Wednesday, October 31, 2007

To All the Girls I've Loved Before

I know I want to write about women tonight, but I'm not sure what, exactly, I want to say. And why am I thinking about women anyway? Maybe the Slut-o-ween festivities have gotten the best of me or I'm intrigued by Cristina Kirchner, President-elect of Argentina. But I've been doing a lot of thinking since Friday about the special relationship between gay men and women.

I'm not into vajayjay, but I go through three, four, twenty female crushes a week. Last Friday I was at a housewarming party and couldn't stop talking to James after we left about one guest whose stilettos, smart cocktail dress, intoxicating perfume (Eau des Merveilles; I had to ax)and equally captivating conversation had me swooning. I'm also three years into what I think is a relationship most similar to that of my parents with a coworker-cum-best-friend who abuses me, chides my wardrobe choices and torments my dreams whenever our personalities get to be too much and we stop talking. And just recently, a gay friend and I came to the conclusion that supermodel vajayjay is not the same as real vajayjay which means that enough Dom P and the right Fischerspooner remix could make a slip permissable and forgivable.

Somehow I don't see GCL slippin'.

Well, maybe for Gisele.

Anyway, women.

I did a Google search for gay + vagina and I got a whole lot of Tranny Talk.

Political Commentary: I love all people but I often wonder how T for Tranny found it's way into my queer alphabet soup. I quote Creative Loafing: "What [do] I as a gay man have in common with a man who wants to cut off his penis, surgically construct a vagina, and become a woman. I'm not passing judgment, I respect transgendered people and sympathize with their cause, but I simply don't get how I am just as closely related to a transsexual (who is often not gay) as I am to a lesbian (who is). Is it wrong for me to simply ask why?"

And it's a serious question now that several gay groups are not supporting a workplace protection act for gays and lesbians on the basis that it excludes protection for the transgendered community.

Eek. That's rough. A few years ago people didn't think I deserved any rights, so if I'm two steps ahead of the game now, maybe I should help those left behind catch up?

To my chagrin, my ribald Google search didn't yield anything on vagina dentata either. VD (hee hee), or fear of the toothed vajayjay, is not, as I suspected, keeping gay men from sticking their penaynays(?)where "God wanted them to for reproduction."

My search did lead me to the article I just cited above from the Southern Voice about a group of protestors who descend on the campuses of Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Kennesaw State University to blast Gays, Lesbians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and masturbation (in that order). And what I loved about the article is this quote from one protestor: We’re out here for the liars, the thieves, the adulterers too. We’re out here for everybody.

Um, you know who he's quoting, right? Yeah, the Apostle John, but it's really MA-friggin-DONNA. Her reading of the book of Revelation at the opening of the Reinvention Tour is on my Stairmaster playlist and that part of about thieves (thump) adulterers (thump) and (thump) all (thump) liars (thump, thump, thump) gets me to the 300+ calories burned mark.

So that's my spiel on gay men, women and the space between the two.

Political Commentary: Just because I'm going soft (hee hee) for the fairer sex doesn't mean I'm becoming a PHG.

General Commentary:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Where the Hood At?

Gayborhoods are going the way of Ashanti's career (yes, music AND acting), and the New York Times is leading the funeral dirge with an article that is, as of 10:55pm, the most e-mailed piece of the day.

Citing the cancellation of the Halloween parade in San Francisco's Castro district as another nail in the coffin of gay enclaves (aka the first sign of the Apocalypse: sodomites will no longer don costumes for the entertainment of straight people), the Times also points to the rise of gay communities in less urban areas, like Fort Worth and Louisville as the evolution of the gay real estate pioneer.

So is the gay enclave dead? Did Starbucks and Pottery Barn deal the final blow to West Hollywood, the Castro and Chelsea? Or did the gays decide for themselves that it's time to leave the block and get all Green Acres on America?

Whatever the case may be, I still mourn the loss of The Big Cup here in Chelsea. Think Central Perk with long picnic tables and plush (though gross) sofas pressed up against a window looking out on the Champs de Slee-Zay (Eighth Avenue). I think it's the first gay boite I ever went to (with my mom, no less). But now it's a flower shop. Next to a hat store. Next to a T-shirt store. Next to a Pinkberry. Next to another T-shirt store. Next to Starbucks. Across the street from a condo development where studios start at $2 million. And my view of the Empire State Building is now gone.

