Tag Archives: gays

Yesterday in central Berlin, crying on a bicycle

I happened to be listening to this lecture yesterday on my way to a friend’s house, and I was all quiver-lip  from Tiergarten to Kaiserdamm.

It wasn’t just the speech. Yesterday voters in my home country and my home state decided that gay marriage threatens traditional marriage like milk threatens cereal. We shouldn’t have to vote on this shit, but we did, and we won.

It was also the same day Alex Ross published this lovely essay in the New Yorker:

I am forty-four years old, and I have lived through a startling transformation in the status of gay men and women in the United States. Around the time I was born, homosexual acts were illegal in every state but Illinois. Lesbians and gays were barred from serving in the federal government. There were no openly gay politicians. A few closeted homosexuals occupied positions of power, but they tended to make things more miserable for their kind.

There will always be small-minded politicians, vicious diseases, bigoted thugs. Until recently, it felt like the world was rooting for them. Yesterday, it felt like it wasn’t.

‘Why are your eyes all wet?’ my friend asked when I arrived.
‘It’s cold outside,’ I said.
‘Well come inside, it’s warmer,’ he said, and it was.

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Why the American left drags its feet on gay rights

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One thing I couldn't get over when I first moved here was how politically diverse the gays are. Some of them are left wing, some of them are right wing. Some of them are racist, some of them are patronizingly inclusive. 'Jesus,' I remember saying on one of my first weekends, 'It's like being gay doesn't even mean anything.'

And it doesn't, really. Gay marriage has been legal in Denmark for 20 years, and gayness has been a political non-starter so long that politicians have to be asked about it, and then they all give pretty much the same answer. Anti-gay sentiment isn't completely banished, but you hear it come up about as much as you hear about, say, the flat tax in America. It's there, but it's not a divisive issue in many races or party manifestos.

In other words, gays have no built-in incentive to be left-wing. In America, gays are mainly limited to the blue end of the spectrum because the right wing wants to actively curtail their rights and reduce their quality of life. For gays, self-preservation trumps the economic and social issues that most other citizens vote on.

If gay marriage gets legalized in the States, after a few political aftershocks, I think a lot of gays would start to migrate rightwards. It would be slow, but in the long term gays might even be a reliable Republican voting bloc. Gays tend to be affluent, and eventually, the dimensions of self-preservation would warp to exclude Oppressed Minority and include Yuppie Wealth Preserver.

I wonder if American left wing politicians know this, and this is part of why they don't grant full civil rights to homosexuals. As long as we're second-class citizens and one of the parties is slightly better than the other, they can take us for granted. Giving us full marriage rights would effectively put both parties back at Go, and they would have to compete for our votes.

I've been wondering that this year, as the promises made during the presidential campaign haven't materialized, and as the Democrats face the loss of the majority that would have made pro-gay legislation reasonably easy to enact. It's about time we started asking whether it wasn't the opportunity that passed, but the politicians.   

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‘Things that are against the law in Uganda: Smoking in public, prostitution, driving recklessly…’

It's always nice, and depressingly rare, to read something about a political issue written by someone who knows what the fuck they're talking about.

The most likely scenario, I'd predict, is that the bill gets watered down to remove the death penalty stuff, is passed, and then, like all Ugandan laws, goes on to be rarely and haphazardly enforced.

The whole thing's really good.

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The gay rallies in Washington last weekend weren’t the work of ‘fringe’ groups

They were the expression of a minority demographic group asking a president to deliver on the promises he made to us.

We're not comparing Obama to Hitler. We're not making things up or hopelessly exaggerating reasonable policies. We're not saying that gay marriage has to be legal at the federal level by Halloween.

All we're saying is that you should make demonstrable steps toward the shit you told us you were going to do. Some of that shit is easy, and some of that shit is hard. We understand this. Our advice:Start with the easy shit.   

It's not fringe when a group that the president has directly addressed asks him to enact the promises which were the reason we voted for him. Those words were the reason we supported you and, simply put, now is the time to put substance behind them. That's all we're asking.

 

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Overheard at a gay bar in London last weekend

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Dude 1: [Waiting in line]

Dude 2: [Pushes past Dude 1 and darts into stall]

Dude 1: [Slams on door]. Hey what the fuck?!

Dude 2: [Flush. Comes out of stall.]

Dude 1: Fuck you, faggot!

 

I don't think that's what people mean when they talk about minorities 'reclaiming' former slurs.  

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One of the downsides of the two-party system

Is that there's not a whole lot you can do when you get kicked around by less-bad-than-the-other-guys-Crats.

This is the situation gays find themselves in. Obama hasn't done shit for gays, up to and including ignoring all the shit he promised us when he was trying to get us to vote for him instead of Hillary.

So gays are cutting off his allowance. This is great (and about fucking time), but it's somewhat annoying that this is more or less the only thing we can do under the current political system: Keep our teaspoon out of his funding Atlantic.

If you're British and the Labour Party ignores you or won't acknowledge your issues, you can vote for the Liberal Democrats, or the Greens, or a smaller party that might get have a Parliament seat or two. This is how it works in most Western countries.

