Queerty is better as a member
He’s a bottom all right – a bottom feeder at the bottom of the barrel.
Well, I’m afraid that gay people don’t exist for his entertaining minstrel show.
Something about this makes me so sick of the word “mavericks” that I’m almost tempted to go through the trouble of reverting to Mountain Lion.
Prefacing this by saying that Howley’s a douchenozel, and the intent of his writing is both demeaning and obnoxious. That being said… isn’t it true that there is something lamentable in the changes to queer culture? Don’t get me wrong, it’s great. We’ve come a long way. But we did give some things up, too, and to be honest, being under 30, I kinda regret the loss, having never got to experience the counterculture of the 60’s and 70’s (though granted, I’ve also never lived in a world without AIDS, and it is fair that shit had to change thanks to that).
Marriage, an inclusive ENDA, etc. etc. are completely and utterly amazing and necessary rights. I love that we have them. I love that we’ve made such amazing progress in so short a time. But I do count some costs we paid to get there.
One big one, for me, is actually something Howley-douche points out, which is the mainstreaming of our community. Granted, he misses the real point: the shitty majority forced our hand. To gain legal protections, we had to sacrifice true acceptance and become more like them for it to be palatable. Big generalization, I know; a lot of queer people are indistinguishable from heterosexuals outside the bedroom. But a lot of us are. We live, think, feel differently, and the cost I’m counting here is that those who do often find themselves shunned by our community rather than being embraced. Even among our own there’s such a thing as being “too gay”. The pressure to not hurt the “image” of the community is a palpable thing, thick as the fog in Gay Mecca.
Oh, and the commercialization. Whoo boy. Close your eyes and picture the mainstream image of a gay man. You got it? Does it look like it could be a catalogue cover? Is it more than a little sad how much that helped us? “Oh, I love my gay stylist, so I love gay people!” Sadly, we dudes seem to be the most susceptible to that one. The rest of you queers? Good job holding out for punk style and sensible shoes (smirk). But then, this article is primarily about gay men, so that’s my focus here, too.
Also, we whitewashed. We quietly hid our people of color, putting forth our happy, smiling, white, successful couples with kids, and said “This is what our families look like!” Which is not always true, and has even been harmful (dismissing polyamorous people out-of-hand to get marriage, for example).
Our sexual revolution became a societal integration. I get it. It’s working. Maybe it’s even worth it. I’m just… not sure yet.
I think that it’s all terribly amusing. I try not to judge, okay that was a lie. Howley has to be one of the most twisted self deluded closet cases ever. I loath cliches but if it walks like a duck ect… I really needed a good belly laugh today. Thank you. Les.
Howley is correct. As we’ve won more and more legal rights as gay men, we’ve become socially normalized. This means that our influence on the mainstream has waned as we’ve gone from being angry rebels to relaxed recluses.
Remember when the music scene had a pulsating homoerotic feel to it? Lou Reed, David Bowie, glam rock…this was 40 years ago! Today, where is our influence in the music scene? We’ve definitely lost that influence in the mainstream music scene.
Little pseudo heteros and wanna be breeders, would be suburbanites, monogamists and those that accept the brainwashing of bible, victorians and other pathetic, failed heterosexual stalwart philosophies, ideologies and traditions certainly ARE duller and far more boring, limited and intolerant than the creative and innovative, not to mention sexy and fornicating just plain naughty rebellious and horny gay boys! It does not take a conservative to notice and know that!
There are tons of heteros who have more exciting sex than gay men. Even Christian fundamentalists are known to have wild heterosexual sex.
@topher-sf: I was actually wondering a bit of the same myself. At least for gay men, there seems to be both a celebration of a guy that has no trace of homosexuality without him telling you or introducing you to his boyfriend and a revulsion of anything camp.
By all means I am for the empowerment Wentworth Miller manly-man action hero gays as long as we are still elevating them to the same level as the Quentin Crisps and Rupauls.
And yes one can only conclude that Patrick Howley is a moron at the cellular level.
@topher, jim, evon, I totally agree. Queerty may shoot the messenger but cannot deny that the message has plenty of truth to it. Something essential has certainly been lost. The gay mainstream, in their race toward heteronormative acceptance into the most conservative interpretations of heterosexual institutions, has ironically become even more intolerant of the counterculture than most liberal straight people. In the process the normative gay that is considered brand-acceptable has indeed become an absolute pill.
