dispatch: sxsw

How Can We Shift the Focus of Queer Media From Homophobes and Lady Gaga To Actual LGBTs?

Looking around the SXSW Interactive’s first-ever LGBT panel, “Engaging the Queer Community”, I saw a shrunken pink-haired woman wearing steel-toed platform boots and green stockings walking past a large-nosed horn rimmed kid with horse teeth and acne scars, and I realized that even though we’re all adults now, we very much remain the theater fags and lunch geeks we were in high school—conflicted and sightly scared people looking for a voice. But why then are our personal stories so often trumped by the like of homophobic senators and, bless her, Lady Gaga?

The panelists all talked about their most popular posts from the last week, Fausto Fernos from the Feast Of Fun posted a picture of Ben Stiller dressed as a Navii from the film Avatar, Bil Browning from The Bilerico Project posted an open letter to his “celebrity boyfriend” Neil Patrick Harris, and After Ellen’s editor, Trish Bendix, posted a lot of articles about The Runaways lesbian kiss. Three out of four of the panel’s bloggers agreed that celebrities are really the best way to generate interest in your blog. And I had my usual run of depressing thoughts: Why is it we, supposedly the most media savvy people in the world, regurgitate stories about straight celebrities and national politics while ignoring the artists and politicians working in own neighborhoods? (Admittedly, Queerty is often guilty of this, though we’ve increased coverage of “regular” queers.)

Is this why we can’t seem to organize any civil disobedience of any significance on a national scale?

The only one whose most popular story from last week wasn’t a celebrity piece, was Sinclair Sexsmith from Sugarbutch, who posted intimate details of her scorching lesbian sex life under a nom de plume. I took pride in the fact that butch lesbian put her personal experience and voice above the pop-culture bubble gum; though still I wondered, how can we get more LGBT folks to do the same? To get answers, I spoke with each of the panelists after the session and posted videos our discussion. They all agree that if you want to see your stories and community on the web, it starts with you.

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  • Cam

    THIS is why we need well known people to come out. The media is so geared towards going to the well known that they still run to Melissa Etheridge whenver they have a question about GLBT issues.

  • eagledancer

    **Is this why we can’t seem to organize any civil disobedience of any significance on a national scale? **

    There was an interesting comment by a psychiatrist several years ago. In the “old days” of civil disobedience and protest, people were often fueled by their anger over existing conditions. Then “New Age” and the acceptance of psychotherapy crept in. If you were angry about something, the focus was on “you”–You should go to an anger managment class–if you feel so upset, you should be in therapy.

    As a result, “effective” civil obedience fell off America’s awareness…

    Another suggestion is with the 21st century social media’s appetite, many of our “historic” figures would never have survived such minute and constant observation and reporting. “Bigger than Life” folks get sucked down to being no better (and no worse) than everybody else. I suspect many of us would hesitate at putting our face in front of snarky bloggers and over zealous investigative reporters…

  • AndrewW

    “Is this why we can’t seem to organize any civil disobedience of any significance on a national scale?”

    No, it’s because civil disobedience doesn’t work. This isn’t your Grandfather’s America. Getting angry isn’t going to create our equality – getting smart will.

    As this conference demonstrated, people are very connected now and everyone knows our plight. Civil disobedience and and other public displays of anger were necessary in the 60s. Now, people just see them as irritating and not at all effective.

    The real challenge is to understand not only our struggle, but also our new world. From that understanding we can create innovative new ideas to achieve our equality. The world has changed, now it’s our turn.

  • Robert

    “Civil disobedience doesn’t work” what a fucking joke. Yeah, continue giving money to the HRC and DNC you idiot, lets see what that will do for us. Oh yeah absolutely nothing. Not a thing. Not a single thing. Every single piece of progress in American history has been through pressure by the populace – not electing the right politicians or giving money to rich white people like the HRC.

    Before the Civil Rights Act passed the majority of white americans believed that blacks were asking for too much too soon. Well too fucking bad. To quote William Lloyd Garrison:

    “I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – AND I WILL BE HEARD.”

    Civil Disobedience is entirely effective and the only reason why people don’t consider it is because they don’t really care about the issues they are pretending to care about.

  • Robert

    Andrew you are a disgrace to humanity, you are essentially a social darwinist who thinks the majority of the population is too stupid to actively fight for what they want, and that they need rich powerful whites to fight for them. Fuck that bullshit.

    “Traditional history creates passivity because it gives you the people at the top and it makes you think that all you have to do is go to the polls every four years and elect somebody who’s going to do the trick for you and no. We want people to understand that that’s not going to happen. People have to do it themselves.”
    – Howard Zinn

  • badluckshadow13

    You’re kidding my right? Would someone like to take a count of just how often Queerty’s mentioned that GaGa creature?

  • DR

    Maybe our culture HAS shifted and *maybe* civil disobedience isn’t effective….

    But that doesn’t make the headline of this article any less true. Johnny Weir? Lady GagGa? Fox News blasts a music video? This stuff is nonsense (mostly). While some of these celebrities can spark some interesting debate with their issues, there gets to be a point where I go online to the blogs are rarely see real people talking about real issues.

    The most popular post on my own personal blog, by the way, was the story of a friend of mine facing discharge under DADT. Several hundred hits. People will read the real stuff.

  • Chance

    Hey Robert. Do you feel heard? Or do you just feel that handcuff rash you got in your fool’s errand chaining yourself to a democrat’s desk?

    What does screaming get us? Oh yeah absolutely nothing. Not a thing. Not a single thing.

    If gay civil disobedience had any chance of success, we would be equal by now. Sorry to inform.

  • Chance

    Wow Robert, you really sound like someone who would be a barrel of laughs to be around. Let me know how many supporters you attract to the cause.

  • AndrewW

    @Robert: It’s 2010. Try to catch up.

    If you have some evidence of civil disobedience helping the LGBT Community, let’s see it. During the late 80s there were some angry protests because of the Aids crisis. THOSE demonstrations brought necessary attention to a life-threatening problem.

    Please provide evidence, instead of childish insults.

  • riese

    Thank you for this perspective on the SXSW panel, I’ve been really curious about how it went (and also, I love sugarbutch, she’s great). I love the issues you brought up here.

    I run a lesbian website with a feminist bent (a screenshot from our site’s interview with Dan Choi is actually right thurrr on the right hand column of this webpage!) and we actually invented our website to do exactly what this title asks us to do. So thank you for writing this, I love it!

    The problem you describe is very real. There are a lot of factors at work here. First and foremost; money — 1)If people were willing to invest in lesbian media, lesbian sites could do the on-the-ground reporting we want to do instead of refreshing ONTD for kstew ‘caps. 2)Gaga = traffic, and traffic = ad dollars. 3)We get heaps of applications from girls who want to write about mainstream tv or music. But no one applies wanting to cover a political beat or more specific subcultures of our community. I imagine these people must exist, and perhaps $$ would procure them.

    That being said; I think looking at Gaga from a queer lens isn’t a waste of anyone’s time, exactly (and she is an LGBT). And that stuff brings in readers who will then stick around for the Prop 8 Trial Recap.

    Because yes; our most popular articles w/r/t traffic are often about Lady Gaga or Adam Lambert. But our readers’ favorite articles are the team roundtables we do. There is an audience for this, as you suggest! These tl;dr pieces feature mini-essays from our international “team,” hashing out issues like Prop 8 being repealed, healthcare, coming out, gender identity, the intersection of church/sexuality, the lesbian generation gap or “what does a lesbian look like.” Other reader favorites include personal essays on topics like being a lesbian in the Philippines or our regular “College Lesbianage” column by a college freshman at Barnard about her first year as a gay in the big city. Sadly, we’ve found that it’s easier to get a shout-out from a mainstream or gay male website than it is to get a link or an endorsement from another lesbian website, which means a lot of our best — but very niche — work often never finds the readers it deserves.