In the States, however, this 'punish the home team!' shit always feels like that episode of the Simpsons where Bush and Gore are secretly replaced by imperialistic aliens. When the citizens of Springfield get wise to it, the aliens reveal themselves and taunt, 'What are you gonna do, vote for a third-party candidate? Go ahead, throw your vote away!' The episode ends when Kang has been elected and enslaves the human race. 'Don't blame me,' Homer says, 'I voted for Kodos'.

The fact is, Democrats have pretty weak incentives for giving gays full equality. What are gays gonna do, elect the party that brought us Rick Santorum, Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh in protest? Yeah, that'll teach 'em.

I like the effort to shut down the Abomination ATM until we get some results out of our lesser-of-two-weevils political allies. But I always wonder how much further gay rights would have come along by now if we had the option of applying some stick, instead of just less carrot.   

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When I read the headline ‘Undesirable gay men may have riskier sex’

today, I thought 'undesirable' meant, like, having big ears, or voting for McCain. Nope, apparently in the gay community, 'undesirable' means never having to say you're different:


"I found that young, white, middle-class men are considered much more sexually desirable than men who are racial minorities, over 40 and poor," Green said in a statement. "I also learned that for gay men, being considered sexually undesirable can have serious health consequences, ranging from psychological issues to risky sexual behavior."

The result itself is sort of 'duh', since a lifetime of rejection is likely to make anyone feel pretty nihiley, whether you're gay or straight. Add the fuel of family rejection, societal discrimination, Madonna remixes, peer insecurity and the Sunday Promiscuity Buffet and you get a pretty efficient chauffeur to your local sauna.

I'm surprised, though, that 'undesirable' includes 'old', 'poor' and 'minority'. With all the discussion after Prop 8 of high rates of homophobia among African-Americans and the elderly, it's probably about time we gays took a look at the plank in our own mascara'd eyes and started talking about this.

It doesn't do us any good to shrink the gay-community pinball machine and leave the misfits to bounce off each other in more and more extreme ways. The normalizing influence of the mainstream can be a powerful thing, and we shouldn't go around denying it to people just because they're ruining the Vanity Fair photo shoot we thinks our lives should be. Unless, of course, they voted for McCain.

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How going out by yourself in a foreign city can get you hickey-raped

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At a gay, inexplicable blowout at Geneva Stadium last night, I ended up talking to two Genevans, whose English and body language became more fluid with each new cosmopolitan. The relationship soured around 3.

Drunk Genevan, drooling: ‘Kissh me!’
Sober me, lying: ‘I can’t, I have a boyfriend in Copenhagen.’
Genevan: ‘He’s not here, is he? Kiss!’ [leaning in]
Me: ‘Um, we’re incredibly serious. I dropped my Civil Union Ring in a chocolate factory today, but it’s the symbol of our potent love, and it’s really heavy, ummm.’
Genevan: [Launches kiss. I turn my head.]
Me: ‘Our children’s names are Todd and Rantzaus. The dog is a Pekinese…’
Genevan: [begins lamprey necksuck]
Me: [90 grimacing seconds later] OK, that’s fine, that’s fine. Let’s get right offa there, huh? Let’s give that esophagus right back. Back. Back! [shove]
Genevan: [Wipes lips. Starts crying] ‘…Hold me.’
Me: ‘Great fuck, are you serious?’

I eventually had to appeal to the friend to remove the sobbing Swiss Miss from my person. The Belgium-shaped purple mark on my neck, however, is still there this morning.

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I wish I knew how to quit you, Photoshop

My buddy Esben is the guy on the left. Or at least he is the human being from which Bianco created the Jar Jar Homo sitting on the bathtub. I feel like they deliberately gave him Hobbit Feet to remind people to buy shoes. If my stompers were twice the size of my head, and almost as hairy, I'd be in the market for footwear too. That doesn't explain why they pasted the other dude's head on his own body after giving it a fakening, however, but I am far from sherpa level in the mountains of adver-'Shopping. Maybe there's a logic to it.

There's also a video accompanying the campaign, where Esben recites het-written dialogue in his best 'I'm a model' Nico-drone. The line currently on the website is "I've been gay for three months … SINCE I MET YOU."

It sure is nice to see your sexuality conveyed in bumper sticker form, but I have to admit, I'm sorta looking forward to gays getting out of our Sidney Poitier Phase. On the other hand, as Esben put it, 'The check cleared, I got to hang out in a bathtub all day and my grandmother doesn't know what the internet is, so she'll never find out. Quit moaning, you dwarf.'

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If you’re going to make a memorial to gay victims of the Holocaust

Can it not look like a nudie booth, please?


A visitor peeks into the window of the newly-inaugurated memorial to homosexual victims of the Nazis on May 27, 2008 in Berlin. The memorial, a large stone with a window that looks onto an image of two men kissing, commemorates the tens of thousands of gays imprisoned by the Nazis, including the estimated 15,000 sent to concentration camps.

 

The picture inside shows two guys kissing? Yeah, because the reason discrimination against gays is wrong is because it, like, totally keeps us from making out and stuff. 

Considering this is in Berlin, I guess I should just be happy the picture doesn't show dudes peeing on each other. 

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