Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Please -- it's GAY Pride

I enjoyed the Gay Pride events in New York but am I being a tightass when I say that one thing really bothered me. And that was this tendency for people to say "Happy Pride" instead of Gay Pride. I mean, what's up with that? Has there suddenly become something wrong with the word Gay? I know there are other groups included, but are gays now non-persons?

I wouldn't go that far, but I understand where you're coming from. "Pride" has become the name for the annual Gay/LGBT parades/marches and it's stuck with many people and reporters, although many still use "Gay Pride" or "LGBT Pride" instead of the generic "Pride."

It sort of annoys me when someone says "Happy Pride" in my face so I always counter with "Happy GAY Pride." Just saying "Pride" sounds too generic to me, meaningless. And while you can probably tell what kind of pride we're talking about from the same-sex couples and headlines, it's still rather annoying.

It's not so much that "gay" has become a dirty word as that it expanded to become LGBT so as to include all the sexual minorities [up to a ludicrous point where some call it LGBTQASBC and so on]. Although "gay" certainly includes gay women, you can understand that many lesbians wanted their own identity, which is also true of bisexuals and transgender individuals. Hence, I believe "Happy Pride" was born so as not to offend the non-gay members of the LGBT movement. Or something like that. It was some -- certainly not all -- politically-correct activists who decided this -- You and I did not get to vote.

The trouble is that "pride" is rather presumptuous. After all, there are many groups who have pride -- Blacks, Jews, Asians, Latinos, Women and so on -- since when does any one group or alliance own rights to the word?

Not far from where I live there's a section in the Village where different groups set up fairs, and at each fair you can see bankers and others wearing "Pride" shirts that work for any and every group -- I mean, they don't bother changing the shirts whether it's gays, Hispanics, or Chinese-Americans and so on who are celebrating. Saves on the cost of t-shirts for sure.

The thing is, "gay" should never go out of date. In the first place,"gay" was always meant as an umbrella word for the L B T factions, and it still has a certain identity and power.

And Gay Power is something we never want to lose.

They say Happy Pride.

You say: Happy GAY Pride.

It's as simple as that.

Bill's Media Watch: Bisexual Celebrities

The Internet has given rise to lots of articles, posts and message boards about sexuality, gay and bisexual, and when it is celebrity-oriented, as it so often is, it can be awfully un-informative and even ridiculous.

A piece by Trevor Pittinger for PressroomVIP published last year purports to identity many bisexual celebrities. The piece rarely tries to discern if these so-called "celebrities" -- half of which I never heard of -- are truly bisexual or just cop-out artists, but certain things became apparent right away.

First, there are many, many more female celebrities on the list than male, which seems to correspond with which sex most uses the bisexual label in the "real" world.

Second, there are several celebrities who say they are bisexual (and then qualify it) when they are interviewed by the gay publication The Advocate. One celeb stated afterward that she really meant she was only open to the "idea" of bisexuality. Another guy said he was 100% straight that year but -- who knows? -- he might become attracted to a good-looking guy in the next year. [For Pete's sake, by this time he would certainly know if he was sexually attracted to men or not!] In other words, celebs will not come out as gay, but often feel it necessary to come out as bi in the pages of The Advocate or some other gay publication or to a gay interviewer.

Third, some people automatically call themselves bisexual simply because they were once in a  heterosexual relationship. The bi label may fit in some cases, but in many more cases we've got homosexuals living with or married to the opposite sex until they feel comfortable recognizing they're gay, come out, get divorced, etc.

Four, the "bi" label seems safe to some celebs who either aren't quite ready to come out as gay, or hope that being seen as bisexual will make them seem more hip and more appealing, especially to gay fans. Then we have to deal with the reality that there are certainly celebrities for whom every relationship and marriage is more of a career move than anything else. Some of these self-obsessed celebrities -- be they gay, straight or bisexual -- are on the emotional level of eight year olds, and are incapable of sustaining any kind of life-long truly loving relationship.

