I am downtown. Downtown LA. We are drinking coffee in a chic coffee shop.
It is reassuringly sophisticated.
It feels like NYC. It feels like a city.
Spring Street. Coffee bar.
The people who pass by are dressed well and don’t have that Hollywood vibe. The women are not showing off their chests and legs, the boys are wearing well cut pants and have covetable accessories.
Having the car makes life more interesting.
I am scarcely at home.
I am writing this on my phone.
I had dinner with an old friend on Saturday night. We ate at Bossa Nova then we saw Clash of the Titans 2 at the Chinese Theatre.
There were less than 10 of us in the theatre.
The film was terrible, Olivia was terrible. Everything about that terrible film that could be said…was said.
He brought two young men. They didn’t say much. One was gay, the other ‘in training’.
Outside the theatre there was a costume exhibition. We poured over the ormolu costume jewelry Elizabeth Taylor wore in Cleopatra.
We explained to the boys the history of Century City.
You know that story don’t you?
How Cleopatra bankrupted 20th Century Fox? How the back lot was sold and Century City was built?
Everybody should know that story, if they live in LA.
It was pouring rain.
Under the theatre, in the parking lot, valley girls were vomiting out of SUVs onto their fake Louboutins.
We drove west, we sat together at my club and they drank cocktails. I drank coffee.
The boys remained mute.
Not feeling at all combative, I found myself passionately discussing racism and gay equality which quickly disintegrated into a nasty UK v USA argument.
At one point my friend told me that if he could press a button and eradicate all Muslims he would.
I pointed out that my father was a Persian Muslim and technically so were the majority of my 11 brothers and sisters. That he would have to kill my young sister Rebecca.
How did he feel about that?
His genocidal zeal was not diminished.
How come it’s become ok for reasonable men to become so islamaphobic?
The conversation further disintegrated into how retarded the Brits were for accepting equality without the word marriage in the equation.
It made my blood boil that he would rather have nothing if he couldn’t have the word marriage.
Civil unions in the UK seem, to those who have them…just like being married and my friends who have civil unions think of themselves, describe themselves, as married.
Anyway, the m word is now being fought for in the UK but more as a nice after thought attached to the equality that we already enjoy.
You know how I felt, and people like me felt about that word. Archaic, patriarchal bull shit…antiquated in the secular UK.
Then, this morning, I found myself listening to Democracy Now on the radio as I drove the 101 Freeway.
Van Jones being interviewed.
He pointed out that in the civil rights game played out in the USA…if you are prepared to be arrested for what you believe…and there are enough of you, change happens quickly.
Be seen to fight for what you believe in, rather than playing the faceless gay equality/marriage ‘incremental’ tactic…employing expensive lawyers and fighting state by state…
He mentioned the names of 5 or 6 black civil rights leaders. I got to wondering where our civil rights leaders were? Who are they? Why can’t I name them?
I suppose Lance Black has become a recognizable leader/voice of the gay community but this seems accidental rather than deliberate.
It has always been my dream for the gay men and women of the USA that they get the human rights they deserve.
But…what are they prepared to risk when demanding those rights? How many windows do they need to break?
There is something weedy and unfocused about the movement.
Worse, by articulating this frustration I risk people like my friend telling me that I am letting down the cause.
We need leaders, we need direct action. It is the only way the unelected justices (who get the final say) at the Supreme Court will truly understand how important equality is to us.
The system has failed us.
Meanwhile, Justin Bond shared on Facebook a piece he found in the NY Times about the suicide of a gay man struggling with the notion of old age…amongst other things.
Read it here: gay suicide
Some of Justin’s friends dismissed the piece as worthless. Some of them understood how important it was.
Some of them, quite rightly, wondered why the piece was in the style section.
Our community wrestles with all sorts of problems peculiar to our people. It is absurd, at moments like this, to pretend that we are just like everyone else.
Our generation of gay men, used to unlimited sex, sexual validation, Peter Panism at its worst…has to wake up and acknowledge the wrinkles.
So, it’s been quite a week. A date last night that went really well. Passionate discussions and…well the dogs.
What more could I want?