The Monetization Of Acceptance

Is it sad when commercialism makes larger strides in inclusivity than our own culture does? After all it is an industry that truly makes money on just about anything it can. There are fans that boast clique phrases from RuPaul’s Drag Race like; #Hunty. Sweatshirts that show the latest viral video stills, mugs to sport your favorite Meme, and now Hallmark will be selling cards to celebrate the transition process for transgender people. Does it help advance the movement for inclusivity or does it seem to trivialize the sentiment? There has already been an upswing in the amount of LGBTQ friendly cards with the legalization of LGBTQ marriage, but how does this weigh in with things like transitioning surgery.

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We are a marginalized community, there is not getting around that. We are one of the few minorities that discrimination against is legal in many states, we can lose our jobs, living accomodations, abd be turned away from public access of services simply because we do not follow into what some call societal norms. It happens everywhere and there is no escaping it, for now. It used to be if we wanted to find cards that celebrated milestones in our journey as LGBTQ people, we had to go to LGBTQ bookstores for card companies who actually made cards for us, However, that has been changing for some time now. Larger stores, like Hallmark , are carrying cards to celebrate Gay Marriage or even coming out. An article  was recently sent to me about Hallmark starting to carry cards for transition surgery for transgender people. So the question becomes, how has the mindset of commercialism moved ahead of societal acceptance and will this help us move forward.

 

Dont get me wrong, I think it is great to see a multimillion dollar company like Hallmark making these types of cards. After all, there are cards for almost every other occasion. It is a way to celebrate and show support for our friends that are going through this event. They do have an uplifting message, ones reads “You’re becoming who you have always been,” “How wonderful is that?” At present, there seems to be only two cards that are listed in the topic of “Transitioning,” I am sure that will grown as sales pick up. They have only been on the market since May of 2018. A simple search for LGBTQ cards turns up roughly 62 cards total, so that’s less that 1% of LGBTQ cards they carry but much more than they have carried historically. How long it can last or how much it can grow depends on how it is received and how popular it will be. Commercialism changes focus as the wind blows, so while it is a hot button topic at the moment how will it be received in the future.

As a homosexual, I am constantly aware of how commercialism is based around heteronormative practices. It is the same with every industry because there are reported larger numbers of heterosexual people than those that aren’t. I admit, I am not a person who is always on the lookout for a cards for a specific occasion, but there has always been a void of those that captured events that could be worded to sounds more LGBTQ positive. This is a step in that direction. Will this change mindsets of those who ally against us? No, sadly they will be the voice that says how this business is catering to a vulgar part of life, giving special privilege to some because they complained to get it.

 

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Designer Marco Marco uses all transgender models for clothing line. Models pictured above.

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Recently, there was also the new underwear brand Marco Marco that designed their underwear with transgender people in mind. According to Attitude Magazine  “Designer Marco Morante told Mic: ‘I wanted to create a space to celebrate trans bodies. This was an opportunity for their presence to be undeniable and reinforce that trans is beautiful.’ He used prominent transgender models for his fashion week debut this past summer. The names like Gigo Gorgeous, Carmen Carrera, and Laith Ashley were some of the many used for his runway. Morante is a long time supporter and designed for the LGBTQ community, so this only seemed like an appropriate next step. You can check out some behind the scenes images by following Laith on Instagram under his handle @laith_ashley. One of the attendees to the Marco Marco event was Laverne Cox who is the founder of the movement #TransIsBeautiful. She was quoted as saying, “When I started #TransIsBeautiful 3 years ago I wanted it to be a way for trans folks to celebrate what makes us uniquely and beautifully trans… It wasn’t about how cis we can look but rather about celebrating those things about us that are uniquely and beautifully trans.” Want to check out the runway show, see below.

 

 

What truly saddens me is that the commercial industry is so much further along that that of our society as a whole. Sure there is the argument that as long as there is a dollar to be made they will support it, but it doesnt change the fact that so many designers are pushing for inclusivity when our own government is doing what it can to repeal any laws that have already been passed. I am all for the forward momentum that this causes and wish more companies would take to the inclusivity approach, the fashion industry especially as this is an avenue that hasnt been fully explored for the needs yet.  What does disturb me about this trend is the whole “Here today and gone tomorrow” approach that seems to happen in commercialism. When the buzz dies down, will there still be the same push forward. We must encourage it to continue. Invest in those that invest in us and show that we want this change to continue. Be the object of the change you desire. Make it happen.

