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Lesbians & gay (male) porn

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 am - December 14, 2011.
Filed under: Gay Culture,Random Thoughts

Back when I was in law school, I would, from time to time, run with a lesbian quite open about her sex life. Unlike most women (I had theretofore met) of her orientation, she liked to sleep around (with women) and watch gay (male) porn.

At the time, I had thought this was one of her quirks, but as time passed, I met other women who love women who enjoy watching films featuring men, well, sexing other men.  I had heard there was a scene in last year’s The Kids Are All Right where a lesbian couple watches just such a film.  Well, the DVD just arrived from Netlix; I watched it last night.  (It’s a good flick, well worth your time.)

Early on, Annette Bening‘s Nic asks her life-partner Jules (Julianne Moore) if she wants to watch a movie.  A “movie movie,” Jules responds, all excited.  They’re going to watch two men, well, enjoying each other’s company in the back of a pickup truck.  Nic laments that the men’s chests were waxed (less of that masculine hair?).

When their son learns of their interest in such all-male cinema, he asks “Why do you guys watch gay man porn?”

Nic tries to dodge the issue, but Jules offers an explanation:

Well, sweetie, human sexuality is complicated and somethings desire can be, you know, counterintuitive, you know, um, for example, because woman’s sexual responsiveness is internalized, sometimes  it’s exciting for us to see responsiveness externalized like with a penis.

As her beloved speaks, Nic has a quizzical expression on her face.  The explanation doesn’t work.

She may be perplexed about the explanation.  I am perplexed about the phenomenon.  We gay men tend to prefer porn featuring guys doing things we fantasize about doing.  And these guys often tend to be the type we fantasize about doing them with.

So, why do some gals like to watch individuals about whom they don’t even fantasize — or with whom they don’t seek intimate relations — going at it?

Jus’ wondering.  (Yeah, I know I’m not the first to wonder at this phenomenon.)

Lucy in 1980: Some of the most gifted people I know are gay

It seems that whenever I hear a TV show is well-written, I learn that a number of its writers are gay.  I would dare say that a number of those who helped provide the set-ups and dialogue for Lucille Ball’s pioneering physical comedy were guys like us.

The funny lady all but confirmed this in a 1980 interview from People magazine quoted in an Advocate article paying tribute yesterday to a woman one man called “the true gay icon”:

Ball was asked her thoughts on a number of subjects, including gay rights. “It’s perfectly all right with me,” she replied. “Some of the most gifted people I’ve ever met or read about are homosexual. How can you knock it?”

It’s amazing how many people assume . . .

. . . , a friend of mine said tonight, that because I’m gay, I’m also a Democrat.

It does seem a lot of people make that assumption.

Is it okay to ask if he’s gay?

Let’s hope this one inspires a spirited non-political discussion without polemic or ad hominem.

In the past few weeks, I have become increasingly friendly, in the sense of stopping to chat with three fetching young men in the course of living my life, but none in environments which are specifically gay.  I am pretty certain (but not entirely so) that one of the three is gay.

With the other two, I get very mixed signals.  A gay friend is convinced that one of them is straight, but each time I become so convinced, he gives some sign suggesting he might prefer, um, well, shall we say “intimate” relationships with his own sex.

A straight friend agrees that it is hard to tell with the last individual.  And I asked him the other day if he thought it was okay just to go up to him and ask if he were gay.

He suggested instead I should ask if he’s dating anyone and see how he responds to that.

Did my straight friend give me good advice?  How would you handle these situations?  Do you think it’s appropriate to ask someone if he’s gay?

(In the comment thread, I will address how I handled another recent situation when I learned that my interlocutor was indeed gay.)

