Month: June 2014

RIP Meshach Taylor; Hillary Clinton Rape Culture; New York to End AIDS

RIP Meshach Taylor

Designing Women star, Meshach Taylor, who played Anthony Bouvier from the late 80’s into the early 90’s recently passed away. He died of cancer, at his LA home with his wife and family, at the age of 67.

DW has always been a huge hit with the gay male segment of the LGBTI community and I always thought a lot of that had to do with the character dynamics between Taylor and Delta Burke. There’s even an interesting little note in this article that mentions how one DW show was developed after a real life incident with Burke and Taylor.

“We were doing some promotional work in Lubbock, Texas, and somehow Delta Burke and I got booked into the same hotel suite,” he said. They alerted their respective significant others to the mix-up, then muddled through with the shared accommodations.

“When we got back I told Linda, and she put it into a show: We got stranded at a motel during a blizzard and ended up in the same bed!”

Interesting side note: The article doesn’t mention this, but back in the 80’s Designing Women’s rival on TV was The Golden Girls (also a huge hit with gay men). I believe it was the pilot episode of The Golden Girls where Meshach Taylor made a brief appearance as a police officer. It lasted all of a few seconds. I think this was before Designing Women aired. Syndicated reruns of both television shows are still airing today, and both still have a huge following. In DW, Taylor’s role as “Anthony” often revolved around racial issues during a time when these racial issues weren’t always discussed aloud. It was way ahead of its time.

You can read more here about Taylor’s other credits.  

Hillary Clinton Rape Culture

As it sometimes happens with blog posts, this one seems to be following a pattern today. There’s a slight connection to the late Meshach Taylor and Hillary Clinton through the creators of the TV show Designing Women, Linda Bloodworth- Thomason and Harry Thomason. The husband and wife team were well known for several television productions in the 1980’s, and were very close friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton at the time. There are even several rather self-indulgent episodes of Designing Women where Bill Clinton is mentioned…one of which is when he was Governor of Arkansas and no one in the US really even knew his name. In a way, Bloodworth-Thomason did with Bill Clinton what Oprah Winfrey did with President Obama. They used their fame and high profile platforms to help introduce men who would become the next presidents of the United States.

In any event, I had to search a little for the link to this next article about Hillary Clinton and rape culture. I wanted to find an article that didn’t have a slant. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Every piece is slanted in one way or the other. Most of the articles on this topic are from conservative sources that can’t wait to expose the information, and the one I’m linking to right now is from a more liberal source that thinks conservatives are making too much out of this. Typical mainstream journalism for today.

Tapes have surfaced that allegedly discuss when Hillary Clinton defended an alleged child rapist in the 1970’s. According to this article, Clinton defended the alleged rapist even though she thought he was guilty at the time. And she won.

Not one single article mentioned rape culture or its association to society as a whole. Of course Clinton’s job as an attorney was to represent and defend her client to the best of her ability. Unfortunately, this makes us all wonder about her integrity, especially with respect to women’s rights.

This article said something that floored me:

“I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable,’’ Clinton wrote in the affidavit, “with a tendency to seek out older men and to engage in fantasizing.” The document, filed with the Washington County, Arkansas court on July 28, 1975, argued for a psychiatric evaluation for the victim.

“I have also been informed that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body,’’ Clinton wrote. “Also that she exhibits an unusual stubbornness and temper when she does not get her way.”

You can read more here.

Here’s more about rape culture:

Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape, or refusing to acknowledge the harm of certain forms of sexual violence that do not conform to certain stereotypes of stranger or violent rape.

New York to End AIDS

At Gay Pride, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, announced a new initiative to end AIDS…or control the spread of HIV. It’s an interesting concept, with an odd name…”Bending the Curve.” I swear there’s no pun intended.

In any event, here are a few points to cover:

The proposition has three parts: 1) identifying those with HIV who are still undiagnosed and connecting them with healthcare, 2) making certain those who are diagnosed have access to anti-HIV therapy, and 3) ‘providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk persons to keep them HIV negative.’

I have to read more about this. I’m not fond of #3. And, how will they go about getting all this personal information? More government intervention?

Does this mean that because I’m a gay man I’ll be required to take Truvada? Truvada is the prophylaxis they’re talking about. It’s used as an HIV prevention drug in some cases now.  I posted about that before.

Here’s a quote from my post:

Unfortunately, I discovered that taking Truvada gave me too many new things to feel. Whatever short-term side effects I could get, I did. Less than a week out, I started to feel a deep sense of fatigue every day around 6 p.m. It was something I could power through and eventually shake, but it made me feel like dropping to the floor and passing out instead of going to the gym or attending movie screenings. I had perpetual muscle soreness, especially in my legs, as if I had squatted way more than I should have the day before. My skin got worse. I developed a disgusting, raised rash on my torso that my dermatologist told me was the result of a nickel allergy (I had been wearing the culprit belt for years). I was gassy.
You can read more here about New York’s quest to end AIDS, and my post is here.


