Archives for posts with tag: Peter Tatchell

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Tuesday,  a woman I know sent me a revolting picture of a skinned, live puppy attempting to escape a pot of boiling water.

The following email I opened that day was from a friend telling me that the young Olympiad Tom Daley was dating Dustin Lance Black.

The similarities between these two emails far outweigh the differences.

Black, known to his friends simply as Lance has been around my life as long as we have both been making gay films.  Despite how we have been described, Lance and I are NOT friends. Never have been, never will be.

Recently, Lance’s films have fallen by the wayside. His famous friends and perfect Hollywood pedigree can not augment his startling lack of talent.  Despite the luxury of many recuts his film Virginia remains almost unwatchable.  One of his producers told me that Lance cannot and should not direct.

He claims that he loves my British Academy Award nominated film AKA.   Yet, for all his ‘love’ of my work… he and me have never really connected.  I’m not… a) a young blonde boy,  b) a Hollywood grandee,  c) interested.

Like so many gay men in Hollywood he is ruthlessly ambitious.

Lance Black (born to the Morman faith) is an affluent, white, gay man.  I stress this because it defines who he is as a so-called gay activist.

We see each other at gay apartheid (white only) parties in the Hollywood Hills.  I am usually the plus one.

He lives in a nice house on Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood.  It is sparsely decorated.  For all his riches Lance lives a frugal life.  One might say the house lacks imagination which is odd for such an imaginative man.   One of the bedrooms in his humble home is reserved for the two surrogate children he is planning in his not so distant future.

The only fly in the ointment?  He will not have children unless married.  Sadly, his seeming inability (like so many gay men in Hollywood) to keep just one man, a man to marry… the bassinets remain empty.   He is drawn predominantly to much younger gay men.   The subject of child rearing, when discussed, often leads to amicable separation.

It seems that Lance may have found in Tom Daley a young man he can marry who shares his desire for an immediate family.  Let’s wish him all the best and that child-birth comes quickly… he doesn’t want to be an old dad, too old to play football with his young child.

Lance’s pre occupation with a nuclear family is at odds with how I would determine an activist.  But Lance is no ordinary activist.  He passionately wants for all gays to perfectly ape what heterosexuals seem to have.  Nothing less than full integration will do.  He fights vehemently for the gays to participate in the traditionally right-wing institutions of marriage and the military.

He hangs primarily with a gang of affluent white men who share similar mores.

Gay activists like Lance Black were quick to blame California’s African-American voters for the defeat of Proposition 8, the anti gay marriage amendment.  People for the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert, criticized “the speed with which some white gay activists began blaming African Americans—sometimes in appallingly racist ways.”

Black is wedded to right-wing gay organization the HRC who once famously refused to support the rights of trans people then issued a groveling apology.  Not learning from their white gay mistakes the HRC recently silenced the voices of trans and queer undocumented activists outside the Supreme Court during the DOMA Supreme Court decision, again… apologizing after the fact.

The gays at the HRC, it seems,  have a very narrow view of sexuality. The LGBTQ coalition leaves many affluent, white gay men feeling uneasy and confused.   Unsurprisingly, like so many gay men, Lance questions the legitimacy of bisexuality.  A nettle the gays prefer not to grasp…

Read more about the dark practices of the HRC here.

“In recent years, HRC has been working to contradict its former reputation as an organization overly focused on issues of concern to affluent white gay men, combating long-simmering charges of transphobia within the organization.”

When Lance first started calling himself an activist and regularly going to Washington to meet President Obama I bumped into him at Cafe Solar de Cahuenga on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood.  Solar is a tatty south American coffee shop/restaurant popular amongst young actors and writers within sight and sound of the busy 101 Freeway.

I praised him for his film Milk which he valiantly produced and won an Oscar for writing.  I didn’t ask him about the controversy whirling around the gay gossip vortex in which we are both hapless victims.

Amongst the back stabbing gays his success and authenticity were being questioned.

Hadn’t he stolen the Milk project from another gay producer?  Did he in fact write the script that won him the Oscar?  Some people said that Ron Nyswaner had in fact written the final script that Gus shot?   The gays told me that he took his Oscar everywhere.  That he couldn’t put it down.  They scoffed that he used his power and prestige within the gay community to snare impressionable young boys.   They said that he should have been wearing a condom when he was fucking his ‘boyfriend’ in the infamous shots of Lance with a cock in his ass… if he was at all interested in being an ‘activist’ he should have been wearing a condom.  They said that he should practice what he preached.  They said that the original documentary about Harvey Milk was far better than the film.

Harvey Milk made Lance Black famous.  What Milk would have made of Black personally… I wonder.  What Black would have thought of Milk if he had met him contemporaneously… I wonder.  Milk was a charismatic, bombastic, driven, older jewish man.  Lance channels Milk’s political inclusivity when he claims that all he wants to do is ‘give people hope’, this wholesale appropriation of Milk’s legacy… sticks somewhat in the caw.