Freedom, the underlying principle of modern conservatism, benefits all people, including (and perhaps especially) gays

While, as you can guess, I quibble with the title of Cynthia Yockey’s post that Glenn linked earlier today, she offers something which bears consideration and conversation:

. . . in the name of family values, we are forced out of our own families. However, gays have responded to discrimination by becoming entrepreneurs and professionals, which makes gays a natural constituency of fiscal conservativism and explains why 31 percent of gay voters voted for Republicans in 2010 (including me). Gays are the most getable demographic in 2012 for Republicans because there’s no voting bloc Obama and the Democrats have screwed over more than gays and they are furious and looking for a new home.

(Read the whole thing.  While I don’t agree with everything she has to say, she does raise some important issues and make some thoughtful observations.)

Now, while I do believe gay people are a natural constituency for a fiscally conservative GOP, I wonder how many have become so politicized by our overly political (gay) culture that they can’t see how free market policies benefit creative types, particularly the creative entrepreneurial types.  And gay people do seem to succeed in such professions, in numbers disproportionate to our representation in society at large.

As I learned in my conversation with Palin-effigy hanger Mito Aviles, state and local regulations on small business place unusual burdens on creative small business folk.  Their desire to scale back intrusive regulations correspond with the very principles of the Tea Party movement.

The question is:  how do we break them from their prejudiced view of the GOP, particularly given how the media dwell on social conservatives’ (alleged) dominance of the movement — and the ignorance of many gay leaders of the underlying philosophy of the Republican Party as it has evolved since the nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and the election of Ronald Reagan sixteen years later.

The absurdity of the “Legalize Gay” slogan

Playing on the “Legalize LA” T-shirts and signs once ubiquitous in the Southland, some gay activists, in the wake of the passage of Prop. 8, created a “Legalize Gay” T-shirt, like this one seen at one of HRC’s two booths yesterday at LA Pride:

What makes this T-shirt so absurd is its suggestion that it’s not legal to be gay in America today. To be sure, we still need laws in more states recognizing our unions.

Even, however, without that recognition, gay people who enter into such relationships, even those who call such relationships, “marriage,” aren’t been hauled before federal magistrates (or state courts for that matter) and asked to disavow their romantic inclinations; they’re not being forced to live apart from their partner nor to move to another jurisdiction nor are they being incarernated for living openly with individuals of the same sex. And they’re not being forced to undergo “conversion therapy.”

Simply put, it’s not illegal today in American to be gay. People aren’t being arrested and threatened with a loss of liberty for freely expressing our sexuality. I mean, heck yesterday at Pride, the county sheriff was not closing down our celebration, but was instead helping facilitate it, guaranteeing our right to assemble peaceably.

Let’s not make things seem they are worse than they are — and acknowledge (as most of us do) how much progress we have made.  It’s not illegal to be gay in America.  Indeed, gay people in the United States — and other Western societies — are more free to live our lives openly than they have been at almost any point in human history.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Az Mo in NYC offers:

As far as the original post goes, I never thought I was illegal, or a second class citizen, until people started drilling it into my head that I was….people on the gay left. One day I said, “wait a minute,” looked around, saw wealthy gay men and women, homosexuals in congress, and on TV and realized that just wasn’t the case. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks of me just as it shouldn’t matter to them what I think of them.

CNN Anchor Comes Out

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:12 am - June 1, 2011.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Culture,Movies/Film & TV

I always wondered why Anderson Cooper got more attention than Don Lemon.  The former always looks like he’s trying really, really, REALLY hard to be a serious news anchor, adopting his best Walter Cronkite/Edward R. Murrow pose while the latter just seems like a nice guy delivering the news.  He actually has the audacity to smile every now and again.

I had meant to blog earlier about the latter coming out, but spaced it.  It seems he also has an interesting story to tell:

In the two-plus weeks since Don Lemon announced he is gay in tandem with the release of his new memoir, Transparent,’ the CNN anchor has received both kudos and criticism.

The praise is geared toward the courage it took to openly embrace his homosexuality as a public figure. The criticism lies mainly with the language Lemon used in his announcement. Lemon told the ‘New York Times’, where the news of his announcement first broke: “It’s quite different for an African-American male…It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.” Lemon also mentioned black women specifically, expressing his concern “that black women will say the same things [about me being gay] as they do about how black men should be dating black women.

