Category Archives: lgbt

Review: Breakfast with Scot

Introduction
Breakfast with Scot stars Thomas Cavanagh as Eric, a former Canadian hockey player turned sports reporter, and Ben Shenkman as his lover Sam. When Scot’s(Noah Barnett) mother dies of an overdose he comes to live with Sam and Eric and turns their lives upside down. As Eric is in the closet at work he worries about Scot’s effeminate behavior outing him.

In time Eric and Sam grow attached to Scot and form a family with him until Eric’s brother Billy comes to take Scot back with him to Brazil.

The Good
It was nice to see a story that wasn’t all about coming out or finding love. I also found the backdrop of Canada to be a nice change of pace from the usual locals of New York, LA, and San Francisco.

I also liked how Sam and Eric were already an established couple. So there was none of that will they or won’t they bs.

I also thought Scot was absolutely adorable and was glad to see Eric and Sam learn to accept his Christmas Carols in October singing, make up wearing, alphabet pancake making self after trying to snuff out his free spirit

The Bad

I was rather disappointed by how much internalized homophobia Eric had. Yeah I get he was a hockey star and fears how the sports world would react to him coming out, but I disliked how he projected on to Scot all his insecurities and tried to change the boy’s behavior to suit his closeted self.

I also disliked how rater than confronting the kids at school who were making fun of Scot, Eric thought it was a good idea to teach him how to fight.

The Verdict

Overall I found this movie to be enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a heartfelt tale that isn’t your typical gay movie.

 

The Box

Introduction

The following piece came about due to a particularly bad bout with depression about three years ago. I’ve had other depressive episodes since then but am doing much better now thanks to  medication and therapy .

One again I sit here, some procedural cop drama or reality show blares on the TV, but it’s just white noise to fill the void. I tried sleeping but the chaotic energy coursing through me won’t let my brain shut off. Three years have gone past in an instant, but what do I have to show for it?    Hour after hour I wait. For what, I don’t know.

Another night spent at a bar downing cheap beer just so I can feel normal for awhile, but in the end I wound up  in the corner, as everyone else had fun. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I bother going out when I could be surrounded by a million people, but still feel as if I’m an alien.

It’s 3AM and I click on another profile. Why bother, girl or guy it makes no difference. Sorry not interested; sorry not into chubby guys; sorry, insert excuse here. Not smooth enough, young enough, hung enough, or the right hue for you to screw—oh go spew. Here’s something new: I want more than a paramour or to be your whore. Sex is great, but how about a date? How about a life mate?  Who am I shitting?  It’s my wrists I should be slitting.

Not like I haven’t thought about it before, not like anyone would care. Sure, they would be sad, but no one would miss me. What’s the point of living if I never participate, but then why do I hesitate?

I look down at the scare along my arm and the answer is clear. Fear of everything: being different, rejected, alone, and being a failure.  A brief moment of pain and it’ll all go away, but no. I trace the scar and remember the operation: thirty seven stitches, no anesthesia or pain killers, and too many blackouts to recall.

But I survived it and countless other operations. Six months in a comma, months more learning how to walk and talk again. Through it all I survived. Even when every breath was a battle I never gave in and if I do now then it was all for nothing. I can’t, I won’t. Because then they’d win and I won’t allow that.

I will stand and fight for a place of my own. And if I’m the only in it then so be it. I’m so much more than the characters in a box, then my stats or pictures. They can try to label me, but I’m done caring what anyone thinks, I’m going to be me.

If I fail then it won’t be because I didn’t give it my best. If no one ever reads a word I write then so what. I still wrote them and they will always be a reminder that I existed and, Goddamn it, I mattered. Yes it’ll be hard and I won’t always know what to do, but I’ve spent too long in this box already. Yeah I’m scared, but I’ll take one step and then another until I get to where I’m going.

If you or someone you know is contemplating hurting themselves contact the National suicide  prevention lifeline at 18002738255 or on the web at suicidepreventionlifeline.org

 

 

 

QUILTBAG

One of the difficulties of being a QUILTBAG writer is that you’re writing for a community that encompasses a wide range of people. For this reason it can be hard to include everyone’s experiences and trials.

It can be overwhelming to get things right for every reader. If you have a sex scene one person will complain about too much sex, another will complain about there not being enough sex. Have a feminine gay character and you’ll get complaints of being stereotypical from one reader, and compliments from another.

