Cultural Appropriation

"Whitewashing" Stonewall Film; When Do You Know You’re Gay? Henry Cavill’s Erection

“Whitewashing” Stonewall Film

A facebook friend showed me this article and I thought it was one of the best I’ve seen on the topic. I’ve seen other pieces, some more outspoken than others, but aside from everything the topic seems to have hit a nerve that some people won’t let disappear.

First, I don’t know much about Stonewall so I can’t support any details. Second, I haven’t seen the film, Stonewall, and as far as I know the entire firestorm that has erupted is about the trailer. According to this article, Stonewall…at least from the trailer…has been “whitewashed” in the same way Hollywood tends to deal with all social topics. There was a great deal of controversy when The Help was released, both with the book and the film. The claim from many was that someone white, coming from a place of privilege, got the opportunity to tell their version of a story that may or may not have been their story to tell.

I talk about cultural appropriation here on the blog sometimes and I feel it and experience it first hand as an openly gay author every single day of my life. 

And most of the world doesn’t know any of this. Just like most of the world…including me…doesn’t know if the Stonewall film was whitewashed. But this time people are speaking up about it, and they are gaining support from what I’ve seen.

Some activists have announced plans to boycott the film due to its inaccurate representation of the riots – though it is yet to be released, and the judgements are based solely on one trailer.


As with many others, the MTV Decoded star raised concern the “whitewashing” and “trans-erasure” in the film – with drag and trans activists played by men, and the main character a white gay man. 

Chescaleigh also discusses that – with the rising fame of trans actors such as Laverne Cox and Jamie Clayton – many Hollywood directors still use big-name cisgender actors to play trans women, from Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club to Eddie Redmayne in upcoming film The Danish Girl.

However, how much can we actually tell from a trailer? It has been announced that important characters in in the riots such as Marsha P Johnson are going to be heavily featured in the film. 
 
Both Jeremy Irvine, who plays the lead “Danny” in the film, and director Roland Emmerich have released statements on social media defending the film.

You can check out a brilliantly executed youtube video here and listen to what she’s saying first hand.

As I said, I honestly can’t comment at this point because I just don’t know enough about it. However, I plan to learn more in the near future.

Sidenote: The director has come out stating the film is a dramatization. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t try to portray it as historically accurate if it’s been dramatized. That’s where things get dangerous. 

When Do You Know You’re Gay?

This is something I’ve discussed with groups of friends before many times. One person starts talking about his or her story about when he or she realized they were gay and then everyone joins in. From what I’ve always seen and heard, the stories are always different.

Each week online comedian, voice actor and chest hair model Sam Kalidi creates a new meme for Queerty readers. This week he investigates the age when we know for sure that we’re queer or straight. Sam looks forward to all your hate mail. You can find him on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and at your local glory hole.

Of course this is all in jest, and I happen to love Sam Kalidi. I follow him on Twitter and sometimes I can’t get enough of him…and I’m not talking about the local glory hole. I don’t think we have those here in Bucks County.

But check out the comments, too. All of them are interesting. 

Personally, I knew it when I go back to my first conscious memory.

Henry Cavill’s Erection

Here’s some dumb clickbait about Henry Cavill allegedly getting wood during a scene he filmed with some woman who had large breasts.  To be honest, I don’t even know who the hell Henry Cavill is and I’m not looking him up.

“It’s only happened to me once, and it was very embarrassing. A girl had to be on top of me, she had spectacular breasts, and I hadn’t rearranged my — stuff into a harmless position. She’s basically rubbing herself all over me and, um, it got a bit hard.

It devolves from there. You can check it out with this link.

The only reason I linked to it now is because it’s a good example of how the press baits people with all things penis related.

What bothers me is why is this gay news? What gay person is interested in hearing about Henry Cavill’s erection with a woman?

What did I miss?

The Rainbow Detective Agency Book 6

The Scottish Duke


Jimmy Carter on Gay Marriage; Matt Bomer Could Have Been Superman; Heath Ledger on Brokeback Mountain

Jimmy Carter on Gay Marriage

I’ve been following the projects President Jimmy Carter has been doing in the years since he left the White House. They are nothing short of extraordinary. And this time he’s done it again with his comments on gay marriage.

He said this week that he believes his point of view is in line with that of Jesus despite much of the marriage equality opposition being due to people’s religious beliefs.

‘I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief,’ Carter tells HuffPost Live. ‘I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else.’

Carter describes himself as a born again Christian and he still teaches Sunday school classes when he’s at home in Plains, Georgia.