    Lastly, it’s difficult to promote lesbian-specific art/music/movies when so much of it really sucks. You know? And on this side of the gender divide, we go to GLBT media events and startup networking parties for other gay media people and are almost always one of just a handful of women present. I think when it comes to this issue, women face a whole set of challenges that men definitely do not.

  • Robert

    Andrew, you ask for evidence and you provided it. You merely call those “angry protests” but you ignore that much of those “angry protests” were not petite-bourgeois ‘protests’ but included tons of acts of civil disobedience, and through such acts were AIDS activists heard. Please learn about the topic.

    To Chance, if you think William Lloyd Garrison, MLK, Malcolm X, Emma Goldman ever did was “screaming” you need to learn a little bit civil rights history. “Screaming” does absolutely nothing. Like what Andrew says, the demonstrations in the late 80s would have been for nothing if it was just a petite-bourgeois gathering and pleading to elected officials. No, there were demonstrations along with wide-spread disobedience.

    Thank you both for proving my point.

    And the point is, merely asking for civil rights (which both of you believe is all that needs to be done) is a joke and that is evident today.

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    What an inane post!

    So Queerty believes that Lady Gaga is bad for the LGBT community? That exposing homophobes’ bigotry is not worthwhile?

    No one promotes the gay community more than Lady Gaga; just being herself, showing the next generation, to have confidence and self respect. SHE IS A GREAT ROLE MODEL (though I’m not into her music, but thats me).

    And exposing homophobes, particularly hypocrite homophobes, is an important avenue to inform gay kids, and the general public, that these are hideous people whose opinions about LGBT is irrelevant in judging one’s own self. Exposing, for example, that asshole Ashburn, lets any kid who ever heard Ashburn rail against homosexuality, know that Ashburn’s opinion is worthless.


    I hate all the infighting within the LGBT community; so much wasted energy. If Queerty, and anyone else, wants more exposure for lesbians, then go out and find additional interesting lesbians to show off to the world. But why take, even pot shot, after Lady Gaga?

    Its the same thing, with Queerrty leading the posts, going after Anderson Cooper, Johny Weir, that American Idol guy, that other American Idol guy, Matt Bomer. Oh, and those debates as to whether Neil Patrick Harris came out, had to come out. Or David Hyde Pierce, still married to the same guy for 25 years, when David was a security guard at Bloomies. And on and on and on.

    How about spending all that energy going after real enemies: Ashburn is not the only homophobic hypocrite faggot in government — every state house has at least a small handful of “Ashburns”, expose them all. Maggot Gallagher is not going away, nor are her minions: fighting marriage equality is now their careers and lifelines: dig deep and there will be dirt on at least some of them to expose hypocrisy.


    Regarding civil disobedience, it still works, just somewhat differently. Americablog made headlines, blogosphere and general news, when it took the position of no gay money to the DNC. Has anyone reported whether that is being successful? Joe.My.God. and Towleroad both promoted anti-Moron Church protests in NYC (I was there too!). There was the nation-wide Prop 8 protest, went to one of those too, learned all about it from the web. Constance McMillen has been aces promoting individuality for teens and high schoolers!

    Maybe before making posts like this one, Queertry should read some of its own posts. Lady Gaga only appears here as often as you guys post stories about her. Of the 60 or so stories/posts currently on the Queerrty home page, only this post talks about Lady Gaga. Is that toooo much?

  • AndrewW

    @Robert: Provide some fresh evidence that civil disobedience is effective. Nothing of your so-called “direct action” or “civil disobedience” has had any effect in the last 20 years.

    If you have an example, please share it. The LGBT Movement is finally letting go of tried-and-untrue tactics of the past. If you can’t acknowledge the world has changed or that this is 2010, go irritate people. If you really believe harassing or inconveniencing people is effective give it a try. But, don’t expect anyone to join you – we’ve grown up.

  • Brian NYC

    Civil Disobedience is so 1960s.

    The LGBT Community isn’t going to “take it to the streets” and act like petulant children. That would only harm us. We have worked to do but it doesn’t involve marching or pie-in-the-face antics.

    Especially you, Robert. You really believe we have to threaten people with a disruption in their lives until they “see it our way.” That sounds a lot like my 7 year old Nephew.

  • riese

    I agree with Mike in Asheville. Lady Gaga is a great role model (that’s the exact topic of our most popular article ever, actually) and as I said I don’t think looking at her through a queer lens is a waste of our time. She is making queer issues — and, at the risk of having stones thrown at me/being discredited — I think also in her own way, Lady Gaga is promoting a certain kind of civil disobedience. And speaking of interesting lesbians, she hired a pretty groovy one to make out with her in that Telephone video and OUT magazine’s interview with Heather was aces.

    We also promoted those anti-mormon rallies and attended them, and have written several articles about Constance.

    Is it possible that perhaps this real media you speak of is already happening? We’re writing it, it’s just that more people are reading the thing about Avatar? Maybe it’s the audience that needs to change, not the media. Which might be impossible. idk.

  • Robert

    Andrew you provided evidence with the AIDS protests and the activism of ACT UP.

    The gay rights movement essentially began from an act of civil disobedience.

    The issuing of marriage licenses illegally in San Francisco was an act of civil disobedience. In fact probably one of the most effective acts of civil disobedience in history, and I would say that event was much more important for advancing gay marriage than the Massachusetts decision.

    I would like to see what solutions YOU have Andrew. You seem content with politely asking for equal rights while doing 0 activism (and I mean activism literally – being active).

    Times have changed, we are closest than we were in any point in contemporary history – full encompassing activism that includes civil disobedience is most important right now than ever.

    Continue praying to Obama and the HRC.

  • Robert

    BRYAN NYC you have no idea what civil disobedience is or any knowledge of the civil rights movement and I suggest you comment again when you learn a little bit about it.

  • Robert

    It appears you guys think that ‘civil disobedience’ is synonymous with ‘violence’ – guess it goes to show that American education is actually a success.

  • riese

    how can we shift the focus of the comments on this article from viscous personal in-fighting and snide take-downs to actual LGBTs/the article?


    Yeah fucking right ^_^.
    Gays are gays for a reason, and thats Weir and GaGa.

    However It is a good idea and would benefit, but I know the gay characteristics and flow of thoughts, well the little thoughts there is inside their fragile skulls.

    You haver better luck implementing gay marriages in Iran, losers.

    (I’m gay if anyone would argue on that point and call me homophobic, also I’m out).
    Then again I am anomaly.

    Bring on the flames….

  • jason

    I cannot stand Lady Gaga. Phony as. There’s a strong rumor that the men at Interscope Records – her record company – won’t allow her to put guy-guy sensuality in her official videos but are OK with girl-girl. Look at her videos – it’s the obvious pattern she’s following. She’s failed to put any male-male sensuality in all the videos she’s officially released.

    Lady Gaga is the product of male heterosexual fantasy. She’s basically doing what heterosexual men want her to do.

  • jason


    Lady Gaga is NOT a good role model at all. She’s simply using female bisexuality as a ploy to titillate sleazy straight guys, the type who crap on our rights.

    Please do not sully our noble GLBT movement by bowing before female attention whores who tailor their marketing to the sleazy straight guy fantasy.

  • Robert

    Lady Gaga has donated huge amount of money to AIDS related causes and is a visible voice for gay rights. Being concerned with celebrities and what not is not her fault but personally failings.