Ha. This was my first comment on here and was honestly expecting a lot more hate. Good to know it’s not just me. Stay fabulous, friends!
Remember when gay people used to be dangerous? By dangerous, I mean influential at a subversive level.
The mainstream feared us because of our influence. We heavily influenced the music scene and movies. Counter-culture was our domain. Counter-culture was huge at the level of the mainstream, which reflected our influence.
Today, we’ve become safe and predictable. The mainstream doesn’t fear us. It has swallowed us up. Our influence no longer exists because we lack that subversive edge that we used to have.
So basically everything ended for Patrick when Liberace died? Is that about right?
Nothing at all has been lost. Those lamenting a long-ago time when gays were somehow inherently more creative, more magical, more fabulous than anyone else are lamenting a time that never existed. They’re no different than the conservatives who lament the loss of a fictional “Leave it to Beaver” universe where whites were the only people who mattered and everyone was happily married with two kids and a picket fence.
In reality, there are just as many creative and wonderful and fabulous gays now as there were in this mythical pretend time, just as there are just as many boring and dull and uncreative gays now as there were then. We’ve lost nothing. What we’ve gained is a the ability to be treated equal in society, and a greater sense of belonging and security. Now if that creative and fabulous artist wants to paint a picture, he doesn’t have to worry as much about it being destroyed. Not a single gay person should feel bad about this.
I think you’re missing the point.
The point is that we gay men have now become less influential at the level of the mainstream. This is partly the result of gay rights progress. Gay rights progress has normalized us but it has also taken away our power to subvert the mainstream.
Yes, there are “creative” and “wonderful” gays now. But their influence is limited. It is no longer a form of subversiveness.
Great read! I love how this article makes something so irritatingly ridiculous hilarious. Very interesting comments as well since, as someone who was born in the early ’80s, I missed first-hand experience with the gay counterculture movement being discussed.
From the communities I have been involved with, though, I imagine those beautifully outspoken individuals who gave us so much were fringe even among other gay people. It was a time when many groups were driven by a core group of vocal activist and we owe so much to those who did put themselves out there.
But, like today, the majority of LGBT individuals went about their lives in private ways that weren’t publicized. I don’t think mainstream diluted gay culture, but that because of those who were vocally out, those of us who don’t necessarily define ourselves by who we love, are able to comfortably be out about who we love. That influx of ‘mainstream’ individuals may seem like a dilution of the culture, but it’s just the whole of the culture coming out.
@EvonCook: What is a “pseudo hetero”? Someone who doesn’t buy into your particular vision of what it means to be gay?
“wanna be breeders” – May your deity forgive some of us for finding value in children and family life. Personally, I have zero desire to raise children, but I’m not going to throw stones at those who do. Not everyone is suited to raising children, but neither is everyone suited to the “free love” lifestyle either.
“would be suburbanites” – I’m not a ‘would be suburbanite’, but a real one. We don’t all want to live in an urban ‘gayborhood’. Those that do are welcome to it.
“monogamists” – Yes, I’m a monogamist, but that’s a personal decision, and I would never demand that everyone else must be or should be.
“those that accept the brainwashing of bible” – I have no use for religion, but some people apparently do.
“Victorians” – Well, I’m not fond of extremists, and there certainly are some who go overboard in the other direction. What I value more is honesty without cruelty.
“and other pathetic, failed heterosexual stalwart philosophies, ideologies and traditions” – Judging the ways that others live as “failed” simply because those things don’t work or hold meaning for you personally is misguided.
“certainly ARE duller and far more boring, limited and intolerant than the creative and innovative, not to mention sexy and fornicating just plain naughty rebellious and horny gay boys!”
If you want to see what intolerance looks like, have a nice long stare into the mirror. Your post reeks of it. The things that you find interesting are probably boring to some other people. Creativity and innovation are certainly things to be valued. As for the rest, nothing wrong with enjoying your youth. But youth doesn’t last forever. Interests shift toward other priorities. Sex isn’t the sum total of my life. Not that it isn’t important, but I’m a lot happier at 50 living a settled life in a committed relationship to someone special. Maybe you wouldn’t be, and that’s fine. People should do what makes them happy.