This is actually a book I might read.  Lemon seems the most telegenic of the CNN anchors and reporters; most seem out of place delivering and commenting on the news.

I hope for Lemon’s continued success — and not just because he comes across as such a nice guy, but also because it would signal that Americans recognize that one’s sexuality doesn’t compromise one’s objectivity in the newsroom.

Perhaps he’ll become for TV journalism what Ellen has become for day-time talk shows.  And we’ll see that one’s sexuality is increasingly incidental to one’s success.

The politicization of gay identity

Learned recently from a reader about a young gay acquaintance of his who, upon coming out has veered far to the left.  From the reader’s recounting of the story, it seems the young man became antagonistic toward the right, not based on upon a sober consideration of conservative ideas, but as part of the acculturation process into his new gay identity.  We’ve all seen this before as people come out, they suddenly realize how much they hate Republicans.

It seems more a reaction to what they’re taught about conservatives than a rejection of conservative ideas.  Indeed, in talking about their new-found animus against the GOP, they repeatedly misrepresent its policies and act as if the party’s sole purpose for existence were to prevent gay people from living our lives openly.  It seems they’re taught to project those anxieties natural to anyone first confronting the challenges of facing his difference onto some Other, be it conservative, Republican, Christian or some other adherent of a Western faith.

“Some gay ‘leaders,’” I responded to our reader, “particularly those heading gay student groups on university campi or otherwise working with young people just coming out seem to believe that one can only integrate one’s sexuality into his (or her) life by becoming an left-wing activist for gay rights and an ardent opponent of all things conservatives and anything Republican.”   It does seem that many in our community believe that only when by becoming a doctrinaire liberal can you become a well-adjusted homosexual.

Yet, oftentimes, it seems that the most doctrinaire of liberal gays are the most antagonistic toward conservatives and among the least well-adjusted individuals in our society.

UPDATE:  Right after posting this, I had the sense I had used this title previously and I had in a post last August, Ken Mehlman & the Politicization of Gay Identity (more…)

No, being gay does not mean you should back organized labor

My friend Rick Sincere just alerted me to an interesting post over at Truth on the Market.  There University of Missouri law professor Thom Lambert takes University of Pennsylvania law professor Tobias Wolff to task for contending that, as Lambert puts it, “if you’re gay, you should support expansive collective bargaining rights for labor unions“:

The three reasons he articulates for equating labor union rights with relationship rights are far from convincing.  The first — the fact that “LGBT Americans come from the same economic and demographic origins as all Americans” – proves too much.  If gay people are really representative of all Americans, then some gays — say, public school teachers – benefit from expansive rights for public sector unions, and other gays — say, business executives in high tax brackets — are harmed by them.  To be fair, Wolff does suggest that gay people may be disproportionately impacted by reduced employment benefits because they lack various legal protections affored to others, but doesn’t that suggest that the real problem, the place where gays should focus their energies, is the lack of equal protection?  Moreover, one could make a strong argument that gay people, who have fewer dependents on average than straight people, have less need for lucrative employee benefits.  In any event, Wolff’s initial argument is hardly compelling.

Neither is his second argument.  Surely the fact that a group expresses support for gay equality and offers gay people various resources does not create a “reciprocal obligation” on the part of gay people to support all that group stands for.

Read the whole thing.

Yes, all too many gays on the left believe they must find common cause with other left-of-center interest groups.  Their real concern is advancing their liberal agenda.  Look, gay men and lesbians should be free to associate with and offer support to various Democratic interest groups and auxiliaries, but they should make clear that this is primarily out of partisan preference or agreement on certain issues.  They shouldn’t try to dress it up as advocacy for gay individuals.