"Pool Boys" by Brandon Baker; 31 Gay Londoners; Learn Spanish Jean Paul Zapata; Second Chance by Ryan Field

“Pool Boys” by Brandon Baker

I’m going to be kind right now and keep my review of an article short and simple. I could go into detail in my quest to disabuse young gay man-about-town, Brandon Baker, of a few misconceptions he has about gay men and gay resorts, but it’s usually easier to get right to the point. I’m talking about a harsh article/review/commentary Brendan Baker wrote for Philly Magazine about a gay resort in New Hope, PA where I live.

Here’s one of the nastier quotes from the piece:

At a glance, the Pool’s dynamics this sunny afternoon can be outlined in Doppler waves. Behold, Wave No. 1: a Speedo-clad brigade of 50-plusers (the older crowd here is, shall we say, European in this sense: There’s no body shame, even when there should be) in the outer circles of the 150 sprawling chaise lounges, minding their own business as they flip over like pancakes to tan their leathery rumps (one of which pokes through a jock strap).

Aside from the fact that this over-written article seems to be promoting body shame at a time when many people, gay or straight, are trying to break away from that tired Madison Ave. concept of the perfect air-brushed body we’ve all been trained to believe is the only way to look, the rest of this article takes on the same snarky tone. But seriously? Who promotes body shame? What kind of person does this?

Just one more quote, and only because it’s such a broad generalization about gay men:

RECALL, IF YOU WILL, Jersey Shore’s cringe-worthy, beach-tee-ubiquitous “GTL” (translation: “Gym, Tan, Laundry”) motto for Shore-goers. It has always applied to gay men. While everyone else spends winter hibernating with Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix, we spend it working the gym circuit with our trainers, getting creative with kale recipes and force-feeding our bodies protein so as to be pool-ready when we hit the doorstep on Memorial Day.

Well. There you are. I guess I must be missing something as a gay man, because I have never once spent more than a moment wondering about beaches, pools, and baking in the sun to get skin cancer. I know some do, but not all of us. And it’s generalizations like this that promote the worst images of the LGBTI community, images that feed bad TV shows and films. In fact, I don’t do pools…ever. I don’t have the time or the patience.

This article is the worst kind of review out there because it focuses on all the most exaggerated aspects of a business or product…or even a group. In this case, Brendan Baker take quotes from people who no one in the town of New Hope takes very seriously and makes it appear as if this is actually what The Raven Resort is like all the time. It’s really just a quiet LGBTI resort with an excellent restaurant where attorneys and real estate brokers meet for lunch on weekdays, both straight and gay. I’ve been there for memorial services, weddings, and many other events totally unrelated to what I can only label as “swimming pool culture.” Last night Tony and I had dinner with the original owner of The Raven. The Raven was called Le Camp in the early days, long before my time.

You can read more. And I highly suggest you take into consideration this commentary by Brandon Baker is only a sensationalized account focused on the worst stereotypes that mentions nothing about the more important aspects of the LGBTI community in New Hope. The thing that bothers me the most about it is that while many of us are fighting for equality and trying to deal with people like Theresa Santai-Gaffney who wants to appeal gay marriage in PA, a skinny gay man with a sense of entitlement is slamming a strong part of the gay community with vituperative commentaries. If it hadn’t been for those doughy middle aged men Brandon Baker wouldn’t be able to get married now. But then again, a sense of entitlement never went well with respect.

It’s really more of an opinion piece so I can’t say it’s bad journalism. But I do think there must have been a sale on cute, pithy adjectives that day and you might not want to read it on a full stomach.

Side note: this was my best impression of practicing self-control.

 31 Gay Londoners

Now here’s an article with some heart. 31 gay Londoners have complied a list of what freedom, equality, and having protection means to them. These people make me proud.

For Pride In London, LGBTI people and their allies were asked to interpret the theme #FreedomTo in their own incredible, individual way.

From celebs like Tom Daley to equality campaigners like Paris Lees, from leaders of gay campaigning groups like Ruth Hunt to everyday people, they did not disappoint.

You can check some of them out here.

There are LGBTI people of all ages celebrating this. I didn’t see any standing next to a pool.

Learn Spanish: Jean Paul Zapata

One of my favorite young gay male journalists, Jean Paul Zapata, put together a quick piece about learning Spanish, and how the language is not the same all over.