Still, I am inclined to ask: Who the hell are you to judge the lives of people like me? So what if we don’t live by your standards? I don’t expect you to live by mine or to desire my life. So get over yourself. Being a “sexy and fornicating just plain naughty rebellious and horny gay boy” may be fun when you’re young, but it’s not sustainable. If one explores nothing else in life, at some point it turns into being a creepy old man who doesn’t know how to cope with the loss of his youth.
So enjoy that life while it lasts, but do yourself a favor and find enjoyment in other things, too so that you have something to look forward to in later years instead of spending them wishing for bygone fun times and looking backward.
This guy reminds me of the conservatives that said that black people were better off during slave times, because they were protected and cared for by their owners. It’s self-serving, revisionist history that shows a startling lack of empathy for others.
When I look back in time and then try to picture the future, I ask myself what were we fighting for back in the day? Personally, I was focused on our basic human dignity, self-respect, and the right to live our lives without it costing us our jobs, leading to our incarceration, or something worse – and there have been people in my life who were given ‘something worse’. “Fun times”, indeed. A lot of the partying was aimed at escaping from grim reality. Then AIDS came along and things got much bleaker – for a long, long time.
Seems that some have the idea that we were fighting for some separate, superior gay society. And now they think we should stay isolated in our conclaves, to preserve ‘gay culture’ or some such thing. What a crock!
@jimbryant: Watching all of your friends die a horrible lingering death can have a sobering effect. First the bath houses closed then the bars and the streets became something out of a dystopian nightmare. I suspect that many of those making comments here were still in diapers when the AIDS epidemic swept through the gay community and people sat by and watched with morbid joy as the gay disease as it was called then destroyed our neighborhoods. If we have changed then maybe we are just growing up but I have my doubts in that respect.@Elloreigh: Tell it on the mountain honey. Kudos to you and yours : )@Elloreigh: You go guy/girl LOL : ) Some really good comments here.
Who wants to be Normal???….(Coughs up gay hairball)…
AIDS was the natural result of promiscuity and stranger sex. It was the perfectly logical conclusion to out-of-control behaviour, sad to say.
Nothing about AIDS was unnatural or abnormal. As I said, it was the perfectly logical conclusion to an unbridled sexualized mentality that gripped the gay male scene. It had nothing to do with sexuality but lots to do with suicidal choices.
Just going back to the point of why we lost our subversiveness as gay men, it’s because we allowed ourselves to become normalized by craving the same things that heterosexuals have – ie rights such as marriage etc.
When we were oppressed, we could at least mingle with our oppressors and use our anger to subvert them from within. This is partly why music and movies in the 1960’s developed that great subversive bent as manifested in male androgyny, suggestions of male homosexuality in successful performers such as Lou Reed and David Bowie etc etc. We were hip back then.
As we’ve become normalized, we’ve also become less hip and less influential.
@jimbryant: Bored now. Tired of broken record. What are you like 20 something so worldly for a child.
It’s more QUEER to go against the grain. DUH FUCKING DUH
Hurray for Marriage and all that other shit !!!!!!!!
dEAR jOHN wATER TYPES :
Go fuck yourself and your deluded sense of what being “gay”is
It’s not a goddamn lifestyle !
Being attracted to men does not mean I have to subvert anything.
Ugh I bet youre a 20th century person.
@Deepdow, you pretty much prove our point.
What would a reporter who was having his soiled diapers changed during Bill Clinton’s first administration know about how subversive the gays were in the pre-gay civil rights era?
I really do hate the whole LGBT thing, and I also fail to believe that it is even a real concept. However, I am perfectly fine being myself, and I associate mostly with people that accept me for who I am. Sure, I make fun of the traditional assimilist, but not in a bad way. My partner and I call the couple down the street “stepford gays” because they always have to have it so together. Also, we tend to be against anyone that would spend $200 on a shirt but not spend $200 on a charitable contribution. However, I would not say that there is not a huge world out there, and there are still many colors in the homo rainbow.
@Elloreigh: You seem awfully sensitive to the comments of others, yet you make complaints regarding the choice others make as well. A bit of logical inconsistency there. I’m curious to know when you came out fully.