Calling Lambert’s post “worth a read“, Dale Carpenter adds

. . . that Wolff’s argument comes from a long political tradition, going back at least to the 1950s, which maintains that gay rights are inextricably tied to a host of causes supported by self-styled progressives — everything from abortion rights to various left-wing revolutionary movements.   (more…)

Ignorance of or Indifference to Intolerance on the Left?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:18 pm - April 5, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Gay Culture,Random Thoughts

In a post last October, I wrote about one of the advantages we gay conservatives have in confronting the prejudices of some of our left-of-center peers:

. . . over time, the intolerance on the left makes us stronger.  And helps us judge the character of our interlocutors.  For while we often deal with liberal bigotry, we also frequently find open-minded “progressives” who in their interactions with us demonstrate an ability to rise above the prejudices of their peers.

If someone dismisses our political views as a mere product of what they contend are our own insecurities and animosities, then they are not likely to see us an individuals.  Yet, if they respect us as individuals even while disagreeing with our politics, we know they are friends we can count on, those who do not let superficial differences get in the way of real friendship.

Now, I’ve made this argument before and do so again, largely because it seems every time I point out the prejudices certain gay liberals hold against conservative and their dubbing political difference as a manifestation of self-hatred or as some form of whining.  Yet, it is hardly whining to identify and criticize the narrow attitudes of certain individuals.*

Yet, when we write about the hostility we face from some of our peers, our critics pull out their template of our victimhood even if it means ignoring the point of our post.  For example, last month when I blogged about how Mito Aviles, a left-of-center gay man running for West Hollywood City Council treated me with dignity and respect even as he seemed incredulous at the notion of a gay conservative, a critic, within fifteen minutes of my posting the piece, chided me for “crying“.   Another accused me of “playing into the whole ‘Victim Mentality’“.

In fact, I was making precisely the opposite point — that more often than not when we come out as conservative to our gay liberal friends, we frequently encounter some incredulity, but also understanding.  And I had wanted to make clear that while many gay liberals are among the most intolerant people in America today, most are not, indeed some are among the most broad-minded. (more…)

On lesbian bed death and ex-gays

Several years ago when volunteering at Outfest, I ended up the sole male in a conclave of lesbians.  When the conversation turned to sex, I learned a new term, “lesbian bed death.”  A young woman in the group who quite enjoyed, shall we say, intimate encounters with members of her own sex, denounced those older ladies who don’t have such encounters as regularly as did she.

When she became older, she vowed, she would continue to be as active as she then was.  She seemed almost angry at her older counterparts for not partaking as much as she did.  I interjected that maybe, as she aged, she would come to value other things more.  But, she was adamant. She would remain sexually active throughout her life.  As should all women.

Now, I had never previously heard the term — and would later learn the notion has often been discussed, its conclusion has also been disputed:

But where did this idea of “lesbian bed death” come from? Thank sociologist Pepper Schwartz, who, in her 1983 book American Couples, asserted that lesbians have less sex and intimacy than other couples. Although her methodology and results were later challenged, the idea of lesbian bed death has taken on a life of its own, with damaging results.

Despite the shibboleth that women’s sexuality is something wild that has to be controlled, and the stereotype of lesbians as the asexual mirror-image of horndog gay men, the truth lies somewhere in between: Lesbians who have been sleeping together for decades manage to keep their love lives spicy. Besides, the lesbians who are in long-term relationships would argue that all couples get tired of marathon sex.

As I pondered this notion that summer when it seemed I was exclusively managing theaters screening women’s films with overwhelmingly female patrons, I noted that most of the older lesbian couples seemed perfectly happy.  If a healthy sex life is conducive to human happiness, then clearly these women had such a life.

Perhaps, some of those (apparently) happy couples did indeed suffer from bed death.  Could it be that at a certain stage in the relationship, physical intimacy is no longer necessary to maintain emotional intimacy, that is, they didn’t need sex to remain connected?

Or, simply put, I was asking if a committed couple could indeed find happiness without having an active sex life? (more…)

Yes, Mr. Savage, it is possible to promote gay relationships without being nasty

Perhaps, the editors of Newsweek and Time really don’t want to see state recognition of same-sex marriage.  Given that fact that each magazine has now promoted a man who wears his contempt for Christianity on his sleeve, it seems their editors are little interested in changing the minds of the overwhelming majority of Americans who profess that faith.

