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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Velvet Mafia

It had to happen I guess, it's been building up for a while. And now that ex NZAF Chair Alastair Cameron has been appointed the Leader of the Opposition's Head of Staff, it comes out.

Yes, the Great Gay Conspiracy, the Velvet Mafia, the Homintern. Over cocktails or lattes, quietly chatting in gyms, passing coded messages by the songs DJs play, we push deeper into the social order.

It's all nothing but a front for the deeper penetration of NZ's public life by filthy god-hating Sodomites and the headlong dive of NZ's standards led by their short-haired radical-feminist family-hating Sapphist mates.

The nut-case blogs are at it already - but I don't want to link to them and boost their pageviews.

The fact that Grant Robertson, Labour's openly gay Deputy Leader, is a friend of Cameron's, is seen by some as definitive proof of this godless plot.

Yeah, because in a city like Wellington (well, it's really a big town, not a city) gay men with a strong interest in Labour politics happen to be friends is a surprise how? I know gay men who are active in right-wing politics too, but they don't seem to carry the same level of scrutiny.

It's not a surprise though, and it's the sort of smear we've had before. In some ways we're in good company. In the past Freemasons (no, not the band), Jews, and Communists have all been targetted in the same way - evil, suspicious outsiders who can pass themselves off as "one of us" but really they're out to get us! That's how the conspiracy theorists think.

That was the drive behind the loathsome anti-Jewish Dreyfus Affair in France, behind McCarthyism in the US in the 50s, and homosexuals always get caught up in these things. We were seen as a "security risk", open to blackmail, easy to bribe, and a backdoor for the enemy. Don't forget, we were locked up by the Nazis and the Soviets just the same way the Jews were.

Make no mistake - these comments are nothing but old, deep-rooted homophobia coming out. It really is amazing the amount of power that people ascribe to us. You'd have to think if that were true we'd be in a much better position than we are at the moment - we must be running one of the most inefficient and poorly led conspiracies of all time.

We haven't even improved the national standard of interior decoration yet!

It's true - there are gay networks. Just as there are networks of lawyers, networks of Grammar and Kings' Old Boys and networks of farmers. Humans have a tendency to cluster together with people who share similar views and interests. It's actually a good idea, it means a group can organise and get its voice heard, which is kind of what politics and democracy is about.

I say good luck to Alastair Cameron. He'll need it. Even though I'm a natural Labourite, David Shearer hasn't impressed me yet,  and I can't see him leading the party to victory. Maybe the Velvet Mafia will be able to change all that though. Heh heh heh (Ooops did I say that out loud?)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Running Around With Handbags...

How much does being sexually different from the mainstream world really give us in common? It's something I've thought about before, and it raised its head again the other day after Andreas Derleth, Mr Gay World 2012, said he wanted to change the image of " gay men running around with handbags".

He didn't mean we should ditch Gucci for Prada.

It reminded me of the equally dumb and homophobic comments made by Mike Puru a few months ago that he doesn't want to walk his little dogs in public and be seen as a stereotypical gay man.

But it's a fact that can't be ignored - an awful lot of gay men just want to live "normal" lives in the suburbs with their partners, they don't want to be associated with the more flamboyant and socially non-conformist sides of gay culture as it has grown.

For them, the old stereotype of a gay man as a mincing nelly queen, interested in opera, interior-decorating and gossip, is something they simply cannot identify with. They want to be "men" and fit in with their straight mates. They don't want to be different.

Their position assumes that this is better, this is "correct" way to be a gay man and that being a not-so-butch homo is a bad thing. I understand their desire to be accepted, I really do, but no matter how "straight-acting" and handbag-free they become, a taste for cock up your arse or down your throat is never really going to be seen as truly butch by your straight mates and colleagues.

Gay men can fit in with the mainstream more than any other group of queers though, and hold onto a lot of the power and privilege that goes with being a man in our world. And that is just what a lot of gay men want - they see no need to change the system, they just want to fit into it and get on with life. The "Gay Community" is less central to their lives, or even totally irrelevant.

I'd argue they don't understand either the history of gay oppression and Gay Liberation, or just how we actually got to the position of relative social freedom we now have. It wasn't from fitting in and dumping the handbags. But that was then, and the world has changed hugely. Gay men have choices that a generation ago would have seemed impossible.

