Category: gay men

Gay Men Going To the Far Right In Germany; Gay Men Afraid To Hold Hands In Public; Louise L. Hay, Gay Men, AIDS, and "Kitsch Spirituality"

Gay Men Going To the Far Right In Germany

Here’s a piece about something that’s been going on in Germany that rarely makes headlines in the US, not even in LGBT presses.

It’s about two gay men who suffered a violent attack that has changed everything about them…right down to their core beliefs.

Police identified the attackers as two locally known Muslim extremists. They were never arrested and later fled to Syria. After demanding answers from local prosecutors and the mayor’s office and not getting a response, Karsten turned to Germany’s far right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).
“I don’t like everything they say,” Karsten says, “but this is too dangerous for gay people to live openly here, if we get attacked like that. We need a party that’s talking openly about this.”
Gay Men Afraid To Hold Hands In Public
This is happening in the UK, but I think it could probably happen anywhere. There was a survey taken and more than half the gay men in Britain feel unsafe holding hands in public. And it gets into other hate crimes with other groups that fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. 
Stonewall said the UK had much to do before all LGBT people “can feel safe, included and free to be themselves”.
While hate crime was more effectively recorded than in the past, the charity said there had undoubtedly been “a genuine increase” in incidents since its last major survey in 2013.
Louise L. Hay, Gay Men, AIDS, and “Kitsch Spirituality”
This is actually a difficult one for me because I did follow a lot of the principles and techniques of Louise Hay, and I never knew any of this.  But I followed Hay in a very general sense, and at the time I was very, very young and I wasn’t as heavily invested as some people were. 
Evidently, now that she’s dead people are speaking up about Hay and how she affected a generation of men. 
Many AIDS survivors and caregivers have testified to the tragic personal cost of Hay’s philosophy, and what some have called her brutal dismissal of actual people with AIDS, including the poor and people of color, as well as her willingness to profit personally through the pain of the sick, the psychically unsettled, and the terminally ill. Activist and filmmaker Peter Fitzgerald saw Hay in action with his desperately ill comrades. After her death he said,  “I understand that she providedd hope at very dark times to a great many people, I also know all too well that her clay feet were deeply mired in the guilt of being an AIDS profiteer, a disloyal friend and purveyor of false hope. Namaste, bitch.”
It’s a long piece, that you can find here at this link. They refer to Hays and what she taught as “kitsch spirituality.” I really don’t know enough about it to make any specific comments.   
Said With Care

A PG Rated Gay Romance

Not All Gay Books Have Sex
In Their Prime by Ryan Field

Straight Women and Gay Men; Bradley Cooper Plays Gay Again; Harvey Fierstein on Johnny Weir Again

Straight Women and Gay Men

Before I say a thing about this link I’d like to state up front I don’t agree with it…what he’s talking about here. I have two great women friends and we don’t shop, cook together, arrange flowers, or braid each others hair. We go out to dinner, we play poker…it’s a regular friendship and I never feel as though they are treating me like accessories. With that said, this article talks about how some straight women treat some gay men as if they are accessories.

I was recently running a couple of errands downtown and made a quick trip to a department store. 

Smelling through a few colognes, a noticed a woman looking at me with absolute concentration. It almost felt like she was studying me as though I were one of the on-sale coats she was sifting through.

Eventually she gained the courage to come up to me and tell me that I had a nice sense of style.
I was initially flattered. It had been a long day, and I hardly ever take the kindness of strangers for granted. We eventually began to engage in small chat and got formally acquainted. Through the comfort of our brief conversation, it was clear to her that I was gay. The direction of our discussion abruptly changed. 

“You seem like a very fabulous guy,” she said. “I could use a gay friend, one to go shopping with and hit the streets like Carrie Bradshaw.”

And in my head I thought, Oh, no, not again.

First, where else is he going to think that…think it in his ass? It’s not the best written article.

The article goes on to state this isn’t the first time this has happened to this gay man, and this line was particularly interesting.

Being fetishized as an emasculated assistant to empower a woman’s diva alter ego suddenly offended me. And even though I am fully aware that many of these mainstream depictions are fictional, my own life seemed to model such a disgusting reality. 

He’s basically stating that some straight women tend to objectify gay men in such an aggressive way they aren’t interested in hearing any details about their lives. And frankly, I think he just ruined his point with that because most men, gay or straight, aren’t interesting in sharing the details of their lives with anyone, men or women. Men tend to internalize and process things differently. They don’t talk about “it.” It’s why I rarely post about anything in my own personal life until months after the fact…because I just don’t want to talk about it when it happens. I had a horrible thing happen on New Year’s Eve and I don’t know when I’ll post about it…if ever.

And ultimately, this guy fails in his attempt to prove the main point because he’s over-analyzing the situation to the extent where he’s starting to sound just like the women he claims are objectifying him. I wouldn’t take any of it seriously. 

You can read it in full here to see how you interpret it. I think he’s a whiner who should shut the fuck up. The comments tend to agree with me.