That’s the beauty of the language. Spain’s Spanish is different to Spanish spoken in Central and South America Every country has a different accent, a different slang, a different flavor. ]

This guide is going to be based on Latin American Spanish, but the terms are quite basic and are so understandable in most, if not all countries.

You can read more here, where there’s a list of ways to pronounce words in case you’re heading to any pride events in a Spanish speaking country. The comment section adds a few more. I find it interesting. I speak book Italian fluently, but very little Spanish.

Jean Paul Zapata is a travel editor and reporter for Gaystarnews.com and I’ve posted about him several times before.

Second Chance
 
 
by Ryan Field
 
 
 
 
 
 


Gay Prides; M/M Rom Kerfuffle; Will Young Homphobia; Chase of a Lifetime by Ryan Field

Gay Prides

Even though June is winding down, gay pride parades are still in full swing. This AOL article mentions a sort of Gay Pride in Singapore, with a hugely colorful photo. This one in particular draws thousands of gay rights activists, which in turn has Christian activists asking for a ban on the event.

Previous Pink Dot rallies have been held without much opposition. But as they grew in numbers from less than 3,000 people when the first event was held in 2009 to more than 20,000 last year, so did their disapproval. Organizers said a record 26,000 people showed up Saturday.

26,000 is a lot of people and more support than ever before. This is interesting because the March for Marriage…an anti-gay march…on Washington recently garnered a handful of people compared to most gay pride events.

You can read more here. The article goes on to discuss more opposition. It’s the same old tired argument that gays are trying to persuade people, when in reality all gays are trying to do is get equal rights. If we had them were wouldn’t NEED gay pride events like this.

I also find it interesting that this article came from a mainstream source, not a gay news publication. I always support gay news first, however, I like seeing these things make mainstream publications.

M/M Rom Kerfuffle

I don’t know how else to title this part of the post. I didn’t want to use the title “Women Who Write M/M Romance” because I think that’s insulting at this point…to women writers and the genre. So I’m keeping it simple. And there was a bit of a kerfuffle recently on a blog where a few fairly well known authors were interviewed about why they like to write M/M Romance. As far as I can tell, the post is only a fraction of the full interview, with short quotes.

Evidently, the short quotes posted from these M/M Romance authors didn’t resonate well (for lack of a better way to phrase that) with some people and the comment thread expanded into a lengthy discussion that covered several interesting topics.

I interviewed three groups of m/m romance authors at the Romantic Times convention in May, asking the authors primarily the same questions. I let the discussions go in any direction the authors wanted with the idea that the mix of authors would put a different spin and focus on the topic.

One author said this:

Amy began by saying that “love is redemptive” and if any group needs the redemptive qualities of love, it’s gay men.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t argue with that comment. I did, however, find some of the others questionable.

However, I tend to look at these things from a blogger’s POV. And as a blogger who started out ten years ago interviewing gay bloggers for bestgayblogs, one of my goals was to make sure the interviews had a higher quality/integrity of sorts. I wasn’t actually protecting the bloggers I was interviewing, but if I thought they said something that might be questionable I usually asked them to rethink their comments before I published the interview. If they saw nothing wrong with what they said, I published it. I never censored or edited quotes, but I did feel a certain responsibility to the people I was interviewing. Maybe I was too kind.

In any event, you can read more here. As I said, the comment thread is interesting because the discussion gets into a lot of topics I think most writers care about while writing fiction, especially these days. My only other comment is that sometimes I think we should focus more on entertaining and telling stories than analyzing everything social or political to the last detail. And, if all authors and all fiction went without a little controversy things would be about as interesting as an afternoon with a sociology professor. Some day I’ll post my thoughts on THAT topic, and how I once had to suffer through the fresh hells of the worst sociology course in the history of higher education. And, the most mundane professor to ever open her big, boring sociological mouth (smile).

Will Young Homophobia

There aren’t many details about this one, but singer UK Will Young was allegedly the victim of some kind of homophobia on the day London Gay Pride begins.

Would you believe on the day of Gay Pride I have been the victim of homophobia. I am SO mad. #pride2014,’ tweeted the singer.

His followers ran to support him with more tweets.

Frankly, we’re all victims of homophobia in one way or another almost daily. Think Theresa Santai-Gaffney of the small town Pennsylvania Clerk fame who recently tried to appeal gay marriage by going over the Republican Governor’s head. Oh yes, good old St. Theresa of the Santai-Gaffney has been promoting homophobia by denying gays equal rights with her son-in-law, Hank J. Clarke, all week. She recently censored her facebook page with a lengthy message about how much vitriol she’s received. Well, forgive me for not feeling sorry for her. For every single action there is a reaction. And when you try to deprive people of their basic civil rights you deserve everything you get and more.

There’s more here about Will Young.

