Monday, April 18, 2011



Hi, sugar! How'd you like a taste of undiluted Gay shame? Check out the comments section of the 14 April edition of Advocate Online, and sample its bitterness:

. . .why is it a requirement to let everyone know what your sexuality is? Does your sexuality have to be out (in) the open for everyone to see and hear? Whatever happened to privacy? Sexuality is a very personal thing for many people. I don't believe you have to be a flag-waving, card-carrying homosexual(sic) to be inspiring. There are many people who are Straight and are inspiring to the community.

God forbid that we "card-carrying homosexuals" should invade the privacy of heterosexual folk by making them admit to being Straight! How despicably barbaric, when everybody knows keeping sexual orientation secret is normal human behavior.

You cannot fairly ask people to sacrifice their careers and become martyrs for the sake of advancing Gay rights. Public figures might lose their popularity, and ultimately their jobs, if they are openly Gay . . . trust me, discrimination remains very, very real in the business world and in many other sectors of society.

Sustained popularity is promised to no one, especially not people living dishonest lives . . . and exactly how does a public figure's act of remaining closeted make discriminatory conditions get any better? Or don't we want them to get better?

So what would you have these people do? Come out and then find themselves waiting on tables for the rest of their lives? Well, you might have them do that if you yourself are waiting on tables, which is easy for you because your relatively low socio-economic status means that nobody gives a damn whether you are Gay or not.

Last I heard, waiting tables was a respectable way to make a living. I didn't know food service jobs were the default punishment for "outed" rich folks, either. Dude's snobbery is showing . . . I beg his friggin' pardon! He can go sell that classist crock of sh*t to the thugs who periodically threaten me and other working-class Lesbians and Gay men just for looking like we might be homosexual. Somehow, they've forgotten to reserve such abuse for the rich and famous!

In most cases, I believe it is wrong to out people. People stay in the closet in various situations for a variety of reasons, and this needs to be respected, in my opinion . . . certain family members who I trusted told my grandparents that I was Gay without my permission. So I know how it feels to be outed to certain people, and it is not a good feeling.

If this guy swore his relatives to secrecy, maybe he's got reason to feel betrayed; but if he didn't, then he's got no right to get all swollen up over their candor. All too often, we expect others to keep confidences that we've never asked them to keep! At worst, we think they should automatically lie for us; at best, we assume they'll never reveal what they know or suspect. Even if family members do promise silence, we're awfully naïve to trust them. The old adage about a secret no longer being secret when three or more people share it is especially true about Gay identity; somebody is always going to know, even if nothing is said. So-called "gaydar" has never been exclusive to Gay individuals!

"Outing" anyone (who is) minding their own business is as sanctimonious as blatant homophobia. How often one masturbates per day or how much toilet paper one uses to wipe one's voided bottom is intensely personal information that does not belong to the self-appointed judgement(sic) of self-serving journalists. Who gave (anybody) the "right" to decide anyone else's choice to (have) privacy? Oh ye of little minds, you are doing exactly what society has been doing to us for centuries; for the common good, you protest. Sanctimonious jerks, the lot of you!!

In my time, I've heard homosexual status compared to a lot of nasty things, but comparing it to wiping your ass really takes the prize for repugnance! And of course, masturbating and talking about homosexuality are the same thing; how could I forget? Ye of little minds? Was that pompous outburst an attempt to make tortured reasoning sound cultured? I think I'd rather be a sanctimonious jerk than a ridiculous one.

. . . suppose your neighbor has a terminal disease, and tells everyone about it, going around raising money and awareness to fight (this) disease, and to gain more social acceptance of their plight. Then your neighbor finds out that you have had the same affliction all these years, and is furious that you never told them, or joined the campaign, because they think it is your responsibility. You prefer to keep your medical history to yourself. Do you have the "right" to keep (it) to yourself, or does your neighbor have the "right" to share your private medical history with the rest of the world?

Let's not even discuss how infuriatingly offensive it is to compare LesBiGay orientation to terminal illness; if I got started doing that, Lord help me, I might not stop! Let's just focus on how this hypothetical scenario doesn't apply to the matter at hand.

The matter at hand is Out Magazine's decision to list several "glass-closeted" notables in its annual Top Fifty Most Powerful Gay People edition. The Advocate, Out Magazine's sister publication, decided to solicit opinions on whether shattering glass closets is appropriate. The editors certainly got the controversy they asked for, but it was a lopsided furore; as shown by the previous quotes, negative reactions far outnumbered positive ones. Consensus thought is often wrong, though, and this poll is a perfect example.