Lance hangs with Milk’s contemporary and true activist Cleve Jones.   Lance riding Cleve’s activist coat tails?  Cleve seduced by Hollywood glamour?

What kind of political activist is Dustin Lance Black?

Whilst whistle blower and trans hero Pvt. Chelsea Manning rots in jail, ‘activist’ Lance Black lead the ‘human rights’ charge on The Castro for San Francisco Pride.   SF Pride chose to controversially exclude Manning from the official Pride demonstration in fear of upsetting Pride’s corporate donors.

Back in Hollywood, Lance sits writing on his own in the middle of the coffee shop sipping green tea.  Everyone could see him there.  We talked about British equality legislation fashioned by Waheed Ali.  I told Lance about British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.  He seemed enthralled by Peter’s unique brand of direct action so I organized an introduction.  When the time came for him to meet with Peter… Lance bailed.

I sent a dismissive note.

We didn’t speak again until he started dating a dear friend of mine who was at that time living at my home.

My friend is perhaps one of the sweetest man I know.  Kind, considerate, thoughtful, intelligent, curious and recently out of the closet.  In fact, history repeating itself, my friend came out for Lance.  My friend made the first move.

Knowing that my friend was falling for Lance I tried to stay as impartial as I possibly could.  It didn’t last long.  I was furious.  I was supportive and kind for as long as I could be.  I asked Lance over to the house for his new boyfriend’s birthday lunch.  Lance bailed.

During the next few months of their relationship I watched my friend fall apart.  My friend started therapy.  He was torn and confused and miserable.

At one particular gay pool party Lance rudely left without telling my dear sweet friend that he was leaving. Lance ended up at another Hollywood party, at Roland Emerich’s surrounded by more young boys.

My friend was distraught.

Thankfully, when Lance took my friend to The White House he didn’t bail.  They ran around with Don Lemons stealing Christmas cookies.  They had access all areas.  They hung in the Oval office.  My friend was delighted to see history being made… for affluent white gay people.

I maintained my impartiality.

I have no opinion about Lance and Tom.  Sadly, others do.

Tom Daley is being scolded in the bully chat rooms by the petit bourgeois gays for ‘making the first move’ as if his teenage innocence and delight can be construed as a devious attempt at star fucking.

The British public love Tom Daley and they will not let him get hurt or tangled in anything other than a relationship they deem appropriate.  For the time being they will give Lance Black the benefit of the doubt. I am sure that the British press will keep tabs on Lance.  If he thinks for one gay moment that he can get away with any duplicitous behavior around Tom Daley… he had better think again.

The problem is:  no one expects gay men to have morals, or stick to the rules.  Gay white affluent man have written their own rules and nobody dares question them.  They have become a super elite, their access to the world stage unparalleled.  But with wider acceptability comes broader scrutiny.

Elton John once said in front of me, “10 gay men run the world… and I know all of them.”

Tom Daley is a beloved young British boy.  We may begin to see this corrupt, elite gay world through his teenage eyes.  It is a shadowy world of sexual un-manageability, pedophilia and other unsavory obsessions.

It is not what the elite gays want you to know,  whilst they paint a public picture of themselves that makes them seem… just like you.

Fire Island Pines

The thrupple, along with the cult of Daddy, was a recurring theme throughout the summer.

Three men glued into a happy relationship, usually two older and a younger man working out the sort of relationship most people (straight and gay) might find not only convenient but also very rewarding.

My friend W met and fell for a couple he met on Fire Island and they have since become a thrupple.   I like the word… don’t you?  It’s as easy on the lips as wimple, one of my favorite words.

Robert arrived from London with his two boyfriends.  My friend Fernando lives with two men in one large bed in LA.  This, of course, is not a new phenomenon.  Derek Jarman introduced me to three beautiful boys who lived on Shaftesbury Avenue in the early 80’s.   I was entranced.

I find a relationship with one person nearly impossible, the idea of loving two men… well.

That’s just greedy isn’t it?

The cult of Daddy suits me just fine.  The older man mentoring and investing in a younger man seems to have a superb historical provenance.

“He’s a semi gay, he needs my help to open a gym on Long Island.  He’s very happy to see me and spend time with his girl friend.”

The big winners in this recent gay perestroika have been bi sexual and more sexually fluid folk.  Curiosities become realities.  The beginning of a seismic social shift in this country.

One the ‘other side’ is desperate to quash.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

This sexual revolution, because that is what it truly is, is not allied to any left-wing or socialist principle like it is in Europe.  There is an American entitlement and arrogance built into the process.

‘I can have what I want when I want it.  If they are getting something good… I want it too.’

The gay white, male lifestyle with its glamour, easy money, few rules of conduct, social mobility etc. is very alluring to many young heterosexual men.  Especially for the poor, the disenfranchised and the beautiful.

We have learned to communicate with them and without the veil of shame or potential violence in tow they have come to us for advice and succour.

Straight women rarely compliment men.  They never tell them they are good-looking, that what they are wearing is attractive, that they recognize the effort men have gone to.

Gay men are good at complimenting straight men.