  • SteamPunk

    I think the LGBT community is benefitted greatly by out gay artists like Bloc Party, Grizzly Bear, Antony, Vampire Weekend, Xiu Xiu, Owen Pallett, etc. But that may just be my musical tastes speaking. It often surprises me that these gay artists – who happen to have a sizable following in the straight community – aren’t mentioned very much in the LGBT community. Why? They are real gay role models. Lady Gaga and Madonna are not.

    I’m not saying acts like Lady Gaga and Madonna should be ignored for what they do, but it baffles me that actual gay acts are.

    As for the frequent focus on homophobes, I’d have to quote David Foster Wallace: “Anger is the easiest emotion to create, but it’s also the least genuine.” Basically, if you can get people riled up, they’re more likely to click.

  • jason

    Mike in Ashville,

    Lady Gaga is not promoting gay rights. She is promoting the notion that she is pro-gay for the purpose of making money off gay guys who like dance music. It’s about the money. Follow the money trail.

    If you look at how Lady Gaga has marketed herself in terms of the major mass marketing tool available to singers – ie the music video – there is no doubt she has failed to deliver on male-male sensuality.

    Lady Gaga’s marketing is straight from the Madonna playbook – claim to be for gay rights but then market yourself to the mainstream using the same types of images you find in every chauvinistic male’s adult magazine.

    Lady Gaga sucks, big-time.

  • Robert

    Jason you are even more insane that the people here saying civil disobedience is “dead” and hasn’t done anything for gay rights (read: every major gay rights progress was done through pressure by the people themselves, not politicians or messiahs).

    If you really think it is an outrage that there isn’t any “guy to guy sensuality” than you have some REALLY strange priorities.

  • jason


    You can’t deny there’s a double standard in how female singers are promoted as compared with male singers.

    Women are allowed to be sensual with each other, men aren’t. This double standard is coming straight from the men in suits who control the record companies that fund these women’s videos.

    If you can’t understand this, you really don’t deserve to have an input. Think beyond the box.

  • Robert

    What exactly are you referring too? I am quite confused. That Lady GaGa wears revealing clothes? I’m sorry, I just don’t see how that makes her a fraud.

    There is a double standard within the music industry you are right, but I don’t really see how Lady Gaga is such a grave violator. I think I’ve seen all of her music videos, and the only one that I can remember having a distinct female-female sensuality was Telephone, which was a kiss between her and a very butch lesbian. Other than that I see her wearing revealing clothes but that has been happening in entertainment since performance art has been historically recorded.

    You seem to be jumping all over the place with your argument. Perhaps you can clear it up for me.

  • jason


    Lady Gaga is the product of the men who run her record company, Interscope Records. She is not this empowered woman running her own business.

    There has been an ugly trend in recent years to portray female singers as bisexual and half-naked. These two things go together because they are ultimately designed to titillate sleazy straight guys.

    Now compare it to how most male singers are portrayed. Male singers are usually shown as fully clothed and completely heterosexual.

    My point is that Lady Gaga is contributing to the double standard. Rather than challenge this orthodoxy, she caters to it.

  • Jimmy

    Maybe, just maybe, Lady Gaga is directing her imagery to the L in LGBT who might appreciate someone in popular culture actually appealing to them for a change. Of course, to see that would mean getting your heads out of your assess and getting over the myopic POV that gay men are the most important variable in the LGBT equation.

  • trickstertara

    AfterEllen is *still* writing about that kiss??? I knew there was a reason I stopped reading that shit.

  • jason


    Lady Gaga’s images are controlled by men. Her video for Telephone was directed by Jonas Akerlund. Her record company is owned by Jimmy Iovine. These are men, not women.

    Lady Gaga’s images are very similar to those you see in porn that is marketed to straight guys.

    Also, keep in mind that there is a rumor doing the rounds that her record company won’t fund any videos that show male-male eroticism, no matter how mild.

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    @ Jason: time to think outside your limited world view. ALL COMMERCE IS ABOUT THE MONEY. So what? It does not change the reality that the exposure Lady Gaga creates and receives brings awareness to American youth that its okay to be gay.

    I don’t appreciate Lady Gaga’s music, and for that matter, I don’t appreciate rap. Nonetheless, Lady Gaga, like rap artists, are enthusiastically appreciated by their respective audiences.



    ActUP: Protests in SF and NYC: blocked lots of traffic on both coasts. I was on the Golden Gate Bridge. Result, more spending per capita patient for AIDS than every other disease.

    SF marriage licenses: While Hawaii started the movement and Massachusetts achieved it first, there is little doubt that the kick in the pants to make marriage equality a national issue came from SF’s and it mayor’s disregard for marriage laws. Following this act of civil disobedience, other communities also joined in and more courts, a County Superior Court in Iowa is a great example, picked up the issue and made it happen locally.

    Constance McMillen: While not exactly civil disobedience, she has acted out against anti-gay rules. What is important, is that she is picking up where others have gone before, individually, making others make room for her and her rights of expression.

    Lady Gaga; Johnny Weir; Adam Lambert, et al: again, not exactly traditional civil disobedience, but it is disobedience to not follow the expected course of heterosexual restraint. Gaga/Weir/Lambert flaunt their individually unique expressions of being gay in a straight world, importantly showing gay kids that its okay to be gay and okay to be themselves.

    Many posters express the need to look for new ideas and new ways, urging the street protests, etc. are so 1960s. Well why not embrace these new and young brave souls who are out there and making a difference for the next generation. Don’t boo them, applaud them — they are helping to break down barriers.

    And proof that this is working, just look at the ever growing support for marriage equality. Yes many stumbles and backsteps, but 20 years ago there was no such thing as same-sex marriage. Today, every gay couple who chooses to get married, can be married. Yes, some travel is necessary and more legal battles ahead to full recognition, but this movement is forging ahead. In 1978, Californians were on the cusp of adopting the Briggs Initiative, a law that proposed to bar gays and lesbians from all teaching and school administrative positions. Today, half of Californians support same-sex marriage. That is quite an accomplishment and should move the LGBT community to continue on.

  • AndrewW

    @Robert: So, you have no EVIDENCE that irritating civil disobedience works.

    I’m glad you figured that out. When something is ineffective we need to discard it and look for useful, valuable tactics.

  • AndrewW

    LGBT Progress is the result of the changing “cultural conversation” in America. Many people have contributed to that conversation. There is NO evidence that irritating or harassing people with self-proclaimed “civil disobedience” resulted in any changed minds.

    Robert seems to be promoting a decades old idea that “if we piss enough people off” they’ll give us our rights. It’s called threatening. Without a weapon or real threat, it is useless.

    So, before you listen to a throw-back from the 60s who just wants to relive the olds days, ask your self a simple question: Will this help? If you are convinced it can be helpful, then do it. When people seek to inconvenience or threaten others, it doesn’t help anyone. This is why people stopped doing it years and years ago.

  • jason

    Mike in Asheville,

    I disagree with you.

    I think Lady Gaga trivializes female-female sexuality and reduces it to the level of the sleazy straight guy fantasy. She is no more about gay rights than the women who do straight porn.

    As for what we in the community need to do, I think we need to take the battle to liberals, not just conservatives. I’ve noticed that liberalism is based on the bisexual double standard, a homophobic double standard that says it’s OK for a woman to market herself as bisexual but not a man.

    The aim of the bisexual double standard is to minimize that which offends sleazy straight guys, such as male-male eroticism. It’s a form of segregation and confinement.

    Our enemy isn’t just Focus on the Family. It’s also the music industry, Hugh Hefner and the porn industry.

  • Robert

    AndrewW you have no idea what you are talking about. Really.

