Did Brokeback Mountain Help Gays
I remember getting into several discussions with straight friends about Brokeback Mountain…as a film and a story. While I was happy to see anything with gay content in the mainstream, it bothered me at the time that it was done through a straight POV. And I’m not the only one who felt this way. At the time I was interviewing and reviewing for a start up called bestgayblogs.com, and I would say that 99% of the gay male bloggers I came across found Brokeback Mountain to be less than thrilling…and many were outraged. But more than that, years later, it’s not a film or a book I care to revisit. And I’ve been known to watch films like Silving Linings Playbook more times than I can count and that doesn’t even have gay content.
In any event, this article talks about the pros and cons in BM, with respect to whether or not it helped gay men. I’ll post a few quotes, but I think the whole piece is worth reading because it’s done from an interesting, honest POV. It’s also well balanced, especially for something that can be controversial this many years later.
Here’s one from the “pro” comments:
Not just queer, but emotional. These are not your grandpappy and memaw’s cowboys; there are no shoot-outs, no scenes of John Wayne or Alan Ladd mounted on a horse (insert barebacking joke here) and riding off into the sunset. No, these cowboys have feelings.
I detect a little sarcasm in that one and I have a feeling the author is holding back a little, but here’s one from the “cons:”
But surely the more egregious offense that Brokeback Mountain committed is its lack of full-frontal nudity from Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger. And the one gay sex scene was dimly lit and fully clothed, while Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway both appeared topless. Where the hell was GLAAD when this happened?
I actually found most of the sex scenes unrealistic. It’s a great example of how fiction is crafted when it’s not drawn from an ounce of personal experience, but should fiction be that way off base?
And now this is from the ultimate verdict:
Basically, Brokeback Mountain is not for me. It’s a movie about gay people delivered through the lens of straight people, and the straight gaze here is very thick. Then again, it’s probably valuable for people to see it and understand the “normalcy,” whatever that means (however they define it, I guess), of the gay experience.
I actually agree with this whole thing. For me the movie is “meh,” but it didn’t hurt anyone either. The most interesting thing is that most of the gay men I know have dismissed it and don’t revisit it either. I just can’t help wondering how the story would have turned out had it been told through a gay POV. I guess we’ll never know…or will we?
You can read the rest here. The biggest flaw for me in the film, BM, was when the two characters (I don’t even remember their names) meet after years of not seeing each other and one is married. They run to some staircase or back alley out in public and start kissing and groping each other. Trust me, that wouldn’t have happened this blatantly with two gay men in the 1950’s, 60’s, or even now. Closeted gay men have walls they put up to control these things so no one ever finds out about them. It just wouldn’t have happened under any circumstances.
2nd Strongest Man: Gay
The world’s second strongest man, as it stands, turns out to be openly gay. His name is Rob Kearny, he’s 25 years old, and he recently came in second at the World’s Strongest Man Competition. He’s also newly out of the closet.
Rob’s coming-out was pretty nonchalant. He just posted on Facebook that he has a crush on his boyfriend, Joey Aleixo. That was acknowledged by, so far, 1,457 likes from fans and friends and well-wishers all over the world. Response has been overwhelmingly positive, with at least one of his bodybuilding colleagues emailing him to say that Rob had changed his mind about disliking gays.
This is a big deal for gay men, who will be delighted to claim this good-looking individual for our team. But it’s also a big deal for the Strongman competition, which has never had an out pro-level international competitor before.
I think it is a big deal for gay men, or at least gay men who identify as men. So far the world only knows one type of gay man thanks to the mainstream media and other unreliable sources that find their information through “research.”
Real Life Gay Cowboys
In my latest full length novel, Glendora Hill: Too Hard to Handle, in the Glendora Hill series, the main character is a real life cowboy who may or may not have been related to the Texas Ranger, Kit Acklin. In the book, he’s introduced by the other main character through an interview for a web series about real life gay cowboys. I’ll post the info below, but I thought it was interesting when I spotted this next article about real life gay cowboys.
“This isn’t a crusade for me to prove that I can be a gay cowboy…I’m just someone who enjoys this particular lifestyle with the man that I love.” These are the powerfully simple words of Dan Smith, a 34-year-old cowboy living in rural North Queensland, Australia with his partner Miki.
But Dan’s self-confidence isn’t a gift he was born with. In his 20s, his perceived tension between an adolescence spent living on a farm and his newly realized identity as a gay man led him to believe that the two couldn’t coexist.
You can read the rest here. It’s an interesting article, and at least I feel somewhat validated because it touched on a topic I had no idea would be growing in popularity…or even discussed this openly. Gay cowboys like gay football players are typically in the closet. Sometimes things just work out well. I almost didn’t put this in a storyline because I wasn’t sure it would be believable.
Real Life Gay Cowboys in Fiction
In spite of their differences, there’s an undeniable chemistry between Dan and Cass and they find one thing in common they can’t get enough of. Dan’s two gay dads, Sebastian and Avery, encourage Dan to build a relationship with Cass, but Dan’s not sure he wants to get emotionally involved with a drifter cowboy or do a live TV show from Austin. So Dan winds up befriending a needy young ranch hand with a few kinks and gay issues of his own.
It all takes place in peaceful Glendora Hill, Texas, with recurring characters from previous books that all know Dan well. Will Dan ever get over his boyfriend’s death, stop making the same mistakes, and move forward with his life? And will Cass ever learn there’s more to life than just drifting from ranch to ranch?