They blush like girls.  It’s only a moment, it seems, before a blush turns into something hot and heavy.  If only for a moment.

The political conversation has shifted for thinking gays in the USA.  Conservative organizations like the HRC lead by the lamentable Chad Griffin are forced to become more radical.  They have achieved their wish for some partial, piecemeal marriage equality.  Though the legislation is hardly a road map to equality for all Americans.

Women and black people are still second class citizens in the USA.

At dinner last night, three gay men and three lesbians.  Between them they could not identify one female leader of industry.  They could not identify one black leader of industry.  The CEO of Yahoo was the closet we got.

The only other woman to be mentioned within this context was Martha Stuart but the very mention of her name unleashed a torrent of misogynistic vitriol from an older gay man.

I got to thinking about the Third Reich, we were discussing Yom Kippur, we were discussing the Germans.  We were discussing  the gays in the concentration camps and it suddenly dawned on me.  The answer to a question that had been bugging me for decades: How were there so many gay men in the SS yet the camps were full of gays and lesbians?

Of course, we are seeing the same thing now.  An elite corp of rich, white gay men with profoundly right-wing values who would gladly imprison people like me with radical, left-wing ideas.

The concentration camps were full of undesirable gays.  The trannies, the butch dykes, the trouble makers who didn’t see things Hitler’s way.

No wonder the trans community are fighting particularly hard to be recognized, respected and their freedom to be acknowledged.  Yet, unsprisingly there is a push back from the elite white gay men… as if the trans are spoiling the party.

Remember as you celebrate your so called equality… it is still possible to be fired from your job  for being a gay or lesbian if you live in one of 35 states.  In 45 states you can be fired for being a transsexual or by redefining your gender or simply wearing clothes that are generally supposed to be worn by the opposite sex.

The elite white gays are not interested in trans people, black people (unless used as sex toys), women, poor people or inclusivity.

The moment they achieved some sort of parity they turned their backs on the coalition of outsiders who had helped them achieve their equality aims.

My idea of hell:  A White Gay President.

Last night we cooked dinner, we ate pork.  We walked to the tea dance.

Later, I looked on-line to see what was going on.  I lay in bed I wondered how long it would take for the right wing gay elite to look upon the left wing noisy gays… the anti establishment truth tellers as undesirables and start freezing them out.  Throwing them into jail, silencing them?   Like they did to Peter Tatchell in the UK.

My guess is, this is already happening… my guess is… this is happening to me.

 

Yasmin Nair: Gay marriage, as framed in the United States, is the ultimate neoliberal fantasy, in that it allows for a politics of the personal to masquerade as a necessity for policy change. In the process, it serves to distract us from the very real issues facing millions of U.S. citizens and residents.

Yesterday the President of the United States, leader of the free and democratic world let a middle-aged black woman from network TV know his personal opinion of…what they call here in the USA (divisively call) same-sex or gay marriage.

Languorous platitudes.

For many gays just listening to the President say gay and lesbian and marriage and agree in the same sentence was enough to have them wildly screaming with joy. Heading to their local bar and ordering martinis and Brazilian wax jobs…

You know, I’m an old fart, I’ve heard many politicians from all manner of countries embrace their gay electorate. The ones I remember best are Paul Keating in Australia who gave an impassioned speech about anti-vilification and inclusivity (made me cry) and of course Tony Blair who charged Waheed (Ali) with his far-reaching UK gay equality bill. (did not make me cry)

It seemed to us, during the grim Thatcher years, that gay rights would never materialize…that we were not welcome in our own country…but I put my faith in activists like Peter Tatchell who steadfastly turned up outside the homes of homophobes, the offices of homophobic organizations, held incendiary Outrage! placards, got arrested and generally caused trouble where ever he could so that our enemy never felt like they could get away with discriminatory behavior.

The gay elite sneered at Peter. They hated him for his trouble making, they called him insane, they denigrated his direct action. Recently, Elton John famously said that he was scared of Peter Tatchell but now (decades later) understands how important people like Peter are.

Peter is a national treasure, brain-damaged from repeated police beatings, poor from dedicating himself to our equality…thankfully he has been embraced by the same elite who once scoffed at his anarchic antics.

He taught me: never accept anything a politician says at face value.

So, when President Obama, flagging in popularity amongst his own, wants a boost? There we are…the convenient truth.

Today, I managed to incite the ire of my friends and foes alike by sneering at President Obama’s ill-judged and badly timed personal opinion about marriage equality.

The day after the 39th state in the union denounced same sex marriage and civil unions…North Carolina…he decides to ‘bravely’ come out for the gays.

Not everyone bought the president’s evolution.

“Waiting until AFTER the vote that divested NC’s gays of their constitutional /civil rights to speak for marriage equality is cowardly NOT heroic.” Roseanne Barr

Either POTUS had been forced into sharing his opinion by VP Joe Biden who declared his support for marriage equality a day or so earlier…or the entire fiasco had been manufactured by David Axelrod so President Obama could finally reclaim and re-energize his base.
“The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction– beyond that.” Joe Biden

Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the scenario had been planned.