Chase of a Lifetime
 
By Ryan Field
 
 
 
http://www.amazon.com/Chase-Lifetime-Ryan-Field-ebook/dp/B007R6POYM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403981191&sr=8-2&keywords=Ryan+field+kindle



So Many Men; Shia LaBeouf Fag Word; The Fag Word Again: Gary Oldman; Cowboy In Love by Ryan Field

So Many Men

Singer, Sinitta, is making a comeback and re-launching her mother’s (Miquel Brown) hit single, So Many Men So Little Time, and will be singing it at London’s Pride Festival. It’s her first release in about 20 years.

It was long overdue to get back in the studio. So Many Men just seemed like the perfect choice, it is a kind of song to break the ice and I’m looking forward to singing it for the first time at London Pride.

 ‘I’m also working on an album of new material and now that I’m back the creative juices are flowing.’

There’s something about that song. It’s like Dancing Queen. The instant it begins the dance floor fills, the shirts come off, and the arms go up in the air.

You can read more here. I think she has a hit.

Shia LaBeouf Fag Word

Actor Shia LaBeouf allegedly went a little batshit crazy at a cabaret club and was arrested for creating a disturbance in several different ways.

He allegedly spat at the cops and said this:

‘I have millions and millions of dollars and attorneys,’ he allegedly added. ‘I’m going to ruin your career! Fag!’

I don’t have a clue as to who this man is and don’t care. I didn’t even feel like spelling his name right. But I do find it interesting every time I see how simple it is for straight males to use this word so offhandedly. It’s part of their culture to a certain extent. And they don’t even realize how offensive it actually is.

You can read more here.

The Fag Word Again: Gary Oldman

Speaking of the fag word, actor Gary Oldman recently called himself an asshole for defending both Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin for the vituperative shit they’ve said in the past. Baldwin is the one who used the fag word. Oldman did this in what sounds like an epic ass-kiss-fest on Jimmy Kimmel Live because there’s an article in Playboy Magazine where he allegedly went on a bonus rant about how things are too politically correct nowadays.

It’s called aggressive Damage Control.

Following a storm of backlash, Oldman appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday and said: ‘I said some things that were poorly considered. And once I had seen it in print, I could see that it was offensive, insensitive, pernicious and ill-informed…From my heart, I am profoundly, profoundly sorry…I should be an example and an inspiration, and I’m an a-hole. And I’m 56, and I should know better.’

What can you say to that? I actually believe him, because when you’re coming from a place of such privilege (being a straight white male in the US) it’s hard to understand how words like fag gut people to the deepest core. He claimed he made a huge mistake with his comments and he stepped out of his area of expertise.

You can read more here.

Cowboy In Love
 
 
by Ryan Field
 
 
 
 
 

The State of Marriage; FIFA Jock Underwear Investigation; FREE Gay Excerpt: My Fair Laddie by Ryan Field

The State of Marriage

There’s a book out by Ted Olson and David Boies titled, Redeeming the Dream: The Case For Marriage Equality. This web site to which I’m linking claims the book is “ahistorical” with respect to gay marriage and that it exaggerates their role in legalizing gay marriage in the US. I’m mentioning this because the focus of this part of the post is about Vermont, Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson, and the upcoming documentary The State of Marriage. My general focus is to show that the fight for same sex marriage has been a collaboration.

But first here’s something from the article about the two who have allegedly decided to rewrite gay marriage history. I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to read it.

But here’s the problem. Like Becker’s book, the Olson/Boies book reveals a profound ignorance of the decades of strategy, advocacy, and perseverance that made gay marriage in America possible. Its authors make the surprisingly callow mistake of participating in an important cause, seeing success around them, and arrogantly assuming they did it all by themselves. And in doing so, they, like Becker, make it harder for the world to understand what’s truly involved in successful social change.

The article goes on to talk about how these two authors did it all by themselves and those who helped were supporting THEM. It’s a fascinating piece and one I think is important to read because history is often rewritten to suit the needs of the most self-serving.

And people like Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson who married Tony and me last January have been working to legalize both domestic partnership and same sex marriage long before most people even knew it was an issue, socially or politically. The fight to legalize gay marriage has always been, and continues to be, a collaboration of many different people and factors and no one person should be credited directly.

In any event, I think the upcoming documentary, The State of Marriage, that Tony and I were lucky enough to be part of will show a great deal of how same sex marriage began in the US and how it’s evolved, historically speaking. I’ve posted about this many times and you can read more here. Best of all, The State of Marriage had a crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo and they reached their goal. You can read more about that here. There’s also a video clip and we’re at the end.

