Sunday, 29 March 2009

Gay Cowboys

Jack and Ennis
A 33-year-old rancher, Mr. Glover comes from a family that has worked the land around Lusk for generations. His father still runs 300 head of cattle.

Seated at a table in the smoky Outpost Cafe alongside Highway 85, Mr. Glover laid out the story of a typical ranch-country boyhood: herding, branding, culling and haying, horses hobbled on picket lines and calves pulled forcibly from their mother's bodies during spring calving. Every summer Mr. Glover sets out with his brother in a panel truck carrying their two quarter horses, to compete in calf and steer roping competitions. "I never had any intention of leaving the cowboy lifestyle," Mr. Glover said. "Ranching is who I am."

Yet next month Mr. Glover will quit Lusk and that part of himself in order to move to the bright lights of Lander, Wyo. (population 6,864). "I don't really want to do it," Mr. Glover said. Yet he has to, he explained, if he ever wants to live his life openly. Like Jack Twist, the rodeo-loving character portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain", Derrick Glover is gay.

"They always define it as coming out of the closet, but I don't consider myself to be out of the closet," Mr. Glover explained. There is a reason for that, he said. "Where I live, you can't really go out and be yourself. You couldn't go out together, two guys, as a couple and ever be accepted. It wasn't accepted in the past, it's still not, and I don't think it ever will be." That he and some of the others interviewed for this article were willing to be named and photographed was not without social and even physical risk.

When Mr. Ledger's character defiantly asserts, "I ain't queer," following a drunken coupling with Mr. Gyllenhaal's character in their sheepherder's tent, it seems clear that as much as he fears the loss of his cowboy machismo, he is equally scared to relinquish his physical safety once the two come down from Brokeback Mountain.

"I grew up with that same kind of fear and conflict," Ben Clark, a fourth- generation rancher from Jackson said on Tuesday. "Growing up, I never even dreamed that a real cowboy would be gay," Mr. Clark added. It is a belief in which he is not alone.

"I awakened to my same-sex attraction when I was 12," said Mr. Clark, who is now 42. "But I had no idea what to do about it, ever. I was raised in a ranching, rodeo world - wrangling, packing horses, riding bucking stock, working in hunting camps - but always with the sense that I had to conceal who I was because cowboys could never be gay."

The experience was "extremely, extremely lonely," Mr. Clark said, leaving him feeling so isolated that he more than once contemplated suicide. "I could not accept being gay because of the stereotypes that were drilled into me," he explained. "Gay men are emotionally weak. They are not real men. They are like women."

Like Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in the film, Mr. Clark dated women for a time, bowing to the pressure to be "normal" although, unlike them, he never married and led a double life. There's a joke out here about how one goes about finding a gay man on the frontier. The punch line is deadpan: "Look for the wife and kids."

Fortunately, Mr. Clark said, "I never did get married, because I never wanted to hurt a woman like that."

"When I was in my 20's, I worked in a hunting camp for three years as a wrangler," Mr. Clark said. "I heard the jokes, but I kept my feelings inside. One of the hunters asked me, 'Have you been married before?' I told him no. And he gave me a look and said, 'Most of the guys who aren't married by now are getting involved with being hairdressers.'"

"I know there are a lot of gay guys in Cheyenne, and it's pretty much accepted, in a way," said Julie Tottingham, the manager of Corral West Ranchwear in Cheyenne, the city's largest purveyor of boot-cut Wranglers, ostrich-skin Tony Lamas and broad-brim buffalo-felt Stetsons. "But at the same time, a lot of our customers would be offended if a gay guy was in here shopping," Ms. Tottingham said. "They'd feel it's an insult to the cowboy way of life."

Among the locals who got an opportunity to see "Brokeback Mountain" at the screening in Jackson was Jade Beus, an openly gay former cowboy raised on a sheep ranch in Soda Springs, Idaho. "I had more or less that same experience," said Mr. Beus, referring to the characters' struggles. "Trying to find self-acceptance literally took me to a place where I thought I was such a bad person I once put a pistol to the roof of my mouth."

Mr. Beus, who now owns a heating and plumbing contracting company, is not certain what it was that prevented him from taking his own life. "But something clicked over," he said. "I believe greatly in a higher power and I realized He dealt me this particular hand," Mr. Beus said. "I'm a man's man. I'm not feminine at all. Other people might slander me for who I am, but I made a decision a long time ago that I'm not going through life hating myself because I love men."

Source: Cowboys, Just Like in the Movie, The New York Times,
December 18, 2005

Thursday, 19 March 2009

12 Reasons It's Better to Be Gay

Oh sure, we can't get married, we can get fired for no good reason at all and there are angry pastors claiming we're all going to burn in the eternal pits of damnation (so long as they're not there, that's fine, by the way). But if you asked if we could trade being gay for being straight, we'd laugh in your face. Here are 12 ways that being a homo beats the pants off the breeder lifestyle any day of the week.

1. The Sex.
By far, the best part about being a gay dude is that sex is totally easy. I know this sort of propagates the whole 'gay men are sluts' meme, but it's the god's honest truth. Men like sex and so, stick two of us together and sex comes pretty easily. It's a fact of life that lots of gay men, meet, hook-up and become friends and when we tell this to our straight friends, they're very jealous.