The President merely said what any intelligent, liberal, modern man in his position must have thought for some time. I doubt whether his position had ‘evolved’. All that had ‘evolved’ was the moment his pro gay position could be revealed for maximum impact.

He was described as ‘brave’ his decision as ‘risky’ and his few words as ‘historical’. The interview applauded by gay groups and liberal straights alike.

Today, yesterday, I engaged in heated debates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, famously pissing off Jesse Tyler Fergusonwho appeared last night on Piers Morgan gushing over the president like a Thai hooker.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson@jessetyler

@duncaninla change takes time. It’s impossible to please everyone. Especially those who make it impossible to please.

Within minutes of the president’s pronouncement his liberal apotheosis began.

I was bombarded with fund raising requests from organizations like the HRC who shamelessly picked over the bones of the ‘unexpected’ Presidential LGBT patronage. The Obama ‘evolution’ will net millions for his campaign from traditionally very generous LGBT donors.

The gays reacted with unbridled and unquestioning enthusiasm, as a community we seem addicted to good news and paternalistic validation.

Upon hearing the Obamamessiah’s announcement Andrew Sullivan, the gay pundit had ‘tears in his eyes’. President Obama, according to Sullivan, has ‘let go of fear’. In Sullivan’s sentimental one issue world he succumbs, finally to the President’s change he could believe in.

Sullivan guesses that Obama has owned his blackness is the same way we must own our gayness. (I had tears in my eyes when I read that)

Andrew Sullivan gushes along side our friend Jesse Ferguson: The President’s endorsement will make young gays feel better about themselves, gay parents will know their kids have a place in the USA. In Sullivan’s exciting new world of Presidential fearlessness there’s a great deal of…expectation…I hope he isn’t disappointed.

Unless…of course, you’re the parents of children killed in drone attacks in northern Afghanistan…or find yourself out of a home or a job because the President is still fearful of the banks and his own military.

I found myself wondering what young straight people were thinking. Those who have supported the abstract notion of marriage equality but now peer at it cautiously…startled by the Presidential candor…like it’s a real issue and not something they have patiently listened to their gay friends bang on about.

Straight people might agree in principle with marriage equality but when ever we find this issue on the ballot…we lose.

Black voters, led by black churches, have played key roles in blocking same-sex marriage in states like California, where 2008 exit polls indicated about 70 percent black opposition, and Maryland, where black Democrats were part of a statehouse coalition that stalled a gay marriage bill in 2011.

Which brings me to this: The nub, the thorny question of style.

I have never liked the word marriage. It is steeped in heterosexual tradition.

I have never felt like I wanted to own this non secular word. It has nothing to do with me or the language and traditions of the gay life I evolved along side other men and women if the UK.

Yasmin Nair: “The fight for gay marriage, in granting that institution so much importance, is slowly eroding the possibility that the rest of the population might get rights and benefits without marrying each other. The fight over gay marriage has emerged as a progressive cause that all progressive straights should join when, in fact, it’s a deeply conservative movement that strips our movement of any imagination. Instead of asking for one way to grant rights and benefits, we ought to be advocating for a multiplicity of options.”

It is my understanding that when Waheed Ali was given the choice…he chose (after consultation) civil union as the way forward for British Gays and Lesbians. Now, 15 years later, those words are once again being re-evaluated. British gays are demanding the word marriage. Not my choice but, thankfully, they are fighting from a position of power.

Their equal rights already assured the word marriage is merely the icing on the equality cake…nor thankfully are the LGBT community in the UK hankering for the Queen to validate their position.

Once upon a time Civil Unions were mooted then tentatively offered to the LGBT community here in the USA but…they turned them down flat.

Even George W Bush thought Civil Unions a good idea. The LGBT community said they were not prepared to be separate but equal yet in the same breath tried convincing the skeptical that incremental baby steps toward marriage equality was the only way.

Civil Union might have been a great baby step…no?

Now, even Civil Unions are being outlawed for gay people. Since Bush left office the right wing has become insanely entrenched, enraged, intractable….and unbelievably…more right wing.

Later, in the ‘historic’ interview President Obama made it clear what he considered important elements of a marriage: Commitment and monogamy. I nearly choked. So many of my gay friends do not rate monogamy highly on their list of per-requisites for a good gay marriage.

We are entering uncharted moral territory.

Yesterday, my educated American friends were baffled and confused when I said: Capitalism discovered that the LGBT community was generally well educated and affluent…and could be bought.

It is indeed a very interesting time to be gay in the USA. However, I’d like to see less simpering, fewer baby steps and more activism. Less cowardice and ass bleaching and more brave souls willing to be arrested and stand up for the rights they expect others to win for them.

What we do with this presidential approval is up to us.

The only time I have ever felt proud of American gays in my life time was when prop 8 was ratified. The people took to the streets, they ensnared the traffic of Los Angeles, stormed Mormon churches and caused mayhem in the city.

It was a night to be proud to be gay and I urge you all to remember the anger you felt that night because you must feel that anger every night until you are equal in every way.

