Archives for posts with tag: Heterosexuality

Penny Arcade

Gay men in Los Angeles told researchers that they believed a culture that focuses on one-night stands and partying, that emphasizes perfect bodies and good looks, that prizes material possessions, that sees gay men tearing each other down as they compete for attention and that pressures gay men to fit in or conform is bound to create unhappiness, stress and unhealthy behaviors.

The word on the street in gay resort/haven Provincetown?  The straights are coming, they are coming thick and fast, young affluent heterosexuals buying property, renting holiday apartments and day tripping.  I was reassured by a cool, 31-year-old, straight person yesterday that this was the heterosexual ‘tipping point’.  Of course (if true) the reasons are obvious.  The older more affluent crowd of gay men and lesbians who bought affordable homes here twenty years ago are simply not that interesting to a less ghettoized younger gay crowd who go to Fire Island or Mykonos where a good gay thumping time is assured, where they can find an affordable share for the summer… anyway, the drag is so much better the closer you get to NYC.

Provincetown Garden

Young straight men and women who used to actively avoid hanging in gay ghettos… or felt uncomfortable no longer have any reservation.  This, my dears is one of the more unexpected changes that comes with ‘integration’.  Our gay communities, gay clubs and gay bars will dilute as we become more heteronormative.

How do the gays feel about straight people buying into the gay and lesbian ghetto dream?  I hear grumblings from some, but what can they say?  We can’t restrict straight people from joining the party?  Before the great shift, the Obama ‘evolution’, the Blair/Mandleson equality bill I would regularly challenge straight people who came to our clubs and bars, wondering why they were there… if they understood why gays and lesbians created safe spaces for themselves… now apparently we all live in a safe space… together.

If the war is won do we abandon the notion of a safe space, a gay bar, an LGBTQ community? Is that what we were fighting for?  As it turns out, gay men are still living shameful and secretive lives… safely hidden from prying eyes.  No longer behind the blacked out windows of the gay bar but on the internet where we can fully reinvent ourselves as muscle-bound avatars, 10 years younger than we really are.

The gay bar, meanwhile… becomes a themed experience for enlightened neo-liberal heterosexuals.  After all, gay men don’t need to meet one another in real life when we can meet on-line, reducing our interaction before a sexual encounter to the barest possible exchange of relevant facts.  Hung? Looking? Party?

The same heterosexual land grab is happening in the Fire Island Pines gay community.  Straight people are buying and renting homes at a faster rate than gay people. Of course… the truth is, we never really owned the lions share of Fire Island Pines… it was always owned by straight people.  Three heterosexual families who control The Pines real estate market.

In San Francisco‘s iconic gay area The Castro we are facing extinction in our natural habitat, bought out/selling out to silicone valley billions.  What are we left with?  Our sad LGBT ‘pride’ parade: a blinded corporate-sponsored dinosaur serving only the breweries and distilleries, no longer a political defiance… no longer worth a pilgrimage by those newly out yearning to see gays en masse… the gay parade and all it seeks to celebrate merely adds to our woes, confirming the worst about who we have become.

Little Dog

How long will it take for Provincetown to lose its unique identity and become just another Cape Cod town? The Pines,  just another beach community on Fire Island?  How long will it take for our history to be lost, forgotten or ignored by apathetic gay white men who have no interest in those who came before?  The heroes who fought decades of violent oppression, the ‘gay plague’, who demanded equality… how long will it be until their names are erased?

Do you know who they are?  Harvey Milk… and…

The politics of invisibility.

As the quality of our lives collectively ‘improves’, as we ‘integrate’ due to the passing of progressive equality laws why are we still facing a crisis?  Why do gay men continue to struggle with life-threatening health problems at alarmingly high rates compared to straight men — alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Gay and bisexual men are still most impacted by HIV/AIDS and syphilis, they suffer higher rates of substance abuse, they are more likely to drink heavily later into life, and they are more likely to commit suicide and suffer major depression and anxiety and bipolar disorders.

Gay men with mental health problems are more likely to use illegal drugs and commit suicide. Or regularly using drugs and alcohol can lead to risky sexual behavior, which increases the likelihood of getting infected by an STD.