There’s more here.

Matt Bomer Could Have Been Superman

This all happened a while back. Matt Bomer recently revealed that he was originally cast as Superman in a Superman film that focused more on Superman’s younger, college years.

Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Bomer remembered playing Clark Kent opposite Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Adams went on to play the role in the 2013 film opposite Henry Cavill.

‘Brett chose me for the project and then it all fell apart,’ Bomer said. ‘It was a very lengthy process to get the role, I think it was over the course of three months because I went in in a cattle call. It sort of evolved from there.

More here. It’s interesting that they say Bomer would have been the first LGBT superhero, but I’m not sure if that’s accurate. I could be wrong, but don’t think Bomer was out at the time, and as far as I know we still don’t know who has played a superhero and is gay. In other words, I think the labels don’t matter much anymore. I think Bomer would have been great whether he was in or out of the closet. He’s already proven that.

Heath Ledger on Brokeback Mountain

Here’s another interesting piece of trivia about Heath Ledger and Brokeback Mountain.

Heath Ledger had a relative to draw on when it came to preparing for his portrayal of gay ranch hand Ennis Del Mar in the classic film Brokeback Mountain.

On the 10th anniversary of the film’s 2005 release, the film’s Oscar winning director Ang Lee recalled: ‘I think he told me that he learned from one of his uncles, who is also a very macho, homophobic gay, much like Ennis, and also a rancher.’

Lee also told Variety: ‘Heath came in and wanted to do it right away.’

I can’t believe it’s been ten years. Brokeback Mountain, the book and film, has always been interesting to me, personally. I read the book. I watched the film. Once was enough for each one. The odds are I’ll never revisit either one again…and I’ve been known to watch films like Silver Linings Playbook so many times I can read the lines with the characters. Brokeback Mountain just didn’t do it for me in the same way I think The Help didn’t do much for African American authors. You either get that or you don’t.

 You can read the rest of it here.  

Loving Daylight

 

A PG rated Mainstream Romance


 
 

What Is Straightsplaining? Manspreading; Photos of Past NY Pride

What Is Straightsplaining?

I see a lot about mansplaining (definition links below) these days, but never too much about straightsplaining. And I think that’s because most gay people don’t even know there’s a word for it. They know what the concept is. Like me, they experience straightsplaining on a daily basis, but don’t know there’s an actual term they can now use in defense. So I thought I’d do a very short post about it for those who don’t know what straightsplaining is.

In short, straightsplaining is when straight people coming from places of privilege talk about gay people as if they know everything there ever was to know about being gay. But it gets more complicated.

There are several different degrees of straightsplaining. That word, inspired by the increasingly common “mansplaining,” describes the practice of straight people explaining how gay people are, or what gay people do, or how gay people do what they do, or why. This second-hand information can range from being virtually benign to chronically malignant. It is detailed below in that order, more or less. Come, let’s explore this discursive cancer.

There are detailed examples, here. As I said, I experience this almost daily. There’s an excellent example of how a review of HBO’s “Looking” goes wrong when it’s written by a straight reviewer.

Well, if you’re going to take to task a gay man’s assessment of gay culture, you should at least know your terminology. Positing that first sentence the way that he does, it seems that Seitz is pointing out a contradiction in Lowder’s work, which would mean that Seitz thinks that being a “queen” is somehow tied to promiscuous sex, which… what? And just why exactly does Queer as Folk’s more explicit handling of gay sex invoke “hounds of hell” in Seitz’s eyes?

I love when straight people review shows like “Vicious,” and they don’t have the first clue, but think they do. 

I’ve actually learned to be very polite about straightsplaining. I rarely get upset. I think most straight people who do this aren’t aware they are doing it…even though they still think they know more than the gay man about being gay. However, you get the wrong gay man and you might be in for a few shocks you didn’t expect. He could bury you 🙂

 
Manspreading

Manspreading, unlike mansplaining, is when a man sits down, spreads his legs almost as wide as he can, and sits back without a care in the world. Most men don’t even realize they’re doing this. People…not me…complain it takes up too much space on public transportation and some men have allegedly been arrested for it.

However, there is hope for it…

Now thanks to a dedicated team of researchers we now have a greater understanding and our sympathies have shifted. These poor men have been diagnosed with a genetic condition known as “manspreaditis,” which causes them to walk with their legs permanently divided past the point of comfort. So next time you see one of these poor unfortunates, show some sympathy instead of scorn and shift over.

There are a few excellent examples of good looking men spreading their legs, here. And there’s a video. As you can imagine, this article is more about the comments than anything else.