Jeanne Cordova: “At the time, selling out our radical underpinnings made me very sad. We egg-throwers had to morph into omelet makers. Unhappily, I was left with the realization that all social movements start with radical ideology, but unless they progress to a blood and guts revolution, like a socialist overthrow, movements must inevitably adopt a civil rights and assimilationist stance or die out.”

Just a quick note about the repeal of DADT:

This gay male ain’t impressed. Like everything Obama does the goodwill gets lost in the detail.

I am not holding my breath for better treatment for gays in the military.

Of course DADT was absurd but repealing it does nothing when you get to thinking about the real and immediate problem for gay men and women in the USA:   The Christian Right hates us (along with the devout Muslim and the Orthodox Jew)  and would like us to self destruct in a cloud of holy vapor.

With the advent of fascist Palin and her ilk…who intellectuals love to laugh at as the German intellectuals did at Hitler…laws like this can be very easily repealed.  For Goodness sake, they are already discussing separate dorms for gays!

Now, let’s start talking about the real issue: legal parity, matrimonial parity and stop gawping over the death of a ridiculous law that affected a tiny number of men and women compared to DOMA which affects us all.

There’s something else, something I always forget to write:

The gays and the lesbians ain’t going anywhere.

We ain’t asking and you ain’t telling.

You murderous, repellent christian/muslim/jewish folks can kill every black man, every white man, every asian, every jew, every muslim, every christian, every aboriginal…but as long as there are humans on the earth we will be there too.

Get used to it!  Get fucking used to it!

We are your children and your grand children.  You can hunt us down and kill every one of us but tomorrow another gay will be born.

It is God’s Will you crazy Christian/Muslim/Jewish Cunts..it’s God’s fucking will.

As for the gays…

Parity, unity and now.

Get off your fat, lazy, complacent asses gay America and start breaking windows until you achieve equality.   Stop relying on bloated lawyers to fight unwinnable cases.  Do SOMETHING!!!  Do it NOW!!!

I know you won’t.  There’s a boy you’ve seen on Manhunt..a martini waiting for you at the bar…weights to lift at the gym.

I live in the USA. I am appalled by the lack of political initiative that gay people take or are engaged in.

Frankly this DADT repeal is small cheese.   American gay and lesbian equality is leagues behind the rest of the developed world because they refuse to engage in direct action.   They refuse to seen to have an opinion…refuse to fight in any meaningful way and, just as Obama attempted to engage with the Christian right with his ill fated consensus politics..reaching out to his adversary, the gays have their agenda prescribed by their homophobic enemies rather than doing what government hates most: insurrection.

Governments hate their own people on the street demanding to be heard.

Gay men especially still live in a great deal of  fear.

Look at the way radical British gay human rights activist Peter Tatchell fought hard and visibly for all to see, worked in tandem with Stonewall lobby type groups and allowed the oppressed a voice in the streets.

In America we are regularly stoned, beaten, insulted and killed.  It is time to fight back, it is time to be heard and a smidgeon of compassion is simply not good enough.

The 21 December is the fifth anniversary of the first civil partnership ceremonies in England.

This was a breakthrough moment in legal equality and social acceptance for same-sex couples.

Some same-sex couples  do not want marriage.  They are happy with civil partnerships.

We respect their feelings. But other lesbian and gay couples would like to get married. It is the universally recognised system of love and commitment.

I sympathise with heterosexual couples who don’t like the patriarchal history of marriage and the idea of being called husband and wife.  They would rather have a civil partnership instead.  The law should give them that option.

Peter Tatchell is coordinator of the Equal Love campaign – www.equalove.org.uk – which seeks to end sexual orientation discrimination in civil marriage and civil partnership law.

“Over the last two months, four same-sex couples were refused marriage licenses at register offices in Greenwich, Northampton and Petersfield. During the same period, four heterosexual couples were turned away when they applied for civil partnerships in Islington, Camden, Bristol and Aldershot,” said Mr Tatchell.

“All eight couples received letters of refusal from their register offices. We are using these rejection letters to challenge the exclusion of gay couples from civil marriage and the denial of civil partnerships to straight couples. Since there is no difference in the rights and responsibilities involved in gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships, there is no justification for having two mutually exclusive and discriminatory systems.

“Banning black couples from getting married would provoke uproar. The prohibition on gay marriages should arouse similar outrage.

“The ban on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships is a form of legal sexual apartheid – one law for gay couples and another law for heterosexual partners. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

“In a democratic society, we should all be equal before the law.

“Everyone should have a choice, either a civil marriage or a civil partnership, whichever they prefer. The current laws deny couples choice and discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. This what we are challenging in the European Court of Human Rights ,” said Mr Tatchell.

The news conference on Tuesday will be chaired by Peter Tatchell, and feature all eight couples and their legal advisor, Professor Robert Wintemute of the School of Law at Kings College London. He will outline the legal basis of the Equal Love challenge to the current proscriptions.

“Banning same-sex marriage and different-sex civil partnerships violates Articles 8, 12 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” said Professor Wintemute.