Anderson Cooper, Matt Drudge, Barry Diller and the other not-officially-Gay power brokers who were listed don't acknowledge their same-gender-loving status, but they do little or nothing to conceal it, either. If these men behaved more discreetly, their orientations wouldn't be subject to media speculation. They're nothing like a cancer patient who takes pains to keep his medical history secret; they're obviously not cowering in fear of exposure. Anderson Cooper takes for granted that the press won't report on his household set-up or dating habits, but really . . . why should he? Heterosexual public figures expect that kind of scrutiny, and always have.

Anybody who still depends on that old double standard governing press coverage is standing on shaky ground in 2011; the advent of 24-hour digital media has changed the rules of propriety. The days when Hollywood publicists covered up for the likes of Rock Hudson, Danny Kaye and Tyrone Power are all but gone, and today's LesBiGay celebrities should know as much. They've got to watch their own backs! If they're so concerned about how the public might view their love lives, then why do so many of them leave their closet doors ajar? In any case, why should journalists, who are supposed to be truth-tellers, be responsible for shutting those doors behind them?

It is not up to us to "out" someone because we think it's important. There are different reasons why a person may want to remain "in the closet" that you and I may not even begin to understand or even imagine. Coming out is a process, and for some of us, it takes a life time. Famous or not, it's still a hard thing to do to come out to the world (and), more importantly, (to) yourself. The people who we should be "outing" (are) the people who have discriminated against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people. Maybe that would force them to look at themselves and change their attitude.

Who's being sanctimonious now? The folks who really need to "look at themselves" and "change their attitude" are those who see the truth of LGBT status as something to use as a weapon. Revelation of Gay or Transgender identity should neither be seen as a punishment nor as a reward. It should simply be a statement of fact, with no baggage attached. No, that's not the way most people see it right now, but if we don't begin the destigmatizing process, attitudes will never improve.

The Advocate's online readership offered up excuse after excuse for respecting the "privacy" of celebrity closets, each one as lame as it could be. Retrograde opinions didn't completely carry the day, though. A handful of commenters broke away from the mob and resisted the urge to lynch common sense:

I have a problem with the term "outing" here. Anderson Cooper has a boyfriend; he goes out; he lives an open Gay lifestyle(sic) . . . all of (the) people on this list are "out", just not "media out" . . . (why) second-guess what we should do if we see someone (famous) out (at) a club, or dinner, or wherever, being (as) Gay as the next person . . . (why) say: "Yes, but does that little old lady in Pakistan know he's Gay? I wouldn't want to 'out' him" . . . ? If you want to be in the closet and keep it a secret, then do so. But don't be out and in, and out and in, and expect the rest of us to keep your little secret. This isn't "outing", it's a statement of obvious fact.

Say it loud, brother! Another dissenter made some observations that are even more to the point:

There is nothing wrong with being presumed to be Gay, just as there is nothing wrong with being presumed to be Straight. The information is either correct or incorrect. If the presumption is inaccurate, then the (person) can correct the misinformation. We do not live in a world where all orientations are treated equally, but we ought to (equalize them), and begin by asking ourselves what would happen if the situation were reversed. Would there be the same reaction if a magazine presumed a public figure was Straight?

Certainly not . . .and do you know why? It's because, even in oh-so-radical Gay Rights circles, heterosexuality is still considered superior to homosexuality, and that perceived inferiority justifies a double standard in our minds. Scratch beneath the surface of all of our counter-productive impulses, and you'll always fiind internalized shame! It lies hidden behind our bombastic liberation rhetoric just like a rattlesnake coiled up under a rock. You heard it here!

Too many members of the so-called activist community want to have their cake and eat it, too. They say they crave freedom from heterosexist oppression, yet they jump at the chance to normalize the tools of heterosexism: The hateful epithets, the demeaning stereotypes, the tainted theology, the sexual stigma, and the closet, arguably the oppressor's most effective tool. Folks, if what we're after is just a nicer version of institutionalized heterosexism, an illusion of equality instead of the real thing, then why are we still struggling? It's a waste of time! We ought to shut down the Gay Rights movement right now. We've already achieved that illusion, at least in the Western world.

We no longer practice "the love that dares not speak its name". Oh, no! We practice the love that dares not speak its name when popularity is threatened; when friends or family might disapprove; when big salaries are jeopardized; when the truth can't be used vindictively against a political opponent; when the truth upsets the discriminatory status quo too much. Lord, deliver me! If our current social conditions were a soft drink, I'd name it Justice Zero: All those fattening principles have been taken out! Nothing left but water, NutraSweet, and artificial flavor. Drink up, folks! Hair of the dog that bit you in the ass!

And we've got the nerve to call ourselves heirs to the original Civil Rights movement? No wonder some Civil Rights veterans object so strongly to being associated with us.
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Domino S. said...