Jock Underwear Investigation

When I posted about the audience chanting gay slurs at a World Cup event last week I had no idea this is how things would turn out. But I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised either. FIFA doesn’t seem to think the anti-gay chants are important enough to investigate, so they are going to worry about something far more important. They will be focused on an investigation that deals with a jock wearing the wrong kind of underwear. That’s right. Underwear.

Brazilian soccer star Neymar was spotted wearing a pair of Blue Man boxers, featuring his country’s yellow and green flag against Cameroon on Monday.

But the only problem is that Blue Man is not a FIFA World Cup sponsor.

According to Brazilian media reports, the 22-year-old soccer superstar is now being investigated by his choice of underwear with FIFA claiming it violates its disciplinary code.

You can read more here to find out how FIFA ruled on chanting the word “Puto.” There’s also a photo of the underwear and a jock.

Once again, sports trumps equality and discrimination.

FREE Gay Excerpt My Fair Laddie by Ryan Field

Here’s an unedited excerpt from a book I wrote titled, My Fair Laddie. It’s not fanfic. It’s a gay interpretation/parody of a classic storyline called Pygmalion that’s been reinvented many times by many other people. I just happened to reinvent the gay version, with highly erotic gay scenes, for people who enjoy reading gay stories. As far as I know, that was never done before I did it. Think of the way they are planning to interpret the old movie, Gay Father of the Bride.

There’s also a huge e-book sale happening over at Allromanceebooks.com that I didn’t know about until I looked for the link below. Prices have been greatly slashed. My .99 e-books are selling for .69. I feel like Second Hand Rose 🙂

My Fair Laddie by Ryan Field
 
 
 
 

Harlan Henderson threw two huge parties a year. One was in late springtime, where his historic Greek revival, located on an elegant Savannahsquare, was filled with fresh exotic flowers and the swimming pool overflowed with handsome young men in skimpy bathing suits. The other fell at Christmastime, where there was a fully decorated Christmas tree in every room and a lit candle placed in the middle of every windowsill.

Harlan came from an old, respected Savannahfamily. Aside from his Aunt Margaret who spent most of her time in New York, he was the only one left. 

            The spring party always sported a different theme. One year it was roses. The entire house had been filled with roses in every size, shade, and variety. Another year is was purple ribbons, with aubergine silk flowing from every window, sconce, and chandelier.  But the year Harlan chose a pomegranate theme was probably the springtime party Harlan would remember, in detail, for the rest of his life. And that’s because it was the party that would change his life in ways he never could have predicted.

            Though most of the pomegranate theme party hadn’t been much different from his other spring parties, the last fifteen minutes made Harlan’s eyes cross and his face turn red. While he was standing at the front door saying goodnight to the last of his guests, he moved a large cache pot filled with pomegranates away from the wall to show one of his guests the cache pot was an important Asian antique that had been in his family for years. Only he forgot to move it back against the wall when he was finished explaining, and an awkward young waiter carrying a tray of empty martini glasses tripped over it on his way from the dining room to the kitchen. The waiter lurched forward; the martini tray flew up in the air. Then the waiter pressed both palms to Harlan’s back and the tray landed on Harlan’s most important guest of the evening: a female senator from Georgia. Though for the most part the martini glasses had been empty, there had been remnants of pomegranate martini in a few of them.

            When Harlan looked up and saw his distinguished guest had two small spots of watered down pomegranate martini on her beige cocktail dress, he clenched his fists and glared at the young waiter. He didn’t bother to notice the waiter had spilled more pomegranate martini on his own white shirt, and he didn’t bother to ask if the young waiter had hurt himself during the fall.

            Harlan turned to the senator and said, “I’m so sorry. Please send me the bill for the dress. I can’t seem to find good help anywhere these days.” Then he sent the young waiter a seething glance. Harlan had seen this guy working around the house. Usually, he was working outside with the other landscapers, but Harlan had never actually met him.

            The senator wiped the drops of pomegranate with her palm and smiled at the waiter. “I’m fine,” she said. “I’m sure my dry cleaner can remove them. Don’t give it a second thought.”

            The waiter regained his balance and stepped forward. He appeared large and awkward and gangly; his pants too short and too tight and his white shirt so large the shoulder seams drooped down his arm. “I’m sorry ma’am. I been on my feet all night and didn’t see them red fruits down there in that there big ole pot. I know they wasn’t there before. Someone must a moved’em.” He looked up at Harlan and then pointed. “Them things is dangerous. Ya’ll ought to get’em out of the way before a person falls and breaks somethin important.”