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Dishing The Tea

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Hello Hunties, gather round while I Serve Some Tea. I have had people, even recently included, tell me that I always talk about “This Gay Shit.” You’re right I do and sometimes I wish that I didn’t have to. Truth be told I think we all need to focus on the human existence, but truthfully, we live in a world that pushing the segregation of others, even if it is do so without thinking. We are a minority group that has its own set of culture, speech/dialog, and behaviors, just like any other minority group. Our world is shaded by the experiences we have and doubly so if we live our lives out to everyone. So why do we get called preachy if we have pride in the who’s and what’s that make us who we are?

Sure, there are LGBTQ people who are perfectly content to ride the low-profile bench, to not stand out, or even have other take notice of the fact they are different. That is their way of life and no one can say it isn’t their choice, that the thing about life it is jaded by how we choose to live it. Then there are those of us who live life fully embracing who we are. We attend Pride events, we take part in activism in our own means of choosing, we live in the community and try to make it a little better. That, too, is our choice. We shouldn’t have to apologize for who we are or being excited talking about those difference to people. In a perfect world it wouldn’t matter if we chose to love and be with members of the same sex as us or partake in both, it would simply be an act of love shared among consenting individuals.

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Heteronormative society doesn’t exactly see it that way. Many are content with us as long as we aren’t always talking about our Gay Shit, but they never seem to fully be able to define what that really means. Does it upset you that I take pride in my culture? Maybe it is the fact that knowing and sharing our history is something I think is needed to help understand where we have come from and are going? Many times, I get my favorite response, which I am sure many of you have heard before but referencing a different minority group. “I’m not bothered by it because I have many gay friends, but…” Or the “I know what it’s like to kiss (insert sex here) because I was dared to once.” or “I kissed a guy/girl in college.” While these two instances may seem monumental or opening some earthy shattering revelation for you, they aren’t on the scope of what it would feel like to live it on a daily basis. The “I have a LGBTQ friend” always gets me as well, as you rarely ever see or hear about them, unless it’s to defend the fact that they are open enough to have said friend.

When you fall into the white, cisgender, heteronormative life, it is hard to truly understand what any other minority group may be going through. As equally as hard as it would be for me a cisgender, white, LGBTQ person to try and understand what it is like living as a person of color. We live in a world where it is still legal in 28 states to be discriminated against for being LGBTQ. I really don’t think people understand that. 28 states can decide if I have a job, a place to live, access to community resources, and recourse if any violence is acted against me. Sure, that means in 22 states we do have protections, but that can drastically different depending on the state and to what level. Out of the 50 states, hate crimes against LGBTQ people have not greatly diminished. But let’s not talk about the “Gay Shit.” We still move to neighborhood that are statistically LGBTQ for safety reasons or if we cannot find them, we go back into the closet to make sure we aren’t harassed or worse. How many times do you hear heteronormative people saying they had to move to a specific community so that they felt like that would not be targeted for some form of discrimination?

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One of the things that I have become most proud of is that I have been working to get an LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce group to take office space at the place I work for and moving to get LGBTQ/Ally training for our organization. The organization I work for is fairly progressive, they already offer same sex benefits and give Racial Equity training to all of its employees, so for me I feel the natural progression was to have training that gave better insight on the LGBTQ community. A means to learn about discrimination and how to ensure we are fostering or pushing outdated mindsets to those we may come into contact with. After all, the business community touches all groups of people and we should be seeking to ensure that they are ALL welcome at the table. This has become very important to me, but there are those that do not share that sentiment.

Granted I am not a Harvey Milk, Cleve Jones, Barbara Gittings, or Christine Jorgensen, when it comes to activism, but I would like to think that I am doing a small part for moving things forward. I don’t expect my blog to be a major moving force forward, I am more content knowing that one person may find something the resonate with and help them through a struggle. These are the reasons that I talk about my “Gay Shit.” These are the same reasons that I will not stop. If it bothers you, I cannot apologize for that. What I can do is not waste that time on you. Because it would seem you have no desire to change where you are at in your journey. For that I am sorry, because no journey goes how we want or expect. We must be open to changing with the road and scenery. And that is Serving the Tea.

