Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Homosexual Agenda

This article was originally published here on PolicyMic.com on May 26, 2011
Social conservatives speak with terror about ahomosexual agenda. As a practicing homosexual, I can confidently tell you there is much to fear. On a political spectrum, no greater agenda was set forth than the one during the National Equality March in October 2009. A quarter of a million people gathered on the steps of Congress chanting, “Equal protection under the law in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.” On a social and cultural spectrum, the agenda promotes acceptance and normalization of non-heterosexual relationships. For some people, this is pretty scary stuff.
Whether you agree with the agenda or not, history is being made. Social organizing via the internet is in young people's hands, and it is growing fast. Patterns in popular culture and a new generation’s involvement are prime examples of how gay normalization is becoming a reality in our society.
Your television became a queer secret agent when, in 1998, it started spewing Will & Grace into your conservative American living room. Even with all its gay stereotypes and clich├ęs, the show was digestible and amusing. Today, the trend is exploding. Everything including Lady Gaga, Glee,Brokeback MountainSix Feet Under, Logo, Ellen, Elton John, Milk, the Simpsons and thousands of others are making a younger generation more equipped to organically grow into their sexual and gender identities. Popular music is telling kids that they are “…on the right track, baby, you were born this way…” and “…baby you’re a firework…” and “…raise your glass if you are wrong in every right way…” and “…words can’t bring you down.” Even popular video games, like Fable andMass Effect, are now giving options for same-sex romance in their story lines.
In the past year, the media exploded with coverage on the tragic stories of queer youth suicides and bullying. To be clear, however, there was not a rash of gay suicides; there was a rash of media finally doing something about it. Even President Obama made a video for the It Gets Better Project, wherein he tells gay youth “you are not alone … your differences are a source of pride, a source of strength.”
And the kids are listening.
Constance McMillen received international attention when her small-town Mississippi high schoolbanned her from bringing her girlfriend to prom. In Arkansas, 10-year-old Will Phillips receivedmedia recognition when, in school, he refused to say the pledge of allegiance to a country that discriminates against gays. There are thousands upon thousands of more untold stories like these.
Young people are defining their sexual identity as one above labels. They are developing feelings that are above the feeble-minded stereotype that we are required to be a certain word for people to understand and accept us; they know they're not alone either, because everything tells them so. They also know they must be brave in their struggle against a conservative society because everything they read, watch, and experience tells them so.
And the outcome is pretty close to gay global domination. The new generation will use popular culture and the internet to deliver this big, terrifying homosexual agenda to every lonely and troubled man, woman, and child still living alone in their closet. They’ll tell you to love yourself unconditionally, welcoming you and asking you to join them. As Harvey Milk once said, “Burst down those closet doors once and for all, and stand up and start to fight.” 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Piloting the Los Angeles Gay Bar Scene – Silver Lake vs. West Hollywood


This article was originally published in gaytravel.com on May 5. Check it out here.

Having lived here for almost five years, I can confidently tell you that gay men in Los Angeles are a curious bunch. To be fair, Angelenos are a peculiar bouquet en masse and while everything you’ve heard about us is completely true, there is the occasional well-kept secret. Geographically speaking, the city is wedged between the desert and the ocean and is really more like a sprawling suburb than a bustling metropolis. The ubiquitous queers are spread out with rainbow flags flying in every quadrant. In fact, there’s so much gay in Los Angeles that for a newbie, navigating the scenes can prove a bit daunting. Where to go? What to do? And, heaven, what to wear?

While visiting our fair shores you’ll certainly enjoy sporting speedos with the boys at Will Rogers Beach or billiards with guys at The Rooster Fish in Venice. Perhaps two-stepping with the gents at Oil Can Harry’s in Studio City? There are, however, two dominant gay scenes on either side of town you’d be remiss to miss: West Hollywood and her easterly sister, Silver Lake.

West Hollywood and Silver Lake are two houses, both alike in dignity. Dissimilar as they are parallel, they each boast their own diverse gay nightclub scene often sneering at the others antics, actions, and tricks. Either way, the menu is quite attractive and interesting: West Hollywood boasts cliquey muscle boys, shaved chests, and coiffed tresses in a vodka soda sauce garnished with a touch of disdain. In easterly Silver Lake the suits-by-day daddies mix with the hipster queers in a manly aromatic foam-party dance-off breaded with bearded armpit romance. There is very little in between. Among the natives, there are the occasional Romeos who manage to cross the line and play both scenes, but for generalization’s sake, you’re a Shark or you’re a Jet. You walk and talk and dance with the lionesses of your pride.

I’m cynical by nature, but it’s all quite fun if you’re drunk enough. I also firmly believe that there is more to being gay than bar stools and Long Island Iced Tea, but I can’t seem to remember what that is at the moment.

If you’re vacationing in LaLa Land and you enjoy tapping your toe at the odd disco, you should certainly check out both scenes.  Make sure to get a hotel near the scene you think you’ll prefer because public transportation in Los Angeles is a touch dodgy, cabs are expensive, and drinking and driving is so 2007. The token night you do venture more east or west of your hotel to meet the other scene queens, remember that they make look, act, and smell differently, but they all kiss the same. So buckle in with your Jack and Coke and enjoy the fabulous delusion that the Los Angeles gay bar scene has to offer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Did Not Kill Osama bin Laden

The facebook machine told me of Mr. Osama bin Laden’s death. I picked up a New York Times to read the details. When the news spread late last night, people began to rejoice and I understand their reaction. Outside of the White House people chanted “U.S.A. U.S.A.” and sang the Star Spangled Banner. A woman in Times Square said, “You can’t mess with the United States for very long and get away with it.” A close Rank and File in New York went down to the World Trade Center site to see the hoopla.  He facebooked about the revelers who were throwing around beach balls, the college aged students in “American costumes” and the American flags – one with Marilyn Monroe on it. Today is a day for patriot slinging. I get it.

But another good friend and Riff Raff called me upset.  She understands the revelry too. But only sort of. Celebrate death? How? As Americans we are trained to act as one. We are all Americans. But I don’t buy it. The actions of my government are not my actions. I do not shoulder any of the congratulations or, perhaps, any of the guilt. I did not kill Osama bin Laden.

I do not judge the happiness that people take away from Osama bin Laden’s death. I merely comment on its complexity.

Harry Waizer, a World Trade Center survivor, says “If this means there is one less death in the future, then I’m glad for that… But I just can’t find it in me to be glad that one more person is dead, even if it is Osama bin Laden.”