            Harlan’s eyes bugged and his jaw dropped. He kicked the cache pot into the wall and said, “Them things is only dangerous when there are idiots in the room.” He wasn’t shouting, but he mocked the way the young waiter spoke. This guy had the worst, backwater drawl Harlan had ever heard. It brought chills to his spine and pain to his eardrums. And Harlan knew all about dialects. He’d been studying two distinct aspects of dialect all of his adult life: regional and social class. He not only had a doctorate in applied linguistics, he’d also written text books and given lectures about the differences between regional and social class dialects. And this waiter, as far as he was concerned, had the worst combined regional and lower class dialect he’d ever heard in the entire country. There was something unusual about it that didn’t make sense.

            The senator smiled and shook Harlan’s hand. She pointed to a section of her dress, down near the hem, where the drops of pomegranate martini had landed and said, “Look, no harm done. You can hardly see anything now.”

            “I’m so sorry ma’am,” the waiter said. “I like to die when that tray went over, I did.”

            Harlan smiled, thanked the senator for attending his party, and watched her walk down the front path. By the time Harlan turned around, his closest academic associate, Dr. Fritz Gordon, an older professor who had once been Harlan’s teacher, was grinning at him.

            “Calm down, old boy,” Fritz said. “No harm done. I saw it from across the hall. The lad tripped over the fish bowl because it was in the middle of the room. It wasn’t his fault.”

            “See,” the waiter said. “I told ya it weren’t my fault.” Then he smiled at Fritz and said, “Thanks all the same, but I ain’t no lad. Just turned twenty last week.”

            Fritz smiled and bowed. “My apologies then, young man.”  

            But Harlan wasn’t smiling. He raised an eyebrow and glared at the waiter who was now down on the floor, on his hands and knees, picking up pomegranates two at a time and placing them back in the cache pot every which way.

            The boy looked up and said, “Ya’ll are getting all worked up over nuthin when the lady already went and said them little drops weren’t botherin her. You couldn’t hardly seen’em.”

            Harlan took a quick breath. In all the years he’d been studying and writing text books and papers about regional and social class dialect, he’d never met anyone who spoke as poorly as this young man. His drawl was so thick it was difficult to understand most of his sentences. And there was an unusual hint of British cockney mixed in with the drawl. He dropped all g’s, usually ignored h’s, misused most verbs, and didn’t have a clue when it came to the differences between words like them and those. It was almost as if he were speaking a completely different language.

            “She was being gracious, you little fool,” Harlan said. “The woman is a senator and her campaign depends on large donations from people like me. She is probably in her car, right now, cursing me, not to mention my party. I’ve never been so mortified.”

            The young guy plopped the last pomegranate into the cache pot and stood up. He put his hands on his hips and frowned. “Who you callin a fool?  I like to die when them funny lookin apples damn near knocked me into the next room. If ya’ll axes me, ya’ll are the fool for leavin them there things out in plain sight where a person could kill hisself.”

            This guy didn’t just use improper grammar and speak with a drawl. He mispronounced words, too. When he pronounced sight as sot and ask as ax, Harlan rolled his eyes and looked up at the ceiling for help. “Where on earth did you go to school? I’d like to meet your first grade teacher and club her. I’ve never heard such a bastardization of the English language. You, my dear boy, are the reason refined and educated southern people get a bad reputation all the time. You make the rest of us look bad.”

              The waiter blinked. Though he seemed clueless, he knew Harlan was insulting him. “I’m a good kid, I am,” he said. “Never got messed up with no drugs and don’t even drink no beer likes the rest a them kids I know. Ya’ll got some nerve talkin to me as if I’m some kinda trash.”

True Blood Character Left Because of Gay Part; Brendan Fehr on Gay Kiss; Homophobic Hollywood

True Blood Character Left Because of Gay Part

I just finished an e-mail discussion with a straight male friend who wondered why gay people always seem to be on a crusade. Unfortunately, he caught me at the wrong time and I told him it’s easy to use words like crusade in a glib way if you’re coming from a place of privilege…in his case the world of straight white men. And this article I’m linking to now seems to speak loudly on this topic. Allegedly, according to some sources, actor Luke Grimes left the hit series, True Blood, when he learned his character would be getting a gay storyline. In another article I’m linking to below Grimes’ representative claims the allegations are false and he didn’t leave for that reason. But even that article mentions alleged creative differences, without detail.

Here’s a quote from the piece that claims he did leave because of a gay storyline:

According to BuzzFeed, “Grimes objected to the first few scripts he received [of season 7], once it became clear that his character would become romantically involved with Lafayette. He countered that he would be willing to play the role if Lafayette were attracted to him, but not if the attraction was mutual. He also did not want to do any same-sex kissing or sex scenes. The writers were unwilling to change the scripts on his behalf.”

Grimes’ publicist says that his departure had to do with scheduling and cited several projects to BuzzFeed like his role in Fifty Shades of Grey. In addition, the publicist said Grimes did not know what was in the scripts prior to leaving the show.