    Where the hell did I say “threatening”?

    Do you even know what civil disobedience is?

    Do you think the Freedom Riders, ACT UP, the illegal issuing of marriage licenses in SF, Rosa Parks illegal move on the bus was “threatening” ?

    Andrew I am astounded by your complete ignorance and cynicism. I honestly suggest to you, and I am not trying to make a snide joke here, but learn basic high school curriculum on the civil rights movement and how they used civil disobedience to further their results.

    I have provided many examples already of civil disobedience, as has Mike in Asheville.

    You appear to knwo this, and you know that your argument is defeated, so you are now strawmanning me and the whole concept of “civil disobedience” by giving it a definition that it has never had at a single point in history.

    However, “inconveniencing” is definitely civil disobedience and it works beautifully. Again, I suggest you look into your own example of citing ACT UP (what a terrible mistake you made there) and San Francisco issuing illegal marriage licenses.

    I have never said anything about “threatening” and neither has any advocate for civil disobedience in the whole entire history of the United States or the world.

    Nice straw man, but please only respond to me if you are legitimately interested in having a conversation (which it is quite clear you are trolling or you are astoundingly ignorant).

  • Robert

    Andrew you keep asking me for evidence (which you provided and I provided in great detail), please provide evidence for this statement:

    “Robert seems to be promoting a decades old idea that “if we piss enough people off” they’ll give us our rights. It’s called threatening. Without a weapon or real threat, it is useless.”

    Where and when did this “idea” originate and who advocated it? You don’t have to answer because nobody ever believed that and you are just making a strawman argument.

  • Eric

    I dig the conversations happening here Queerty. But if you want to be taken seriously, stop dumbing down your audience by filling the site with cheesy pictures of half-naked men. Those images are far from empowering – they are just embarrassing (and practically porn: the very “enemy” you describe…)I wonder how lesbians feel when they visit your site only to find it catering to horny guys.

    Be more inclusive, collaborate and work with people that represent the entire LGBT acronym.

    Also, LGBT people *are* organizing and making change. Fill your site with their stories. Raise them up. Be part of positive change and reject all the noise.

  • AndrewW

    @Robert: Can you and Mike provide ANY evidence of civil disobedience being effective in the last 20 years? Your references to the 60s and 70s are tired and this exchange is becoming tedious.

    If civil disobedience is still effective (or even relevant) the least you could do is provide some evidence. I’ll remind you, again, it is 2010.

  • jason


    Lesbians can get all the action they want from straight porn movies. We gay and bi men don’t get any from that source.

    Unlike lesbians, we gay and bi men have to fight for representations of our sexiness and love. Not only is our sexiness and love censored by the mainstream, when it is represented, it’s almost always segregated, both conceptually and physically.

    Also, female singers are allowed to market themselves as bi but men aren’t.

    If a female singer came out and questioned why the double standard exists, I might have some respect for her. However, the fact is these females are part of the sleazy game of using female bisexuality as a marketing ploy. Lady Shit Shit is one of them.

  • Josh NJ

    @Robert: This is bizarre. Are you in your 60s Robert? I hear people suggesting civil disobedience every once in a while and the general response is laughter.

    I’m only 24 and I’m not interested in what worked 20 and 30 yrs ago. What works now? I’m not going to act the fool and try to piss people off because I don’t think that helps us.

    So, unless you can make a reasonable argument that civil disobedience will help our community, stop your rants. I don’t agree with everyone on this site, but I do think we should have some support for an idea or tactic. As far as I know nobody does any civil disobedience anymore – they must know it is useless.

  • Robert


    I find it amazing how you first attack my position by using the example of protests by AIDS activists in the late 80s and the success they made in bringing attention to AIDS, but when I point out that said protests consisted almost entirely of civil disobedience, it is now not applicable.

    You ask me for the past 20 years, I will repeat what I have said twice and what Mike has said:

    In 2004, San Francisco illegally issued marriage licenses to gay couples in vagrant violation of the law. This is a quintessential, precise, and exact example of civil disobedience through and through and meets any definition of what civil disobedience is.

    That one example was much more significant than the Massachusetts supreme court decision legalising same sex marriage, mainly because it was a violation of the law and it was a demand. Interest and discussion of gay marriage shot up incomparably after this incident and I can safely say that the rise in public support AND legalisation of same sex marriage in various other states is a direct result of this classic, text book example of civil disobedience.

    So lets see, a recent example of civil disobedience happens to be one of if not the most significant event in gay rights history.

    You Andrew are so concerned with riding the fence and not ruffling any feathers, you don’t seem to realize that sometimes people have to be smacked to recognize the truth (and no, I don’t mean literally smacked). Every single civil rights movement, included the LGBT rights movement, attests to this fact.

  • Robert

    @Josh NJ:

    You aren’t interested in what worked 20 or 30 years because you don’t have any idea on what people did 20 or 30 years ago.

    You say civil disobedience is useless, despite the fact pretty much every gay rights advancement in recent years has been through it.

    You’re 24, good job, I’m 21. I would expect somebody older than me to be wiser than me but given you clearly don’t know what civil disobedience is I guess that old adage isn’t exactly true.

    Also, I am not the one objecting to any ideas – it has been you and Andrew and your fantasy history that doesn’t exist that is the one rejecting ideas. What I do reject is your twos absolute cynicism and vulgarity that doing nothing is a good strategy.

  • Keldawgs

    To the rascals with neg comments :

    Lady Gaga doesn’t suck, cock that is, well maybe, but seriously guys and gals she is just a singer. What are you pouncing on a known ally like this for?

    Do you really know her guidelines to fame? How can you tell she’s playing us? All I know is that her music is ill.

  • jeffree

    i think we’re forgetting the r.e.a.l. question of HOW to SHIFT THE FOCUS OF QUEER MEDIA like the headline says.

    i’m not seeing 2 many ideas yet.

    the local press will publish events to attend, who to write to or call or where to protest. i’m not 2 sure if any of that works nationally’ but city council or school boards get inondated with people to protest or counterprotest, or speak about the gay issues, they somethimes get a result.

    What can we do with national queer and notQueer media should be the discussion &not the topic of whether lady gagas bisexual images helps our rights or if civil disobediance still works

    L/ E/T/S/ /F/O/C/U/S

  • Josh NJ

    @Robert: It’s painfully obvious now Robert – you cannot defend civil disobedience with any evidence from the last 20 years. There is NO evidence, BECAUSE it doesn’t work.

    If you’re really 21, wake up – it’s 2010. We need good ideas – ideas that actually work – not old, tired ideas.

  • Josh NJ

    @jeffree: Good points. But, if the Queer Media shifts to silly civil disobedience we’ll just lose all the progress we’ve made.

    Lady Gaga, no matter what her intentions, has helped us. She didn’t do it by threatening, she did it by simply affirming that gay is okay – even cool. We need more people like her – in entertainment, business, religion and everywhere else.

    We won’t make any progress by be stuck in the past. We should pay attention to those that ARE changing the cultural conversation. We should promote them, not angry protesters. We need people to join us, not run the other way.

  • AndrewW


    “sometimes people have to be smacked to recognize the truth.”

    This kind of thinking IS the problem. Go smack some people Robert. That childish behavior hurts our movement. If you just complain enough or cry in the streets, it will all go away.

    Have a good time – by yourself. I think we can be smarter than a 7 year old.

  • Robert

    @Josh NJ:

    I have provided multiple examples of civil disobedience in the past 20 years specific to the LGBT rights movement but you apparently can’t read. If you want more examples outside the realm of the LGBT rights movement, well that is simple.