But more important, as you would also imagine there are dolts who actually take this shit seriously and have no idea that it’s meant to be funny.

The nation is getting really stupid with everything needing to be discussed and named nowadays… but spreading your legs this wide is ridiculous and childish. No one’s sack is that big and if it is they need to get checked for a tumor. I hate little overcompensating idiots who spread their legs that wide like they’re wearing a damned diaper. There’s just no need and it’s clearly a lack of empathy for those around them as well as a total lack of class and decency. Look at some of those pics, just plain silly. Kudos to the people who got them arrested, maybe they’ll grow up a bit. Other people need space to sit too, wannabe alpha males with tiny sacks spreading like there’s a mattress in your panties.


Photos of Past NY Pride

Here’s a piece with images of past NY pride events that capture the times and the expressions of those who lived them.

It’s high holy days for the gays. Pride is being celebrated all across the country. From Tampa to Chicago, Boston to Honolulu, cities large and small are getting into the rainbow spirit and drawing crowds of historic proportions.

As we approach New York Pride, the city that started it all back in 1970, we thought we’d take a look back at Prides past. Based on these photos, most of which are from the 70s and 80s, one thing is abundantly clear: Pride never goes out of style!

Here’s the link. They’re actually very good. And I think like most people around my age, I look at these things with a retro sense of pride even though I never experienced it first hand.

The Rainbow Detective Agency 


Box Set Series $5.99


Same Sex Marriage In Scotland; James Franco On Playing Ex-Gay Activist; David Baker Removed From School For Questioning His Sexuality

Same Sex Marriage In Scotland

These statistics allegedly come from the Scottish government, not a study or research. And please keep in mind that not everyone in Scotland is out of the closet, so I would expect this to go even higher in the next ten years.

Of the 3,889 unions recorded since same-sex marriage came into effect in December 2014, 462 of them were between people of the same sex. 

Meanwhile, the total number of marriages – gay or straight – was 340 more than in the same period of last year – that’s a rise of 9.6%.

You can read the rest here. There’s an interesting comment about the opponents of same sex marriage.

James Franco On Playing Ex-Gay Activist

Our almost gay bud, James Franco, hasn’t been making much news lately so when I spotted this I figured I’d link to it. I’m not totally sure why he’s so interested in gay subject matter and I don’t think anyone can speculate on that. But when I post about cultural appropriation like this I’m usually more focused on the straight privilege with respect to gay content. In other words, I know many gay artists out there who would love a chance to get recognized with gay content like Franco’s, but the straight white man coming from a place of privilege still trumps the gay artist…even when the subject matter is gay.

If you don’t get that, you can read more about black people and cultural appropriation here. 

James Franco has said he was not out to vilify the ‘ex-gay’ activist he plays in his new film I Am Michael.

He plays Michael Glatze, the man who went from gay, proud and founder of a gay twink magazine to become a pastor and the poster boy for the ‘ex-gay’ movement.

Now I think I’ll write a script about someone white and straight who was an activist. But first I’ll have to use a pen name and go back into the closet with that pen name. That’s called privilege.

You can check the rest out here. 

David Baker Removed From School For Questioning His Sexuality

This is important because it breaks the stereotypes, and it shows more courage than the likes of James Franco will ever know.  My ultimate hope is that voices of young men like Baker will overpower the voices of appropriation that have given men like Franco so much attention. David Baker is a bright, attractive young gay man who also happens to be a Republican active in politics. He’s written a short but fascinating piece about what inspires him to remain out in his world.

The three taboo topics in America are sex, religion, and politics. As a gay Mormon working in Republican politics, I have spent my career pushing against these taboos, sometimes by merely continuing to breathe.

However, I am only able to continue pushing for equality because I stand on the shoulders of LGBT giants who came out in an era where it was even more difficult to be gay.

I grew up in religiously conservative Utah and attended Brigham Young University, a private university owned by the Mormon Church. When, as a student, I started to question my sexuality I was removed from school.

The rest is here, where he goes into more detail about his experience, and he talks about the John Browne book he’s promoting that seems to be about coming out. As a gay man who was raised in a strict Catholic setting I can both understand and sympathize with him on every count. The only difference is that I do think it’s easier now than twenty years ago.

The comments are unusual with this one, mainly because some LGBT people don’t understand being gay, Mormon, and conservative. I get that they don’t understand. It’s not always easy for me either. It is a new concept. However, I do think we’ll be seeing more young men and women like Baker getting voices, and they are voices that deserve to be heard, too.