For me, though, the gayborhood is still alive. I see it at 6:30am when I think I'm the only guy walking to the gym, and then I see five gorgeous men jogging to their AM workouts. I see it when I hop a cab down from my office in Times Square and wind up at Barracuda, where no one cares what my name is but the drinks are good and the boys are packed wall-to-wall. I know Chelsea, the Chelsea I first encountered as a teen in the late 90s, is still here because James and I (picture above, to the left, to the left, walking down Ninth Avenue) can hold hands while shopping for lattes, towel racks and t-shirts up and down Eighth Avenue.

Except when there are hot joggers passing through.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm Never Going to Jamaica...Here's Why

I want to be like Anne Frank and be all "yeah, there's good in everyone," but when it comes to Jamaica, I want to indulge my cynical, entitled New Yorker and say that every time I hear about that island I am convinced that they are a backward, evil little nation.

And that's saying something in a world where Iraq, Iran, China and Sudan exist.

But I'm singling Jamaica out because they wouldn't matter in the world if it weren't for their obstinate view on homosexuality. They could coast along on the world scene as a sunny beach destination; instead, their popular culture, even their politicians, promote an almost comedic homophobic stance that unnecessarily hinders the country's tourism industry.

That an all-but-starving country focuses so much of its collective energy on hating a fragment of their population would be laughable were it not for the fact that many, many gay and lesbian Jamaicans have been attacked and killed by angry mobs.

In thinking about islands I've been to: Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, I see that Jamaica has a lot of work to do. Naturally, I think public relations is the answer to world's problems, but even here, the Jamaican government keeps putting its best foot in its mouth instead of forward.

Check out this opinion piece that ran in the Jamaica Observer in June of this year in response to an organization that pulled its annual convention from Jamaica because of the country's poor human rights record:

What with an overworked police force, a clogged up judicial system, a cloak of corruption and crime and cronyism, some slick-talking criminal lawyers and a tacit "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" code of conduct, there's hardly any law that is actively enforced in Jamaica. In addition to which we tend to drag things out for a very long time in the court system.

In short, Jamaica is dangerous for everyone and the wanton violence on the island isn't gay-specific, it's just a way of life.


To sweeten the pot, Out Traveler featured the following comments from the Jamaica Tourism Board's publicist in response to the country's homophobic reputation: "individual vacationers of all stripes are welcome to the English-speaking isle, but they "are encouraged to respect Jamaican laws and community standards and take common sense measures to enhance their travel experience."

That's double-speak for "GCL, leave your Gucci bag and fab physique home."

For these reasons, and for the fact that there are more Caribbean islands than I can count (though non counts more than Puerto Rico), Jamaica can stay ignorant and deprived of the pink dollar. Hmph.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

People Who Belong Behind Bars

The lady on the left is Virginia Vallejo, Colombian TV host and Pablo Escobar's former lover.

Vallejo has a book about her affair with the drug lord called "Amando a Pablo, Odiando a Escobar" (Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar). How deep, how ironic -- wait a minute, if she was in his pants at a time when he was bombing airliners, killing police officers, civilians and presidential candidates, doesn't that make her an accomplice to Escobar's crimes?

Well, no. She's a refugee. A refugee-cum-author-and-political-pundit to be precise. Vallejo is telling anyone who will listen -- and given the abysmal state of Spanish TV in the States that's a lot of people -- that Colombia's president is complicit in the country's drug trade.

Though the link above is to an article in Spanish, the choice quote from the piece is from Vallejo herself, who "is disgusted with her country because it forgives anyone except those who tell the truth."

I couldn't agree more. See, when Colombia set out to purge itself of the cartels (and hand the drug trade over to Leftist insurgents) it failed to prosecute the peripheral characters in Escobar's coterie. And that includes people like Vallejo.

Which means she's free to reminisce on her romance with a monster who killed thousands of people -- if this isn't pissing you off yet just ask yourself how the world would react if Eva Braun were alive today and penned a memoir called "Loving Adolf, Hating Hitler."