    And your snide comments that “civil disobedience” means “threatening” shows you have no idea what you are talking about. In fact that was the same thing AndrewW said, and I suspect you are the same person and you are embarrassed to post on that other name.

    If you are going to attack the concept of civil disobedience, and even protest, it is a good idea (at least I think it is) to actually learn what those concepts are. Once you understand what they are we can have a discussion, because at this point I might as well be typing all this out to a rock.

  • Robert


    Well Andrew you have shown yourself to be nothing more than a troll by misquoting me and not even responding to any of my arguments. Maybe when you graduate middle school and stop constantly masturbating and read a fucking book you will have my respect. Unless you put forth a meaningful thoughtful argument (something I am not going to put any faith in) I will respond to you, but for now I will not respond to your nonsense troll posts.

  • jeffree

    guys, the post is about queer media, not just lady gaga. I think nonqueer media is important 2 but its not on the topic.

    if i want to know how to effect the internet or the paper or the tv or radios, what am i s.u.p.p.o.s.e.d. to do?

    you sure spend lot of time argueing about gaga and were missing how we can get our blogs & sites ect to get people to do something for queer rights instead of just groaning over how bad we have it being queer, or the sexy fotos or wondering if somebodys gay or not. what are ways to SHIFT MEDIA f/o/c/u/s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    @Josh NJ: thanks!

  • jizz

    hahaha lgbts, like I’m some sort of homogenous blob with a bunch of rich white folks who think donating to equality california is progress.

  • jizz

    fuck modern queer politics.

  • jizz

    queers are hitler.

  • Xizzy

    stop using the homogenising term Homophobe.

    stop making it about them or validating their ignorance as anything more than fallacy. it is not and will never be about them, their kids or their anything.

    Ppl are and will always be queer regardless. Queer issues systematic symptoms of a dehumanise, oppress, re-enforce, justify cycle/syndrome. break the cycle. don’t be dehumanised or give ppl power over you to oppress with rhetoric etc.

  • Former Lady Gaga fan

    Lady Gaga an ally of gay and bisexual men??? Give me a break. We buy her records, we make her rich, but she refuses to depict us in her music videos. She’s an ungrateful cunt.

  • jason

    At the moment, I see two main problems facing the GLBT community. One is conservatives who oppress us through the legal system. The other is liberals who oppress us through culture.

    The conservative problem is well known. The only way we can fight this is through education, personal pride, being honest with ourselves, and perhaps conceding that conservatives sometimes do have a point about the excessive promiscuity that exists on the gay scene, especially the male one.

    We need to form political friendships with moderate conservatives in order to counter the anti-gay legal machinations of the extremist conservatives.

    The liberal problem is not so apparent, partly because it is hidden and partly because gays don’t like to concede that the enemy also exists within liberalism. After all, liberalism was supposed to be gay-friendly, unlike conservatism.

    Liberal homophobia towards men is hidden in culture. It is hidden in unstated rules and regulations that operate at the level of everyday society. In order to understand the magnitude of this problem, you need to understand how liberalism arose.

    Liberalism was essentially the product of the sexual revolution. The sexual revolution was devised by heterosexual men to enhance their cheesecake domains and to bisexualize women, not men. It’s crucial to understand that these two things go hand in hand.

    You see it in modern culture in the way women like Lady Gaga, Pink, Madonna and Katy Perry are allowed to market themselves as half-naked and bisexual. In stark contrast, no man is allowed to do this. It is literally the case that the record companies have strict policies banning the depiction of male-male sensuality in any videos by their artists, even female dance artists.

    You also see the in porn, probably the main enforcer of the bisexual double standard for the last 30 or so years. Female-female is normalized and incorporated into “straight” porn. Male-male is marginalized and segregated into either “gay” or “bisexual” porn. The categories are tailor-made to avoid offending men who are homophobic towards male-male sensuality.

    The only way we are going to counter the underpinning of liberalism – ie the bisexual double standard – is to take liberals head on. We must also not be afraid to take on the women who perpetuate it. Women are just as much to blame.

  • Klarth

    @Brian NYC:

    While you may have a point, this is slightly offensive. Civil disobedience was necessary in the 1960s. For you to compare it to a 7 year old having a tantrum is rude.

    You could have just said we need a different strategy.

  • Klarth

    How is the porn industry our enemy when we have our own porn industry? It’s not like there’s a porn board of directors and we don’t have a seat on it or something. Studios are doing their own thing. What would straight porn studios do for us exactly?

    And to respond to another comment, why would any gay or lesbian go to straight porn to get off in this day and age with so much porn made for us and marketed to us? Why do the straight porn industries need to cater to us?

    I could see you saying Skinemax should air some gay porn once in a while, so people wanting to watch porn on cable could get something out of it without having to suffer through straight porn, which isn’t directed at us at all. But that is a network decision, which should be addressed, not a porn industry one. There is plenty of porn for us to see, as long as you know where to look or it. I haven’t complained about straight porn since I was a teen staying up late to see it on cable, hoping for a random crotch shot that never happens. Now I say fuck ’em.

    But what really annoys me is how PG LoGo is. All the good stuff is cut out. It’d be fine, if you could see full versions on some other network, but you can’t. That’s the problem.

  • mk

    @jason: Jason, you aren’t making sense.

    The sexual revolution was not a conspiracy by men to get more cheesecake. They already had access to cheesecake when they wanted it and they wanted their wives to be faithful and their daughters to be chaste. The sexual revolution came about mainly because of innovations in birth control (i.e. the pill).

    You are obviously angry that female-female is more accepted than male-male. The answer to that should be trying to increase male-male acceptance, there’s no need to decrease female-female depictions or to get spiteful about its greater degree of acceptance. The straight porn material you are talking about is designed for and marketed towards straight men. Lots of straight guys find the sight of two women going at it hot since they are attracted to women and two vaginas is better than one. Plenty of women find the idea of two guys together hot for the same reason – two good looking guys is better than one. Gay productions like Queer as Folk and Brokeback Mountain wouldn’t have been financially viable without those women as a market. Women generally want character development and commitment stuff and aren’t really into graphic naked visual images of men, though, so material catering to them is different and not necessarily what we would want (just like no lesbian I know enjoys the female-female stuff in straight porn videos since everything about it is designed to suit men not actual lesbians).

    Lady Gaga is not traditionally good looking and her outfits and stage acts do not normally cater to straight men’s idea of sexy. Her fans are mainly women and gays not straight men. She has done things she did not have to do like pledging not to work with homophobic artists. She identifies as bi and I don’t see any particular reason not to accept that. Women are more flexible and open about their sexuality than men in no small part because they are less visual than men and their attraction to others is more based on personality and individual factors.

    Lesbians are somewhat more accepted in society since they are not so publicly associated with predatory behavior, widespread sexual promiscuity or HIV the way gay men are. Also in our chauvinistic society acting like a woman is negative so men taking dick is seen as like a woman therefore negative. Lesbians and bisexual women still suffer a lot of prejudice too, though, and a self-proclaimed bisexual female star outspoken about gay rights like Gaga can be helpful to them and us.

  • Klarth

    @mk: Good post.

  • DR

    So what have we learned from this?

    The reason LGBT media doesn’t move in the direction we want? Read the comments above. More talk about Lady GagGa than politics, and lots of bitchy queens complaining that civil disobedience is ineffective but not offering any viable solutions other than to buy records by Lady GaGa.

    Queerty, I agree with your intentions behind this article, but too bad most of your readers have missed the point completely.

  • jason


    The porn industry is our enemy because it promotes the bisexual double standard. The gay side of it is just as bad because it conforms to the segregation notion inherent within the bisexual double standard.