“It’s discriminatory and obnoxious, like having separate drinking fountains or beaches for different racial groups, even though the water is the same. The only function of the twin bans is to mark lesbian and gay people as socially and legally inferior to heterosexual people.”

I am confident that we have a good chance of persuading the European Court of Human Rights that the UK’s system of segregating couples into two ‘separate but equal’ legal institutions violates the European Convention. I predict that same-sex couples will be granted access to marriage in the UK. The government will eventually accept that it cannot defend the current discriminatory system.

It’s six o’clock on Friday morning.  There’s more snow forecast and plummeting temperatures.  I really love the cold.  I love wearing long coats and big hats.  I love roaring fires and drinking hot tea in the street.  The little dog has miraculously grown a thick white coat and his previously bald belly is now covered in downy fur.

I spent the day in London yesterday.  Partly to deal with the Jake’s lost iPod incident and partly to see friends but mostly to go to an AA meeting in Soho and connect with my tribe.

I left my laptop and my iPhone at home and consequently enjoyed the train ride to London thinking..thinking about how it doesn’t get better.  Dan Savage‘s ‘It Get’s Batter’ campaign is a load of baloney designed to encourage gay youngsters not to kill themselves because anything is better than death.

The truth is not so obvious.  I have been thinking hard about America, about gays in America and how totally useless my gay brethren have been about getting things changed for themselves, politically, socially and morally.

I wrote to Peter Tatchell last summer asking his advice about how things could possibly change for gays in America..his response…from a brave, hard-hitting activist shocked me.  He thought the situation depressing and hopeless.

It is.  The people refuse to be seen.  They refuse to leave the comfort of their den, their TV, their fast food..they refuse to hit the streets and demand a morally accountable government.

The simple fact is this:  gays in America, for all the millions they spend trying to change the laws, with a ‘sympathetic’ Democratic government and a ‘change’ motivated President things have not changed one iota.  Marriage/Civil Union is still a state by state privilege and not a federal right.  Gays are still not welcome in the military and I have come to realize that gays are simply not welcome anywhere.

Gays are not welcome to live honest and open lives in America..so they don’t.  The gays I meet in the UK are leagues ahead in their thinking and the openness.  They can depend on their government, their church, their judiciary to support them.

In a country like the USA where Christians define the moral terrain I have never lived anywhere that is so morally bankrupt.  The people are routinely lied to by successive Presidents, they are gouged by the government they elect, they are continually bullied by church and state and do nothing what so ever about it.

The people are not free.

They are terrified of their government.

Unlike our students in the UK who got off their asses and demonstrated (invigorating a generation of new activists) Americans angrily run to their expensive lawyers and seek judicial review for their many and varied problems which end up taking so much time to resolve that when their cases are finally heard the fire, passion and determination has been dampened…the urge for change forgotten.

Change happens: sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly.

I despair for the gays and the liberals and the moderates in the USA.  

Morality has been hijacked by the right because we were too cowardly to understand what it meant to us.

Mention the word morals to most gay men and they balk.

We have no morals. Jake invited me into his amoral world and I willingly walked through the door.  Most gay men think it is perfectly reasonable for him to have behaved immorally.  Morals don’t count for anything in the gay community.

How does it get better by not killing yourself?

Most American gay men I know have, at some time, wanted to kill themselves.  They have given it serious thought.  So, you don’t kill yourself…what have you got to look forward to?  The gay community riven by sex and drug addiction, by racism, by homophobia.  Yep, you heard it here.  The gay community is riven with homophobia.

Delicate gay men who don’t want to sleep with anyone unless they are ‘straight acting’  (read invisible).   They are terrified of looking in the mirror and seeing themselves age.  They are terrified that will never be rich enough to buy a baby.

Sometimes I wonder what will happen to Jake.  Will he settle down and want a baby?  Will he get the sex with everyone out of his system and concentrate on one man?  When I meet him twenty years from now, when I am an old, old man..will he have lived the life he bargained for?  Will he become one of those ghastly gay men flying around the gay world, refusing to grow up,  like some grotesque Peter Pan?

So, I went to court yesterday to deal with the Jake iPod incident.  I told the court that I was Not Guilty and now there will be a full on trial in March.   It made me hate Jake even more.  Fuck you Jake.  Timid, cowardly Jake encouraged me to go after those kids, standing behind me, not stopping me, encouraging me, knowing that I would defend him because I loved him.

He lost his fucking iPod.  He lost his iPod in a drunken blackout and I am now having to deal with this shit.  It infuriates me.

If you are a sober person..try and avoid people who take drugs and drink.  Please.

Had a lovely evening at Soho House, met Suzanne Portnoy who is great fun and told me that she stopped blogging because it impacted her sex life.  Ironically she too met a literary agent through her blog with romantic complications…those fucking agents.

William Borthwick the cool director and the very beautiful, very flirtatious blue-eyed Kenny Doughty on the terrace for mince pies.

They were lovely.

Had dinner at Wheelers with friends.  Haddock.  Delicious.