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Soul Food

Every now and then, it is good to just listen to words that help nourish the soul. Ted Talks are great for that, so check out a few and enjoy your weekend.

The first is Jok Church, originally from Stow, Ohio. Its short but very deep.

 

The next is Morgana Bailey and the danger of hiding your true self. It’s important to understand that we often times hide part of ourselves for reasons we self impose. Conformity becomes normal and hiding is how we cope with it. Each aspect of us is important to the very fiber of who we are, as a person. You may not want to be defined as a “gay” or a “lesbian” or whatever, but the very act of hiding what we are and not embracing it as a part of is can have just a severely negative aspects on our health and welfare. Not expressing and sharing it can also have consequences on others actions and welfare. Be an advocate, if not for someone else, be it for your own self and the effects it will have on your own world. Those very actions will cause ripples of change in the environment at large.

 

Lastly, Geena Rocero and her journey of coming out and becoming who she is as a transgender person.Its about the importance of not living by the boxes that others put us into. Gender is not the limitation of the labels imposed upon it. This is her struggle to become who she was supposed to be.

Spanking the Monkey or Flicking the Bean

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A recent study in May, which should come as a complete shock to everyone, released that LGB people masturbate more often than our straight counterparts, a whopping 23% more on average per week. This study was released by the pleasure brand TENGA, provider of male pleasure products. This survey also found that LGB people are more comfortable talking about sex and sexual behaviors. Again, this really isn’t a huge surprise, hell we have to make sure that our partners are comfortable with the same things we like and how we do them.

The survey was conducted between February and March and polled 18 countries, including the UK, the US, France, and Kenya. 86% of heterosexual people polled admitted to having tried masturbation at some point, while 97% of LGB people advised they had partaken in solo pleasure. While 71% of the Lesbian, Gays, and Bisexuals polled said they do talk about sex with their friends, only 42% of heterosexuals admit to discussing the matter. That in and of itself is a sad revelation of the world we live in.

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This survey is heavily skewed to UK numbers, as the research itself is from a UK company. This study found that more than one third of the UK population indulge in self pleasure weekly, there was no information for American engagement. The people polled were asked how frequently people masturbate regularly and they advised that they felt about 65% of the people did so weekly. The actual results from the survey show that it was actually 78% enjoyed it weekly. 49% of the UK respondents believed that masturbation had health benefits. We do know that men who frequently masturbate are at a lower frequency of prostate cancer. As an aside there is a recent study from the University of Arkansas shows that more women have more frequent orgasms with other women than they do with men. The study was called “Are Women’s Orgasms Hindered by Phallocentric Imperatives?” and polled 2300 respondents. The results found that 33% more likely to orgasm with another woman and on average 55 times per month. This survey is cognizant that women tend to focus more on women’s pleasure than men seem to focus. This study shows that in women having sex with men that it is far more phallocentric, meaning that it seems to be more about the male receiving pleasure. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise either, since there has always been a long-standing urban myth about the best orgasms or know how to please a person is achieved from members of the same sex.

Let’s take a look at some habits from the UK respondents. 15% of the British population admitted to having pleasuring themselves during their commute, whether by car, plane, or train, I have seen the videos on YouPorn and the like proving that result and I must say I ain’t mad. In the US, that happens to, but it’s usually the creepy guy that is urinating in the corners. This shorty study also showed that Brits are the biggest users of sex toys at 28% with the US only trailing at 27%. Makes me wonder who were sent these questions.

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The study also did a bit of probing into Sex Ed teaching practices. These touched some topics that are heavily discussed in the news today. People ages 18 – 34 were asked if they discussed sexual consent during their Sex Ed classes and 40% said they had. People 35 – 54 were asked the same questions and only 22% said that topic had come up during their discussions. Same group of people 35- 54 were asked about sexual assault being discussed and a mere 9% said they remember discussing it. 15% of the people asked in the age group of 55 and above about discussing masturbation in Sex Ed and results showed that only 14% had discussed it (or remembered). 16% of 35 – 54 and 22% of 18 – 34 years old people had remembered discussing masturbation.