Or maybe said editors are oblivious (or indifferent) to the faithful and believe that most people have a worldview similar to their own — only they just need be made aware of it. Reader Peter Hughes alerted me to a post on Newsbusters analyzing Dan Savage’s Time magazine interview:

In this week’s issue, Time magazine followed Newsweek in honoring gay sex columnist Dan Savage and offering him space to trash conservatives. The liberal media sets Savage up as an anti-bullying activist, then lets him push conservative faces in the dirt. In December Newsweek printed him saying “F— John McCain” and asserting Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was clearly a “c—sucker.”

Why does this fellow have to be so nasty so often?  Maybe he’s having a perpetual bad day?  When asked what advice he could “give readers of TIME“, this gay marriage advocate chose to express contempt for monogamy:

We talk about love in a way that’s very unrealistic: “If you’re in love, you’re not going to want to have sex with anyone else but that person.” That’s not true. We need to acknowledge that truth so that people don’t have to spend 40 years of marriage lying to and policing each other.

There is no doubt that monogamy is indeed a challenge, particularly for men. But, it does yield rewards in terms of a deeper emotional connection and greater intimacy.  If someone wants to shack up with another and have other sexual encounters on the side, he should be allowed that choice, but such a relationship is not marriage. (more…)

The hairless male

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:03 pm - March 18, 2011.
Filed under: Gay Culture,Random Thoughts

On a regular, I receive unsolicited e-mails inviting me to various events at local gay clubs and semi-solicited* information about trips on all-gay cruises. More often than not such e-mails include pictures of well-built young men, either the entertainment at the club or participants in past cruises.

Almost all of them have perfectly smooth chests, some obviously shaved (or otherwise cleared of body hair). Oftentimes these guys look fake as if they’re manikins rather than men. Now, I find that it matters little whether a guy is smooth or hirsute; it’s how he carries himself that matters. And how he looks.

Obviously guys must find this artificial smooth attractive because we’re seeing it more and more. And not just in advertisements.

Have some of you noticed this trend? And what do you make of it?

Creating a gay victim status to get out of jury duty

It seems for some gay activists, everything is political.  Mark, one of our readers, alerted me to a story about which he, while regularly disagreeing with yours truly, offers commentary that I find spot-on:  ”stunts like this make gay people look like idiots”.  Well, fortunately, most Americans (or so we hope) won’t judge all gay people by the juvenile antics of this one man who wallows in his (perceived) victimhood:

A gay man was excused from jury duty in New York last week because he said that discrimination against gays makes him a second-class citizen and therefore he couldn’t be impartial.

Jonathan D. Lovitz, an actor, model, and singer who will be on Logo’s upcoming show Setup Squad, wrote on his Facebook page, “I raised my hand and said, ‘Since I can’t get married or adopt a child in the state of New York, I can’t possibly be an impartial judge of a citizen when I am considered a second class citizen in the eyes of the justice system.’”

And instead of criticizing the man for this self-righteous stunt, the Advocate reports that some activists are encouraging “others to use the strategy”.   Such individuals have so internalized the victim mentality that they define themselves as second-class citizens.  Wonder why they need convince themselves of such status.

This is not to say that things are perfect for gay Americans, but the notion that we’re second-class citizens suggests we lack the fundamental rights and privileges associated with citizens, many denied African-Americans in certain states until federal legislation in the mid-1960s overturned discriminatory laws and practices. (more…)

The Curious Incredulity of* Gay Conservatives’ Liberal Interlocutors

Broadly speaking, there are two types of reactions we get when we come out as conservative to our gay peers, particularly to those who have never previously met a “homocon.”  To be sure, there is also a third type of reaction we get, but that from those who more regularly interact with gay conservatives and who are truly familiar with the ideas undergirding modern American conservatism.  And while it may seems sometimes that most who meet us respond with bile and vitriol, we only report those stories more often because they provide greater entertainment and reveal much about a growing strain of intolerance inherent in the new American left.