Sadly, I find myself Hating the Author, Wanting to Read the Book.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Take Your Award and Shut Up

I just hope Al Gore doesn't flip out with his Nobel Prize and start spewing this kind of nonsense:

Nobel laureate Doris Lessing said the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States were "not that terrible" when compared to attacks by the IRA in Britain.

"September 11 was terrible, but if one goes back over the history of the IRA, what happened to the Americans wasn't that terrible," the Nobel Literature Prize winner told the leading Spanish daily El Pais.

"Some Americans will think I'm crazy. Many people died, two prominent buildings fell, but it was neither as terrible nor as extraordinary as they think. They're a very naive people, or they pretend to be," she said in an interview published Sunday.

GCL says:

You know what, bitch? It's like, you're on your deathbed and life threw you a bone. Suck it and shut up. No one cares about your thoughts on the IRA, 9-11 or pubic hair.

Would love to hear what Doris has to say about the slave trade versus the holocaust, or the Khmer Rouge versus the current situation in Myanmar. Are the Turks guilty of genocide or not?

This is why you can't be nice to old people.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gays Who Read "The Advocate" and Support Hillary Like Abusive Relationships

The Advocate has sunk to a new sycophantic low with its October story on Hillary Clinton. According to writer Sean Kennedy, it's OK that Hil is a megalomaniac who speaks out of both sides of her mouth. All's good because homegirl has an amazing wardrobe: "Indeed, mere moments before, she was wowing the crowd at the Logo–Human Rights Campaign Democratic presidential forum on LGBT issues in Los Angeles, in spite of her evasions on same-sex marriage. Maybe it was the way she looked, resplendent in a coral jacket and chic black pants."

Yes, Sean, gays, like Karen Walker once said, will buy anything so long as it's shiny. And that includes a warmongering candidate who can't fully commit to the issues that impact a huge segment of her voter block.

But Sean's stupid article got me to thinking about the kinds of gays who support Hillary. My conclusion on the matter is that PHG's (Pro-Hillary-Gays) are a bunch of whiney leftist idiots who drunk dial/text their ex-boyfriends while surfing Manhunt, and Craig's List. They love abuse -- in the form of overpriced drinks at "it" gay boites, sky-high-priced denim and knock-off Kelly bags (which are a steal at $250, I guess, but still, it's a knock-off), and a candidate who will do nothing for them when she gets into power.

But journalism is still alive and well and relevant. The same week I got The Advocate in the mail I also got New York magazine and was treated to an insightful article on the making of today's Hillanator. Funny, with facts and no mention of Hillary's fashion choices I came away understanding, and (gasp) liking her a little more. John Heilemann explores Hillary and Barack's law school days, at Yale and Harvard respectively, and paints a portrait of an unstoppable, ambitious and already over-accomplished Hillary. It was in law school where Hillary learned to make choices, and sacrifices, for her notion of the greater good. Get the power any way you can, then effect change. So goes Hillary's mantra, rational if not noble.

And that, Sean Kennedy, is how you write a story about a presidential candidate. If your readers can capture their essence in one sentence then you've done your job of humanizing these characters. Surrounding them in fluff prose makes us hate them, and unnecessarily, you.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Damn Those Gay Nazis

In case you were wondering, the Nazis were the original Village People. Before Stonewall, before Will & Grace, before Jay Manuel, the Nazis were sprinkling fairy genocide dust all over Europe. Because that's what the gay mind does, it kills people.

So says one Scott Lively, Christian-demagogue-extraordinaire, in his book The Pink Swastika

Need I remind you what happens when the ramblings of a madman find their way into the hands of other madmen?

Having found American bigots to be a bunch of sissies, Lively has mobilized an Eastern-European cluster of Pentecostal churches in the Sacramento area to form "The Watchmen on the Wall." The Watchmen, made up of Russian, Latvian and Ukranian immimgrants, are a hate group. And they also blatanly infringe on trademarks seeing as the official web site for The Watchmen belongs to some peace-loving pro-Israel Christian group.

The real issue with the trademark-infringing version of The Watchmen, however, is that they're turning violent: in August of this year members of the group beat a gay man in his 20s to death.

Of course, Lively hasn't stepped out to condemn the attack.

That didn't piss me off. This did: Lively is the former head of the California Chapter of the American Family Association, a right wing group who was praised by President Bush for its fight against abortion rights. God bless a bunch of clinic-bombing homophobes, indeed.