You can drive yourself crazy trying to please everyone, or you can focus on one person while writing: your ideal reader. I’ve found once you define who your audience is it goes a long ways to alleviate these concerns. Yes be true to your readers’ experiences, but don’t pander to them.

Your job as a writer is not just to entertain, but to inspire. When people read your work you want them to leave ready to take on the world and know they matter.

Remember your primary job is to tell a good story.

More

Am I the only one who is sick of the places for gay/bi guys? Why is it that the moment you log in you’re bombarded with ads for porn and sexy toys? What happened to platonic relationships? All you see is a sea of NSA and fwbs.

Why is that because your into dudes you have to sell your self like a whore on the corner? Where are the sites where people build each other up instead of treating each other like pieces of meat?

Am I the only one who’s sick of random sex with strangers? What happened to dating and getting to know someone before having sex so it means something?

I’ve had my share of hook ups in the past, and you know what? I want something more than a few minutes of pleasure. I need emotional content, the kind of sex that only comes from knowing your partner inside and out.

For this reason I’ll remain abstinent until the right person comes along. You can do your own thing but right now this is want I feel is right for me.

 

Rainbow Revolution

If you’ve read m/m fiction online chances are you’ve come a cross a disturbing trend wherein these characters have no self esteem and never stand up for themselves, unless it’s to defend their perfect boyfriends.

I’ve written about this subject before, however today I want to discuss A particularly insidious brand of these stories, namely the stories where the main character(s) internalize homophobic ideas.

Straight Acting
this character is based on the assumption all homosexuals are effeminate, drag queens with rainbows shooting out their assess.

They engage in activities associated with heterosexual males and are “Straight” except in the bedroom. The problem with theses characters is they reinforce the archaic notions of gender roles while conflating sexuality with gender.

Big Man On Campus The BMOC centers around a “straight” character who is the quintessential Alpha Male, yet questions his sexuality once meeting the new effeminate gay guy.

The problem with this is it feeds into the fallacies that people can choose their sexuality and that LGBTQ folks are out to “convert heterosexuals to their life style.”

It also shares the same problems with Straight Acting. While people discover their sexuality at different times of their life they don’t suddenly go from one end of the spectrum to the other over night like in these stories.

Nor do they jump into relationships right off the bat. This discovery process varies and then there’s the adjustment period before you become comfortable admitting it to yourself, let alone others.

The Sub
Let me start out by saying whatever two more consenting adult do in their bed is their business. However with him it’s all about being humiliated. He has such a low opinion of himself, due to internalized homophobia, he doesn’t just get off on being treated like a piece of crap, he believes he is crap.

He seeks out being humiliated and if events like being gang raped or stomped by the football time happen then all the more better because he deserved it.
These tropes are a statement on the mind set of LGBTQ folks in America and elsewhere. While the march for marriage equality continues there are still issues of mental health and well being that aren’t being addressed.

People of color in the gay community struggle with homelessness and violence at higher rate than their white brothers and sisters, and often times can’t come out for fear of losing their home and violent reprisals from those in the black community and the larger society.

And then there’s the racism within the LGBTQ community that gets ignored or denied even exists.

There’s also the up tick of new infections of young gay/bi white males based on the belief HIV/AIDS is no biggie because you take a few pills and you’re good which leads to a culture where one’s status doesn’t matter so why be truthful about it if it means not hooking up with that cutie in the corner.

Then there’s the culture of drugs and sex that often go hand in hand at the clubs and circuit parties where people let strangers bareback them on the say so he’s clean.

Maybe if we spent half the time on these issues as marriage equality the community wouldn’t be so fucked up. I don’t know? Maybe it’s time for another revolution in the same vein as Stone Wall, this time pushing for the issues above.

Who knows maybe in another decade or so things will change and we’ll be talking about people coming out as straight since being LGBTQ has become the new normal. You tell me.

Monochromatic Madness

 

For decades now the gay community has stated they are inclusive of everyone hence why their symbol is the rainbow flag. However this couldn’t be further from the truth. The dominate image put forth by GLADD, GLESSEN and other LGBT organizations has been and continues to be white washed. Anyone who doesn’t fit this homogenized image doesn’t exist.