Bradley Cooper Plays Gay Again

And that’s mainly because there’s money to be made in playing gay. Before Cooper became famous he was in a film with gay content titled, We Hot American Summer. I didn’t see it so I can’t comment, but it’s become a “cult hit” and now netflix sees an opportunity to make a lot of money on it and they are doing a sequel. And if you think that’s not the only reason they are doing it (money) you can kiss my wet hot American gay ass. I’m only stating the obvious.

Netflix, which is behind such buzz-worthy shows as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, has sealed a deal to make a sequel to the film in the form of a limited eight-episode series, reports Deadline Hollywood.

Cooper, Poehler, Rudd and Banks are all slated to reprise their roles along with other original cast members that include Christopher Meloni, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Ian Black, Marisa Ryan, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter and Kevin Sussman.

I know, you can’t wait to see it…blah, blah, blah. But that’s only because you haven’t seen much else with gay content and you’re willing to settle for this instead. Try checking out Chris Lowell’s Beside Still Waters. It’s excellent and the gay character is what all gay characters should be in most films.

You can read the rest here. The one and only comment I saw was interesting because it’s from a gay man who can’t wait to jump into the gay male straight male fantasy with Bradley Cooper, who I’m sure is getting paid well for this. And, of course, after the release we’ll have to watch Coop joke around about how the gay sex scenes worked out for him. Just once I want to see Matt Bomer get a straight male lead role opposite Angelia Jolie and joke around about how doing a sex scene with a skinny woman was so different and how he couldn’t figure out where the hell the rest of her body was.

Harvey Fierstein on Johnny Weir Again

I like good old Harvey. He once did the intro to a book I was in with Cleis Press, though I can’t recall the title right now. He thinks Johnny Weir is, not in these exact words, a hot fucking mess.

Why was Fierstein so angry? 

‘Because on the 10th anniversary of gay marriage becoming legal (in Massachusetts) he was putting out press releases saying that he has a new marriage contract – a post-nup saying you can’t touch another person’s cock, you can’t put it in your mouth, you can’t put it in your ass. 

‘And I’m doing radio interviews, and instead of talking about the power of gay marriage and how all these states have gay marriage and the world hasn’t fallen in and all that, I’m being asked instead about that ass-wipe’s post-nup!’ 

All I can say is thank you, Harvey. Maybe Weir will read this and it will be a wake-up call? There was point back during the Olympics I couldn’t believe the things coming out of his mouth. Is it possible to be that shallow? 

You can read the rest here.   


Gay Men, Women, Bad Boys; Jeremy Meeks Nude Full Frontal Photo; Jeremy Meeks Funding

Gay Men, Women, Bad Boys

There has been a photo floating around the Interwebz this week of an attractive young guy with classic bad boy looks. In gay culture he would be considered “rough trade.” His name is Jeremy Meeks and he’s a 30 year old convicted felon who has garnered comments on Facebook that have created some interesting conversations about why women and gay men are often attracted to this type of guy, and why they shouldn’t be attracted. The comments on the facebook photo seem to cover everything. As of right now, there are over 25,000 comments and over 93,000 likes.

The article to which I’m linking talks about why women are allegedly attracted to this type of guy. I included gay men because I have seen guys like Jeremy Meeks enter a gay bar and the world seems to stop moving. Think of the film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and you’ll get my point. If that nice gay antiques dealer in Savannah hadn’t been messing around with rough trade he never would have gotten into trouble in the first place.

But he just couldn’t help himself.

 “This is a really great example of an evolutionary lag — how women still find things attractive that don’t necessarily translate well into the modern world,” Vinita Mehta, a Washington, D.C.–based psychotherapist, tells Yahoo Shine. Because while being muscular and tough enough to thrive in dangerous situations might have been necessary for human survival back in caveman times, “these are not the things that help us survive and reproduce today,” notes Mehta, who is writing a book titled “Paleo Love” about how Stone Age genes can complicate modern relationships.

The article goes on to mention studies done that blame ovulation and hormones. It’s not a bad piece, but it leaves a lot to be desired because it speaks in generalities and I don’t think that’s fair…not to women anyway. What’s the excuse for gay men? They aren’t ovulating. I’m also sure there are plenty of women and gay men who CAN resist Jeremy Meeks (Me) and they do take into the consideration the fact that he’s allegedly considered one of the most “violent criminals in the Stockton area.”

You can read more here. Even if you don’t totally agree with the article there are some interesting points made.

Jeremy Meeks Nude Full Frontal Photo

Speaking of Jeremy Meeks, I would be highly remiss if I didn’t link to this web site that posted what is allegedly a nude full frontal photo of Meeks. It’s only a shot of a penis, without a face.

You can check out the photo here. (It’s one of those web pages with a lot of issues, so if you can live without seeing a huge perfect penis you might want to pass on this one. There are plenty of others on the web, bigger and better.)

The photo was allegedly “leaked.” Ha!

