Mika‘s certainly garnered more than his fair share of gay press in recent months. Most of the ink revolves around the pop-star’s secretive sexuality. As we all know, the crooner won’t confirm rumors he’s a queer.
At first glance, it would appear Out‘s July issue follows the same old story. Take a peek inside, however, and it soon becomes clear that their Mika-related coverage ain’t just a guessing game. The issue serves as a rumination on the state of the gay nation. And with potentially liberating results.
No doubt homos have come a long way over the past four decades or so. While we’ve certainly got a way to go, Out wonders what’s become of the screaming queen. As EIC Aaron Hicklin write in his editor’s letter:
It may be disingenuous of Mika to claim that who he sleeps with is immaterial, but for an increasing number young gay men, identifying as gay is becoming anachronistic, if not completely irrelevant.
Have militant gays gone the way of the dodo? Find out, after the jump…
Mika may hog the spotlight, but there’s another queer “queer” British entertainer who deserves a second look: Patrick Wolf. The young entertainer’s genre-defying sound and yen for eyeliner have raised more than a few eyebrows. Like coverboy Mika, Wolf refuses to classify himself as gay. While he’s identified publicly as “bisexual,” it’s clear this “queer” would rather not identify at all. He tells assistant editor Jason Lamphier: “I don’t like to belong to any genre… Sexually and romantically, I want to be free always.”
Gay songster Ari Gold disagrees. He tells Out‘s Matthew Breen, “I personally find artists who aren’t afraid to say they are gay and are willing to risk a little popularity in the hopes of social change far more interesting.” Not surprisingly, Mika disagrees: “As far as I’m concerned, the most important thing is what is in my songs and the music itself, much more so tan what I talk about in front of the press.” Mika’s reticence comes less from a penchant for privacy and more, it seems, from an urge to establish a viable (and bankable) career:
I admit that I’m young and the biggest part of my job now is finding my feet with this new performance-celebrity aspect to what I do, and that goes right down to talking about sex and talking about labels and people wanting to label you… Will it change me? Possibly. I’ll probably change the way I respond to things; I’ll probably change the way I talk or don’t talk about certain things.
A precarious response, yes, but perhaps the most timely…
Not only does Mika teeter on the edge of full-fledged stardom, but he’s coming of age at time when coming out doesn’t mean the same thing. As Hicklin notes in the aforementioned editor’s letter, the once edgy gay ghettos have become bastions for the bourgeoisie:
[In these places] gay has become blandly inoffensive, white and middle class. What young, dynamic person would want to identify with that? It would be a horrible irony if the communities and beach resorts that once subverted society’s mores and pieties ended up feeling as privileged and alienating as the culture they were reacting against.
Consider the prophecy fulfilled, Hicklin.
Speaking as young queers, there’s no doubt in our collective, virtual mind these queer enclaves cater to a specific social class – a sad reality made clear in the magazine’s Province Town pictorial. John Waters, Nan Goldin, Jack Pierson and a slew of other queer creatives contributed their personal snap shots from the historically homo resort. On one page the reader will see a 2005 picture of Waters – a man who has no doubt raked in the dough – sitting at his desk with a stack of books, looking quite tame. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Directly next to Waters, however, one sees a Goldin print of David Armstrong. Armstrong may be lounging by a placid pool, but the artist looks anything but tame. He’s got an undeniably revolutionary attitude, a confrontational essence rarely seen in Province Town these days.
So, what does this all mean? Possibly nothing. Or, everything. Out may have mined the gay pride of the future: a rejection of the movement’s gentrified existence – marriage, tax cuts, adoption – and move in a decidedly (and refreshingly) queer direction.
Gone are the high kicking drag queens and mustached clones hellbent on dismantling mainstream masculinity. 21 century gay pride may be less about the glitz and the glitter and more about staying true to oneself, eschewing constricting labels and charting your own course.
“Gay” may not be the war cry it once was; in fact, there may be no war cry. The sexual evolution may not be televised. It may be sung, written, drawn, painted and acted by men and women who manipulate social labels without saying a word…