    The ramifications of porn’s bisexual double standard are significant. As the only industry which depicts explicit sexual behavior, it is pivotal in shaping people’s attitude to that sexual behavior.


    You are massively over-crediting female sexuality. Female sexuality is primarily a means of obtaining benefits that are unrelated to sexual satisfaction. In other words, financial benefits, economic security etc etc.

    Females basically prostitute their sexuality, one aspect being their so-called “openness” to bisexuality. It’s a massive fraud which insults genuine GLBT people. I certainly don’t want these frauds sullying the genuine hard work and devotion that GLBT people have performed to achieve equal rights.

  • paul

    I tend to think that Interscope Records – Gaga’s record company – have banned her from putting any male-male stuff in her official videos. Lady Gaga has to abide by her record company’s rules, so it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the explanation.

  • Sam

    @jason: Ah, so you’re just a misogynist. Gotcha.

    Would any of the people claiming that civil disobedience doesn’t work please share with us their brilliant ideas on what we SHOULD do to advance gay rights?

  • Brian NYC

    @Klarth: I said TODAY civil disobedience it is like a 7 year having a tantrum.

    30 and 40 years ago civil disobedience was effective. Today, it is not. Even PETA gave up civil disobedience 15 years ago.

    Civil Disobedience is about creating awareness. Everyone knows about our struggle. We don’t need to grandstand and engage in publicity stunts, we need to get people to support us.

    America has changed dramatically during the last 40 years – our “movement” has not. We need people to join us. Inconveniencing them does not help. Harassing them does not help. We need to provide reasons to support us, not avoid us.

  • Klarth

    I still think you seem to hold a negative view of what people like my father and grandfather did in the marches and sit-ins to get the rights I enjoy today.

    For what it’s worth, i think the civil rights era strategy was more about showing that they weren’t going to take it, than it was about creating awareness. I mean, black people are obviously black, so it’s not like we have to come out as minority members. And there were actual laws on the books as well as practices that were bigoted. I don’t think people were unclear on them being unhappy with the situation. Gee, you mean they really do want equal rights? Gosh!

    Creating awareness is for movements that are less obvious or well known. I’m sure civil disobedience can be used in those cases, too, but I don’t think that was the goal back then.
    But I’ll table that.

    Do you have any suggestions for a better strategy?
    It’s really easy to say what won’t work, and what’s “tired” and “outdated”, and pretty difficult to come up with an alternative.

    As for reasons to support us, how about the fact that we are all human beings who want the same things out of life. We all deserve to be happy, and allowing us to have the same rights that straight people have doesn’t take anything away from straight people. Really, it makes more sense than Black Civil Rights. Back then, there was a whole structure keeping them down, and it affected the economy, politics, and all sorts of areas. Full Civil rights altered American culture.

    I’m not saying Gay rights wouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s not like we’re dealing with issues of segregation and discrimination to that extreme. At least, not here in USA. But, I’m saying it would be a smoother transition, if it could only happen. Other than the religious issues and how much gay sex squicks straight people (and how that becomes the only thing they think about when they think about us, so we are squick personified), this shouldn’t even be as big a deal. Since, like you said, times have changed.

    Really, maybe it’s because of the Civil Rights Era that things have changed. Do you really think there’d be as much progress with gay rights if things were still like the 60’s and before?

  • Klarth

    So you’re stating that the straight porn industry is responsible for lesbian porn, because of its appeal to straight men.

    In that case, the only way that gay sex could gain a similar foothold would be for more straight women to call for it. Why don’t you blame them, then?

    I still think it doesn’t make sense to depend on the straight porn industry to do our fighting for us. It doesn’t even make sense to me. We’re talking about gay sex acts. I agree that it’d a double standard that F/F activity can be filmed by straight studios and sold to straight people. But as someone pointed out in the article or the commentary, these aren’t real lesbians, anyway.

    Also, I’m thinking of two phrases, and I’m not sure which applies here: wag the dog, and the chicken or the egg.

    You’re attributing society’s “okayness” with F/F and thus female homoeroticism to the existence of F/F porn, as if the straight porn industry is artificially creating a demand for this material, and shoving it down straight men’s throats.

    No, straight men like it, and they will pay for it, so the porn industry sells it. The reason why, if this is even true, lesbianism is more acceptable is because straight men, who run society, are more okay with it, because it doesn’t squick them, it turns them on. Also, as someone else pointed out, “manly” attributes are the gold standard in patriarchal societies such as ours. Gay sex is not manly, because (as it’s conflated with anal sex), someone has to “play the woman”, and that is unmanly. There’s no such conflict with two women.

    Think about this for a bit, and try to get over the chip on your shoulder toward the straight porn industry. Basically, ultimately, they are not here to serve you. We aren’t their demographic, and they don’t owe us anything, and they aren’t doing anything to us, either. I don’t even understand this obsession of yours.

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    @No. 67 Sam

    Jason is simply proof that within the LGBT community, we have our own fair share of “tea bagger” type lunatics. He says he is gay/bisexual. And yet here he is instructing lesbians about what is and is not of importance for lesbian couples.

    And all those other stupid remarks:

    “Female sexuality is primarily a means of obtaining benefits that are unrelated to sexual satisfaction. In other words, financial benefits, economic security etc etc. Females basically prostitute their sexuality.” — I guess Jason has never seen a picture of Maggot Gallagher!

    “You see it in modern culture in the way women like Lady Gaga, Pink, Madonna and Katy Perry are allowed to market themselves as half-naked and bisexual. In stark contrast, no man is allowed to do this.” — I guess Jason somehow has missed all that media attention on Adam Lambert and Jason must have slept through Johnny Weir at the Olympics.

    “Lesbians can get all the action they want from straight porn movies. We gay and bi men don’t get any from that source.” — Well this one is quite the doozie! Lesbians, I guess, should be happy to close 1 eye and enjoy watching straight porn? But gay/bi men just have to endure straight porn? Uhmmm, Jason, you know that there are lesbian porn and gay porn? And bi porn, mixed porn, inter-racial porn, same race porn, spanking porn, SM porn, SM lesbian porn, SM gay porn, and even SM lesbian, gay, straight, and all mixed into 1 porn?

    And there is this Jason gem: “Unlike lesbians, we gay and bi men have to fight for representations of our sexiness and love. Not only is our sexiness and love censored by the mainstream, when it is represented, it’s almost always segregated, both conceptually and physically.” — Jason must live in a closet, unaware of the endless onslaught of nearly naked men posed for selling just about everything, ogled by us gay boys and all those desperate housewives.


    Enough fun. In addition to being a misogynist, Jason is also myopic.

  • Brian NYC

    @Klarth: What happened in the 60s was necessary, but we’re not in the 60s anymore. America is better off because of the courageous acts of a few. But, America has changed. Information and communication has changed.

    Even Socrates was against civil disobedience, preferring persuasion as a better tactic. As a movement we don’t use persuasion. We are not organized to recruit people to join us. Instead we have occasional acts of defiance that simply alienate more people. I believe most people support equality, but we don’t ask for their support. Instead, we parade around making unbelievable threats or we inconvenience them.

    I think it is helpful to be honest about the tactic of civil disobedience. I see no proof that it is effective in 2010. We need to people to join us, not avoid us.

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    @No. 68 Brian NYC

    Just how old are you?

    Forty years ago, I was 10, an Indiana 4th grader. Never had even heard the word homosexual or gay (as related to homosexuality). Never saw a TV or movie character that had anything to do with same-sex attraction. I did wonder what was up with that Liberace guy.