The most ridiculous thing in the piece -- Celebrity Playground: See Who Swings Both Ways -- is that it includes the "actor" Channing Tatum, but then says that he isn't bisexual, but has simply appeared in some gay-friendly movies! Talk about cop-outs!

There may well be genuine bisexuals in the world, but I confess to being a doubting Thomas when it comes to some of the guys on this list. Few if any of the people in the article are really big names. Only Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City seems put-upon for being bisexual. David Bowie likes it, and others seem to think it's no big deal. [In Saturday Night Fever one character says that Bowie is bisexual. To which another character replies, "Yeah, men and boys!"]

Then we have the politically incorrect but obvious factor that many even essentially homosexual men identity as bisexual because of the "stud" factor -- a man can't be a "real" man unless he has sex with  women. It's "okay" that he has sex with guys because his sexual and romantic relationships are primarily with women [supposedly] -- which he is sure to let us know as often as possible. And this sort of thing happens much, more more often than people realize.

The thing is that the Internet is full of stuff like this that hardly contributes to a serious discussion on gay or bisexual issues. Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with a light-hearted or comical approach to a piece, but what bothers me is the suggestion that we take all of this at face value. Some people actually buy everything they read.

Finally, one of the celebrities is a comedian named "Andy Dick" -- I couldn't make this up -- and he seems perturbed at the very suggestion that he might be, duh, gay. Fine, if he's bisexual, who cares? But why act as if there's something wrong in being gay? [As I've said before, it's as if it's verboten for gays to be biphobic, but perfectly okay for bisexuals to be homophobic.]

However, I must add that the article is comprised of quotes from other sources, so Mr. Dick and everyone else may have had their remarks taken out of context. In any case, while it may not exactly be an example of great journalism, -- although it's put together as well as any fluff piece I've read --  I've no doubt some people found it fun or intriguing, as is the case with so much mindless crap on the Internet these days. 

Gay Democrat with Gay Republican?

Dear Gay Dr. Bill

What's your take on being a democrat who is in love with a republican? Can political difference add spice, can different world views pull a love affair apart or does political individuality create the conditions for a life-long ability to celebrate each other's difference.

I love your blog.

Best Regards

Thank you for the kind words. 

I'll start off by saying that I'm a liberal American Democrat, but one of my best friends is much more conservative. While he has never come out as Republican, as such, I figure it's best that we rarely if ever discuss politics. Then I have gay friends who are stoutly Republican, a fact I try desperately to ignore if our friendship is based on other shared interests, such as movies or art. I confess I don't quite get gay Republicans, although they certainly exist. What I find strange are gay Republicans who are not wealthy or part of some overall power structure -- it's as if by being Republican they think they will become rich and powerful via some sort of osmosis.   

Can a Democrat be in love with a Republican? There was a sitcom years ago with just that premise, but as for real life...? It's one thing for friends with other interests to have different political values, but a lover, someone you live with on a day to day basis, that's a bit more problematic. I hear what you're saying about celebrating each other's differences, but a lot depends on just how political each person is and how strongly they feel about various issues. If the issue is something that cuts to the core of someone's values, something that is a deep part of their vital persona, then clashes between the two parties may overwhelm everything else in the relationship.

On the other hand, "let's agree to disagree" can work wonders with people who otherwise like and respect -- and yes, love -- one another. Often it is that respect for the person (even if you can't quite respect their viewpoints) that makes the difference in a friendship or a love affair. Part of that respect includes each person, assuming they exhausted all arguments on the issue, agreeing to get past it and not discuss The Subject -- including their political alliances and whatever else it may be. 

However, if one of the two people just can't shut his mouth but keeps bringing it up, and worse, keeps putting down the other person, perpetually demeaning him and his viewpoint, then not only will a romantic partnership crumble, but so, too, will a friendship. Differences can exist in a partnership but only if both parties respect those differences despite their varying opinions.