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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

So many things swimming around to write about, things I've been thinking about. Life, politics, HIV, horror.

Life: I turned 50 last week - that was amazing - and I celebrated with family and friends. It was a lot of fun, and I am very glad, and I am very lucky. And I was very hungover...

Politics - well the election looms, and I have opinions, but I'll get to them in another blog. But to be clear, National and ACT and United Future are shit. Perhaps I'm getting old and grumpy, but none of the parties actually inspire me.

HIV - why are young guys not getting the message? Part of the blame must lie at the feet of the NZAF. They are supposed to be experts at connecting with the gay community, that is what they were established to do, and what they get millions of dollars in government funding for and pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries for, but they have dropped the ball here. As they have moved away from being a community organisation to a generic Wellington style bureaucracy, this was inevitable though. Infection numbers continue to rise, young people aren't being reached by their programmes - not exactly a success story for NZAF at the moment. And part of the blame must lie with we older men not being able to pass the message down as well.But I'll come back to that another day.

And horror - real horror. The story from Scotland this week of Stuart Walker being beaten then burnt alive is unutterably disgusting, enraging, and saddening.

Imagine the agony, the terror, and the pain of his final hours.

This was an act of pure, deliberate and unspeakable evil.

Was it an act of homophobia? It is hard to be sure, but the indications are strong that it was. The vicious and dehumanising nature of the assault suggest it was much more than just a random drunken assault. It has chilling reminders for me of the way Matthew Shepherd was slaughtered in 1998.

There is the same sadistic delight in humiliating and tormenting a gay man, and the same contempt for his body. To burn someone alive - what sort of person can do that? To pour out such contempt on his physical shell - what lies behind this thinking?

What is there about being gay, about being sexually different, that can inspire such hatred, such blind and meaningless torture? Make no mistake, there are people who feel that way in this country too. Some of them used to be in Parliament - the ACT candidate for Epsom, John Banks, once famously said that shoving six inches of barbed wire up a gay man's arse was a waste of good barbed wire. That is the kind of evil that lies behind these sort of acts.

These people have the ability to regard as something far less than human, simply because we are not straight. They see nothing wrong with torturing us, they see nothing wrong with harassing us, they see nothing wrong with killing us. We are such scum in their eyes, that we do not matter.

Yes, NZ has come a long way. But it is not hard to find blind, unreasoning hatred of us out there. I really hope I'm wrong, but I will be disugusted and enraged when something like this happens here, but I won't be surprised.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Love, Lust and Intimacy

I was trying to think of the last time I spent the whole night with a guy, going to bed, fucking, and waking up together - it's been a while. So long in fact that I can't remember. It's not that I haven't been having sex - I have. But actually sleeping with someone - that is something that happens rarely. It seems to me that in the past it used to happen much more. You'd go out, pick up, go back to his or your place, and stay the night - it was common in my youth. Maybe in the morning there'd be an embarassing rush for clothes and insincere mumbles about seeing each other again, or maybe you'd have coffee, meet the flatmates, and go. But staying the night was normal. Perhaps it's just me, but now it's not really part of my life.

I realised that sleeping with a man is now a much greater act of intimacy for me than fucking with one, which is a little strange, but when I think about it, maybe it's not that weird.

I know that my life isn't a replica of how all gay men behave, but I'm not that unusual either, and a lot of us do have a lot of sex, and often with a lot of different guys. It's fun - shit, when it's good it's a hell of a lot of fun. Sex is revealing too, it shows a lot about who you are, fantasies, reactions to things, good sex needs you to be comfortable and happy in your skin.  We open ourselves to another, we make ourselves vulnerable. But it isn't always emotionally intimate, even though physically you can't get much more intimate than getting your dick up some guy or having his up you.

Sleeping with another man - to me, that is way more intimate. When we sleep, we trust someone else to lie there with us as we drift off into unconsciousness. You are helpless, and defenceless when you sleep. The personality is gone, it is just the body, at rest, exposed, vulnerable. And the body does what the body does, even the most beautiful of us snore, or drool on the pillow, we lose all control over how we present ourselves to the world, we lie there revealed, like a baby.

There is something lovely about lying there, holding and touching and another guy as I drift off. I don't like sleeping all cuddled up though, I need some space, but I love that feeling of drowsily brushing up against a man's body in the middle of the night, the slight touch, then rolling over and drifitng off again. And there is a special intimacy to lying there with a lover, holding hands, touching, talking about the deep stuff, together, naked in bed, as sleep rolls in and you both drift off.

So I guess it's not surprising to me that I do this so rarely now. Who do I trust enough to open myself up to so much? Who do I love enough to bring into my life this way? At the moment, no-one.

And it brings me back to that point, that central defining issue for me about being a gay man. That is, it's not the sex that makes me gay, it's that I want to share my love with another man. The sex is just the easy part, the fun part, but it's not the same as love. And for me, being gay isn't about who I fuck, it's about who I love. And who I sleep with.