If you really want to depress your straight friends, explain that your partner will never withhold sex until you do the dishes or take out the trash or what not. Never happens.

Oh – and nobody ever gets accidentally pregnant!

2. Double the wardrobe.
This is an old Seinfeld joke, but as a closet full of ex-boyfriends' clothes (we trade!) attests to, you don't just get the boy, you get his fashion, too. There's something incredibly sexy about seeing the guy you're into hopping into your jeans.

3. We're more open-minded.
Look, I'm a blond-haired, blue-eyed white boy who grew up in middle-class suburbia. I'd like to think that I would be a tolerant, open-minded person regardless of my sexuality, but being gay has done a lot to make me a better human being. There's a world of difference between sympathy and empathy and knowing what it's like to be treated differently simply because of who you are. It opens your mind to the casual racism and classism in this country.

4. We can ask for directions.
Lost your way? No reason to demand you know the right way to go, just pull over and ask a gas station attendant. Can someone explain to me why straight guys can't do this?

5. We do not presume every straight person wants to sleep with us.
Without fail, at some point in the friendship of every straight pal I've ever had, they've alluded to the fact that I must secretly want to bang them. I used to explain to most of them that they aren't my type, but after one-too-many bruised egos, I've learned to keep quiet and just smile.

6. All these awesome people.
Sexuality crosses so many boundaries that when you're gay, you're bound to meet people who are not like you. In seeking out people who are like you, you inevitably meet people who are not like you at all. One of my first friends at college was this gay guy named Don. We bonded over a love of Kenneth Branagh and the Dewey Decimal System, and when I dumped my first college boyfriend, Don was worried I was doing it to be with him and divulged to me that he was a female-to-male transsexual. At 19, this blew my mind and I had all sorts of questions: "Why would you go from being a straight woman to being a gay guy?" ("All the good ones are gay"), "But, it'd be so much easier!" ("Yeah, but I've always seen myself as a boy—sexuality is independent of gender") and while we didn't find love, we became best friends. I don't know that's something that would have happened if I were straight.

7. The Toaster Oven.
As you all know from your own coming out experience, one of the great gay thing about being gay is all the toaster ovens you get when your recruit new gays to the cause. The only down shot of this is that, at this point, I'm eating toast morning, noon and night.

8. We're not threatened by strong-willed women.
In fact, we love them and idolize them. If you're a gal who knows what she wants and is willing to claw and fight to make it in a man's world, gay men will be there cheering you all the way. The straight boys will cower in fear and call you a bitch. Bitch? Honey, you have no idea.

9. It's easier to be yourself.
We don't envy our straight male buddies. There's a lot of discussion about female gender roles being constricting, but most guys don't even talk about it; it's just "drink beer, watch football, dress slobby." One of the great things about the gay rights movement is that it's making it easier for straight guys to be themselves and express non-standard interests. For gay guys, it's just expected. Want to unrepentantly sing musical theater songs in the shower? Go for it. For instance, I'm a nerdy bookworm. I talk about the NYTimes Books Review section with my friends. I drag friends to art gallery openings—and until this moment, I never really thought twice about what people might say about it.

10. It is much easier to get cast in a reality TV show.
Oh, so you juggle, are related to the British crown and live on the back of your motorcycle? Awesome. We're gay and have snappy catchphrases. Do you really want to compete?

11. We have friends everywhere.
Go to any major city and ask where the gay district and you'll have an instant network. Gays are all about creating their own families and, for the most part, we take kindly to strangers. In fact, a lot of the time, we don't even have to try. How many times has someone come up to you and said, "Hey, you have to meet my friend, Kenny! He's gay too!" which can get really old, but how many straight guys have a cavalcade of girls trying to set them up? Exactly.

12. To the kids, we are the coolest members of our family.
Everyone loves the guncle. You bring the coolest toys, you listen to what the kids say and when they come over, they get treated like royalty. While some of the adults in your family may judge you, to the kids, you are God—God with a frozen hot chocolate.

13. We are inherently fun.
It's right there in the name: "Gay." There's an expectation that gay folks are good times, and while we get depressed like the rest of the world, for the most part, we're happy to oblige. If you want to do something, it takes on an instant cool cachet, simply because you're a big 'mo who must know what he's doing. It doesn't matter if it's stock car racing or ballet, you come with an instant stamp of cultural authority that you can use to your endless amusement.

Source: Queerty

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Four Years of Toothy Tile

Austin Nichols and Jake Gyllenhaal
Austin Nichols and Jake Gyllenhaal
March 5, 2009

March 10, 2005

Jolie's lesbian boasts
Sultry screen siren Angelina Jolie has boasted she is an expert at lesbian sex - because she's a woman. The Tomb Raider actress, 29, has admitted to relationships with females in the past, as well as her high-profile marriages to Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton. She enthuses: "I absolutely love women and find them incredibly sexy. I have loved women in the past and slept with them too. I think if you love and want to pleasure a woman, particularly if you are a woman yourself, then certainly you know how to do things in a certain way."