We also tend to remember such dramatic confrontations more readily than we more polite and genuinely curious expressions of incredulity.  And that type of incredulity seems to be the more common reaction, gay men and lesbians who seem legitimately astounded that someone so intelligent, sensitive and interesting could support ideas or back the political party whose guiding principle, they have been taught to believe, is preserving straight white male privilege.  Unlike the “third type” mentioned above, they have little real experience with real conservatives and almost no understanding of Republican ideals.   They don’t know the history of the conservative movement and remain unfamiliar with the everyday concerns of rank-and-file Republicans.

All they know is what gets filtered through the mainstream media, what they learn in conversations with their friends and, increasingly, what they find presented in various social media.  They have rarely met actual conservative individuals and  have had almost no exposure to our web-sites, magazines, editorial pages nor have they read books which articulate our ideals. (more…)

” . . . a lot easier to be gay in San Francisco than a Republican”

In an interview with the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein, Harry Stein, author of, I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next To A Republican, recently released in paperback, offers an anecdote which corresponds with the experience of this blogger — and many of our readers.  Answering the question, ”What is it like being a Republican in San Francisco?“, he offers

Well, as one (gay) Republican I spoke to out there put it, it’s a lot easier to be gay in San Francisco than a Republican, adding that when he came out as a Republican “friends abandoned me. I got called a fascist, traitor, crazy, insane, a racist.” In the Bizarro World that is San Francisco, fascism is always around the corner and that great bogeyman, the Christian Right, is just waiting to pounce.

Our experience has shown, it’s far easier to be openly gay in conservative circles than it is to be openly conservative in gay circles.  To be sure, we have also met many dyed-in-the-wool left-wingers who treat us with dignity despite our political differences, but there is a common thread running through the anecdotes of our interactions with our fellow gays, stories of individuals insulting, attacking or otherwise avoiding us because of our political opinions.  And they tell us as much to our faces.  Often in the nastiest terms.

Via reader Viking the Kitten.

Where will the gays Democrats go after they get what they want?

Comes interesting news this week that an internal Democratic poll shows strong support for President Obama among gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered. Of note, this poll was done before the repeal of DADT last month.

Some serious concerns about the interpretation of this poll. First of all, the poll was released only to the Huffington Post blog and only “on the condition that the full survey not be published.” Whenever a) the internals of a poll are not released and b) the results are sent only to a partisan publication for dissemination, it’s clear an agenda is being advanced by the numbers, that might not be borne out by the actual findings.

What’s more, in such an instance, plenty of questions arise: 64% either “approved” or “strongly approved”. So was that 10% “strongly” and 54% simply approving? Perhaps that’s splitting hairs, but it’s still significant. That the original results aren’t released suggests the depth of support might not be as impressive as its breadth. Another question: Where are these folks? There are no comparable approve/disapprove numbers from the same poll to indicate this demographic is any more supportive of Obama than the population (from which the respondents were separated as being “LGBT”) overall. Point being, poll gays and lesbians in San Francisco, you’ll likely find the same level of overwhelming support for Teh One as you would from that city’s overall population. Bottom line, this poll leaves many more questions than answers, if you’re willing to ask them.

But one great thing it does is offer up once again the opportunity to discuss the following thesis:

As more “gay” issues are settled by democratic means (as opposed to court mandates and decrees), and are therefore taken off the table, do you suppose gays and lesbians will begin to concern themselves with more important issues like the economy and national defense when it comes to picking their representatives? When HRC, Equality Matters and the slew of other left-wing advocacy groups don’t have things like DADT, ENDA, and marriage to flail about, do you think gays and lesbians will start to vote on more universal issues, and therefore gravitate more toward those who share American values of small government, low taxes, individual liberty, and a strong national defense?