Human Rights defender Peter Tatchell today writes in favour of gay Marriage and, after much soul searching,  I find myself agreeing with his argument.

Same-sex marriage is an idea whose time has come. It is the growing trend.

Political support for ending the ban on gay marriage is growing rapidly. London Mayor, Boris Johnson, and Conservative Party Vice-Chair, Margot James MP, have both come out in favour of allowing lesbian and gay couples to marry in a registry office, on the same terms as heterosexual partners.

This view is also endorsed by the leader and the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes. Indeed, Hughes has predicted that the ban on same-sex marriage will go within five years.

All five Labour leadership contenders – Ed Balls, Diane Abbott, Andy Burnham, Ed Miliband and David Miliband – now back marriage equality, regardless of sexual orientation.

Public attitudes have also shifted strongly in favour of allowing gay couples to marry. A Populus poll for the Times newspaper in June 2009 found that 61% of the public believe that: “Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships.” Only 33% disagreed.

Some people say that civil partnerships are sufficient for gay couples. This is hypocritical. They would not accept a similar ban on black people getting married.

They would never agree with a law that required black couples to register their relationships through a separate system called civil partnerships.

It would be racist to have separate laws for black and white couples. We’d call it apartheid, like what used to exist in South Africa. Well, black people are not banned from marriage but lesbian and gay couples are.

We are fobbed off with second class civil partnerships.

Personally, I don’t like marriage. I share the feminist critique of its history of sexism and patriarchy. I would not want to get married. But as a democrat and human rights defender, I support the right of others to marry, if they wish.

That’s why I believe that civil marriage in a registry office should be open to everyone without discrimination.

Don’t get me wrong, civil partnerships are an important advance. They remedy many – though not all – of the injustices that used to be experienced by lesbian and gay couples. But they are not equality.

They are discrimination. Separate is not equal.

In terms of the law, civil partnerships are a form of sexual apartheid. They create a two-tier system of partnership recognition: one law for heterosexuals (civil marriage) and another law for same-sex couples (civil partnerships).

This perpetuates and extends discrimination. The homophobia of the ban on same-sex civil marriage is now compounded by the heterophobia of the ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships.

Just as a gay couple cannot have a civil marriage, a straight couple cannot have a civil partnership. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Sadly, the official policies of the Conservative and Labour parties do not support same-sex civil marriage. They oppose it. They support discrimination.

The Green Party and the Liberal Democrats are, so far, the only parties officially committed to giving same-sex partners the right to civil marriage – and heterosexual couples the right to civil partnerships.

In a democracy, we are all supposed to be equal under the law. The Con-Lib coalition‘s professed commitment to gay equality cannot be taken seriously while it upholds the ban on same-sex marriage.

The phone rang at some ungodly hour last night and a very methed out friend of mine called to say that he was having a relationship with a porn star.  A ‘chic with a dick’.  Worse, he said, he wanted to become a ‘chic with a dick’ himself.   He then spoke to me as his ‘other’ incarnation, which was very disturbing as I really thought I was speaking to another person.   When he became ‘her’ he sounded like he’d been snorting helium.

He sent me a link to a porn sight where I could see his ‘girl friend’ in action.  I declined to open the link even though I was very, very tempted.

Then, quite coincidentally, I received a very angry email from Pater Tatchell the British human rights activist denouncing Quentin Crisp as a homophobe and misogynist.    Pater writes:

“Quentin Crisp was a contradictory, infuriating figure. Although astonishingly brave and defiant as an out gay man in the 1930s and 40s, he was later defiantly self-obsessed, homophobic and reactionary. Quentin denounced the gay rights movement and slammed homosexuality as ‘a terrible disease'; adding that ‘the world would be better without homosexuals’.  Quentin disparaged homosexuality as an illness, affliction, burden, curse and abnormality. He regarded himself as ‘disfigured’ by his gayness. He never spoke out for gay rights or supported any gay equality cause.”

I was taken aback by the fury of the email simply because the description of Quentin by Peter was so incredibly off.   Quentin may have been a very muddled old man when it came to expressing his political views but he was very much a product of his age and time and should be viewed as such.   It seems churlish to denounce Crisp simply because he never overcame his shame and self-hatred or learned a contemporary gay polemic.

Shame blighted Quentin Crisp’s life and one can never underestimate the damage toxic shame can cause.

Toxic shame is an all-pervasive sense that one is flawed, worthless and defective as a human being.  It is more than just a fleeting feeling of unworthiness; it is an internal sense of falling short.  As John Bradshaw says, “A shame based person will guard against exposing his inner self to others, but more significantly, he will guard against exposing himself to himself.”

I have an enormous amount of respect for Peter Tatchell who has routinely risked his life and health for the sake of his beliefs-a little like Quentin Crisp.   Peter and Quentin have profoundly influenced my thinking during the past 30 years-even though they come from such politically diverse places.  Quentin may have said some very stupid things but what he did empowered boys like me to be true to themselves.

