Thursday, September 30, 2010

Worst Gayest Week Ever


The media is ablaze over an awful gay week. Twitter and Facebook are all filled with people sharing thoughts on the seemingly endless bad news. MSNBC and CNN are going gay-crazy. FoxNews even eased up Tea Party coverage to mention some of what's been happening. I've been trying to wrap my head around it all before commenting.

OK, so first let's review what is going on...
  • The Bishop Eddie Long scandal continues to ferment. He gives a sermon without denying the charges and gets a standing ovation to a packed crowd. One of his accusers talks to the media and clearly is telling the truth.
  • Several gay suicides including a 13 year old boy who shot himself after being taunted for months for being gay and being a Buddhist.
  • A seemingly closeted assistant Attorney General in Michigan is basically stalking and trying to destroy the life of a gay college student.
  • Ann Coulter goes on Larry King Live spewing more garbage, a week after being paid by GOProud to spit anti-gay crap in their faces.
  • Senator Saxby Chambliss had to fire a staffer who posted "all [gays] must die" on a gay blog.
There is probably more, but I'm feeling overloaded and I'm tired of copying and pasting links to terrible things.

Everyone on TV keeps asking why this is all happening and then bringing in therapists and professionals to discuss it. Dr. Phil managed to tell Anderson Cooper tonight that the Rutgers incident wasn't about straight or gay, anyone would have been equally distressed. Really doc? A straight guy would've jumped off a bridge after being caught in college having sex with a girl? Really? Really? College must've changed a lot since my days.

A huge part of the problem are the religious leaders who preach that gay is bad and then undoutably are gay themselves. (Love those iPhone self-pics of you by the way, Eddie.) And, also of course, all the anti-gay politicians who pass anti-gay legislation and are also gay. See Mark Foley, Charlie Crist, Larry Craig, Roy Ashburn, etc.

But another, and I think perhaps even bigger part of the problem, is that we still have virtually no gay role models out there in the media. Yes, we have some gay people on TV, usually to discuss gossip or fashion or to be the sidekick of a reality housewife, but we still don't have any real role models. Just having anything isn't always better than having nothing. And let me be clear, I have nothing against these people, and I'm not judging them at all. I hope they all are who they want to be and are happy, fulfilled people. The problem here is that on one hand the media only rewards gay people who seem to be fabulous, vapid, self-centered fashionistas, and then on the other hand wonders why no gay people have anyone to identify with out there. And then the media wonders why gay teens, who feel profoundly alone because they can't find someone to identify with, suddenly kill themselves.

So, naturally, Perez Hilton, the self-proclaimed "Queen of All Media" tweets about how awful this all is, and various groups start doing videos of celebrities saying it is okay to be gay. And yes, that is good, people seeing that there are people who say it is okay to be who you are. But at the same time everyone knows about all the closeted actors, musicians, TV personalities and news anchors, who all talk about the problem but don't practice what they preach. Instead they tacitly endorse something wrong with gay. And making videos about suicide keeps the focus on suicide, so then all you see on TV are more stories about suicide, and then the same fashionistas and closet cases who wonder why. It is all nobody's fault and everybody's fault at the same time.

It took me a long time in my life to get there, but I wanna say that generally speaking gay people are so much better than straight people. We're funnier, smarter, usually take better care of ourselves, wittier, and yes, even often happier. My gay friends are fun, alive, and engaging. My straight are generally boring and talk about the recession a lot. Sure, I know a couple good ones, my brother, my sister and my friend Jon happen to come to mind, but there aren't many more.

(Sorry straight friends, you guys really are pretty boring.)

I'm not perfect here by any stretch, but I really am trying to do my part in all this. I'm very, very gay. My job is to be gay, pretty much. On The Six Pack each week we talk gay news, we give our opinions, we talk to interesting gay people and allies, and play music by gay and gay-friendly musicians. We don't focus on the negative, something my fantastic on-air partner Ben has preached to me from the beginning, and something I'm only now realizing to be the right way to do things.

Anyway, if you're reading this I have a feeling you're better than all the stereotypes and generalizations. And if you're out of the closet, then you're already doing what Harvey Milk thought was the most important thing a gay person could do, just be seen and heard.

This was probably a bit disjointed and perhaps a little muddled, but being gay 24 hours a day can be exhausting.

You know what makes all of it better, though?

Two hours of The Golden Girls on WE Channel in HD.

Now excuse me, and thank you for being a friend...

17 comments:

Billy said...