And there is no doubt that gay men have done the best out of the movement for sexual liberation and rights. If you're elsewhere on the spectrum of sexual difference, of being "Queer" things aren't as rosy.

The great promise of the "Queer" movement of the late 80s and 90s was to bring that whole collection of letters (LGBTTIF)  that makes such an alphabet soup under one umbrella, to say we are all sharing in the same oppression and have the same interests.

It hasn't really worked out that way though, and it never really held water outside the world of university theorists as far as I can make out. A happily Civil-Unioned white gay lawyer in Remuera just isn't going to have that much in common with a Samoan MTF trans-person. The assumption that sexual difference, that "queerness" unites us all doesn't hold up.

But when someone gets a title like "Mr Gay World" I do expect more of him. I do expect him to realise that in fact a hell of a lot of young gay guys get bullied, get driven to self-harm and suicide because they don't fit in, because they are not butch, because they are in fact, close to the old "handbag carrier" stereotype. And not just young gay guys, all queer youth. Maybe he spoke without thinking, I don't want to spoil his joy in his title, but I hope he reconsiders.

Otherwise he becomes part of the problem, he excludes those who don't or can't fit in. And that's not what I thought this competition and title were about.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Does My Dick Look Big in This?

You know you can buy underwear now that will make your whole package, cock and balls,  look bigger? And undies that will also "shape" your arse to give it that porn-star bubble-butt look.

I always wonder what happens if you meet some guy and then go home and have to take them off and the truth is revealed. Hell, even before then, what if you're hugging and kissing and groping and he puts his hand down your pants? I know if I met a man wearing them that way I'd feel a mix of amusement and puzzlement.And sorry if he'd be that insecure.  Not exactly sexy.

And while most of us would agree that a big cock or a nicely-rounded butt is fun, they're pretty irrelevant to the general quality of life. 

But we gay men are bombarded with pressure about how we should look. The quest for the perfect six-pack, perfect pecs, big-guns, cum-gutters, goes on. And on and on and on.

And I do understand it - these guys can look very fucking hot. For me the physical side of being gay is about loving and desiring the masculine, so yeah, of course I get it. The expectation seems to be that every gay man must either look this way or desire men who do, or that's the impression I get when I look at the ads in gay media and on gay fuck-sites (puhleez - they're not "dating" sites). And that can be an impossible goal for some.

I know guys who have done all the hard hours in the gym, have beautifully defined bodies, but still can't find a partner to love, and some say they find it hard to even get laid - guys without the same level of physical beauty feel too scared to approach them. But how perfect do you have to be?

I admit, I'm a bad homo in this regard. I have joined gyms at different times, but I just get so fucking bored in them. At 50, I have a gut, hey - I like good food and booze too much - I don't have a body that any advertiser would use to sell unless it's a before and after fitness-programme. And I guess we'd only get the before shots done.

For me part of it was school. PE for me was a time of utter humiliation and shame - the PE master was a bastard who seemed to delight in tormenting me and the other boys like me. So I have never really felt that comfortable with my body and with sport in general I guess. And I was able to coast through my 20s without too much to worry about.

I do know other gay men who had the same sort of experiences at school but have found going to gyms as adults really empowering - and I admire them for that - it just doesn't seem to work that way for me.

Getting the perfect body becomes this thing that we worship and turn into a fetish. It does have an upside of course, it's good for your health, a lot of guys like the way they think it helps free them from the older "femme" stereotypes of gay men. There's no doubt it gives a lot of guys a real and valuable boost to their self-image. 

I guess the thing is, the paradox of it, is that so many gay men already have real problems with self-esteem, issues with how we look and who and what we are, so if we find we can't conform to this stereotype that is so relentlessly shoved down our throats, once again we end up with gay men feeling other gay men.

It's often hard enough dealing with the straight world, so feeling like you don't belong in the gay world too because of your looks is a double-whammy really. And it does seem pretty superficial too, basing your attraction purely on the physical. Superficial, but not of course limited to homo-world. Yeah I do know that. 

Who's in and who's out? Who has the body, the cock, and who doesn't? It's great to look hot, to be ripped, to spend hours in the gym each day if that makes you happy - but it's only one way of being gay. It'd be nice to think that after all the bullying and social exclusion gay guys typically go through we have learnt not to treat our own that way.