Archive for glbt

The giant gay storm

Posted in current events with tags on April 17, 2009 by Gena Radcliffe

Stephen Colbert knocks it out of the park again with this satire of the National Organization for Marriage’s now-infamous “coming storm” ad against same-sex marriage.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The best kind of satire is that which comes off as only slightly more absurd than its target.  Consider This is Spinal Tap: more than 25 years after its release, there is still some debate on whether or not Spinal Tap was a real band.  The confusion is understandable, as virtually every aspect of the movie, right down to Christopher Guest’s Jeff Beck-esque haircut, was based on real life events or people, just somewhat exaggerated.  NOM’s commercial is ridiculous enough on its own, with the furrowed brows on the actors as they claim that they’re “scared” of the effect same sex marriage will have on their freedom.  In a particularly spot-on moment, Colbert’s version has one man claiming that if same sex marriage is legalized, it will render heterosexual marriage illegal, to which another man replies “Yes, I heard that somewhere.”  It’s accurate because opponents of same sex marriage keep talking about how their freedom will be threatened should it be made legal, without elaborating on what they mean by “freedom.”  They keep saying that their rights are at risk and that their anti-gay marriage stance isn’t borne of homophobia, but out of a desire to “protect our children.”  To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, they keep using those words.  I don’t think they mean what they think they mean.

The truth is, no one can come up with a reasonable argument against same sex marriage without either mentioning the Bible or revealing their own innate homophobia.  The “rights” they mention have been bestowed upon them by God, not the government, and those rights are to feel as though you’re one of a chosen few and to judge those who you perceive as not being part of that few.  Why, if just anybody can get married, who can we look down on for not being quite as special as us? In claiming you’re just in it to “protect the children,” you’re saying that you still believe in that tired old stereotype of gays wanting to recruit young people to join their big gay army, where drill exercises consist of disco dancing and fisting, and you can earn a medal for advanced sashaying and shantaying.  Recruiting people to become gay, how ridiculous.  Why that would be like going up to strangers on the street or working in stores and asking them if they’ve heard about Jesus.

We’re looking for someone a little more gay

Posted in current events, pop culture with tags , on December 10, 2008 by Gena Radcliffe

Just in time for A Day Without Gays, Richard at Gawker puts out a call for more gay actors to be cast as leading characters in mainstream gay-themed films, not just because they could probably use the work, but so the media can stop badgering straight actors with wink-wink-nudge-nudge questions about “what it was like” to play a gay character.  No one is being fooled here, they don’t want to know what it was like to explore the mindset of someone with a different sexuality, they want to know without actually saying it out loud what it was like to kiss and simulate sex with another actor of the same gender.  Let’s face it, particularly with gay men, society is focused more on what they do rather than who they are.  It’s not being gay that’s so shocking and offensive, it’s gay sex, but only between men.  Lesbian sex is always hot, no matter how you feel about homosexuality in and of itself.

James Franco, who plays Harvey Milk’s long-time lover Scott Smith in the very excellent Milk, rather than being asked in interviews about his feelings on the gay rights struggle and the real life story behind the film, has been inundated with inane questions about his intimate scenes with co-star Sean Penn.  The ridiculously handsome, charming Franco, who probably gets more panties thrown at him than a Victoria’s Secret cashier, seems to be handling the questions with grace and humor, but one wonders how much patience is required for what is essentially a trap: if he speaks too enthusiastically about it, clearly he’s gay himself, yet if he emphasizes how weird and awkward it was, despite the fact that, it would seem to me at least, simulating sex with someone you’re not attracted to, regardless of their gender, would always be weird and awkward, means he’s homophobic.  As it is, blowing off the questions with “I’m an actor, I acted my way through it,” or any other logical answer one might provide to such a boneheaded question, also isn’t correct, as it means that clearly he’s hiding something.  This is why Jake Gyllenhaal has been plagued with rumors about his sexuality ever since starring in Brokeback Mountain, which might as well be considered the Gone With the Wind of gay cinema.  Gyllenhaal took a neither/or approach to a similar line of questions about playing love scenes with co-star Heath Ledger, not admitting to finding them arousing yet not claiming he had to swallow a gallon of Listerine and grope a cocktail waitress afterwards either, and also stated in an interview with Details that, while he was not attracted to men, he wouldn’t be particularly upset if he suddenly found himself to be, either.  Sounds perfectly reasonable, and yet gossip columnists and the paparazzi have ever since been on a mission to out Gyllenhaal as one of those particularly shameful Secret Gays, like Rock Hudson.  You’ll note that Ledger did not receive the same treatment, as he met girlfriend and future mother of his child Michelle Williams on the set of Brokeback, not to mention that he had already developed a reputation as a bit of a ladies’ man beforehand, as opposed to Gyllenhaal, who dated Kirsten Dunst for a long time but kept a lower profile.  By media standards, his continued reluctance to discuss his personal life (he’s reportedly now dating confirmed female Reese Witherspoon), not to mention that he’s often photographed jogging in public without a shirt on, means that he’s just a few steps away from appearing at San Francisco Pride Day wearing only leather chaps and a pair of nipple rings.

