Queer: July 2002 Archives

"The male ego is not a hardy perennial; it's a very delicate flower."
--David Rudgers, a 22-year veteran of the CIA, and author of Creating the Secret State, speaking about the U.S. military's pricklish attitude toward gays and lesbians in its midst, in one of a number of interviews conducted recently by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Are we dizzy yet? Some people were just beginning to sort out the old categories, but new species seem to be popping out all over, contributing to a delightful confusion for those who welcome life, and a nightmare for the half-dead.

He's well dressed, narcissistic and bun-obsessed. But don't call him gay.


For some time now, old-fashioned (re)productive, repressed, unmoisturized heterosexuality has been given the pink slip by consumer capitalism. The stoic, self-denying, modest straight male didn't shop enough (his role was to earn money for his wife to spend), and so he had to be replaced by a new kind of man, one less certain of his identity and much more interested in his image -- that's to say, one who was much more interested in being looked at (because that's the only way you can be certain you actually exist). A man, in other words, who is an advertiser's walking wet dream.

Mark Simpson's essay concludes with a caution however.
The final irony of male metrosexuality is that, given all its obsession with attractiveness, vanity for vanity's sake turns out to be not very sexy after all.

But then, it's much too late for second thoughts. Metrosexuality is heading out of the closet, and learning to love itself. Even more.

One of the founders of the modern British gay movement reminds us that in the first years after Stonewall we wanted to change society, not conform to it.

There would be sexual freedom and human rights for all – gay and straight. Our message was: "innovate, don't assimilate."
That dream has faded, and even the noisiest activists today are more likely to be content to settle for equal rights within the status quo than to question sociey as it is.
However, [equality] isn't the panacea that many claim it to be. Equal rights for lesbians and gay men means parity on straight terms, within a pre-existing framework of institutions and laws. Since these have been devised by, and for, the heterosexual majority, equality within their system involves conformity to their rules. This is a formula for gay incorporation, not liberation.


Oscar Wilde once wrote: "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." Thirty years after the first Gay Pride march, the gay community needs to rediscover the vision thing. That means daring to imagine what society could be, rather than accepting society as it is.

Yes, Arkansas's Supreme Court has overturned the state's sodomy law, but too many people have had no real problem living for 25 years with its appalling assault on queers, and in fact on human rights everywhere.

Neither Arkansas nor the Clintons, who still symbolize the state for most of America, should get off so easily.

Both Clintons lived with the law while in the Arkansas governor's mansion, and failed even to make use of the bully pulpit they occupied even to question it. Bill Clinton's sad and cowardly record in Arkansas on this and issues relating to HIV became dramatically problematic for activists around the country when he began to seek the presidency.

Disguised as a monied Democrat I crashed a private fundraiser here in New York prior to his nomination and succeeded in speaking to him a deux about AIDS and his record on gay rights as governor. His response was dissembling at best (memo to self as candidate: 'must not displease anybody'). I didn't trust him then and still do not. Hillary Clinton has demonstrated herself as no improvement on the earlier Clinton model.

But let's rejoice a little. And as my partner says, now we can finally go visit Mom.

By the way, this latest development in Little Rock now puts Arkansas in line with the great progressive Empire State of New York! Sodomy laws in each state were overturned by their supreme courts, not by their people or their legislatures, and in both states the laws even now remain recorded, if temporarily nullified. A new environment and new court decisions could turn things upside down once again overnight in either state. Apparently in neither is there enough humanity or courage to eliminate the law from the statute books entirely.

As always, our lives, our liberties, remain the creatures of public opinion, since even the courts are the reflection of that opinion.

Straights who really want to look like they're gay! Sounds like a great opportunity for our next recruiting drive!

Jeff's a 32-year-old "starving artist" who likes to travel. So last fall, he pretended to be gay to get cheap airline tickets. The scheme may sound like something out of a bad Matthew Perry movie, but it worked. A gay friend who works for a major airline offered to list him as his domestic partner, even though Jeff's not the slightest bit bi-curious. "It was really easy," he confesses. "All my friend had to do was tell the airline." Unfortunately for Jeff, he was "dumped" a little while later. "My friend registered his new boyfriend, so he could get the seats."

This page is an archive of entries in the Queer category from July 2002.

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