To expand on the point to which Dan alludes directly below, the caricature of conservatives being ogres who simply hate gays and want to keep us all down and “would send us all to an island if they had their way” may be useful in this (and previous) day and age when some are still so animated about certain “rights”. But take away those “struggles”, and who would you vote for?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

Do same-sex associations benefit different-sex marriages?

I had an interesting conversation last night with a straight friend who reported how his girlfriend constantly complains when hangs with his male buddies.  It’s not the first time I’ve heard about(or heard) a woman upset when her significant other spends times with his same-sex peers.  And yes, I’ve heard the reverse, men who get upset with their wives/girlfriends for their girls’ night out — or similar celebrations.

Our conversation reminded me that the straight folks (at least the ones I know) in the strongest marriages all engage in activities with their same-sex peers.  One of our readers enjoys a knitting circle with her female friends while her husband goes biking with his male buddies.  It seems that same-sex social contact is essential to the strength of their marriages.

I wonder how this plays out in same-sex relationships.  I have one lesbian friend who (sometimes jokingly) laments that her wife has a second spouse — the theater.  Perhaps, that second “marriage” contributes to the strength of her first.

Let me just throw this out for discussion.  It seems pretty clear that individuals in traditional marriages benefit by balancing their monogamous connection to a member of the “other” sex with associations in groups oftentimes composed only of members of their own sex.  How then do gay couples effect a similar balance?

Developing a Deterrent to Invasions of Privacy

Almost exactly eleven yeas before Germany began World War II by invading Poland, her government, along with the governments of the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Japan and a number of other nations signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war.  Italy and Japan joined Germany in declaring war on the Allied nations.

You cannot outlaw war.  You cannot outlaw evil.  And much as we’ve tried, laws cannot succeed in banning human cruelty.  To be sure, they can increase its cost, hence the need for laws punishing such crimes as rape and other assaults, invasion of privacy and murder.  Once those laws are in place, we need make sure they are enforced.  More laws will not necessarily make future generations any more secure.

And it seems that whenever we hear a story that moves all of us, about the beating death of a young child or the suicide of a gay teen, various advocacy groups rush to advocate for more laws.

The problem, however, may not be the inadequacy of the laws on the books, but the cruelty of the perpetrators.

Some gay groups seem to think that additional anti-bullying policies might have prevented Tyler Clementi’s roommate from recording the young man’s private activities.  Earlier today, I received an e-mail from the folks at California Faith for Equality (CFE) urging people, among other things, to “Organize . . . turn your anger and grief into actions to improve anti-bullying practices in local classrooms, campuses and transform our congregations into accessible networks of safe spaces.”  While well-meaning, I’m not sure such practices will make much of a difference. (more…)

Will Andrew Sullivan Make My Dissertation?

Now that I’ve finished “original” research for the first draft of my dissertation, I am reviewing several books on gay psychology and essays on gay relationships as I prepare to write the paper’s final chapter.  Due to the unique nature of my program, I intend to apply the insights I gained in studying Athene’s role in the lives of the men of Greek mythology to the needs of gay men today, considering particularly how feminine friendships can benefit us.

And one essay which I believe beautifully addresses gay friendships is Andrew’s piece, “If Love Were All,” in his book Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival.  In that insightful essay, he reminds us of “the need for nonfamilial and nonsexual intimacy [which] is surely uppermost in our minds, however hard it its for us to articulate it.”

As I review his essay, I’ll be seeing if he can offer any insights on the gay male “need” for a guiding female hand as we seek to find our place in the world.

One more thing to note; in that essay, Andrew addresses some issues raised (at least in my mind) by Tyler Clementi’s suicide — on the importance of friendships in helping us feel we have truly found our place.

I may or may not use his essay.  I won’t know until tomorrow when I review the underlinings I made and the notes I took when first I read it.  That said, I still recall how moving was his prose.  While we may not today share his politics, we should at least appreciate how thoughtfully he addressed an issue which merits more discusion.