It’s an interesting side note that this article mentions Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie. If you recall, Matt Bomer was up for the lead and the fact that an openly gay man was in the running to play Christian stirred up shitstorms of epic proportions in some places. Frankly, the more I read about Fifty Shades the less inclined I am to watch it when it’s released.

Here’s the piece that says Grimes did not back out of True Blood because of the gay storyline:

The “Taken 2” star joined the supernatural series in the sixth season and unexpectedly quit the role of vampire James in December, blaming creative differences with the show’s producers over his character’s direction.

He was replaced by Nathan Parsons and in the series seven premiere, which aired on Sunday, it appears James is heading towards a romantic relationship with gay character Lafayette.

Reports suggested the plot prompted Grimes’ departure, but his representative has now denied the claims, insisting the exit “had nothing to do with storylines, which he had not been privy to at the time of that posting.”

First, to be completely honest, I have followed True Blood since season one and I didn’t even know they’d replaced Grimes. I never thought he was anything more than just another face with long hair. Second, in this post my focal point is NOT about why Grimes left the show. I don’t care that much about him. It’s more general… about the topic of a straight actor playing a gayface, or a gay actor playing a straight role.

Evidently, Hollywood has a long way to go in spite of all their concern for the LGBTI community.

Brendan Fehr on Gayface Kiss

In an even more insulting article about a straight actor playing gayface, Brendan Fehr is talking about how hard it was for him to play a gay doctor and kiss a man. This isn’t the first time Brendan Fehr has played gayface. He got paid well to play gayface in something else I’ve never bothered to watch. But this time he actually had to kiss another man, which left him feeling uncomfortable. I think Rock Hudson must roll over in his grave at least a few times a day. You never heard HIM complaining about kissing Doris Day. Ah, but he wasn’t able to be openly gay.

“It was the challenge of portraying Drew. I think it was the risks involved as well. To play a homosexual on network television, what are the risks? There’s a whole bunch of them. What are the rewards? Not as many. I just felt like I had something to offer.”

He played a “homosexual.” Yes, he used the H word. He fails to mention how well paid he is for doing this.

Here’s what he had to say on kissing a guy:

“It was uncomfortable for me. In Episode 106, my boyfriend comes and I don’t like kissing guys, it doesn’t do anything for me. It’s really uncomfortable, but you gotta get past that, his story is bigger than that. The emotion behind that is so much bigger than that. I was scared, petrified in a lot of ways, but I wanted to push myself and see if I could do it.”

Aside from the fact an actor isn’t supposed to get aroused from kissing anyone during a scene, he doesn’t seem concerned that there are thousands of gay actors in Hollywood who would have killed to get this part. But, aside from the fact that hundreds of famous closeted gay actors have been kissing women for many years and not commenting on that in public, Fehr is honored to play gayface.

Well, we’re honored you are doing that, Mr. Fehr. Thanks for all of your support. But you might want to rethink a few things the next time you’re giving an interview that may or may not have something directly to do with your meal ticket. The fact that you are playing gayface is probably the best thing that has happened in your life to date. And think about the gay actors who are not privileged enough to play straight roles and aren’t lucky enough to get freaked out by kissing women…or for that matter they aren’t even playing gay roles.

You can read more here.

Homophobic Hollywood

I really needed something to back me up with the first two articles I mentioned above. And Queerty came through for me once again with this piece about how homophobic Hollywood really can be sometimes. The article begins with a comment about how some will tell you there’s no need for gay pride anymore…how so much has changed for the LGBTI community. And, even though I didn’t realize it until after I wrote the post above, Queerty talks about Brendan Fehr, too.

Ask any struggling actor if they think there are any rewards to taking a gay role on network television. I expect they’d be able to find one or two.

To his credit, Fehr did end up taking the role, stepping outside his comfort zone along the way. And that’s great. But he clings to the idea that he’s doing something risky, dangerous and brave.

The article also mentions Grimes and True Blood. You can read more here. At least I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

But what this article doesn’t mention is something that bothers me the most. When will be see more openly gay actors playing straight roles? That’s when equality is really going to be put to the test.

Anderson Cooper on Vagina; Davey Wavey Gay Men On Vagina; Starbucks Pride; Gay Men Writing Straight Romance

Anderson Cooper On Vagina

There’s been a story floating around the interwebz about a guy who got stuck in a giant vagina sculpture in Germany and it took multiple teams of rescue workers to extract him from the big vagina. Evidently, it seems he went in feet first and wound up trapped. Why he wanted to enter the vagina hasn’t been disclosed. When openly gay journalist, Anderson Cooper, reported this story to his viewers he had a little trouble remaining as stoic as usual, to the point where he seemed to find it difficult to actually say vagina aloud.