Before hearing about the sexual inclination of the guy from Rutgers, I assumed he was straight and it still made sense. It might not have been *quite* as distressing had it been an openly straight kid doing stuff with a girl it would not have surprised me either. Why? Because this kid was probably tormented by his roommate otherwise and was having other problems which were probably not solely based on his sexual orientation. You can be in a crappy situation and be straight, or things can be done without people knowing either way. I mean, even if you were openly gay and had a roommate who was cool with that, don't you think that you'd be upset if you found out the roommate watched you via webcam making out and having sex?

MX1969 said...

I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say "My job is being gay".What does that mean?How does one be gay?I would never say I act black.There is so much diversity in the world even within subcultures broken down by ethnicity or gender that I dont yhink you can just lump any one group under one umbrella and say "this is black" or "this is gay".I think the obsession with labeling is at the root of some of the problems young people are facing now.I don't think we would be seeing the alarming numbers of teen fatalities if we were telling our young people how to be good,functioning,contributing members of society.If we were focusing on teaching young people to respect themselves and eachother then the issue of descrimination wether it be for reasons of gender or color would become irrelevant.I don't want to teach my children to put limits on themselves by defining themselves by the color of their skin or who they choose to love.The culture of shame that exists around the label of homosexuality is killing our kids.We shouldn't need famous people telling our kids they matter for our kids to matter.Why isn't that message being tought in our homes?Why aren't we giving our kids the strength of character to stand up to these douchebags and say...No you won't label me, No you won't limit me,No you won't take away my dignity.

Anonymous said...

"I just wanna flat-out say that gay people are so much better than straight people."

Wow. I'm gay and I'm stunned by such your ridiculous, arrogant generalization of heterosexuals. Then again, I'm a gay FEMALE, so I'm not really even on your self-centered radar. You think it's been a sad week for "gays" (i.e. gay MEN)? Try being a lesbian. Make an attempt to tally all of the rapes and murders of women that have occurred in the last seven days ... but then eventually give up because there are simply too many to count and too many that will never be reported.

I share your disgust and sadness over the events mentioned in your post, but I'm disappointed by the sole focus you place on men. A lesbian in my high school killed herself and I had similar thoughts throughout my adolescence and young adulthood. Please try to remember that it isn't just the boys who suffer.

outoutout said...

Completely and totally agree with the 'Anonymous' lesbian who posted above.

I don't know if you were just trying to be funny when you said "gay people are so much better than straight people", but we both know that if the situation were reversed, if you were some NOM leader spewing nonsense about straight people being better, you'd be hung out to dry.

And yes, we WOMEN are very much a part of this too... but that's a whole 'nother post.

Suva82 said...

The idea that a certain group of people are somehow ‘better’ than others based on who they love is as regressive and damaging a philosophy as those that believe being gay makes us worse.
We will not get equality and be able to lead un-harassed lives by being as bad as the bigots we fight against. The sad fact is that a gay man or lesbian woman are more likely to be depressed, have mental illness, have addiction problems, to spend money they don’t have and lead generally desperate lives. Not because we are bad people but because we live in a world that would mostly prefer that we didn’t exist. I can tell you are rightly angry and you are entitled to your opinion of straight people (except those in your family or close friends funnily enough). But I think you are deeply wrong, and you certainly don’t speak for me.

Dave said...

Folks, the "gay being better than straights" part was tongue firmly placed in cheek, as I am a comedian first. And when I talk about gay people I'm talking about all of us, men and women!

Steve in CA said...

It has been a difficult week for gay folks, no doubt. I hope it was cathartic for you to write that post, because it was cathartic for me to read it. You vented my spleen vicariously. It was a seriously WTF week, and TGI-gay-Friday.

I think part of the frustration is that it depressed what had seemed a real upward arc for gay folks. Prop 8 was ruled unconstitional by the federal courts, as was barring gay people from serving in the military. 79% of the public now think gay people should be allowed to serve openly. 49% of Americans believe gays have a constitutional right to marry. Florida's ban on gays adopting children was ruled unconstitutional. These are big, great things.

Then 4 kids killed themselves last month because they were tormented for being gay, and it is like somebody has punched you in the gut and said "don't get too uppity, faggot." That is bruising. But the fact that it has dominated the news, not just on the GLAAD webpage and Dan Savage's blog, comforts me. Most decent straight people are genuinely as pained by this as we are.

Also, Chambliss fired the little closet case who wrote the "Death to Faggots" post, and that closet case Aspberger douche AAG in Michigan will be toast by Monday, I will bet you a margarita on that. And I'll be damned if I will ever let the blatherings of that cunt Ann Coulter bring me down, she was just piling on.

It was obvious that what you said about straight people was tongue-in-cheek. It's also perfectly okay to get pissed at them. We are still collectively shat upon every day of our lives by their collective asses. So I love them only on an individual basis.