And there you have it. The axis of hate isn't this abstract concept and hodgepodge of crackpots from across the U.S., it's a very well-funded entity that counts on the support of our current administration.

(I hope) You've heard that speech about speaking out against injustice because at some point you're gonna need someone to speak out for you.

It should scare everyone that the former Red Menace is now some weirdly-gay-obsessed hate group that has the ear of the White House. It's not the Nazis, gay or straight, that we should be worried about. It's these pseudo-Christians, their deep pockets, and the bigots they've brought to power.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

If Only It Were About Movies

Not even sure why I'm writing about this, after all, the Iraq war -- Operation Iraqi Freedom to those wearing flag pins while minding Fox News -- has played out in the mainstream press like a tiptoe through the tulips. But the fact of the matter is that the death count in Iraq is soaring and some of our troops have done some very un-American things. Hey, war can make you do some crazy things.

And that's the premise behind director Brian De Palma's film, Redacted, which explores the cover up of the rape and murder of an Iraqi teen and her family at the hands of American troops.

From Reuters:

Director Brian De Palma is fighting battles on two fronts for his gritty Iraq war movie "Redacted," blasting the film's distributor and taking incoming fire from right-wing pundits.

He told a New York Film Festival audience late Wednesday that Magnolia Pictures forced him to black out the faces in a montage of real photos that runs at the end of the film.

"The irony of all this is that even though everyone (in Iraq) has a digital camera and access to the Internet, somehow we don't see any of these images," De Palma said. "Why are things being redacted? My own film was redacted."

My two cents: This war isn't going to end anytime soon. And that means that more rapes, more killing of civilians at the hands of overpaid security contractors and more Abu Ghraibs are on the horizon. We can also expect for this administration to continue to try to silence any effort to expose the horrors of this war.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Spent the weekend in Miami so it's only fitting that I write a 305-centric post.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Che Guevara. He whose image is the stencil for prepubescent rebellion, he who spearheaded Fidel Castro's coup d'etat in the 1950s to throw Cuba into a communist dictatorship, is being honored by leftist governments in Latin America -- more so, I suspect, for his standing up against the U.S. than for his communist ideals.

Interestingly enough, I heard nothing of the anniversary of Che's death down here. A local TV show dedicated to the ex-pat Cuban community instead featured a discussion on the life and times of Pedro Luis Boitel, a Cuban dissident who died during a hunger strike against Castro in the early 70s. This was followed by a trip to Versailles, the epicenter of the anti-Castro community here in Miami, where a plaque was recently unveiled in honor of the restaurant's status as an institution in the fight against Castro's regime.

It's funny how the story of the Cuban revolution has been hijacked by two figures, one of whom is dead, the other on his deathbed. Behind these two men are thousands of individuals who have fought, and continue to fight, for freedoms their country hasn't seen for the better part of a century.

Monday, October 01, 2007

China Ain't at the End of the Rainbow

I'm a big fan of Thomas Friedman, the op-ed columnist at the New York Times. And I really like his piece in today's paper about redefining the impact of 9/11 on our society. I'll spare you the summary, read it here, it's well worth it.

But in describing an America that I very much want to see, one that focuses on possibility and openness, Friedman draws a parallel between our current state of affairs (yes, it sucks to live in the Bush 2 era) and China's. In short, in spite of its government's shortcomings, China's mobile phone infrastructure is a marvel we should aspire to.

And that's when he lost me.

Communism doesn't work. Which isn't to say that torture does either, so I agree with Friedman that Gitmo has got to go. But turning it into a hospital for poor Cubans? (I will not vote for any candidate who is not committed to dismantling Guantánamo Bay and replacing it with a free field hospital for poor Cubans.) I thought everyone got primo healthcare in Cuba. That's what Michael Moore said.

I don't think China or Cuba represent anything we as a society should aspire to. The New York Times is vying for another Pullitzer with their gay-porn titled series "Choking on Growth" which chronicles China's abysmal environmental practices. We all know that both China and Cuba have sent scores of political dissidents to prison and that both countries have poor track records when dealing with public health issues.

The fact of the matter is that Red doesn't work. Whether it's communism or republicanism, both ideologies are entrenched in a myopic, inhumane view of the world.