Our health problems, in other words, are feeding into each other, we’re literally killing ourselves through suicide, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS at higher rates than straight men.  Let’s say that again: We are killing ourselves at higher rates than straight men through suicide, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Some gays are quick to point to the stresses of living as a gay man in an overwhelmingly straight world — one that passes anti-gay laws and constantly spews homophobic rhetoric — as a reason for mental health and substance abuse problems. With that argument, they are coming very close to saying that we are powerless victims who have little control over our own lives and choices, that homophobes have more power over us.

That’s a ridiculous notion — lethal and self-defeating.

Since homophobia still exists and is not going away any time soon, the victim theory, if embraced, dooms us to a life of external, homophobic stressors that forces us to drink too much, commit suicide too frequently and get depressed too often.

The quote is from the LA Weekly.  You can read it HERE.

 

IMG_5214

I thought I might write about marriage equality today.  Marriage, fidelity and misogyny.  I may write about that tomorrow.  Instead, I’m going to post some boy pics, something from the garden and tell you all about meeting my long lost lesbian sister.

Yes.  My little sister has turned up.  Of course I knew about her.  I had been told about her.  Perhaps Natalie or Jessica or Rebecca told me… I can’t remember.  All the stories I heard about my father have melded into one.  From one sisters mouth.  All the stories about him spewed out of one mouth.  So, I knew about Roya and finally she revealed herself.

She has lived with her girl friend for the past three years.  She doesn’t drink much.  She can speak Farsi.  She came out when she was 11.  She has a sweet voice.  Her mother was a singer in one of the clubs my father owned.  She is perhaps the most forthcoming and inquisitive of all my siblings.  She doesn’t like being called a dyke.  She’s a lesbian.  She insisted that my brother James tidy our father’s grave and replace the headstone.  She told me that I had a small inheritance.  She told me that my father had mentioned me to her mother.  That was the sweetest gift of all.  That he spoke about me to someone he cared about.  That he remembered.

So all the other stuff, the gay marriage stuff that haunted yesterdays news… well, I had my own gay news and she was it.

Of course there was the usual vitriol about anyone who doesn’t agree with SCOTUS from the gays… and I took time to placate my rabid gay brethren and remind them that the way we treat the vanquished will determine our victory.

The day of the decision I took myself down to Weho with the dogs to watch the crowd.  Everyone looked very happy, quietly jubilant. Sort of fatigued. You know, after a fight is over.

Now what?  The war is won.  American gays will have to work out what it all means… this equality.   They have redefined marriage, will they redefine morals?  Will they mock the single man like straight people do?

For those of us who are single we enjoy the peace of mind that being single affords us.

I urge you not confuse single for lonely… or lonely for single.

Int 2

Occasional unfinished notes on becoming Queer.

There’s a difference between gay and queer.  Just like there’s a difference between chocolate and carob.  It looks the same, and used the same but tastes completely different.

Queer: sexual minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary

The older I get… the queerer I become.

I’m not even sure what it means.  But I’m sure that gay no longer describes what I am.

I am not a married drone operator living with my husband and three surrogate children who secretly wishes he could vote republican… and did… once… because nobody was watching.

Nope.  I’m not that and I’m not headed in that direction.

I remain teachable.  My wagon remains unhitched.

Listen, I’ve got a secret I want to share with you.  One I don’t think I’m meant to be sharing.  A secret that might very well discredit my public shift away from gay toward queer as my description of choice.

My description of me.

I feel so let down, betrayed, dishonoured by gay men.  Yes… you.

One day in early December this year I will write the genesis of my change.

This intellectual menopause.  This change.  This perestroika.

Remember:  from the very first play, to the very last film I have sought to make entertainment that re-examined, revealed, remade the gay experience.

I have won endless awards doing so.

My crowning moment was being nominated for a British Academy Award.

Betrayed:

I was used to being told by straight people that if I wanted a career I should stop telling gay stories.

I was not expecting this:  Gay people told me the same thing.  In fact, they (with vehemence)  told anyone talented and gay to live the lifestyle but don’t expect to tell stories about it.