What we can see from this study is that trends area moving to be more progressive in discussing a broader range of sexual health and behaviors. It does seem that, per the usual, American seems to be on the slower side of that trend. It shows that the topic is still fairly taboo and needs to be addressed and brought more into the light. Conversations earlier in life can lead to them becoming a much more relaxed conversation with our sexual partners and people in general. It is hard for many men or women to have discussions with their physicians about sexual dysfunctions or concerns. This definitely should not be the case, there is no need for shame in discussing such an important part of our human condition.

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Personally, I am more comfortable discussing sexual topics with people and that changed a lot after coming out. Though I do admit to tailoring that to the comfort level of people that I am around, if you aren’t as comfortable, I tend to be or react similarly. How about you? Are you comfortable discussing these types of things with those close to you? Are you shocked by the results of this study? How does this study make you feel? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Small Town Gay

I had mentioned previously about coming out in a small town and what it was like. I didn’t have a lot of examples, as many young LGBTQ people don’t, to go by. I did have a bar that wasn’t too far away from where I lived and a city that at least had some sort of LGBTQ population. It was a struggle knowing that I was different but not fully understanding what it meant. By the time I had accepted it meant liking boys, I did everything I could to find information to digest to help me in my journey. I still have some of the books that I read, re-read, and dog eared for positive reinforcement. This post I am going to talk about a couple of them and before I start, I will mention that they are also a bit tongue in cheek kind of humor from earlier “gay times.”

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The first one is “The Unofficial Gay MANual: Living the Lifestyle or at Least Appearing to” by Kevin Dilallo & Jack Krumholtz and was writing in 1994. Its written in kitsch style and bills itself as “a wild and witty guide to the tribal customs of the red-blooded American gay male.” It provides essays, multiple choice and true/false tests, sidebars and charts to help you navigate the new ways of gay-dom. If you wanted a bit more insight to how gaydar works, this book is a good place to start. Now some of the information is a bit dated, like the guide to going out in major cities. It does cover terms that have seemed to fall by the wayside and provide information about where things started from. It is also a good place for the basic beginning of gay history.

 

One of the lists in the book that amused me the most was the 16 CDs Every Gay Man Should Own. Mainly because many of them were in my collection long before I fully understood why. Now I hear the gasps of people wondering what exactly a CD is, so let me wax a little history on you. A CD was a piece of plastic that was smaller than a vinyl record and went into that little tray on a computer that many still think is a cup holder. Ok the description was a little vague since I mentioned a vinyl record and a computer, things many people don’t use anymore with the inventions of smartphones., but back to the list. These are songs or artists that spoke to the very soul of gay men. Singing about unrequited love or just providing a soundtrack to the fabulous lives we thought we were living. Without further ado, here is the list.

  1. Bronksi Beat, Age of Consentthey were an activist rock and dance group with an album that spoke against the age of consent laws.
  2. Patsy Cline, 12 Greatest Hits– Patsy was the Queen of dating the wrong man and writing songs about it, she was one of the first divas gay men flocked to
  3. Erasure, The Innocents– what else can you say, gay men singing about gay love.
  4. Ella Fitzgerald, The Rodgers and Hart Song Book, Vols I & II– probably the gayest of her works with renditions of “The Lady is a Tramp” and “You Took Advantage of Me”
  5. Judy Garland, Judy at Carnegie Hall– It’s Judy Fricking Garland, need I say more?
  6. Deborah Harry & Blondie, The Complete Picture– Talk about gay theme songs, “Call Me” and “I Want That Man.”
  7. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection– Sure, many a gay man consider her a goddess, and this was before Lady Gaga. She was the original blurring lines and pushing limits. This is probably the quintessential album for her, best of her career and I don’t care what you think.
  8. Neville Mariner, conducting Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Water Music– it is a touch on the classical side as the music itself was written 300 years ago. But does offer a soothing nature after a weekend bender.
  9. Bette Midler, The Divine Miss M– There are few divas like Bette, she got her start performing music in the baths in San Francisco. She has embraced warmly her gay following, offering her own style of camp and drag to the mix.
  10. Liza Minnelli, Liza with a “Z”– Another courtier of her gay following. Cabaret made her famous, but her marriage to Desi Arnaz, Jr definitely helped in keeping gay men’s attention on her.
  11. Original Broadway Cast, Gypsy– This is definitely a good gotta have Broadway classic without being to theater queenish. Lots of singable moments and even had Ethel Merman in the lead.
  12. Moodswings, Moodfood– more of a new age sound that keeps the air of a dance beat without all the techno pushing.
  13. The Pet Shop Boys, Discography: The Complete Singles Collection– The Pet Shops Boys were the transcendence of disco to the modern Club Kid. Their anthems gave a resurgence to a new flock of gay men.
  14. Renata Scotto, et al., Madam Butterfly– One opera that has lots of moving songs that ensnare even those who have never listened to opera before.
  15. Barbra Streisand, Just for The Record– “Well Hello, Gorgeous.” I am sure there will be at least one or two good songs that will be like buttah for you to listen to.
  16. Sylvester, GreatestHits: Non-Stop Dance Party– Sadly a musician that left us much too early. Gay artist that just made disco hip gyrating-ly fun. “Do You Wanna Funk” and “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” speak of body heat on the dance floor leading to hip thrusting fun afterwards.