Jeremy Meeks Crowdfunding

I didn’t plan this entire post to be all things Jeremy Meeks. But when I saw that there’s actually a crowdfunding project set up to help Meeks on gofundme I couldn’t NOT post about it. And that’s mainly because I’ve seen so many ridiculous crowdfunding projects set up in the past few months for so many frivolous causes that don’t even make sense to me I didn’t think it could get any worse.

But it did.

There is a GoFundMe site that has been created for Jeremy to help him raise his $900,000 bail money. Did the old guy get a GoFundMe account too? I doubt it. What about the family of Officer Hewell?

You can read more about that here.

This is a link to Jeremy Meeks’ crowdfunding page. The goal is to raise $25,000 for this convicted felon. They have raised over $3,800 at the time of this posting. Some think I shouldn’t post links like this because it helps promote the cause. I think if you’re dumb enough to give your money to something like this you deserve what you get.

I can’t even begin to think what someone will be crowdfunding next, or how many people will be so willing to part with their hard earned money. Who needs a new car? Who needs a new house? How about a trip to Europe for Ryan and Tony?

Where does it all end?

Crowdfunding is slowly getting way out of hand and I predict there are going to be more federal restrictions on the entire concept in the future. I guess the right person has to be scammed hard enough and that hasn’t happened yet.

Here’s an interview with Meeks on youtube.

Speaking of bad boys, here’s a the Amazon link to my Bad Boy Billionaire series.
Bad Boy Billionaire Series by Ryan Field
Here’s an Amazon review for one book, The Ivy League Rake:
I didn’t know what to make of this one when I got started. Story is told all from Elroy’s POV and Elroy was truly amoral from the get go. I laughed and then I felt sorry for him. Not long after things get started w/ the 2 roomies, I decided I liked the story and I enjoyed seeing Elroy slow process from caring about nothing to caring about Kyle so much that he wanted to change. In the end, I found this an enjoyable & fresh take on learning to love for a true rake.

Gay Men On Vagina; Lena Dunham’s WTF-ery; Tom Ford Marries; Royal Baby Has Gay Friends

Gay Men On Vagina

This video below has been making the rounds all week and I thought I’d share. It’s a series of clips where gay men discuss how they relate to vagina.

Disclaimer: the above comments are not my own opinions. I’ve never even seen a vagina.

Here’s the full link, where there is a comment thread that devolves into one of the best examples of how free speech has declined, and is often abused.

Lena Dunham’s WTF-ery

This next link is almost amusing. Lena Dunham, who created and stars in TV show Girls, is actually disappointed she’s straight. She has a gay sister and is happy about that because someone in her family can represent her values and opinions. Isn’t that nice of her.

‘I have always felt a strong and emotional connection to members of the LGBTQ community,’ Dunham said. ‘It was actually a huge disappointment for me when I came of age and realised that I was sexually attracted to men.’ 

She continued: ‘So when my sister came out, I thought, “Thank God, now someone in this family can truly represent my beliefs and passions”.’

Wrapping up her speech, Dunham concluded: ‘This is probably the most attractive room I have yet to enter. ‘Gay men clean up real good, which is probably why I have dated so many of you.’

I don’t know why, but I’m actually feeling the need to roll up my sleeves and clench my fists to finish this post. First, if Lena Dunham knew the first thing about the struggles of gay people I truly wonder if she would still wish she was gay. Second, gay people are not exclusive to left wing liberals and those of privilege who condescend to them as if they were a completely different species. And third, that comment about gay men cleaning up real good is about as insulting as the revolting image of African American stereotypes I’ve seen and heard all my life. I’m gay. I’ve never worked as a waiter or in any part of the service industry. And the day I would clean up anything for Lena Dunham (or date her) will never happen. I think the assumption that Lena Dunham makes with respect to all gay people sharing her opinions and values is about as far off as Sarah Palin’s foreign policy comments. This also proves one thing: idiots come in the form of liberal and conservative sometimes.

I feel much better now.

You can read more here about Dunham’s desire to be gay.

Tom Ford Marries

Designer and director, Tom Ford, has been with Richard Buckley for 27 years. The two recently married in a quiet ceremony and Ford announced it at an Apple event in London.

‘We are now married, which is nice,’ Ford said according to The Telegraph.

‘I know that was just made legal in the UK, which is great, but we were married in the States.’

You can read more here.

A lot of people seem surprised that Ford and Buckley kept their wedding so quiet. Tony and I didn’t feel the need to have a huge wedding either. (The documentary and Beth Robinson all happened by accident.) We’ve been together for 21 years and we’ve seen and done it all by now. For established gay couples, it’s often more emotional  and you want to keep that private sometimes.

Royal Baby Has Gay Friends

For some reason, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge feel the need to let the world know that Prince George is having a playdate with a gay couple’s daughter.

Tomorrow (9 April), they will meet with 10 families with babies who were all born around the same time as the future king.

Among the group chosen to meet the royals are gay dads Jared and Ryan Mullen and their daughter Isabella.

The couple were chosen to represent the growing members of same-sex couples in New Zealand who use parental support services by Plunket that organized the play date.