It’s interesting that we assume a straight male actor having to play a love scene with another man grimaces his way with mild to palpable repulsion through it, hoping the whole time that he plays it convincingly enough to win an Oscar nomination, but not so much that he’ll be one of The Advocate‘s gay icons of the year.  Meanwhile, when a love scene is filmed with a sexy woman, we assume he jumps into it with lusty abandon, even if they just met that morning.  Which requires more “acting”? It’s amusing to note that some of the most famous Hollywood sex scenes featured actors that didn’t even like each other, let alone were sexually attracted.  The sex scenes in Basic Instinct were so heavily choreographed, without an ounce of real passion between Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas that Stone famously referred to herself and Douglas as “the horizontal Fred and Ginger of the ’90s,” while Kim Basinger claimed that kissing co-star Mickey Rourke in 9 1/2 Weeks was “like kissing an ashtray.”  The love scenes in Milk are not nearly as explicit as those in Basic Instinct or 9 1/2 Weeks, but there’s a sweet, convincing tenderness to them that the other two movies lack, which should be credited to the fine acting skills of both Sean Penn and James Franco.  Yet it’s minimized by the suggestion that either Franco wasn’t really acting, or he found the whole experience revolting and just refuses to admit it.  No middle ground exists.

It’s not likely that Hollywood suffers from a dearth of gay actors, it would be a huge improvement if they could be cast as something other than asexual gay boyfriends in chick flicks and TV shows like Will & Grace, who spend more time acting gay than actually being gay.  If a gay actor is talented enough, he should be as capable of playing a straight character as Heath Ledger was playing a conflicted gay cowboy.  Granted, Neil Patrick Harris plays a straight character on TV’s How I Met Your Mother, but I can’t help thinking it’s with a bit of a wink at the audience, as if to say “Isn’t it funny, one of the most famous gay actors in Hollywood playing a womanizer? Oh, the naughty irony!” T.R. Knight, forcibly outed by disgraced former co-star Isaiah Washington, plays a straight character on Grey’s Anatomy, but to absolutely no one’s surprise since being outed his character has been given progressively less to do with each new season; in fact Knight is reportedly trying to get out of his contract in frustration.  It’s also interesting to note that Grey’s Anatomy ran into a spot of controversy recently when it abruptly made a female character bisexual, had her get into a sexual relationship with a lesbian doctor that lasted approximately two episodes, then just as abruptly dropped the storyline and the doctor without explanation.  Clearly it was nothing more than a cheesy attempt at adding some titillation to a program that is progressively sinking in the ratings.  It’s disheartening that in 2008, especially in light of the Prop 8 struggle, female bisexuality and lesbianism is still played in movies and TV as mostly just wank fodder for male audience members, while gay male characters are considered challenging acting stretches for straight actors, just as long as they’re not too convincing about it.

You may now kiss Party B

Posted in current events with tags , on September 19, 2008 by Gena Radcliffe

You knew it was only a matter of time: in an attempt to overshadow the sheer awesomeness that is George Takei marrying another guy, a heterosexual couple is stomping their feet and refusing to take the plunge themselves, in protest over California marriage licenses now using the words “Party A” and “Party B” in place of “bride” and “groom.”  But it has nothing to do with being against same-sex marriage, perish the thought!

“We are traditionalists – we just want to be called bride and groom,” said Bird, 25, who works part time for her father’s church. “Those words have been used for generations and now they just changed them.”

Of course, because otherwise how could you tell which one was which? Certainly with a minor wording change in a document perhaps a dozen people other than the married couple in question will ever need to see, the terms “bride” and “groom” have all but been rendered meaningless.  The wedding processional song will now be ‘Here Comes Party B.’  Attendants will be known as “B-maids” and “A-men.” Wedding guests won’t know where to sit in the church, because now it’ll be the B’s side and the A’s side.  It’ll create chaos and anarchy on a level usually only seen on an episode of Bridezillas, or should I say Bzillas.

The same sex marriage act was passed in May, I’m surprised it took a whole four months before a couple of numbskulls made some half-assed attempt at proving how it’s ruining things for straight people.  They don’t want to be legally recognized as married, they want to be recognized specifically as a bride and groom, as if it makes a goddamned bit of  difference.  Seriously, at what point after your wedding are you still referred to as the bride and groom? Do you introduce your spouse to people as “This is Dave, my groom”? Do you tell your co-workers “I’m taking my bride out to dinner tonight”? The document change was merely to make the wording gender-neutral, it doesn’t eliminate someone’s status of being the “bride” or the “groom” in the wedding ceremony.  Call yourselves the wombat and the Little General if you want, it doesn’t impact the validity of the marriage one bit.