2017 Tribeca Film Festival - Tribeca Talks: Storytellers: Barbra Streisand With Robert Rodriguez

That’s only one list this book offers, if you grew up in a small-town link me you missed out on hearing the lingo associated with our culture. In times past, it was use of certain words and phrases that helped distinguish us so that others knew they were “Friends of Dorothy.” My first time visiting a gay bar, I was assaulted with terms I had never heard before; gym bunny, clone, Mary, top and bottom, and hanky code, to name a few. It was liking visiting a foreign country. Thankfully, I found this book around the same time and helped me quickly learn a few so that I at least knew some of what was being discussed. Being fresh meat in the bar, I was quickly surrounded and asked questions I had never thought would be asked of someone you just met, this book helped a lot.

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Then there was The Homo Handbook: Getting in Touch with Your Inner Homoby Judy Carter written in 1996 I found this book after having been out for a couple years, Judy Carter is a lesbian standup comic, so expect this book to be glib, fun, and with a fair bit of fun poking. This book offers exercises about topics that come up in our lives, from coming out to dealing with bigots. It is meant to be light hearted. Whereas the Unofficial Gay MANualtargeted gay men, The Homo Handbookis inclusive to lesbians and gay men. The first two sections are about coming out to others and yourself. How to navigate pitfalls and right ways to handle situation. The books ends with sections about activism, where to go, papers to read (if still available) and means to become an activist. Like the first book, there are exercises to look inward and help not to take yourself so seriously.

The larger portion of this book focusing on how to handle situations that may arise when you are coming out to people. It also covers when it may be or may not be a good time to out yourself. It is a nice light in the darkness, when times weren’t as easier as they are now. Even sections covering dating, so you can have meaningful dates and not just random encounters, unless that is your thing. Just ideas for looking for quality people and not the average user at a bar.

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Neither book is a how-to manual, they are more fun ways to look at something you are over stressing. They are fun ways to navigate common problems that we all go through and to learn not to take yourself so seriously. Even though some topics may be dated, if you can find them, they are worth a read. If for nothing more than historical information for an age you may not be as familiar with. After all, every newbie LGBTQ person should learn our histories, it is what many of us died fighting for that has gotten us to where we are now. If you would like more information about the books, ISBN numbers and what not, feel free to drop me an email at gaynthecle@gmail.com. Enjoy the read.

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Out Of The “Movie” Closet

Shortly after I officially came out and met the person that was probably my soul mate, I was introduced to a great many things. One of them was LGBTQ cinema and no I am not just talking about porn. I had never known there were movies that dealt with people that felt the same things I did. The small town I grew up in, I wasn’t even truly aware if there were others like me, in retrospect there were probably far more than I will ever know. My first love had what seemed an extensive library of LGBTQ films, though they did skew more towards gay male perspectives.