It’s nice they are doing this, but it would be even nicer if they didn’t feel the need to point it out in such a blatant way. Sometimes it’s so much better to just show and not tell. They should take a few tips from Prince Harry and stop trying so hard.

More here.

Rimming Sparks Infection; Hugh C. Howey and Influencers; Ellen’s New Comedy

Rimming Sparks Infection

The title of this part of the post is meant to be serious. According to this article there’s been an outbreak of Shigella in the UK and they seem to be linking it back to rimming…oral/anal sex. Among the symptoms, this infection makes people feel as if they are dying. I have only one comment below.

Normally, Shigella is only contracted when travelling to foreign countries. But in gay and bisexual men, it is being spread through oral contact with feces or via unwashed hands.

In 2009, there were only 43 cases among men in the UK that did not have a link to travel. Just four years later, reports have surged to 224 cases with more cases expected.

You can read more here.

I guess they have studies, or something concrete that links back to this data because anal/oral sex is NOT exclusive to the gay community as far as I know. So I’m guessing hetero couples can’t get it? Or are somehow immune to getting it?


Hugh C. Howey and Influencers

I posted about a blog a while back called ZonAlert that was specifically designed to discuss authors, fake reviews, and other questionable things that allegedly happen these days with book promotion. I’m not going to comment on this one way or the other. I’m only posting the information for those who might be interested, and I’m linking back to the source.

The most recent post about Hugh C. Howey even mentions influencers.

The Hugh Howey influencer scam works like this. Hugh Howey provides incentives for friends, family, and associates to promote Hugh Howey. Cash mostly but also mentions in his blog, write ins for discussion groups, promises to recommend to his publisher and agent, and on and on. The job of the influencers is not to talk about Hugh Howey but to get other people talking about and mentioning Hugh Howey.

For those who don’t know what influencers are, you can read more here.

You can read about Hugh C. Howey here.

Ellen’s New Comedy

Ellen DeGeneres is producing a new sitcom and it will be interesting to see if it takes off. Most of TV has abandoned the sitcom, and I’ve always thought that was a shame because it’s not the sitcom that’s the problem it’s the people producing the sitcoms.

The comedy is about a lesbian and her straight male best friend who decide to have a baby together. But things get a bit complicated when during this process, one of them meets the love of their life.

I’m not too sure about that description. But then again, any trope works as long as it’s done well.

I think that if anyone can bring back the sitcom it’s going to be Ellen. It’s always been a TV staple, and an excellent genre if done well. Think Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, or even The Raymond Show. I find myself watching old reruns of these shows now over new shows on TV and I often wonder what’s wrong with that.

You can read more here.

Kirk Cameron on Gay Marriage; Gay Men and Lesbians and Tyler Curry

Kirk Cameron on Gay Marriage

Former childhood sitcom star, Kirk Cameron, recently commented on facebook about how the Grammy Awards glorified gay marriage and how it was an “assault on the traditional family.”

The post was, undoubtedly, a means of self-promotion for the 43-year-old’s newest flick, “Mercy Rule,” which co-stars his wife and is apparently about “family, faith and baseball.” Self-promotion drenched in homophobia, that is.

Cameron was not the only one to voice his condemnation of the Grammys’ mass wedding. Other conservatives took to Twitter, freaking out over the same-sex marriages taking place on live primetime television.

You can read Cameron’s full FB update here, and also a few other comments from people who didn’t find him enlightening or relevant.

Once again I’d like to state I have no issues with Cameron’s movie, his self-indulgence, or his blatant self-promotion at my expense and the expense of millions of other gay people around the world. And that’s more than he can say about my recent marriage to Tony.

But I wish him luck. Because even as I write this post the “traditional” family is changing and evolving constantly. Men are staying home and women are going out to work. People are divorcing and re-marrying and now ex-wives and ex-husbands are dealing with each other as family on a daily basis with 50/50 custody, and so are their new spouses.

It must be terrible to be Cameron and to be so unwilling to accept natural changes in society.

Gay Men and Lesbians

In this next Huff Po article by someone I’ve never heard of, Tyler Curry, it gets into this so-called vast ocean between gay men and lesbians, as if all gay men and all lesbians never come together. First, I think this is just another example of how Huff Po seems to give the wrong people a platform. Second, even though Curry thinks this is the truth I don’t and I’m also talking from experience…first hand experience.

It’s not because lesbians prefer acoustic rock, and gay men require the thumping beat of a disco queen. Nor is it because there is any real issue of substance that keeps our brunch tables mutually exclusive. Simply, gay men and lesbians feel isolated from one another because we are two completely different animals who are forced to share the same cage.

When I evaluate my close circle of friends and allies, I’m ashamed to say it’s hard to think of one lesbian who I can call when I need her. Sure, I know many wonderful gay women who I would love to ring up for a coffee date or share cocktails and laughs, but for some reason, there’s a quiet division that has kept these platonic boy-girl dates from happening.