Let’s start with the number one area the media depicts LGBT people: porn. Go to any site geared to men who have sex with when and you’ll be bombarded with porno ads all depicting white chiseled guys and if a nonwhite person is featured it’s usually to play up racial stereotypes or to fetishize them.

Case in point: the Mandingo sex crazed black guy who has a foot long phallus. Or the ghetto gang banger violating the innocent little white boy. Or the hood rat hoodlum who gets dominating by the white guy. Sure you’ll see Asian and Latino guys in porn but that’s only because they tend to be lighter skinned and thus a case of but not too black.

Because remember they’re not people but sex objects, so it’s ok to fetishize an entire group of people and so what if this has an negative effect in the real world. Asians tend to depicted as submissive ultra feminine “lady-boys” who fall over themselves for even the lowliest white guy, where as Latinos get stereotyped as feisty and passionate lovers.

The bleed over effect is obvious to anyone who’s spent time on hook up and relationship site for men who have sex with men. You have profiles that say outright not into X race, but I’m not racist it’s just my preference. Right, because disregarding everyone from a group isn’t discriminatory at all, especially if your profile says you’re looking for friends.

In the past this annoyed the hell out of me however now I’m thankful for theses clowns. It lets you know immediately which guys are douche bags. Because chances are if they’re have hang ups on race you can bet your butt hole they’re also narcissistic trolls who are shallower than smoke and of course are “Straight Acting.”

Which leads me to another issue. How the larger media as a whole depicts black gay and bi guys. The only time they mention us is in the context of HIV/AIDS, or being on the DL. While infection rates are high among black LGBT persons this due more to genetics and engaging in risky behavior. Not being on the DL.

Moreover in recent years there have been sharp increases in the infection rates of young white males who have sex with males because they believe AIDS isn’t a serious threat anymore and they can just take a few pills if they become infected.

You don’t see the media ,mainstream or gay, reporting on these men who engage in bare backing and so called breeding, where by multiple men have unprotected anal sex and ejaculate in a bottom.

Nor do you see them report on all the “Straight” guys looking to hook up with other guys on Craig ’s list and elsewhere. Then there all these MWM (married white males) cruising for sex yet not a word is uttered about them. Hmm I wonder why? maybe because if they did then their customer base of affluent suburban white males would get their panties in a bunch.

The mainstream media and gay media have been lagging when it comes to more inclusive portrayals of LGBT characters. Case in point Will and Grace. Set in New York City, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. But you wouldn’t know that from the show.

Moreover as much as it was “groundbreaking” it failed to show gay characters who weren’t either super feminine or masculine. This is a problem because people don’t fall into either extremes. They tend be somewhere in between.

Queer as Folk was another show which failed into include a diverse picture of LGBT life. It was set in Philadelphia, a predominately black city, yet only featured a handful of nonwhite characters, who surprise, surprise were partnered white characters.

One scene in particular sticks out in my mind. It was a mixed couple who approached one of the main characters to have a threesome. When I saw this my first reaction was seriously, you finally show a black gay guy and he’s just there to be a sex object. Epic fail. Even with modern shows like Glee and Modern Family the LGBT characters, if they appear at all, are almost always white.

For many marginalized groups independent media gives them an outlet to have their voices heard. However here too minorities are not given a place at the table. The majority of indie LGBT films are for and about white characters. Either in one of the gay Mecca’s or follows their struggle to get there from their backwaters town.

Of the few LGBT movies geared towards blacks Brother to Brother is best because it’s not only a history on how Bayard Rustin and others were treated because of their sexuality and race, but how young people of color are treated today by their communities and the gay community.

While indie publishing has opened the flood gates in terms of content much of what’s out there for LGBT people of color is slim pickings and this is even worse in mainstream publishing where the trend continues to be books featuring predominately white characters and few if any nonwhite ones.

So what can be done?

First LGBT people of color should pull their support from organizations that continue to perpetuate the whitewashed 2-D portrayal the community. Second we should get active in groups fighting for our needs and if none exist in our area, start one.

Next we should bring up these issues at round tables and conferences and if we get dismissed as drama queens or seeing a problem where none is there, then we boycott them and start our own.

Likewise if you’re tired of not seeing more diverse and inclusive portrayals of LGBT folk start creating them. One of the reasons I started writing was because I was sick of not seeing people like me.

So what are your thoughts on this issue? I’m I off base or what?