THANK YOU for that summary of The Week That Was. Very well said.

MX1969 said...

What us?Who is "us" Dave?I never understood group mentality.I have no interest in being part of an "us".I prefer to think and feel and be for myself.I'm more concerned fir the greater good if all people not just pockets of people who share one or two commonalities.I think at often times the "uses" can be their own worse enemies.The divisions between people are only made worse when we begin to put up partitions and segment ourselves off.I have no interest in being a gay man but rather I strive to be a good man who happens to be gay.The privious post from the lesbian poster seemed angry because she percieved your post as exclusionary to the plight of gay women.I don't think that was your goal but it's something that could have been easily avoided by not making your post about "gay".Why aren't we searching for answers to the bigger picture?Why are we asking for gay rights when we should be demanding human rights?Why are we continuing to put ourselves and our kids in the very boxes that homophones would have us live in....like the Radiohead song says "You do it to yourself".

Rich Merritt said...

Dave, don't repeat the "no gay role models" mantra. You and Ben are two great role models I tell guys about all the time. There are many many others. We need to learn how to be our own heroes. Then we will find plenty of other heroes all around us. If we give in to the urge to raise someone else up to that status, they will fail or disappoint. Tell your listeners to be the role models to the people in their lives that they would like to see.

And you are so correct, gay people are better than straight people. Perhaps because I've listened to you going on three years now I can hear the tongue-in-cheekiness in your voice as I read that.

Steve in CA said...

An Ann Coulter tweet today...think he was gay, and recognized her?:

I only wish I had gotten the name of the delta tkg agent, who deserves to be the worst employee multiple award-winner.

Sarrellec said...

To the women who can't let anything happen without making it all about women.
Really? How many lesbian women committed suicide this week? And how is the rape of ALL WOMEN a lesbian issue?
Face it, ladies, sometimes, just sometimes, things happen that have absolutely NOTHING to do with you. There is no reason at all for this writer to have included women, lesbians or females of any stripe in a story about what has happened to GAY MEN this week.
You want to write a column about the trevails of women/lesbians this past week? Go for it.
But, then, remember to include all men, gay and straight, here and in other countries throughout all history.

outoutout said...

@Sarrellec

Wow, hate much? Your misogyny is showing.

I admit my reaction might've been slightly unfounded, but to suggest that gay men's issues don't affect us too is just ignorant and silly. And, um, of course the rape of ALL women is a lesbian issue. In fact, it's an issue to all women regardless of orientation.

@Dave - Thanks for clarifying your intent.

Anonymous said...

"I have no interest in being a gay man but rather I strive to be a good man who happens to be gay." Well put, MX1969

And i don't like the "us gays are sooo much better" comment. Because;
1)It's not true at all.
2)It implies that there is an "us" as in "us gay, fun and alive" vs "them straight, boring and dull". That's not the case! What could straight people say based on generalizations about us?
3)It's the person who matters not their sexuality. I don't ask people whether they're gay or straight and then decide to hang out with them. I hang out with people i like (including straight women and men, and gay women and men).
4)You said it is a joke. So if straight people talk about how they are better than gay people, but they say afterwards that it's a joke, does that make it ok?

My point is, treat others the way yoy like to be treated.

Dave in Northridge said...

Well, Dave, there's at least one silver lining. The newsmedia, for once, aren't bringing on the usual homophobes to do a point-counterpoint on the suicides, or even on the Michigan matters.

Worst because so many things happened. Best, because so many things happened that our issues are now more front and center than they usually are.

raquel said...

Hey! I'm a lesbian, and I must agree with what he said... We are more fun... We are more witty, we are different and special... And yes straight people are boring !
Enjoy who u are...celebrate it, stop being bitter gays and always disagreeing with the poor blogger that is basically just asking you to be happy and gay!

Anonymous said...

He said, she said, you said, I said...blah blah blah.

There are several young men dead and they will never be brought back. Please get over your petty bickering and sniping and 'one-up-man-ship' and remember the dead and those left behind. The article wasn't perfect but then again I could pick apart every other article published this week for all kinds of reasons.

Anonymous said...

So...
Gay: fun, witty.... talk about fashion, parties, having fun and superficiail stuff?
Straight: boring, dull...talk about the recession, philosophy, science, economy and the global problems?

Nicee, let's perpetuate the stereotype!
Speak for yourself, i am gay but that's only one part of me.For any reason, about 70% of my friends are straight and i don't feel different to them .... however, i was lucky enough to live in a cosmopolitan city, where i am accepted just for who i am. If you live in a smaller and more conservatice city or your friends and family weren't very nice to you, i'd say that would explain a lot about you being resentul about straight people.