Before I get into anything else, I’d like to comment that when Tony was hospitalized and I needed friends and support my two best lesbian friends, Sue and Joanne, were there for me. They even asked if I needed money because they knew I probably hadn’t even thought about going to the bank. I didn’t need anything but their emotional support and they gave it to me willingly.

With that said, I think Curry’s post comes from a place of immaturity and from the mind set of a younger gay man who is only concerned about what shirt he’s going to wear to the disco next Saturday night. And that’s about as simple and plain as it gets, and not all that unusual. I don’t think he knows what the fuck he’s talking about because he hasn’t experienced enough of life yet to know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. I have known many lesbians in my life, we’ve always been close, and we’ve never actually experienced this vast “ocean” between us. Of course there are cultural differences. I’m not saying there aren’t. But to put up a post like that in public makes me wonder how silly Curry is going to feel about ten years from now after he’s experienced a little life in a general sense.

You can read more here.

He does save himself at the end with this comment:

Fortunately, as the gay community continues to develop, and our identities feel more defined, we just might discover there is no better friend a person can have than his or her twin brother or sister.

I just wish he wouldn’t include me in that statement because I have evolved, and so have many gay men and lesbians I know. I think what he should have written is that as he and his friends continue to develop, etc…

One more reason why it’s important to make broad generalizations with care. And also one more example of how different the LGBTI community can be. I think there would be a larger ocean between Curry and me as gay men.

Incest Wins Lifetime Best Ratings; M/M Romance and Women

Incest Wins Lifetime Best Ratings

I think this title is a little misleading, but by no means completely off. The title of the article to which I’m linking is Flowers in the Attic Earns Lifetime Best Ratings Since 2012. However, it’s no secret that a huge part of the plot in this storyline deals with incest in the most obvious way.

I’m also not judging the content by any means. I’m just stating a fact. And I’m doing that because of the recent censorship at retail e-book web sites where more books than I can count were taken down as a result of a misguided article from the misleading web site, The Kernel. This brand of censorship also happened with PayPal not too long ago. And I’ve even posted about a TV show where Ryan Murphy’s American Horror got into rape, pedophilia, and bestiality one night in the most blatant way…much the same way Flowers in the Attic gets into incest.

 If you missed “Flowers” you can catch an encore presentation after this weekend’s upcoming premiere of another Lifetime original movie, “Lizzie Borden Took An Ax,” which stars Christina Ricci.

Not a mention of incest anywhere in the article.

Again, I’m not judging or even commenting on Flowers in the Attic. But authors, especially erotic and romance authors, have always gone by specific guidelines with most publishers. And in those guidelines it is always stated that there are certain places authors will not go. Among those places are bestiality, incest, rape, and pedophilia.

And recently thousands of authors, both self-pubbed and those with publishers, had books taken down at retail web sites where e-books are sold because the titles of covers *suggested* there might be taboo topics in the storylines thanks to search engines. I have had this happen to me twice, once with a book titled Skater Boy. There was nothing taboo in the book, and nothing coming even close to the topics in Flowers in the Attic and American Horror, but the search engine picked up the word boy, assumed my story was barely legal content, and my book was taken down as a result.

And when TV shows can get away with all kind of taboo topics and authors who write erotic romance can’t, I’m starting to think there’s something seriously wrong in one direction or the other.

Side note: I have never personally written anything considered “taboo.”

 M/M Romance and Women

When I saw this next post on social media earlier today I wanted to post about it for the women who read gay romance…or male/male romance. There have been other articles like it, but the fact that Cleis Press shared this article on social media was interesting to me. As if they had just discovered that women like reading M/M romance. Cleis Press is one of the oldest and most respected LGBTI publishers in the US. I’ve been published by them many times in collections and anthologies and I’ve always loved working with their editors.

I was a little shocked the article didn’t know much about M/M romance, and the people who commented knew even less. But I guess I shouldn’t be shocked all that much. I’m sure a lot of people don’t know about it…at least not yet.

A friend posted a video of two men kissing the other day and the response from women was, shall we say, heated… as in, every single woman who responded thought it was hot. Granted, there was some selection bias, but it was enough to get me thinking. So I did some shallow digging and uncovered a comparatively large cache of media, mostly written, though there’s plenty of visual too, (cheeky little gifs), that cater to women who love watching homoerotic situations and / or gay sex. The fact that M/M erotica and porn do very well with the female demographic, (and not just in the gay community), tells me there’s something there. What I’d love to do is figure out what that something might be.

Well, my dear blogger, I’ve been writing gay fiction for over twenty years and if you want to really figure out what that might be, just read my anthology where women authors who love M/M Romance wrote short stories that included women and gay characters within each storyline. I know I gained a great deal of insight while I was editing it. And I don’t think there is another book like it anywhere.

It’s called The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance and you can purchase it here for .99. Or, even better, you can find it here at ARe for free. That should tell you all you need to know, or at least it’s a good start because these stories come from the heart of the women who read M/M romance. And although there is sex, that’s NOT what it’s all about.