They said,  “You don’t want all your hard work… marginalized.”

They said, “You don’t want to miss out on the big bucks.  You don’t want to end up like Derek Jarman?  Do you?”

My heart sank.  That’s exactly what I wanted.  Back then.  When I relished telling people I was gay.

Derek Jarman.  He was the only film maker I thought worth aspiring too.  That’s how it was back then.  1985.

So, I found him.  Sought him out.

We met on The South Bank in the shadow of the Royal National Theatre.   Denys Lasdun‘s great, neo-brutalist monolith

We sat outside overlooking the Thames.  Gray clouds scudding over the greatest city in the whole world.

Gusts of cold grit blown over us.

He bought two cups of badly stewed tea served in thick Styrofoam cups.

I handed him the Caravaggio catalogue I had bought after seeing the show at the Met in NYC.

“How can I help?”  He asked.

I said, “I want to make a film.”  I was embarrassed.  I was star struck.

He said, “You will. But, you want my advice?  Remember this: Never take no for an answer.”

We talked about Tilda Swinton who nobody really knew back then.

He told me about a young tousled man he met in the street.  A builder.  The builder came up to him on Shaftesbury Avenue and said, “You’re that gay film maker, aren’t you.”

Well, he expected the worst.  It wouldn’t be the first time he had been beaten by a stranger but he looked him in the eye, straight in the eye and said, “Yes I am.”

Ten minutes later the beautiful young man was naked, towering over him.  Blowing a load.

That’s a queer story.  It’s not gay.  For a start, a gay wouldn’t have told the truth.

Secondly, a gay would have been too scared to take a big straight acting blue-collar worker back to his prissy apartment.

The gays.  God.  You were right.  It wasn’t worth it.  Making those plays, those movies.

Yet, I’m still here.  Sitting in my huge bed in California.

Good taste and tenacity will always make you enough money to enjoy a great life.  Where ever it may take you.

The gays betray each other.  They have no respect for themselves or each other.  Perhaps it was me?  Perhaps I had unrealistic expectations.  You know, mutual respect, support, honor?

I remain curious.  Even though I am sure of what I am.

P.S.  Tilda Swinton saw my film AKA at Sundance.

My agent threw a party for her and me in some crazy restaurant.

We talked a great deal about Derek that night.

He was right.  I never took no for an answer.

I begged and I borrowed and I stole to make a moment in my life that no one can ever take away from me.

Not even the gays.

Carpenter NYC 21

In the separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of the Huffington Post yesterday there was another ‘outraged’ homo article about the Pentagon censuring  LGBT web sites like Towelroad but not ‘hate speak’ web sites Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter.

The Pentagon, like many large companies that control internet access, have deemed that LGBT sites are mostly inappropriate for work place viewing.

Why?  The gays scream.  Why do you censor us and not Rush Limbaugh?

A quick comparison.

Rush and Anne, although not my personal cup of tea, do not illustrate their ‘hate speak’ web sites with images of copulating straight people.

In hetero land hard core pornographic images are rightly limited to porn sites.

In homo land we are subjected to random pornographic illustrations (or advertising) on sites purportedly aimed at debating current queer affairs.  Images that I would not want to share with my co-workers.

Today, in the reputable queer news site Towelroad, well written articles about Bradley Manning run along side a pornographically illustrated story about the death of a gay porn star.

Interestingly, the porn star died of HIV related complications.

Something that supposedly doesn’t happen any more.

Even though every recent statistic sadly proves that HIV is on the meteoric rise in the bare back obsessed gay community… to say so out loud is deemed homophobic/selfloathing.

As for hate speak?  Have any of you read the hate filled rhetoric on most homo web sites… aimed mostly at other gay men?

As I have written many times:  queer men willingly take up the cudgels to beat and bully fellow queers where their supposed hetero persecutors dropped them.

BTW Gays…  a differing opinion is not hate speak.

The separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of The Huffington Post is filled with either outraged queens claiming homophobia or cooing doves describing a gay kiss on net work TV.

A reflection on the vapid, with us or agin us culture so many of you subscribe to.

As usual we refuse to look at our part in the problem. We claim:  They are doing it to us.  They are to blame.  We are blameless.  We do not deserve scrutiny or self-examination.