Finally, dear readers, let’s chat momentarily about the banks.  I think we can all agree that the banks have fucked us over?

Can we?

The loyalty most of you have toward the banks will never be reciprocated.  They don’t give a damn about you.  The last thing the banks need is another wave of toxic assets.  By cynically creating my very own I may do myself a favor.

Before the banks behaved so abominably I would never have thought so irresponsibly.  Now, frankly, I don’t care.  They have shown utter contempt for the trust that was placed in them by ordinary, working people.

If any of you are foolish enough to believe that the credit rating system will not be recalibrated then think twice.  As soon as the banks are ready to do business again they will manipulate the credit rating system, that you all seem to blindly respect, to suit themselves.

Lastly…

Apparently, according to NPR this morning,  scientists are working on a pill for people who feel socially excluded.

Bring it on.

Justin Bond Soho House 2009

Yesterday opponents of gay marriage celebrated a decisive vote in the New York State Senate, where a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage was defeated 38 to 24.

DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Prop 8, etc., etc. are all still alive and kicking.   Gays in the USA face a bleak, uphill struggle for basic civil rights and as unpalatable as it is for me to admit this to my largely straight, female audience we only have ourselves to blame.

My friend Peter Tatchell the UK gay rights activist wrote to me recently when I asked him what gays in the USA should be doing – or what they were doing wrong said,

“It sounds most depressing in the US. But they have to sort it out.  The only really serious LGBT direct action group in the US is the radical gay Christian movement, Soulforce (part of the LGBT Metropolitan Community Church). They focus on challenging homophobic churches. If they could apply their direct action tactics to the wider LGBT civil rights struggle, they could be very effective.”

After Maine, many gay rights activists speculated that lawmakers around the country would be wary of supporting same-sex marriage legislation. While a CBS/New York Times poll show that support for gay marriage is growing, Maine served as a reminder that most Americans still oppose the idea. According to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 53 percent say they don’t think it should be legal.

We are left these options: education through the marketing of GAY (I would rather spend millions on marketing than lawyers), coalition (as in Harvey Milk’s preferred method) or (my personal favorite): DIRECT ACTION.  This means that where ever we face inequality, homophobia, hate crimes or murder we act decisively in huge numbers and demonstrate at the location of any of the above-much like we did at the Mormon temple in Los Angeles after the Prop 8 ratification.

People are getting angry, look at Justin Bond’s (popular award winning radical performance artist) recent twitter response to the New York state No vote.  I think he perfectly articulates what a growing number of us feel.

“From now on “friends” can’t let “friends” hang on to the delusion that they are compassionate if they idly watch their henchmen run the show.”

“As if by saying they care it makes it true. FUCK THAT! Stand up to the bullies in your churches, on your streets, in your government.”

As usual it’s the men who face descrimination everyday simply by putting on high heels and make up who are VISIBLE enough to take a stand.   The trannys who fought at Stonewall were the bravest because they had nothing to lose.  It’s funny because the preferred ‘drag’ of contemporary gay men is the greek muscle warrior-however most of them are too apathetic to fight.  Ironic?

There are a huge number of silent gay men who simply sit around and passively wait for change.  They do NOTHING to make change happen apart from making endless excuses and apologies for their apathy.  I had a long email chat with the erudite, gay Mickey Rapkin senior editor at GQ magazine who expects change though quiet lobbying.

I wrote:  Things ain’t changing whilst people are being dignified.  Does direct action scare you? Does risking your life for what you believe in appeal to you?  Are you ready to smash windows?  Ask any European and they sneer at the US gays for being meek, for not fighting.  What happened at Stonewall changed things.  What needs to happen is not going to be comfortable.

He was dead against any kind of direct action.  Upon further enquiry his ideas about marriage differed wildly from mine.  He said,  “No one is forcing you to get married.  Marriage is about economics, not religion. It’s about tax breaks. That’s something Republicans should certainly understand.”

Let me make it very clear what I think about marriage.  If marriage is our aim then marriage is a commitment between two people vowed before God.  Vows that include monogamy, honesty and love.

Many gay men that I speak to think that marriage is merely a contract and not a bargain made with each other before God.  I believe in the sanctity of marriage.  If marriage is simply, as Mickey says, a contract then a civil union will do just as well.

Are we gay men ready to look at our sexual conduct?  Our morals?  Are we prepared to commit?

I don’t blame Mickey Rapkin for being frightened.   In my opinion he is simply deluded.  The government and the church rely on his muddled ideas and complacency.

There are others in the community who get momentarily excited about change but they too fall by the way side.  When I interviewed Perez Hilton earlier this year he was excited about the march on Washington but what happened to his enthusiasm?  Again, I read what he writes on twitter and there is little or no follow up.  He has millions of Twitter followers that he can marshal to influence politics like he does record sales but he does nothing consistently.

All I know is that I watched in awe at Peter Tatchell marched all over the UK wherever there was injustice and took direct action. He made things very uncomfortable, not just for the government but all the complacent stay at home gays who would rather watch TV than engage with real choices.

Direct Action is the next logical step.

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