    In 1970, almost every state in the Union had laws criminalizing gay sex. Instead of any law protecting the civil rights of gays/lesbians, there were laws endorsing discrimination against us. Gays/lesbians employment, housing, and community were subject to termination with “being gay” as justifiable cause.

    Forty years later: every single gay or lesbian couple who so desires can get married. Some simply in their home state; all the other can show their own civil disobedience by traveling to one of 6 state + DC, get married, come home, and throw themselves a big party.

    DO NOT TRIVIALIZE the hard won efforts of those of us who have spent our entire adult lives pushing and promoting gay civil rights! In the late 1970’s, we fought win Gay Pride Parades; in the 1980s we fought for survival under the HIV/AIDS epidemic; in the 1990s we began the push for domestic partnerships and then marriage; in the 2000s, we fought against the pushback from the religious and rightwing wingnuts. In the 2010s, we fight on.

    All you people criticizing what? Challenging civil rights in courts has been the newest, and quite successful, next stage for promoting gay rights. Every time a gay and/or lesbian individual and/or couple, files a lawsuit against any legal jurisdiction, it is an act of modern civil disobedience. The latest case of Constance McMillen is making huge tidal waves across the country. Not just forcing school district to do the right thing or face hundred of thousands of dollars in legal quagmires, but showing the next generation to fight for your right to be openly gay. And that too is civil disobedience.

    Suing adoption agencies and state children’s services for the right to adopt is civil disobedience. Suing county and state governments for the right to marry is civil disobedience.

    And these action worked; albeit there is still much to do!

  • Charles Merrill

    We need the excitement of celebrities to lift our spirits. They are in your face to conservatives, outrageous, and attractive.
    Johnny Weir is our up coming hero. He is too young to come out and his Russian coach won’t let him have sex. His mother encourages his difference, but that hammer and cycle coach………

  • riese


    Your comments are so insulting and misogynistic I don’t even know where to begin!

    Anyhow, this conversation is insane! You guys are just yelling at each other! Have you noticed that when women do comment, you usually just plow right over their on-topic points to keep screaming at each other? I thought this post was interesting and raised some important issues (as per my first comment) but nah, let’s just yell at each other while Jason makes big statements with nothing to back them up besides um, apparently some anger problems?

    Why is there so much aggression here? Shouldn’t productive conversations begin on the assumption that we do all care about things and that we all want the world to be a better place but we just have different ideas about how to get there? I feel like the assumption driving this discourse is “I’m right and everyone else is an asshole.” That’s not going to get anyone anywhere besides angry.

    Also sorry, Jason, your claims about lesbian culture are really ignorant. I understand that gay men have to deal with a lot of stereotypes and shaming that we don’t, but we have our own set of problems as well. It’s not a contest, we both face different challenges. The fact that you think the images of straight girls with fake breasts kissing each other should satisfy all our lesbian desires is laughable and insulting. (Also guys; we consume a lot more of your media than you do ours!) It’s actually really telling that you haven’t even noticed that women still face a lot of the same challenges we did when the feminist movement just began.

    Also, don’t tell me how I should feel about Lady Gaga or how lesbians feel about her or should feel about her; that’s perhaps the most insulting assumption of all. With a tone like that, it’s clear you’re not actually interested in changing my mind (aggression and insults aren’t how you make a passionate case or appeal to someone’s logical decision-making processes), but just in yelling for the sake of it. Whatever, rah rah rah la la la

  • Charles Merrill

    @riese: You are right. Yelling for the sake of it. It’s in the national mindset. I saw the movie “She’s Out Of My League” yesterday. The constant put down banter from others are just like this and other blogs. One insult after another. No wonder most have little self esteem. Rarely do they praise another one’s accomplishments.

  • DR

    @Brian NYC:

    So what do you suggest? How do you suggest we “persuade” people to listen to us if we have no presence? Through Adam Lambert and Lady GaGa videos?

    The presence of LGBT folk in the entertainment industry isn’t the help we need. My state narrowly tabled a constitutional amendment banning marriage yesterday. It was an 8-6 vote. That’s close. We need to actively engage the community around us, and if you think civil disobedience is so ineffective (as an almost-40 lawyer I disagree), what brilliant strategy to you have which doesn’t entail me worshiping at the altar of mediocre music and art?

  • Robert

    Thank you all to everyone supporting civil disobedience. Our movement needs to have a synthesis of ALL techniques if we need to further our cause.

  • Brian NYC

    @#78 Mike in Asheville, nee “in Brooklyn”:

    You have just claimed that “traveling to DC to get married” is civil disobedience or “filing a lawsuit” is civil disobedience. Are you kidding? Google it.

    Nobody suggested that the civil disobedience of the 60s wasn’t helpful, in fact I think we’ve all said it was necessary THEN. You refuse to acknowledge the fact that the world has changed. We should, too.

    We need people to join us, not resent us.

  • Brian NYC

    @DR: Nobody in this entire conversation has demonstrated that ANY civil disobedience has been effective in the last 20 years. For a decade people climbed trees (90s) to highlight the deforestation of America. For a while it made the news and the people had a better understanding. In America people are very well informed about gays and lesbians. They are very aware that we want equality. We don’t need any publicity stunts.

    We have to persuade people to HELP us and to JOIN us, but that isn’t accomplished with civil disobedience. Civil disobedience was used to create attention and to highlight an injustice. It had its role decades ago. Today, EVERYONE knows about us. That is NOT the problem.

    The real problem is we cannot win without persuading people to stand with us and to stand for equality. That doesn’t happen with publicity stunts, it happens with conversation. It happens with an orchestrated effort to further the “cultural conversation” with real stories. It happens with an honest understanding of WHAT would encourage “others” to join our effort. It happens with a method for people to join us.

    Public demonstrations of anger and frustration do not persuade people to join us – in fact, most just end up resenting us. We don’t need to inconvenience people that are already inclined to join us. We need to ASK for their help. As a movement, we don’t do that. We have no organized effort to enroll our fellow citizens.

    Some people are so obsessed with this idea that we have to “fight” they are unable to see the reality that the majority of our fellow citizens would support us, if we’d simply stop trying to make headlines and started to make real progress. To do that anyone who cares about our movement should ask themselves “how many people outside of our community support us and how can we get a majority of people to support us/equality?”

    Answering that question honestly and objectively will enable the retirement of tactics from yesterday (like civil disobedience) and force us to create tactics and methods to actually win.

  • paul


    Women are known to exploit double standards in order to get preferential treatment. Not only is the bisexual double standard a prime example, the clothing double standard is also evidence of how women seek out preferential treatment.

    On the latter, why is it that a woman can put on tiny bits of clothing and get into a mainstream nightclub whereas a man with a similar level of immodesty would be refused entry? These are the same women who claim they want to be treated equally by society yet their behavior reeks of seeking out special treatment.

    While I understand you might be peeved at my criticism of “women”, I think I’ve been fair.

  • riese


    Please tell me you’re not being serious. Even if the “clothing double standard” you’ve invented maybe works for a small group of good-looking thin women, you’re generalizing. What abut an unattractive or overweight woman? You think that would get her into the club? I’d be surprised. Is the right to wear less clothing a key issue in our country right now? Good-looking people of all gender use their looks to gain entry to looks-based spaces, like nightclubs; many men use their money and power to get into those same spaces. Whatever, it’s a nightclub for chrissake.

    I’m stunned this is what you consider “fair” and I don’t know where to begin, besides that if a club has different dress codes for men and women, that is something you should take up with the club owner, not project onto why women have it better than you.

    Also, getting into the club isn’t exactly a barometer of gender equality. Who cares?!! what about getting a job, or getting equal pay for equal work, or getting taken seriously in the workplace, or being judged by straight men for something other than her looks? this is an opinion I’m sad to see on a gay website.