Today’s LGBTQ kids may have not even heard of many of them. Oh sure, you cant turn on the television without seeing the Birdcage still. VH1 still shows the Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and you cant go a full year without seeing Too Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar. But these are mainstream because just as many heterosexuals find them entertaining. Much like the Kevin Kline travesty “In & Out.” Most of these have one big thing in common, they do not show LGBTQ life in reality but as we are seen by heterosexual people. Sadly, most of the movies from that boundless library he had were filmed with straight men and many were a little campy, none the less they are still in our history. And there are a few that are my favorite, so bear with me as I give you a list some of them.

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The first film that we watched together was It’s My Party (1996), a movie that dealt with the very raw subject of living with AIDS. This film hit me hard because it was based on the true-life party of Harry Stein, an accomplished architect and designer. His real-life partner, Randall Klieser, directed the film and the party that was the topic of the movie took place in 1992. It hosted some big names, as well as some up and coming names, like Eric Roberts, Gregory Harrison, Olivia Newton-John, Bronson Pinchot, and Margret Cho. Nick Stark is the main character of the movie and decides to host a two-day party where he invites him friends and family over to celebrate his life and them being apart of it, at the end of the party Nick would take his life. Nick had contracted a disease that would leave him in a vegetative and memory lapsed state hooked to a machine to keep him alive. He had watched many of his friends die from the same disease and did not want to endure. The movie is about the struggle of a couple whose relationship died due to the disease and was reconnected because of it, as well.

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Next would be the movie Jeffrey (1995), which stars Steven Weber, Michael T. Weiss, Sigourney Weaver, Kathy Najimi, and Patrick Stewart. Steven Weber Plays Jeffrey who is a gay man who loves sex at the height of the AIDS epidemic. He had been used to night after night of men and sex until he noticed the trend of his “tricks” asking for proof of his HIV status. This spirals him into disarray as he decides he is going to swear off sex. He then meets Steve (Michael T. Weiss) who is attracted to Jeffrey, but Steve has a secret. It’s a movie about a guy who is afraid of falling in love with someone who has AIDS and watching them die only to be left alone. It was a movie that challenged my perceptions and allowed me to grow. Sure that is giving this movie a lot of credit, but the cameos in it are hilarious and the story is on point about loving someone for who they are and not what they may have.

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Love! Valour! Compassion!(1997) Okay, this started out in 1995 as a play, but its tour on Broadway allowed it to become a movie in 1997. In it you will find Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) and John Glover among others. The movie takes place over three summer holidays in a lakeside house in upstate New York. The main character is going through a gay midlife crisis about his creativity and worth and surrounds himself with his friends that are directly tied to his artistic career. The course of the three holidays leads the group run the gamut of topics like infidelity, soul searching, AIDS, life and death. This leads to skinny dipping and flirting with the grand finale being a dress rehearsal of Swan Lake in drag.

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Torch Song Trilogy(1988) Another movie that was adapted from a play, written by Harvey Fierstein. This movie included Harvey Fierstein, Anne Bancroft, and a young Matthew Broderick as the star line up. The play spanned four hours, but New Line cinema insisted that it be edited to a two hour running period. The play was written about a female impersonator named Charles Pierce, who was a noted Betty Davie impersonator. Harvey created the lead role, Bertha Venation, aka Arnold Beckoff, for him to portray. The story starts in 1971 where Arnold meets his first love Ed while being dragged to a bar after a night’s show. After meeting Ed, who is still battling accepting being gay, leaves Arnold for a female named Laurel. Two years later in 1973, Arnold meets the love of his life Alan, played by Matthew Broderick. Ed has married Laurel and invited Arnold and Alan to the country for a weekend visit. This proves to be awkward but reinforces the commitment between them. They move in together, plan to adopt a gay child, and get an apartment. On the eve of their first night in their new place, Alan is killed by a group of gay bashers, This leads Arnold into a spiral that climaxes when Arnold’s mother comes for a visit. For me, it is one of the few that shows the struggles of being LGBTQ in a world that still doesn’t fully accept us as we are.