Bird and Codding have refused to complete the new forms, a stand that has already cost them. Because their marriage is not registered with the state, Bird cannot sign up for Codding’s medical benefits or legally take his name. They are now exploring their options, she said.

Yeah, that sure does suck when people aren’t allowed to legally wed and enjoy the benefits married couples have, doesn’t it? Oh wait, except refusing to get married because you don’t like the wording on the license isn’t the same thing as being prevented by law from getting married.  Nice try on the Sacramento Bee‘s part to take a sympathetic stance, though.

But seriously, guys, seriously, it’s not a religious or anti-same sex marriage thing.  They’re traditionalists.  That’s why the bride’s father, holy crap, what a surprise a pastor in a Christian church, is trying to start a darling little protest over the matter.

Bird’s father, Doug Bird, pastor of Roseville’s Abundant Life Fellowship, said he is urging couples not to sign the new marriage forms, and that he is getting some support from congregants and colleagues at local churches.

“I would encourage you to refuse to sign marriage licenses with ‘Party A’ and ‘Party B,’ ” he wrote in a letter that he sent to them. “If ever there was a time for the people of the United States to stand up and let their voices be heard – this is that time.”

Well, gosh, Dad, what are we supposed to be standing up for, the right for your dingbat daughter to be known as the “bride”? Fine, she’s the bride, that was easy, wasn’t it? If this is just about “tradition” (and remember, without tradition we are as unsteady as a fiddler on a roof!), why are you talking about it like it’s a political issue? Why are you allowing the Pacific Justice Institute to speak publically on your behalf? The Pacific Justice Institute, a sort of ACLU for conservative Christians, seems to have spent a great deal of time, and continues to date, hindering the process making it legal for same-sex couples to marry in California, including calling for a boycott of Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the major sponsors of the act.  So you’ll pardon me if I have my doubts that this isn’t some last-ditch effort for people who haven’t quite gotten the gist of what the words “marriage” and “family” really mean to insist that gays having the right to marry signifies the coming Apocalypse.

Bird and Codding say they are trying to figure out what to do next. Bird said she does not know what she will do if she should become ill and need insurance. “I really don’t know,” she said.

All right, enough, Sacramento Bee, they don’t make violins that tiny.

Be a lesbian now, ask me how!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 27, 2008 by Gena Radcliffe

Going outside of my usual posting schedule, but I just couldn’t let this story go unremarked upon.  Consider it a Hump Day bonus!

A 31 year-old woman was kicked out of a California Social Security office for wearing a t-shirt with the phrase “Lesbian.com” on it.  A security guard assigned at the office but employed by a private company was apparently so offended by Lapriss Gilbert’s t-shirt, which only featured the word “lesbian” on it, as opposed to a depiction of two women engaging in cunnilingus, that he demanded she leave immediately before burning out anyone else’s retinas.  Happily, Gilbert was allowed to reenter the building shortly thereafter, and a spokesperson for the office spoke out against the guard’s action.  However, one cannot help noticing the very first line in the AP report about the incident reprinted at news outlets such as the Fresno Bee and NBC San Diego.

A woman wearing a T-shirt promoting lesbianism said she was forced the leave a federal building in Van Nuys by a security guard who didn’t approve of her attire.

A woman wearing a t-shirt promoting lesbianism…

A woman wearing a t-shirt promoting lesbianism…

A woman wearing a t-shirt promoting lesbianism…

A bafflingly poor choice of words, or are we still viewing homosexuality as something that is “promoted”? Does anyone really think that Lapriss Gilbert left her house that day wearing the lesbian.com t-shirt in the hopes that some impressionable young female college student would approach her and say “I’d like to know more about this…’lesbian.’  What does it mean? Can you tell me more?” Then perhaps Gilbert could take the girl back to the secret Dyke Recruitment bunker, no doubt hidden underneath an LL Bean store, strap her to a chair Clockwork Orange-style, then make her watch all five seasons of The L Word and listen to the Indigo Girls on continuous loop until she cuts off all her hair and starts wearing flannel shirts and workboots.

Seriously, folks.  Seriously? “Promoting lesbianism”? Just to make sure, though, because this is a respectable publication and I believe in checking all my sources, I took a peek at lesbian.com.  It is in fact a website pertaining to lesbian issues, and doesn’t promote anything other than the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and match.com (which, as opposed to eharmony.com, does allow gay users).  One can assume you’d already have to be a lesbian to really get anything useful out of it.  Nothing there about pyramid schemes in which you’re supposed to turn someone into a lesbian, and they turn two more people into lesbians, and they both turn two people into lesbians, and then so on until you make enough new lesbians to win a set of steak knives.