Stallone Launches his Own Brand Pudding
Actor Sylvester Stallone has shown his awareness to make better American diets, whom he suggested to snack the sugar-free chocolate mousse in a can. As a solution of the many unhealthy foods sold in the market and to help people to find like so-called wholesome food that doesn't need much time to prepare, he promotes his own brand of high protein dessert.

Simpson and Lachey Recording New Albums
After taking time out to make movies and star in the reality TV show, newlyweds Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are back to music. They are both recording new albums that will soon be released.

Elton teams up with Beckhams to buy house
Elton John is teaming up with the Beckhams to buy a home in South Africa. The trio want to buy a holiday home they can share. Elton is godfather to Brooklyn Beckham so the whole family is very close to the legendary singer.

Robbie Williams gutted at Michael retirement
Robbie Williams is devastated George Michael is quitting the music industry because he was planning to record a duet with the ex-Wham! Star. Williams approached Michael about the collaboration when they were filming their cameo appearances for a charity episode of television comedy Little Britain. But Michael has since announced his decision to step away from the limelight to compose songs for other artists. Williams moaned: "I'm gutted. I wanted to duet with him on my album."

One Adorable Blind Vice
Okay, sugar-muffins, the only reason this one's in the Vice section is because until quite recently, Toothy Tile was dating his superpopular, superannoyingly perfect girlfriend. Not boyfriend. Which, if you ask this old gossip whore, is the classification Tile would prefer his significant others be filed under in the very near future. read more

Photo: IHJ

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Musicals and the Gay Gene

Jake Gyllenhaal
March 18, 2003

Arguments about whether there's a "gay gene" have roiled scholars for years. But as Oscar night approaches, I'm going out on a limb to declare that while we may never stop arguing about that, we can be sure of one thing: There's a Broadway musical gene, and gay men have it. Solid proof is on movie screens all over America.

Chicago, the most sizzling movie musical since Cabaret, is single-handedly reviving what was until recently considered a moribund art form. And no surprise to me, it was created in almost every sense by gays: namely, its writer, producers, and brilliant director. Pure coincidence? Puhl-e-e-eze. Chicago is just the latest bit of scientific evidence that while the homosexual hypothalamus may not necessarily determine sexual orientation, it sure knows how to tap its toes.

It's funny about gay men and musicals. Sure, the theater queen stereotype may be a bit overblown. But when you count up the sheer number of Cole Porters and Michael Bennetts, Stephen Sondheims and Noel Cowards, Jerome Robbinses, Jerry Hermans, Leonard Bernsteins, and Tommy Tunes, you have to admit that a velvet mafia has always had Broadway in its pocket.

And what's true onstage is just as true out there in the audience. Starting in junior high, boys blessed with the Broadway gene reflexively shun the gridiron to embrace Gypsy. And what happens? They're almost automatically pegged as gays-in-training. (I know--I was one.)

As we grow older, the gene manifests itself in strange and eerie ways. For decades phrases like "friend of Dorothy" were pillars of the secret code of the closet. Today's repository of this genetic lore isn't so much the Broadway stage as the big city piano bar--as gay an institution as the leather bar. There you'll find theater queens, driven by an impulse Freud never addressed, sitting around singing obscure songs from shows that closed out of town--and somehow knowing every word!

So Foucaultians can whistle against the wind. Homosexuality and hoofing go together like ... well, like song and dance.

Need more proof? Consider this. For the past couple of decades the musical was considered a dying art form. Rock overthrew Broadway show tunes as America's most popular music, and audiences supposedly didn't buy actors spontaneously bursting into song. Maybe. But it's just as possible that musicals declined because the vital gay link had been damaged.

AIDS swept away many of Broadway's leading gay lights, like Michael Bennett--people we needed to keep the genre going. And gay lib itself may have thrown a wrench into the genetic works. After all, an intense biological attraction to Ethel Merman and clever lyrics used to create the kind of bond for gays that sports do for many straights. Once we were liberated, our genes went all wooky, confused by a culture that produced disco, the gym, and the circuit. Cut off from what we knew best, gay men were cast adrift.

But biology is destiny, and the sudden success of a movie musical put together by a top gay team has profound clinical implications. The fact that writer Bill Condon, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and director Rob Marshall were able to cook up such a stunning reinvention validates musical essentialism and refutes any constructionist blather that they just "happen" to be gay.

After all, Chicago's gay creators report that they didn't fall in love with musicals because of gay culture or gay oppression, and they certainly weren't "recruited." They "always knew" they loved musicals. Rob Marshall reports that he "knew" when he was 4; Craig Zadan when he was 8. Sound familiar?

This, people, is the mysterious gay musical gene at work. Its fruits are now up on the screen to razzle-dazzle the clueless masses.

So on Oscar night I'll tip my hat to other gay-related films, like The Hours. But I'll be rooting for Chicago. Not just for what it is but what it represents. As Tevye says in Fiddler: Tradition! In this case, a major gay biological tradition, battered and bruised but still all-singing, all-dancing, and all-dreaming, despite changing tastes and the circuit and all that jazz.

Source: The Advocate, article by Gabriel Rotello