And if that’s not enough, check out Ravenous Romance, Riverdaleavenuebooks, Dreamspinner Press, Wilde City Press, and Silver Publishing…to just name a few off the top of my head who know all about M/M Romance and how women love reading it.

Here’s the article, in full.

JFK’s Lincoln; James Franco Gay Interest

JFK’s Lincoln

Every year around this time President John F. Kennedy’s legacy begins to circulate in the media because he was shot and killed on November 22, 1963. And this year marks the 50th anniversary of his death. Most of what’s been printed or filmed has made the rounds so many times it’s ingrained in the heads of almost every American who is over thirty years old. But this next article about the Lincoln Continental Limousine in which Kennedy was killed has a few interesting facts I’d never read before.

I knew it had become a tourist attraction at the The Henry Ford museum in Michigan, but I didn’t know that the car we’re seeing now is virtually nothing like the car in Kennedy’s motorcade. It was originally midnight blue and now it’s black. The headlights were altered and look nothing like the original headlights in Kennedy’s Lincoln. It’s not even a convertible anymore, and hasn’t been for a long time.

And there’s a reason for this. After the shooting in Dallas, the Lincoln limo was flown back to D.C. and housed in a Secret Service garage where it underwent extensive examinations. At the time, no one knew what to do with it, so pragmatism overtook the historical significance of the car and this was the ultimate result:

But the federal government of the United States of America did not have another presidential limousine. Developing one could again take years. Macabre as it may be, it was faster to just rebuild the one they already had.

The ’61 Continental survived, but underwent massive changes.

Secret Service agents shipped the car back to Hess & Eisenhardt in Cincinnati, where engineers encased its body in armor and titanium plating and added the permanent, bulletproof roof. The gas tank was filled with a plastic foam that minimized the risk of explosion if bullets were fired into the tank. Bulletproof windows five layers thick were installed.

And after all the massive alterations the Lincoln returned to D.C. in the spring of 1964 with its original color, midnight blue, and President Johnson, Kennedy’s successor, freaked out and ordered it painted black because of the macabre images he thought it might provoke. So it was repainted, returned to the white house garage, and went into service for the next sixteen years.

The Continental would spend the remainder of its years in the background. It traveled with Johnson to Vietnam, with Nixon to China, with Ford to the Soviet Union. It made its final foreign trip with President Carter in May 1977, carrying him around London and Newcastle for an economic summit.

Retirement awaited upon its return, and the car was given back to Ford, from which the federal government had leased the car for $500 a year.
One of the aspects of the entire Kennedy shooting that has always impressed me was the way Jackie Kennedy seemed to know that even in her most desperate moment she had a duty to preserve history and to let the people see what had happened so no one would ever forget. I can’t believe she refused to remove her blood-stained suit by accident the day Kennedy was shot. She wasn’t a stupid woman and she knew that one day those photos of her standing in that blood-stained suit would become a huge part of American history. Unfortunately, they didn’t discuss what should happen to the Lincoln with Jackie Kennedy, and a car that never should have been altered or tampered with because of its historical significance was completely ruined.

You can read more here. There are many more details and probably a lot of facts you didn’t know. You can also see a photo of the limo as its been altered and is now in display in Michigan. The photo above is public domain and that’s the original limo.

James Franco Gay Interest

When I posted about a novel I’m reading written by James Franco earlier this week, I had no idea he was so fascinated with gay men. But this next article talks about how Franco seems curious about gay men and thinks of them as his heroes, and I have noticed a few gay scenes in his new novel that tend to be painfully accurate, but not always flattering to gay men. That’s hard to explain, so I’m not going to even try.

Franco has played several gay characters in films. As far as I know, Franco is straight and as they say an actor should be able to play any part. I fully agree with that, however, it doesn’t always work that way if you’re openly gay in Hollywood and you want to play a straight lead in a film. But that’s the way it works, and straight male actors often get to play the parts of gay men without the hint of a double standard or the fact that it’s fucking cheesy to do. (Sorry for the short rant; it might happen again.)

In any event, straight actor, Franco, has directed two new films with gay characters, in all his straightness. I don’t know if those characters are being played by gay actors, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they aren’t. The world is run by straight white men; they call the shots, especially in Hollywood.

Interior. Leather. Bar. is a ‘docufiction’ film that attempts to recreate the 40 minutes of deleted sexually explicit footage from the 1980 film Cruising while Sal tells the story of the last day in the life of the late gay actor Sal Mineo.

Any gay man, me included, can relate to what’s between the lines in that sentence. And Franco says this in reference to the gay roles he takes:

‘In Milk, the point is to show one of the great fighters for equal rights for the gay community, so I was happy to do that. With characters like Allen Ginsberg [in Howl], my love for him started with his work when I was a teenager. So his sexuality is secondary to me. It’s an important aspect of who he was and his character, but it wasn’t like, “Yes, I want to play another gay role,” it was more, “Yes, I’d love to play another one of my heroes.”’