Meh. I have more questions after reading this. Where is the link? What was the topic, that silly Out 50 "power" list? And what do a few random comments prove about shame?

I'm not a fan of Don Charles and his carnival barker style ("Step right up" etc). And he totally threw me by starting off with "Hi sugar!" Don sometimes called people that in comments at the Blend. Is it a term of endearment? Or is he trying to "read"?

Jerry Maneker said...

Anybody who'd call me a "carnival barker" is either trying to insult me, or he doesn't know my work very well. I don't have entertainment in mind when I write on topics like internalized shame. I'm not interested in drawing "fans" and never have been. Don't assume I'm putting on an act just because Pam Spaulding and some other high profile Gay bloggers are. I'm not like them. I'm not trying to generate popularity. Telling inconvenient truths is what I'm all about, and that's not the way to become popular.

If you're too lazy to surf over to the Out Magazine website and scan their list of 50 most powerful Gay people, how is that my fault? I'm an editorialist, not a reporter, and under no obligation to provide you with footnotes or links. Get the lead out of your ass and do a little research, if you've got the ambition! As for the comments I quoted, you certainly don't have to search their wording for evidence of shame. Why bother? Just take a look at your own knee-jerk, shame-based reaction . . . "Sugah"! Now, how's that for "reading"?

Don Charles

Domino S. said...

Don Charles: After reading your comments ... I felt disrespected four or five different ways. And I suspect a good many Gay men would say the same thing.

I was merely explaining what I didn't understand about the article. Let's discuss this man to man ... Not like Margo Channing in All About Eve. Or like two show "girls" fighting to become Miss KCMO 1999 Third Runner Up.

Please leave Pam Spaulding out of this. She has helped thousands of people with her blog. It's not an "act". I would say your entire Ignorance is Plentiful blog tries to be "entertaining", from faux award shows to characters at your so called cantina. And there is too much profanity and sexual content, even in this article. Didn't you have problems at Yahoo about that?

Let's agree to disagree like men. No more "reading", honey. Oh and my name is Domino .... "Sugah."

Jerry Maneker said...


"After reading your comments ... I felt disrespected four or five
different ways."

Look who's talking: A racist and misogynist homophobe who specializes
in disrespecting people!

"I was merely explaining what I didn't understand about the article. Let's discuss this man to man ... Not like Margo Channing in All About Eve. Or like two show "girls" fighting to become Miss KCMO 1999 Third Runner Up."

It's impossible to discuss anything with you "man-to-man". You're not
a man! You're not a woman! You're a sick little puppy. You're a
coward who insults people under fake names. You're a grown-up brat
with a filthy, insolent mouth that needs washing out with soap.

"Please leave Pam Spaulding out of this. She has helped thousands of people with her blog. It's not an 'act'."

Kissing Pam Spaulding's ass is one of your main pastimes, isn't it?
Don't expect me to join you. Kissing ass is unsanitary, not to
mention degrading.

"I would say your entire Ignorance is Plentiful blog tries to be
"entertaining", from faux award shows to characters at your so called cantina."

You're confused, dude! Ignorance Is Plentiful and The Pop Culture
Cantina are two different blogs. Whatever it is you've been smoking
must have scrambled your brain!

"And there is too much profanity and sexual content, even in this article."

Move along, then, dude! Nobody's forcing you to read my op-eds.

"Didn't you have problems at Yahoo about that?"

No, I had problems at YCN with YOU, harassing me with lewd and snide
comments, not to mention phrases swiped from my essays, just like
you're doing now. For months, you've been acting like a total fool, not only insulting me, but also Jerry and Genevieve. Why don't you get a damn life, and put some original material in your act while you're at it?

"No more 'reading', honey. Oh and my name is Domino . . ."Sugah."

You don't have the courage to use your real name! Domino, which is
the name of a nasty-tasting sugar substitute, might be an appropriate
name for you, though. You leave a bad taste in my mouth! What a
miserable human being you are! I feel sorry for you in spite of
everything. How did you get so depraved? If I didn't have anything
better to do than assume silly pseudonyms and stalk other people with idiotic, obscene messages, I'd shoot myself in the head! I wouldn't let myself live out such a degraded existence; I'd be better off dead.

That's the kind of end you're headed for, "Sugah", unless you turn
your life around! You obviously haven't noticed, but the blogs you
target are Christian blogs. There's an uplifting message in
Christianity that you surely could benefit from . . . but you have to
open your heart in order to receive it. How's about it, then? Do you
even have enough heart left to make the effort?

Don Charles

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Domino S. I decided not to publish your latest comment, as I don't want this blog used for ad hominem arguments against other contributors. Best wishes, Jerry.