There are others, more modern films that also fall into my favorites list, but these listed are from the library of what I devoured when I met Shawn. These are ones that have had huge impacts on me, in various ways. They will remain a part of my history and are ones I always recommend to people who have never seen them, the same way Shawn did for me. If you haven’t seen them, please check them out. Let me know if you enjoy them.
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The Truth About Dating

People always seemed shocked when they hear that I haven’t dated much, since moving to the Cleveland area. Really, I think that they are equating dating with having sex. At least it seems that is what they are thinking. Usually when they ask, and I say I haven’t met the right person yet, it is always followed by the ever-popular question, “don’t you get lonely?” Hell yes I get lonely. But that isn’t really the topic here, so let’s dive into the actual issue. Why do people seem to equate dating and sex as the same thing?

Dating, for me anyway, is a pretty simple idea. You meet someone and you go out, while you are on this outing you share information about one another. This information is used to create a frame of reference about the person you have met. You learn a little bit about their background, their likes and dislikes, why they may be single now, and what kind of person they may be looking for in someone else. It is a pretty simple formula. How the actual meeting takes place can vary from situation to situation. Its really a litmus test of sorts, designed to see how you two get along and what they may be like in a public situation. A means of seeing if there is compatibility. It could lead to sex, but it is not a must. Most of the time I am too nervous meeting someone new that the idea of sex is the last thing I am thinking about. Then again, I am usually the type that overthinks situations a little too much.

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Now speaking from a gay male point of view, gay men have been known to have the stance that love shouldn’t be so conventional. Multiple partners and not really settling down has been the nom de plume in the earlier years. Maybe that is why many gay men think that dating is the same as having sex. As Miquel Brown said, “so many men, so little time.” Why be tied down when there is a veritable buffet of men in the world. Many didn’t even talk more than just exchanging a name they went by and off to the races. To be tied down was tantamount to a “straight” relationship and if they didn’t accept us, why should we accept the limitation of their relationship ideals.

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I have mentioned previously (insert link) that I am a bit old fashioned, at times. One of them is when it comes to dating. Guys get a bit frustrated talking to me because I actually try to talk to them. Conversation is one of the biggest things that can turn me on and I like learning about someone. Too many times have I been fooled by the pretty package and quick wit and not learning more about a person. That is partly because I still cling to an old notion of actually meeting someone, I want to spend time with, not just a few hot and steamy minutes. It is actually nice having someone you can talk to about things and share feelings with. I want someone who can carry on a conversation about something more than the size of their dick and what position they prefer to screw in. I have that in several profiles and it never ceases to amaze me that they use that line when the contact me, but it is always followed by some lame, overly sexualized pickup line.

I am not a prude, that is for sure. I have the same thoughts as everyone else when I am meeting someone new. How are they going to look? Will they fill out a pair of Levi’s the way that would make a cowgirl swoon? How quick can I get them naked and will it be as good as I picture it? But I try to keep my other head in the game as well. Can we talk about our favorite movies or books? Do we have similar tastes in cuisine? You know the normal stuff. My phone is just as full of hookup apps as any other horny gay male. And yes, my lustful desires can often win out but so far, I have kept them in their cage. I want to meet people not just for conquests but also for a friendship base. For me, there is no use in fucking someone if you cannot stand to be around them. I mean when you finish the deed and you are laying there trying to catch your breath before dashing to the door, you need something more than a languish look around the room only to say, “nice drapes.”

two men kissing each other on couch
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I am not saying that a first date cannot or should not lead to a sexual situation, that my dear is strictly up to you to decide. And maybe there is something to be said for the old baths, walk in, get a key and a towel, drop your clothes off in a locker and browse until the compass points in the direction of your loins’ choosing. At forty-five, I just don’t think that is my scene. Most times I feel like that one old guy we all know from the bar that is hanging around until closing time just hoping someone may be horny enough to go home with us. I think I will pass on that image and go for the conversation upfront. See me at my best before you see me at the rest.

The point is, I haven’t dated much since I have been here and that does suck. When you want to meet someone with depth, but you always seem to get the cast offs from a bargain basement store, you really don’t want to settle. And yes, that leads to a barren salt flats of a sex life, but I would rather find someone I can talk to afterwards than just taking care of the deed because it and they have both popped up at the same time. I can do that at home, with good porn, and a hand and still look at myself in the morning with a bit of dignity.

two people laying on a bed covered with a floral comforter
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