I’m sure there are openly gay actors who would love to play the life story of John F. Kennedy because he was their hero. But I doubt that would happen.

As a side note, Allen Ginsberg was a regular here in New Hope, PA, as mentioned in this article.

At the Terrapin we had many interesting customers, from locals like James Michener, Rachel Welch, Peter Hurkos, Gerald Heard, Hal Just, Harry Smith, Allen Ginsberg. and a large crowd of new people..

In any event, I like Franco, and I’m enjoying his book. I think his intentions are good and I’ll probably enjoy his movies. But there is something in all this that falls under the old bullshit saying that I’ve mentioned before here on the blog by journalist Linda Ellerbee: “And so it goes…”

You can read more here about why James Franco is so enamored by gay men.

Steve Grand Slammed; Ben Cohen Strips for Gays

Steve Grand Slammed

Last summer when country/pop singer, Steve Grand, released  a music video I posted about him here. At the time he was so fresh there wasn’t much I could find about him anywhere. But the one thing that did stand out about his song was the fact that it was all about a young gay man falling in love with a straight men, and how the young gay man winds up with a broken heart.

With the blog hop for equal rights this weekend I thought it would be appropriate to post something about gay country music star, Steve Grand, because he’s making history, promoting equal rights, and breaking the stereotypes at the same time. I saw one post earlier today that linked to a Steve Grand post with a less than thrilling comment thread…pure garbage and filled with the kind of snark I don’t tolerate anymore.

Since I wrote that post, Grand has continued to make history and break stereotypes, which isn’t easy to do if you are gay because the same old sterotypes that have been following gay men around forever don’t seem to go away. And even worse, people who claim to support gay men often seem to be the same people who crave those sterotypes. Because Steve Grand didn’t just get heat from the comment thread I mentioned in the excerpt from the post above. He also got slammed for writing a song where a young gay man falls in love with a young straight man. Some seem to think Grand should have made the gay man fall in love with another gay man.

Here’s a quote where Steve Grand responded to all this:

‘Because this was my experience growing up. Many times,’ Grand says. ‘I grew up in a predominantly heterosexual world. Most of the crushes I had were straight men. Gay men were not visible. I wanted to tell a story that had been burning inside me.’

‘It’s a universal human story – unrequited love. Gay or straight, we’ve all been there. When I started writing music, I was always writing about that. I was always crushing on someone I couldn’t be with.’

I’d like to know what’s so difficult to understand about that? Grand isn’t writing an m/m romance. He’s writing about his own life experience and it’s coming from his heart, from his experience as a gay man. This isn’t fantasy with HEA. This is reality. And because most gay men…me included…grew up in heteronormative worlds, our first crushes were directed toward straight men. And I think the most important thing to understand here is that Steve Grand, as the gay man, gets the last word about what it’s like to be gay growing up in a straight world.

If all gay men had a normal puberty and they dated other gay men as YAs, I wouldn’t even be writing this post. But the fact remains that gay men don’t get a puberty like straight men and they usually wind up in impossible situations where unrequited love is inevitable.

You can read more here. The piece goes into more detail about what Steve Grand was like growing up.

Ben Cohen Strips for Gays

Speaking of breaking stereotypes and unrequited love, British rugby player and gay activist, Ben Cohen, is coming out with a new calendar where all proceeds will benefit his foundation that focuses on stopping homophobia and bullying in schools. And according the photos on this web site to which I’m linking, he’s going to raise a great deal of money and awareness. There’s a video, too.

This time he has invited us for a sneak peak into the shower and the locker room for a behind-the-scenes look.
Although Cohen is the perfect example of so many gay male fantasies, he is straight and he’s comfortable with his status as a gay icon, so to speak. This also makes sense to me. He’s a man. Gay men like men. And guess what, gay men like showers and locker rooms. I probably shouldn’t have let that secret out of the proverbial bag, but there you are.
Cohen created The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation to Stop Homophobia and Bullying. You can check out the foundation’s web site here. It’s really a steller web site and I highly suggest looking at it.
In this article he talks about being on the reality TV show, Strictly Come Dancing, and states that he would be open to dancing with a man on TV. The reason I find that interesting is because I often watch the US show, Dancing with the Stars, and I always wonder why there are never two male contestants dancing in the competition. Too much for liberal left wing Hollywood to handle?
In any event, Cohen said this, in public: 
“I’ve no qualms dancing with a woman or a man,” Cohen is quoted by the Mirror as saying. “Kristina [Rihanoff] will be easier to pick up though.”

I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance.

Shower image above can be found here.  The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted.

"What Gay Men Can Teach Straight Women About Sex" Fail

A few weeks ago Tony and I watched film starring Meryl Streep titled, Hope Springs, where they make reference to gay men and sex in conjunction with straight women in a somewhat peculiar way. We did what we always do when we see things like this in hetero mainstream films or TV shows: we looked at each other and groaned.