But Not Too Gay

We all wear masks even if we don’t realize it. Sociologist Irvine Gauffman asserts all interactions are performances which we play. Putting our best face to the world and hiding who we really are behind the curtains. For a long time LGBTQ people have had to hide who they are for fear of violent reprisal, and though things have certainly changed for the better many of us still have to wear masks.

Often in literature and other mediums LGBTQ characters are forced to hide for fear of alienating audiences. Sure they can have relationships and even families, but only in the context of adhering to the hetero-normative dichotomy.

Case in point the current trend in male-male romance written by woman for woman in which a formerly straight male falls for the new effeminate gay guy in his life. For all purposes the effeminate guy is a woman with a dick. He talks about his feelings, is into fashion, and resents his lover isn’t as emotionally open as he.

Sorry but while LGBTQ people run the spectrum of mannerisms the problem with these characters is they play into age old stereotypes. Namely gay guys are actually women trapped in male bodies and that you can choose your sexuality.

Moreover same sex relationships, while similar to their straight counterparts carry with them unique challenges and dynamics that can’t be brushed aside because the author doesn’t know how or care to explore them.

You can’t take a relationship between two guys and map it to a straight one because neither of them is female. You have to address things like how their family and friends will react to them and also the giant issue in the room that’s avoided altogether in these stories.

The main issue with these stories is that they’re not realistic. Most of the plot revolves around them getting together, sharing chaste kisses and spooning. While that’s nice and all it’s not true to life.

Go to any site geared towards guys into guys and you’ll see the meme most repeated is where are decent guys who care about more than hooking up. So to treat sex like it never happens, is something only mentioned in conversation, or happens off screen is ridiculous.

If the issue is ignorance about the bedroom behavior of these couplings than there are plenty of people these authors could ask to get the details right.

However I think this is more a case of but not too gay. They’re fine with reading and writing about same sex relationships, so long as it doesn’t get outside their comfort zone. If that’s their prerogative, whatever.

But these authors should remember they’re writing about a group of people who exist and are still struggling for acceptance and visibility. While I think it’s great we’ve gotten to a point some straight people are cool with reading about LGBTQ characters there is still a genuine lack of diversity in the characters displayed. Not just in terms of their mannerisms, but also their race, geographic locations, worldviews and class status.

The main thing I take issue with is the commercialization of us, as if LBGTQ people are the latest commodity to be packaged and sold to the masses to make them hip and spice up their vanilla lives. Sorry but we are not some exotic novelty for your amusement or curiosity.

Our lives are often wrought with obstacles you couldn’t imagine and it’s belittling when you appropriate our narratives without giving them or us the respect we deserve. This isn’t to say no one but LGBTQ people can write about us, but if you’re going to do it then get it right.

Remember when people read your stories they’re not just looking to be entertained but to find validation in who they are. So when they seldom find characters like them it makes them feel like they don’t matter. The last thing any writer ought to do is alienate readers, especially ones who are already marginalized as it is.

I Need a Queero

 

Have you ever read a story and put it down because you couldn’t stand how spineless the protagonists was? I don’t know about you but if the characters never stand up for themselves and constantly play the victim it’s an instant deal breaker for me.

Whenever I write fiction I always try to have strong characters. Now this doesn’t mean they never stumble or go through dark times. No, when they go up against obstacles they grit their teeth, bear down and overcome it. When people read my work I want them to leave inspired and empowered.

So often I read stories or see movies about LGBTQ characters who are just punching bags for the world. They just sit there and take the abuse dished out to them. Just once it’d be nice to see a story where they fought back.

I don’t mean only in the literal sense, because often that’s impossible when you’re being bullied by multiple people. But they can still turn the tables some other way. They could tell their parents or school officials if they’re kids, or contact the police. And if none of those work they could pursue legal action. The point is to be proactive. Do something, anything, but sit there and continue to take it.

I understand that for many people coming up LGBTQ was hard and they still have emotional baggage that bleeds into their work, but the cumulative affect of this is that it tells the younger generation they are worthless and don’t matter. Fuck that shit.

You don’t have to populate your stories with super heroes or Adonises for them to be strong characters. The greatest strength we have is the will to get back up again, no matter how many times life knocks us down. Just give me one character who demonstrates this and I’m happy. Why can’t we have more theses?

Agree or disagree? Leave your comment below.