Tag: Cultural Appropriation

A White Poet’s Failed Attempt At Black Vernacular; San Francisco’s Male Strip Club Closes; CrossFit Welcomes Trans Athletes

A White Poet’s Attempt At Black Vernacular

This goes much deeper than the headline of this posts suggests. You know how I’m always talking about gay culture being appropriated by straight white people, but no other culture is. Well, I’ve been wrong. I truly didn’t know this kind of thing was still happening.

This one even mentions Scarlett Johansson.

That debate shows no signs of abating. Earlier this month, after intense criticism, a theater in Montreal cut short the run of a production by the director Robert Lepage that featured mostly white actors playing black slaves. A week later, the actress Scarlett Johansson withdrew from playing a transgender role after an online outcry.

Here’s the rest.  This debate is not going away any time soon. Marginalized groups, including LGBT people, are tired of being appropriated and it’s been building for very long time.

San Francisco’s Male Strip Club Closes

Here’s another one.

Despite record-setting profits, San Francisco’s iconic and last male strip club Nob Hill Theatre will close its doors after 50 years of business on Sunday, August 19. 
Owners Larry Hoover, 65, and Gary Luce, 63, plan to retire to Palm Springs, Bay Area Reporter confirmed, and the building’s new owner will not be using it for an adult club. 

CrossFit Welcomes Trans Athletes
Here’s something else I think we’ll see happening more often. 
Starting next year, transgender CrossFitters will be allowed to compete in the annual CrossFit games. The 2019 registration form will recognize gender identity instead of sex assigned at birth.
Good for CrossFit. They obviously “get” it. The old days are coming to an end. 


Gayest Palm Springs Thanksgiving With the In-laws by [Field, Ryan]




In Their Prime by Ryan Field




In print or e-book



A PG Rated Gay Romance

"Supergirl" Star and Cousin In Gay Therapy; American Apparel Trolls Donald Trump; Merry Men and Gay Robin Hood

Supergirl Star and Cousin In Gay Therapy

This is one of those times when I think crowdfunding is a good thing. A star from TV’s Supergirl, Jeremy Jordan, is trying to raise money so he and his fans and his family can save his cousin from that kind of gay therapy that’s referred to often as “pray away the gay.”

According to the fundraising page that has collected nearly half of Jordan’s $100,000 goal, Sarah’s strict Christian parents placed her in the facility for troubled teens for her “disease” after she took her girlfriend to prom as her date, KING-TV reported.

You can read the rest here.

Good for Jeremy Jordan. And even better, Colton Haynes who just seems to get better each day donated $5,000 to the cause.

American Apparel Trolls Donald Trump

I’m not sure I understand why they are doing it, but American Apparel is going after Donal Trump and his slogan with their own play on words, “Make America Gay Again.” 

“Equality in general will always be important to the brand and will always be a conduit for charities like HRC and the Ally Coalition that are advocating for basic rights,” American Apparel public relations director Roberta Oglakhchyan said in an interview. As for what Trump himself might think of the collection: “We would like to decline to comment on this question.”

And water is wet. 

Well it’s no wonder they decline to comment. I’ve read a lot about each political candidate and their stand on gays, and their previous stands. So far, I haven’t seen anything from Trump that’s much different from any other candidate. In fact, I believe it to be true that Trump recently said discrimination against transgender people in rest rooms is wrong…and costly.  You can check that out in this article.

As a side note, it was Hillary Clinton who refrained from supporting legalized marriage until after the SCOTUS ruling…and it was her husband who really nailed the door shut for gay marriage in the 90s with DOMA. And I don’t need to link to that. I also understand why President Clinton did this. I was there. I remember it well.

So again, I honestly don’t understand why American Apparel is doing this…and I think you all know that I’m totally gay and I support all LGBT equal rights. But what’s even more ironic, and a little sad, is that each time a company…or someone…does something like this Trump only gets a million more supporters. I’ve never seen anything like it my lifetime.

You can check this out here.

Merry Men and Gay Robin Hood

I personally think the time has come to see more gay content in classic tropes and stories. It’s what I’ve been doing for a number of years now with my own books, like An Officer and His Gentleman, and Pretty Man.

Robin Hood and his Merry Men are a band of outlaws, brought together by their desire to steal from the rich and give to the poor. But what if they had something else in common, like they were a different kind of outlaws? What if they were all gay?

That’s what Oni Press’ new Merry Men comic series explores, by writer Robert Rodi, artist Jackie Lewis and colorist Marissa Louise. This alternate take on the classic hero and his compatriots goes back to the legend’s roots and rebuilds around an LGBT core.

Again, this is what I’ve done at times over the years to get my own point across to readers. Of course I got slammed for it in reviews and romance blogs by the romance police at the time. Even though you cannot find one single word taken from anything, and I only used the tropes and story lines in my gay parodies, they threw out words like plagiarism. If I had complained about this at the time I would have been slammed even harder as a badly behaving author. So I kept my mouth shut until recently, but I always knew time would prove them dead wrong. In the same respect, I’m still here and many of them are long gone.

You can read the rest here.  

I’m linking to An Officer and a Gentleman below and you can read the reviews yourselves. Some reviews are great, some not so great. But I’m glad the not so great reviews are still up there as proof. One reviewer in particular, someone who goes by the name “Sirius,” thought I was trying to “pay homage” to the story, when in fact I was parodying the story because gay people have never, ever had gay content in the past.  When I write a book, I don’t pay homage to anyone. I never even use the word “homage.” My books that are parodies are statements about the lack of gay content that I (and millions of other gay men) grew up with.

And I want to make it clear I’m not complaining about this and I’m not knocking the reviewer. I don’t hold any grudges. Actually, I’m glad it happened because it gives me good examples to post here on the blog from time to time. And maybe, just maybe, someone can learn from them.

An Officer and His Gentleman
Unabated




The Arrangement 

  

"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.