Daniel Harris wrote an interesting book several years ago on the decline of gay culture. I think his points are well taken. In the 70’s and 80’s being gay and out was necessarily a political act and there was a sense of solidarity because of the political nature of our lives. And the AIDS crisis was an even larger call to be out and political. Many hid in the closet (in the workforce and the political scene) during those times because they did not have the fortitude to stand up for themselves. It is these types who have come out in droves as the landscape has become less threatening to us. And they necessarily bring their apologist and heteronormative attitudes with them. I recall the early signs of this when the 25th anniversary of Stonewall occurred. The bourgeois element that controlled the parade decided that the 25th anniv event should not be a parade in which we could express and enjoy our diversity, but a moment in which to present the bland image that is now all too prevalent. Gone were the dykes on bikes. And drag queens and other “alternative” types were told to arrive in Brooks Bros clothes or stay home. It was an abyssmal failure- and the most lifeless parade I had ever attended. For those of us who were out and proud during the rough years, it is clear that we have lost a lot over the intervening years. It was unavoidable, but that does not mean we cannot mourn the loss of the vitality that once characterized our lives and struggle.
Now we live in a world where people minimize their sexual orientation- many going so far as to deride those who are not heteronormative (I’m not like those people; I walk my dog and mow my lawn justy you like you, straight America. Of course, everyone is free to choose the life they want; that is what we fought for. Let’s all simply acknowledge that the same courtesy and respect is owed to those who do choose live on the so-called fringes of society. Our struggle has always been about the right of all people to live their lives without risk of public condemnation and violence.
@jar, very well said overall, but to be fair, if I remember correctly the Stonewall alternative types were very quickly marginalized even in the 70s by the then mainstream white clone culture. True, even the clones were quite a bit more interesting than today’s Stepford assimilationists.
@jar: “You seem awfully sensitive to the comments of others”
Judgmental, much? More like I have a mind of my own, and I’m not afraid to speak it.
“you make complaints regarding the choice others make as well.”
Since you didn’t provide an example of what you think represents me making complaints regarding the choices of others, I’ll simply dismiss this as a suitably vague personal attack pretending to be making a substantial point.
“A bit of logical inconsistency there.”
Another accusation with nothing substantive to back it up.
“I’m curious to know when you came out fully.”
I’m curious why you think it’s any of your effing business. If you must know, I started my coming out process with my friends at around age 17 (back in 1980), and my family acquired knowledge of it the following year. I’ve been out at work since I started working full time (around 1984).
So go psychoanalize someone else. I don’t need your “help”, nor do I need you to tell me what being gay was like in the 70s and 80s, because I’ve lived it.
Apparently a “heteronormative attitude” is anything that gay culture snobs haven’t given their fabulous stamp of approval. My life does not revolve around being gay. If you want to call that “minimizing” my sexuality, you’re welcome to that misguided belief.
As for “drag queens and other alternative types”, they can live their lives however they see fit. Why should I care? I’m a lot more open-minded than I think you give me credit.
“For those of us who were out and proud during the rough years, it is clear that we have lost a lot over the intervening years. It was unavoidable, but that does not mean we cannot mourn the loss of the vitality that once characterized our lives and struggle.”
The plain fact is that I was and continue to be out and ‘proud’ (meaning I wouldn’t put up with anyone giving me crap – including so-called friends). Why you’ve judged otherwise is on you.
As for what you think we’ve lost, I won’t mourn the loss of our marginalization, period.
“Let’s all simply acknowledge that the same courtesy and respect is owed to those who do choose live on the so-called fringes of society. Our struggle has always been about the right of all people to live their lives without risk of public condemnation and violence.”
Courtesy and respect, yes. Reducing the risk of violence, sure. (Life is risk, and the idea that we can Completely eliminate anti-gay violence is delusional, short of the ability to control others’ thoughts). Freedom from criticism? No. The solution to that isn’t the suppression of others’ freedom of speech, but more speech that strikes back at expressions of prejudice and condemnation.
Which is what I as doing – sticking up for myself in the face of someone else’ prejudice and condemnation – coming from within my own “community”.
So you can lose the condescending attitude.
@topher-sf: Nothing to add. You summed it up brilliantly.
@Elloreigh: Only my first statement was directed at you; the remainder was my comment on the changes in our community. The judgment appears in your claim that someone who chooses to live as a â€œsexy and fornicating just plain naughty rebellious and horny gay boyâ€ must necessarily evolve into a creepy old man. That’s not only small minded, but expresses a rejection of that life choice. In your response to me, you also assert your right to criticize those whose life choices you disagree with. Of course, you do have that right, but that doesn’t insulate you from the criticism of being judgmental.
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