duties. I walked the dog, made calls, wrote my blog. I enjoyed the beautiful spring morning sitting outside Mud cafe drinking their pungent coffee.

I sat in the steam room with Brendan and his buddy. Ian turned up for tea at 4 and we watched a little of the Kentucky Derby festivities on the roof of Soho House. Women in large hats and men is suits with white carnations pinned to their lapels.

After a short nap I changed into a very slimming Helmut Lang suit and headed up town where I met my friend Zack, his friend David and Austin. We ate huge New York steaks for dinner. The conversation centered largely around new incidence of HIV infection, our irrational fear of contracting AIDS and what these fears really mean. Remember, I was convinced in 1985 that I was dying of AIDS. I was so certain that the doctors who were giving me the negative results were lying to me that I ended up having three or four tests a week in clinics all over London.

I ended up in The Henderson Hospital in Sutton, Surrey.  A total wreck.

The conversation shifted to how gay men in the USA tend to just fight for the issues that directly affect them and not for the community of gay men with all its various needs. It infuriates me that a) the gays are constantly worried by what their enemies are thinking about them. b) they are frightened to be seen to fight for their rights. c) The gays who are shaping whatever equality legislation is being shaped are so arrogant that they can’t begin to accept any outcome other than the one that they have defined. Gay MARRIAGE for instance. Nothing less will do…even if it means nothing at all.

After dinner Austin’s husband Jake turned up looking great and we all headed over to Ken Mehlman‘s apartment. Why? Birthday party.

Austin and Jake had the right idea, they left immediately.  I waded into a vat of fascist molasses.

The level of discomfort I felt is almost impossible to articulate.  200 gay men who usually wear suits now dressed in overly tight tee shirts, chinos rolled up to mid calf and brightly colored accessories.

In the very heart of this wasps nest I saw Herndon Graddick a creepy representative from the absurd, self-congratulatory, gay organization GLADD. Another smug, gay clique that gives out awards to straight people for being our friends. Why do we give straight people awards for being our friends? Because we are so damned grateful. Thanks straight people.

Anyway, when I arrived there was Herndon Graddick sucking up to Ken Mehlman. Apparently I had fallen out with Herndon years ago. I couldn’t remember why. Apparently I sent him nasty text messages. He probably fucking deserved them.

Ken Mehlman’s apartment was so devoid of personality I thought maybe it was being staged for sale. His sterile bedroom was decorated in brown and beige and the bed looked like it was cast in concrete. Like him, his environment was hostile and ugly.

He is perhaps one of the most repellent individuals ever to come out as gay…apart from The Penguin. It made my blood boil that he had selfishly put his self-serving career ahead of his own needs as a human being or the needs of others (like the Penguin) and cruelly turned his back on his gay community, the same community that now sat around drinking his vodka served by a grumpy straight boy.

Ken Mehlman is morally bankrupt yet, because he has money, these vile, insipid queens flock around him with gay abandon. Ignoring that he betrayed every one of us.

He is like a Jew who relished throwing other Jews into the ovens at Auchwitz.

To my knowledge he has never apologised, he has never acknowledged his part in the ongoing homophobic carnage during his tenure as chair of the RNC.

True, this vile man acknowledged that, had he come out of the closet earlier, he could have impacted Republican efforts to pass state initiatives and referenda banning same-sex marriage. Fuck you Ken Mehlman.

NOT ALL CLOSETS ARE CREATED EQUAL!

His guests were just as disgusting.

Met this small, Jewish man who works for some gay rights organization. He was so fucking naive. He told me in all seriousness that they had found out through a ‘study’ that most straight people site ‘love and relationship’ as the reason for getting married and not (as the gays are always demanding) for rights and benefits. Hey buddy, tell your gay friends to start asking for their love to be recognized rather than a bunch of nebulous rights and we may very well get our message heard.

He was trying to persuade me that his mission was to get Ken to convince George W Bush to come out in favor of gay marriage. Think about that for a moment… think about it.

The same dwarfish, Jewish kid mocked the British for their Civil Unions. I was simply appalled. What a CUNT. I should have punched him.

As we left Zack and I decided to say goodbye to Ken and thank him for having us. Zack said, “You are my hero.” Ken made him repeat the line three times.

We left the party. Headed over to some deserted bar. Met up with cute boy from last night. I was so fired up by the inequity of the evening that I walked home, took dog to park and went to bed.

What kind of man is a gay man?

My newly out friend is delighted that other men don’t realize he is gay.

Isn’t that just the same as being in the closet?

Driving to Hollywood last week Andrew said, “That was a really gay hand gesture..”

I said, “That’s because I AM really gay.”

Gwen, when she saw my white cashmere scarf said, “That scarf makes you look really gay.”

Once again I replied, “That’s because I am really gay.”

In the same way that I have a range of sexual possibilities open to me, I also have an evolved behavioral panoply.  I can be as masculine or as effeminate as I want to be..I am, after all, not playing the role of being a gay man.  I am a gay man..and occasionally I will be aggressive and dominant (traditionally masculine) or on other occasions when I am having a laugh I can prance around my place in imaginary heels lip synching to Lady Gaga.

I can be anything I want as long as I am authentic.  I am not going to affect a deeper voice, a darker personality, limited hand and eye brow movements simply so other men will not realize that I am gay!  It’s exhausting to lie like that.

Whatever I am, I am not striving to be, as Iago said,  not what I am.    Authenticity is key.  I didn’t come out of the closet to start pretending all over again, to start fooling my gay brethren.  To fool their gaydar.  I came out to be who I am.  Not what you want me to be or feel shame about my feminine hand gestures, my flamboyant scarves.  I don’t believe in shame!

FUCK SHAME!

If you think fooling other gay men is where it’s at then you are only fooling yourself.

Equally, gay men who think they are wonderful at divining who is gay are in fact utterly useless at figuring out who is gay because everyone can do gay stuff..I mean..man on man stuff.  Casting a spell like a bad fairy is not ‘gaydar’.  The prisons are chock full of men fucking men who are not gay.

On the whole gay men flag their gayness depending on the tribe that they belong to.

This is exactly why I have stuck with straight identified men..it’s just another tribe of men who fuck men.

Mainstream gay culture,  just like the straight mainstream, is not to my liking.  Frankly, my dears, the mainstream bores me to tears!  Normal+Common=Get Me Out Of Here.

Mainstream Gay Culture:  Ripped bodies shown off in tight tee shirts, tribal posturing, childish Peter Pan excitement, arrested development, intensity over intimacy,  endless flirting and sexing up of every single situation.  What are those huge muscles for?  Pumped up like Greek warriors for no good reason.  All form and no function.  It’s just drag dear!  Those boys can’t fight to save their lives!

If you are coming out today or thinking about it..just remember that you have hidden your true nature for a long, long time.  You may not really have a clue who you are.  All I urge you to do, as best you can, is be true to yourself.

I am in a foul mood, trying to overcome this ghastly malaise that has beset me.

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