The Elmo guy is not a pedophile.  He’s a persecuted, misunderstood gay man hounded by the straight media.

In the separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of the Huffington Post there is a story about an angry ex ‘gay for pay’ porn star who claims that the devil comes out of his ass.

Why?  Why is this story about straight insanity in the ‘gay voice’ section?  Surely it should be on the ‘crazy white hetero’ page along with all those crazy white, straight mass murderers.

By the way, I’ve never understood why it isn’t ok to be ‘separate but equal’, sometimes it’s just easier.

Like being a Hasidic Jew, I want to be separate so I can get on with my business and enjoy my culture without prying eyes.

Of course I need to be equal, however, so I don’t live in resentment.

As a charming postscript I wanted you to know that after my ‘i am not gay piece’ the other day, the gay and lesbian Legacy Project contacted me and as a result my films will not be burned by jack booted gay men… but all of my queer themed films will now be archived (with pride) at The Legacy Project.

As for the film I am currently making?  Let me tell you.  We have come a long way in 20 years.  A very long way.

When a black straight producer wants to make your white queer film… that’s what I’m talking about.

I always assume that anyone I meet is gay, the same way straight people assume (unless a flaming queen) every man they meet is straight.  Consequently most straight men I meet are perplexed at the sort of small talk I make with them.  Last week for instance someone mentioned that he was meeting his fiance and I said, “He’s a lucky guy to be marrying you.” This caused him to nearly drop his wine glass.  He spluttered nervously that he was straight.  “Oh!” I said as he dabbed at dribbled wine over his jacket.  “What a waste.”

Now, I am NOT the sort of man who thinks every man I meet is gay but I must always assume that he is until told otherwise.  It’s the only way these men are going to learn how to be inclusive.

Another funny example: two men having lunch with their small dog.  As they were leaving I asked them about their dog and mentioned how, in my opinion, a dog really improves a relationship…were they thinking about having children?  They looked increasingly horrified as they realised that I thought that they were a couple.  They said, “Oh, we’re not gay.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We’re straight.”

The reaction always amuses me.  Men are still insulted by the insinuation that they might be gay.   Pathetic.

Update on Irene the mad woman from Hawaii.  Last night she informed me that she had called the Lost Hills Police Department reporting me as a terrorist.  I am assuming because my father was Persian?  Anyway, so far Homeland Security have not interviewed me about this and I imagine that they won’t be any time soon.

Why doesn’t she just go to small claims court?

Anyway, she is reporting me to the IRS, the California Governor etc. etc.  To Irene I am a regular Bernie Madoff.

The bottom line:  even if I wanted to benevolently return the money she says is owed to her she has caused such internet havoc and destruction I simply can’t.  I am not going to.  She thinks that her internet attacks on me are somehow going to force my hand.  What she simply cannot comprehend is the following fact about me:  I do not care about my ‘reputation’.  As I mentioned to her last night during one of her frenzied email bombardments the worst has already been said about me, nothing that she says is either new or bothers me.

Finally, last night, her gay friend sent me an odious email mocking my cancer scare.   All for $800?  They want me dead for $800?

Great morning at therapy today.  Wonderful.  I am in very good spirits.  mainly because I don’t have a blood sucking fame whore at my tit sucking the life out of me.  Oh, it’s 4pm on the east coast, he is probably already stoned, on web cam showing off his only asset.

The most annoying thing about Jake is that before meeting him that cold January afternoon in the East Village I had a meeting with agent David Vigliano who was really interested in working with me.  Jake called him Vig the pig.

I have a GREAT idea.  Irene you should call him, perhaps he’ll offer you and your friend a book deal.

Never assume men are straight until they tell you categorically that they are.

It just isn’t worth it.

My Mother

Breakfast with John this morning at Cecconi’s.  We ate oatmeal, which is American for porridge.  Actually just milled oats with hot milk rather than the creamy, steaming, slow cooked porridge of my youth.   Served this morning-like a desert-with strawberry jam!  Yuk.