The Rainbow Detective Agency: On Fleek


 

Paris Is Buring Sparks Outrage; Ted Cruz, Again; Rob Lowe’s Hot Dadbod

Paris Is Burning Cultural Appropriation

First, if you don’t know, this is what Paris Is Burning is about:

Paris Is Burning is a 1990 American documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. The film is considered to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, and critics have praised it as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.

I’ve seen it and I thought it was interesting. But at the time I saw it I didn’t know that back story about appropriation.

The movie’s director, Jennie Livingston, and musician/artist JD Samson were invited to join in the screening as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! events, and many were upset that no queer and trans people of color or representatives from the thriving ballroom community that the film documents were asked to participate.

However, it’s much more complicated. The documentary recently sparked more outrage and this time it’s all about cultural appropriation. I’ve posted about that here on the blog many times.

Jennie Livingston argues that point and she looks at it this way:

Livingston defends her outsider status as such: “I’m white, yes, but I’m an openly queer, female director, and I can’t think of anything more out of the mainstream. I’m sorry, but I do not think I have the same relationship to the ruling class as a straight man,” and she certainly has a point.

To a certain extent, she does have a point. However, why isn’t she making documentaries about openly queer females that get this kind of attention? I think that’s a valid question. Could it be that there’s more to exploit and sensationalize with her subject matter in Paris Is Burning? I don’t know the answer to that particular question but I am tired of seeing certain kinds of appropriation.


Change.org has actually started a petition to stop the screening of Paris Is burning in Brooklyn:

While Jennie Livingston and Mirimax [sic] profited immensely off of this anthropological foray into the lives of low-income TQPOC ballroom members, through years of lies and dishonesty, Livingston was able to use people for the sake of her own fame and has been living off of their stories ever since. In the meantime, most of the original cast has been murdered or has died in poverty. This is exploitation of a vulnerable population who trusted Jennie to do right by them.

There’s more here, and the debate goes on with more replies from Livingston and BRIC.

I think one of my biggest issues with all this is that they didn’t invite any of the people that were associated with the whole subject of the documentary as representatives. And this is something I find all the time with any kind of cultural appropriation. Those who are appropriating seem to either overlook, or purposely silence, the minorities from the actual culture. It’s a quiet, passive aggressive brand of dismissal I’m starting to see happen more and more from those who come from a place of privilege.

We have a very long, long way to go. I just wish more people in the LGBT community knew more about cultural appropriation and how to deal with it when they see it. It’s not always out there in your face.

Ted Cruz, Again

Here’s a story about Ted Cruz and more of his anti-gay marriage opinions. And, they also mention Ian Reisner…the wealthy gay guy who had a special dinner event for Cruz…my previous posts.

Less than a month has passed since Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz blew his own horn for being the ‘big picture’ kind of guy who would sit down with some gays (in their own home! we’re sure he brought plenty of purell) to discuss the issues of the day.

“I know it’s been a long time since we’ve seen it, but this is what it means to truly be a ‘big tent Republican’ instead of a panderer,” he said of his fundraising event fireside chat at the NYC penthouse of gay real estate execs Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass.

You can check out the rest here, where they go into more detail about the gay men who had the dinner event for Cruz. I hate to comment on these political things, but I wouldn’t have invited Cruz to my home. You have to set some limits, even if you are gay and conservative.

Rob Lowe’s Hot Dadbod

I find this interesting, mainly because we’ve been slamming straight men for years for objectifying women this way. On Twitter, I see vicious women in publishing slam the objectification of women and in the next tweet they objectify men without thinking twice. 

Rob Lowe, however, doesn’t seem to mind being objectified.

 I’m obsessed with this fucking thing. Did you know that I tweeted about it two weeks ago? I put it out there to my millions of followers:  Be honest with me: Do I have a dadbod? I just need to know. Because I’m not really sure what it means yet and I need to find out. They said absolutely not, although some wonderful internet sleuths found a photo of me when I was not at my finest and said, yeah, you have a dadbod. I am a dad and I have a bod. So by definition, I have a dadbod.I’m not pro or con [dadbod], but it’s great that it is a real thing. My understanding of it is [that dadbod] guys are semi-jacked but have neglected this [points to decidedly anti-dadbod stomach], is that right? My new favorite term … are you ready for this? Skinny-fat. It’s a great one. Because it’s people who look skinny but aren’t, right?  I think it’s time to start objectifying men. I think it’s time.”