“I am certainly no expert on the topic of…vaginas,” he finally said after a minor giggle fit.

“But I know enough to know that you’re not supposed to– really?” he said, pausing and laughing before omitting the word completely, “…to go in feet first.”

On the third try, however, Cooper was able to say the word without laughing or pausing.

Cooper also apologized early on, stating that he was not in anyway laughing at women or vagina so that those who don’t understand the relationship between gay men and the vagina didn’t go berserk on his Twitter feed.

You can read more here, and watch Cooper trying to get through this segment without falling off his chair. There’s also a photo of the man-eating vagina sculpture.

Davey Wavey Gay Men On Vagina

Of course those with a sense of humor will find this hysterical. Those without a sense of humor, will shudder and cross their legs. But it’s really all about the way the gay men naturally react to the question, “What do you think about vaginas?” that really makes this interesting.

The best way to describe their expressions is a cross between confusion and panic.

Starbucks Pride

In a show of support to the LGBTI community, Starbucks raised the rainbow flag at corporate headquarters during Pride week in Seattle.

“We are thrilled that Starbucks is showing their support for the LGBT community in this very big, very public way,” Adam McRoberts, Communications Director for Seattle Pride, said in an email statement. “The flag flying over their headquarters will welcome thousands of visitors coming to Seattle to celebrate Pride this week and is a testament to the support Starbucks has shown the LGBT community over the years.”

There’s more here.

I wonder what NOM thinks of this. Or Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the woman who went up against the Republican governor of Pennsylvania recently to appeal gay marriage after the governor decided NOT to file an appeal.

Gay Men Writing Straight Romance

Update: I wanted to update this so no one gets the wrong idea. This is more about openly gay authors writing in other genres and the obstacles they face with agents and publishers. I have always believed that a writer should be able to write in any genre regardless of sex or sexual orientation. But when gay authors try to cross over into the straight markets they aren’t taken as seriously. And it’s not just in publishing. It’s in films, too. The same thing happens to women in certain genres that straight men dominate.

In 2009 I was asked to write a straight romance novel for an event on The Home Shopping Network called Escape to Romance. I had a rough deadline…a month…to write a 60,000 word hetero vampire romance, and I decided to use the pen name, Malia Sutton at the time. I don’t think I’ve posted about this book much anywhere. This pen name doesn’t even have an author page on Amazon because I never intended to do much else with it. I was paid a flat fee for this project and I felt awkward promoting this with a pen name. Plus, gay authors do not make the cross over into hetero romance easily. It’s interesting because straight women seem to have no problem writing gay romances or straight romances, but a gay man will crash and burn if he doesn’t use a pen name and a fake identity writing straight romance.

This has nothing to do with writing ability. I’m on record supporting all the women writing gay romances, and there are plenty of them making money on gay content these days. But when a gay man, with his name and identity, decides to write hetero romances it’s a very different story. It’s a lot like the double standard in Hollywood right now, where it’s fine for straight actors to play gayface as often as they want, but you rarely see openly gay actors playing straight leading roles in feature films. I personally think this is because we (gay men) haven’t found our voices yet because we’re still too busy trying to get equal rights in the most basic sense. Many of us are still dealing with baggage from the past. Many haven’t even come out yet. So it’s easy to take advantage of us right now.

But I think it’s time gay men started to get a little more aggressive about all this, because if straight people can capitalize on gay content there should be no reason why openly gay men can’t capitalize on straight content. We just need to stop being so afraid to go up against THEM.

Ironically, I feel closer to this book and the characters in this book than to many of my gay romances. And the odds are readers will ignore the book because I’m a gay author and this isn’t gay romance. It doesn’t shock me anymore.

 
Loving Daylight by Ryan Field (Malia Sutton)
 
 
 

From the Amazon page…

“…a great, enjoyable read…. Malia writes with a simple style that keeps the story moving fast and the reader interested in what’s coming next.” — Dear Critique

Loving Daylight is the breathtakingly romantic debut by the talented Malia Sutton!

Vampire Avenir LaFramboise is over one hundred years old, but he still carries a torch for his first love. When he travels back to Mt. Desert Island, Maine, to meet her descendant, he is swept away by the stunning Sienna. But Sienna’s family hides a chilling secret, and if Avenir wants to win her heart, he must help her discover the truth…

With heart-rending romance and steamy encounters, this vampire tale will leave you hungry for more by this talented new author!

This is a link to the Goodreads page where Loving Daylight received better reviews than I ever imagined it would. I did absolutely nothing at all to promote it. It was released and a forgot all about it. I can promise you that if I had written this as Ryan Field these reviews would have been much different. There might not have been any at all.