I was telling him about the long relationships that I have had with women.  I have always identified as gay but recently, after rehab and therapy I am coming to other conclusions.  Gayish maybe.  I don’t know.  ‘It’s complicated’ as they say on Facebook.

My relationships with women, as with Jennie on the show, have always been incredible romances.

I have loved women more than I ever loved me.

That was a Freudian slip.  I meant to write men.  But it’s true; I have always loved women more than men or me.

The woman that I have loved the most have been highly intelligent, powerfully articulate, always incredibly beautiful and sexually submissive.   The most recent being the editor of a highly regarded magazine.  I refer to all my past female lovers as my ex wives.

To understand these relationships I’d best explain the relationship I had with my mother.

My relationship with my mother was intensely emotional.  Remember, she too was held hostage in our ‘family’ by my violent step-father.  Consequently, I became her escape, her confidant, her secret affair.  On the bus to Canterbury I said, “I’m not your boyfriend!”  For the remainder of the journey we both sat in silence, shocked that I had articulated what had, until that moment, been our terrible secret. I was 12 years old!  In lieu of a loving husband or a loving father we loved each other absolutely, unswervingly.  She would confide in me, when we were on our own, that there was only us, no one else existed.  Just her and me.  That if she could she would run away with me.  This emotional incest laid the groundwork for the intensity I seek out with women.

Sexual violence I seek from men. I always find it.

Even though I have had long relationships with men, I devalue these relationships when I compare them to the relationships that I have had with women.

The truth is my mother and I never escaped.  She stayed married to my step father and endured his constant punishment.  I escaped into madness and addiction.

I still find it very difficult to forgive her.  She is a sweet and simple woman who really did her best to make a terrible life better for all of us.  However, knowing what I know now would it have been so terribly hard for her to put my brothers and I onto the bus and somehow get away?

I don’t believe that all gay men are born gay.

I know that this thinking sets me at odds with the majority of the gay community and many, many straight men.  Saying that, I don’t believe that there is a cure for homosexuality – as once the dye is cast our sexuality seems inevitable.

There is no evidence that gay to straight rewiring or reorientation actually works.

However, gay men who live with and marry women are of course far more prevalent than we like to admit.  But should these relationships be discounted?  Both Oscar Wilde and Vita Sackville-West had incredibly loving relationships with both their spouse and a member of the same sex.  Indeed, Oscar’s love letters to his wife are as beautiful and compelling, if not more so, than his letters to his male lover.  Vita’s profound love for her husband provided a springboard from which she would leap into a previously unimagined same sex world.

Again, in my experience of having relationships with women, women were far more accepting of my behavior than one would like to believe and tended to stick by me even after multiple same sex indiscretions.   When I have had relationships with women, women who knew that I had preferences for men, they tended to overlook the past and focus on a future that we might share together.

Most gay men who identify as gay are born gay.  However, a few men (and I count myself among them) are sexualized at an early age.   I am plagued with this question:  If I had not been so badly abused as an infant would I have become gay?

There are many varieties of gay.

Men who own to same sex desires later on in life endure accusations that they were merely in denial: minimizing their life’s journey.

Mother in Malibu garden

The group of men who seem to cause the most distress to both straight and gay men are those who genuinely seem to have sexual choice and act accordingly.    Same sex experimentation amongst straight men, despite rowdy protestations, occurs more frequently that any of us like to acknowledge.

As I have written before we, as a society, are incredibly prescriptive about the sexual identification of others.    Supposedly, once a man has crossed the sexual Rubicon he is damned.   Bullshit.  If only these sexual prescribers applied the same rational to female sexuality.   But how can they?  When straight men persuade women to act out lesbian fantasies have these women now become forever lesbians at the behest of heterosexual men?

All of my work as an artist has sought to understand, rework and revisit my initial trauma.  This now feels, after therapy, like a terrible indulgence.  Yet, to let it go..what am I left with?  The future seems very bleak without this grotesque narrative.

PS  My mother visited me after my grandmother died. It was uncomfortable for both of us but we got though it.  When the big dog was killed I called her crying but I felt like I was crying to a woman I no longer knew.

In the words of Tennessee Williams: Time is the greatest distance between two people.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,094 other followers