I think Rob Lowe has a wonderful sense of humor…and I wouldn’t throw him or his hot dadbod out for eating crackers in bed.

You can find that here.  



Rainbow Detective Agency: The Guy With Two Penises; More About Cultural Appropriation; What Is "Genderqueer?" Tallywackers Male Hooters

Rainbow Detective Agency: The Guy With Two Penises

It’s release day for another book in The Rainbow Detective Agency series. This one is subtitled, The Guy With Two Penises. And that’s because one of the characters in the book has diphallia, which is a rare syndrome where a man is literally born with two penises. There’s information on the web about this with a simple search. I didn’t want to get too technical. In the same respect, I didn’t want to be glib about it either…or appropriate. So I tried to treat it with sensitivity and respect as well as offering some light hearted dialogue…and sex scenes…as an outsider looking in. In this case, I am the outsider.

Here’s the blurb:

In this third book in The Rainbow Detective series, Proctor and Blair take on a case that involves blackmail, kidnapping, and a handsome young guy with two perfect penises. The guy with two penises is a public personality, and the wealthy client who hires Blair and Proctor is willing to pay a huge sum of money to keep the guy’s two penises a secret.

As fascinated as Blair and Proctor are with the guy who has two penises, there are dangerous, unexpected twists in this case that put them in grave danger. And the fact that they are in love with each other doesn’t make working together any easier. It’s the kind of peculiar double penis case that will not only test their love, but also test whether or not they can continue working together.


Will Blair be able to grow up and meet Proctor’s professional expectations? And will Proctor ever be able to get the guy with two perfect penises out of his head?

Links:

Smashwords

Allromanceebooks

The book will also be at iTunes and B&N. When I get an Amazon link, I’ll post that, too. And, this is the 3rd book in the series, but each book can be read as a stand alone.

More About Cultural Appropriation

I actually came across this link at one of the most unlikely places. As it turns out, I’m glad I went there because it’s one of the most engaging posts on cultural appropriation I have seen…probably ever. In this case, the culture being appropriated is deaf culture.

I make no claims to know anything about this particular subject, however, I do know what it’s like as a gay man to face cultural appropriation on what is usually a daily basis.

Here is one particularly interesting quote.

It has become a commodity of which any con artist can appropriate a few signs for themselves to create a persona.  They film themselves, stand on stage, teach classes, and strut with pride.  They know ASL! They have a right to use ASL!


            No. You do not. It is not yours to use for your financial benefit. You are a thief. You are stealing our language, mangling it, and regurgitating a weaker, inaccurate version. You smile in your YouTube videos, on your spot on the stage, in your classes, smiling, basking in the spotlight. You do not care about our language. You do not take the time to learn about what ASL really is. You do not care about Deaf people. You only care about the accolades that you receive.

You can read the rest here. I hope the link works. However, as I stated above my post is about appropriating all cultures, not just one. 

Thankfully, there are people presenting this argument in other places so we have these examples from which to draw.

What Is Genderqueer?
I’ve posted about this topic before, too. Genderqueer, I find, is not a term people know well…even the people who are genderqueer in some cases.

Gender identity. Biological sex. Gender expression. Cisgender. Transgender. Genderqueer. Androgyny. The gender binary. If you’ve ever wondered about the definition of some of these terms, Ashley Mardell’s video about the ABC’s of LGBT is a great starting point. She acts as a moderator as several of her friends break down different terms related to gender in this wonderfully in-depth video. This video serves as a great tool for cisgender allies who are looking to strengthen their knowledge of the LGBT community they’re hoping to stand besides, and those who have questions about their gender identity. The team manages to pack in a lot of information in a cohesive, easy to understand manner, especially about a topic that we aren’t granted the opportunity to learn too much about in mainstream spaces and education. Can you imagine if we were taught these terms in school?
It’s a really good video that explains something most of us aren’t familiar with.
Tallywackers Male Hooters
I almost feel guilty posting this because the other two news items were so serious and educational. But we all need a little fun, too. This is being compared as the male version of Hooters.
Finally, the restaurant we’ve been waiting for.
 Tallywackers is a new dining establishment coming to Dallas. Per a help wanted ad posted to Craigslist, it appears to be a bar and restaurant specializing in hot dogs and other phallic-shaped foods served up by a staff of half-naked hunks.

You can read more here.

What I find most interesting is that the women who have been screaming about objectification, and rightly so, all these years are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to objectifying men. I make no comment on that because I think we all need to lighten up a little, including me sometimes. I just find it interesting there seems to be a reverse double standard nowadays.