It wasn’t a bad film, and Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell were all excellent. I even loved the setting, which I’ll get into in a moment. But to be perfectly honest, we purposely waited for it to be released on cable because we’d seen the previews on demand and didn’t want to spend the money to rent it. And we rent films on demand often, so it’s not like we’re sitting around pinching the pennies. I’ve also been known to spend money I didn’t even have if I wanted something badly enough. But I’m glad we decided to wait for Hope Springs to come on cable, because we wouldn’t have been happy paying extra for it.

The basic plot revolves around a married couple who’ve been together for many years and are living in that proverbial empty nest. They’re still too young for retirement, and yet old enough for certain aspects of the marriage to dwindle. In their case it’s intimacy and sex, which is not all that uncommon. As the film begins, the Meryl Streep character and her husband, played by Tommy Lee Jones, are sleeping in separate bedrooms and not having any kind of intimacy whatsoever…not even hugging or touching. As a side note, I personally think the producers of the film know very little about marriage and how people evolve in marriages over time…or the ups and downs of marriage for the long term. In other words, if these two people had only been in their thirties or forties I would have been far more worried about them. The one thing that saved the film in this respect was the lack of intimacy in a general sense. But I tend to think most marriages go through periods like this, and it’s not always the worst thing in the world that can happen to a marriage…gay or straight. I would also wager a guess the people who produced this film have been married multiple times. But I could be wrong about that.

In any event, in order to save the marriage, in a dramatic move that’s unlike her, the Meryl Streep character confronts her husband about visiting a marriage counseling clinic in (I think) Maine, in this quaint little tourist town were everything costs three times more than anywhere else. The price, without expenses, is four thousand dollars. He refuses, she cashes in a CD and books the trip anyway, and she tells him she’s going with or without him. He clearly loves her and joins here on the trip. I’m not going to get into anything else because I don’t want to give spoilers for those who haven’t seen the film. But they ultimately wind up in this little town, in therapy with a marriage counselor played by Steve Carell.

From a clinical POV I think the film worked, however, there was one scene in the film where the husband is rejecting everything and the wife gets so frustrated she goes into a small bookstore in this little tourist town and buys a book that’s titled something like “What Gay Men Can Teach Straight Women about Sex.” I don’t remember the exact title, but it was something like that and that’s the part where we groaned. Because for the life of me I honestly don’t know what gay men can teach straight women about sex. The fact that there’s this mentality out there that thinks gay men can identify with straight women with regard to sex is far from correct. In a parody it’s funny; in real life it’s ridiculous. Gay men think like men. They are wired like men and in spite of their individual backgrounds they behave like men. I’m not getting into the exceptions to the rule. I know they are out there. Right now I’m talking about gay men in general. We do vary…gay men…but not all that much when it comes to sex. I hesitate to give examples because this blog is rated pg.

Not to mention the fact that the female anatomy is about as unknown to most gay men as the inside of a stripper bar is to an Amish preacher. If anything, straight men know far more about the female anatomy in a physical sense than most gay men will ever know. I can personally say in all honesty that I have never even seen a vagina up close, or at a distance. So how I, as a gay man, could help counsel a straight woman with a sexual intimacy issue truly passes me by. I once tried; it didn’t end well. I might be able to help as far as intimacy and romance goes, but even that would be a stretch. Books have been written about this, studies have been done hundreds of times. And the fact remains that men and women think differently when it comes to intimacy and sex, and gay men aren’t that different from straight men. At least none of the gay men in long term marriages/relationships I know are.

I also think it’s important to take this to another level. This image we often get from the mainstream, with TV shows like Sex and the City, and films like Hope Springs, isn’t correct, either socially or politically. It’s actually insulting when you compare it to some of the older films in Hollywood where African Americans and people of Asian descent were stereotyped and misrepresented with things like yellowface and tap dancing scenes.

I think one of the reasons why so many gay men don’t ever speak up about it is because they can’t. So many of us are so busy trying figure ourselves out we often ignore the things that don’t actually affect us personally because it would be too overwhelming. I get e-mails from gay men all the time discussing this exact topic and the best I can do is agree with them. If I were a shabby blogger I would insert quotes here from some of these e-mails, but I wouldn’t do that because I believe these e-mails I get are personal and private. So the best I can do is call attention to it in a blog post, and show how we, as gay men, are often insulted by the very people who think they are trying to help us. Because I don’t believe for one second that anyone associated with Hope Springs meant any harm. I just don’t think they know any better. No one saw anything wrong with the way African Americans were treated in old movies until someone came along and pointed it out.

Update: After I clicked “publish” I thought it was important to add that I think this concept of what gay men can teach straight women about sex also puts straight women in a bad position, too. It is insinuating that straight women don’t know as much about sex as gay men, and I don’t believe that’s true for a moment. One thing is for certain, at least gay men and straight women do have one thing in common: we’re often misrepresented in the same ways.

Update 2: A facebook friend actually pointed me to a book that’s out there just like the one I mentioned above. I’m not linking to it. However, it is #14 right now in the “Psychology Self-Help” bestseller category on Amazon. Interesting.

Photo attribution: Wiki Commons