    This “double standard” btw was crated by the straight men who enable it, no the woman who g-d forbid use their good looks, THE ONE AND ONLY POWER THEY HAVE OVER STRAIGHT MEN, to get something. I’m not condoning it but I’m not condemning it either. And I’d also argue that the women who apparently show up at the proverbial club in nothing but underpants are likely not the same ones fighting for equal treatment as you claim they are.

    I could just as easily say that straight men use physical power and intimidation to get what they want, or sexual harassment to get what they want, and it would be equally demeaning, unkind, unfair and untrue, as well as reductive. Sure it happens — it happens all the time. But that doesn’t mean that behavior is typical of male behavior in general.

    @Charles Merrill thank you for your affirmation.

  • riese

    Also I realized right after hitting “submit” that by responding to your comment, I just participated in the exact problem I complained about in my last comment, and therefore wish I could take it back. Yup, I took the bait, and I won’t make that same mistake twice. I apologize for derailing the discourse.

  • SteamPunk

    @jeffree: I think the gay community has primarily been about showing how much of an individual we are from the rest of society, but it may be time to let some of that go. We’re much more like straight people than we are different. But that often goes unsaid by gay media.

    I mentioned openly gay celebrities earlier because that’s what’s in front of everyone’s faces. We can highlight more gay people that don’t necessarily exude the typical flamboyance that is expected of us. Middle American Straights expect LGBTs to lean towards half-naked celebrities that promote open promiscuity like Lady Gaga, Madonna, etc.There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing so, but it’s unnerving when people begin to think that’s what the entire community is about. Gay media helped propagate that myth and thus helped shape straight people’s opinions more than gay media wants to admit.

    How do we get people to stop complaining about how bad gays have it and do something? Well, that’s a mystery that plagues, not only the LGBT community, but every community (even Conservatives). People love to complain. Unfortunately, people are also apathetic. The easiest way to get people to say something is to piss them off. Fox News does that very well. Prop 8 was a catalyst for that, but that seems to have died down. I’m not sure what else there is, sadly. Any good ideas are welcomed.

    The mainstream media has a great way of making different look very frightening. Gay media has to balance the fine line between showing how much of an individual we are and how similar we are to everyone else. That is one of the greatest things we can do for LGBT rights. Neil Patrick Harris has the right idea :)

  • Cam

    No. 65 · jason

    The porn industry is our enemy because it promotes the bisexual double standard. The gay side of it is just as bad because it conforms to the segregation notion inherent within the bisexual double standard.

    The ramifications of porn’s bisexual double standard are significant. As the only industry which depicts explicit sexual behavior, it is pivotal in shaping people’s attitude to that sexual behavior.

    Jason, what cracks me up aboutyou is your desperation to try to convince yourself that everybody REALLY is bi-sexual and we’re all just afraid to admit it. There is porn out there in niche markets that is so specificly geared to minute groups of people that if there really was a massive market for bisexual porn there is no way they would pass it up. You are trying to say that porn distributers are sitting there saying “Hey, I know that everybody REALLY wants bisexual porn…but dammit, we’re not going to give it to them! We’re going to force them to watch porn that they aren’t interested in!”
    Sorry, but if that was the case people would merely buy from a vendor who WAS supplying them what they want. Peoples desires innate desire aren’t shaped by watching porn, if that is what you are saying then your thinking is completely in line with the right wingers and the ex gay movement who think that a random picture on a Calvin Klein underwear box turned us all gay.

  • DR

    @Brian NYC:

    Look, I’m not disagreeing about needing cooperation from our communities, Bryan, believe me. I also agree that we’re, as a community, disorganized. That never changes, no matter the decade, lol.

    However, I was drawn in by the protests of Queer Nation and Act Up when I was in high school and college. They stood for something. They got out there and did something. I wanted to be a part of that. Ok, maybe not the disrupting Masses part, but a lot of it meant something to me as a gay man coming out. And isn’t that just as important as impressing out allies and educating our communities. I certainly don’t feel all that empowered by Pride rallies in the same way. Empowering ourselves is just as necessary as empowering and educating straight folk about our issues.

    What I am waiting to hear form you are suggestions. Rallies? Discussion panels? Door-to-door marketing in the right places during important elections?

    Clearly the HRC isn’t working. Our claims to political power are countered by our defeats last year in California and Maine. The Dems don’t fight for us the way they should and the Republicans don’t want us around. The Libertarian party has potential, but it’s not powerful enough in the US. There are lots of little groups, but that doesn’t work for everyone.

    So where do we go from here and why is it that this thread has degraded, for the most part, into a bizarre discussion about porn and the merits of music?

  • jason


    You’re confusing vanity with power. It is not powerful for a woman to wear little clothing to get a financial benefit from men. It’s more powerful for the man than it is for the woman. She is ultimately putting a smile on his face.

    Any “power” that women feel in this context is actually vanity. Vanity, vanity, vanity.

    You say you don’t condone nor condemn the behavior of these women. That’s the problem with women. Instead of criticizing other women, you play politics, and fail to criticize them simply because they are “women”. You ought to be condemning women who exploit double standards in order to get preferential treatment.

  • jason

    I love queerty’s headline for this article. It suggests the phoniness of Lady Gaga.

    Lady Gaga is a phony. She claims she loves us gay guys but hasn’t shown us in her music videos. We’re not hot enough for her, apparently.

  • jeffree

    @SteamPunk: good points! we lgbs celebrate our differences and then we complain that other people see all the extremes and not the things we have in common with straights.

    i hate that after Pride every year the tv & news paper shows the same stereotyped images of the dragqueens & the gogoboys & the leather d yke ^^thats what some lesbians call them, i dont know another word^^ they pass right over the people who look pretty much the same as eveyone else.

    i want people not just in the big cities but other places 2 seeing that we lgbs do care about many of the same things that straight peope do, like finding& keeping a job, we like to see movies and eat out when we can, we care about ouir families & issues like globlal warming and the economy or the wars.

    it feels sometimes like wer’e treated by press like we are space aliens and freaks, and the queer media and nonqueer media may not always help by showng us O.N.L.Y. as outsiders, by stressing extreemes, and not so much as part of the big picture of people they know or work with or live near or have in their family or their friends
    i’ll take my straight neighbors to a gay softball game but probably not out to a leatherbar! i’m out to everyone almost but feel everyday like i fight those stereotypes. some apply to me, OK, but some don’t. i dont always see pictures of boring gays like me :-D in the media.

    yes, i know, the media covers only the interesting beautyful people no matter their sexual orientations!

  • Lovari

    First and foremost, let it be known that I do not have an issue with other straight artists. My most recent interviews in GOOTH Magazine and my co-headlining shows and duets on my recent album will silence anybody who may think that about me. What I do have a problem with is the GLBT Expo Mainstage always choosing straight artists to headline over Gay artists, even when in some cases, the gay artists are more known then the straight artists headliing. Such is the case with the Original GLBT Expo at Jacob Javitts this coming weekend. For another year, it’s the same thing and perhas what is more appallin is the fact that in their YouTube commercial, the straight artists are mentioned but instead of listing gay performers, they opt to say AND MANY MORE. Now, I’m not judging the atraight artists headlining. I am not judging their management. I put the blame on whoever the mainstage coordinator is and also for the president of the Expo, as they should look into these bookings before executing facts. Again, no disrespect but is a GAY EXPO so if you are going to have straight artists, have a gay artist headline right next to them. A few of my friends also recieved letters in regard to this and I will quote what somebody wrote, “Would Madonna headline Black Pride? Would Jay-Z headline Chinese New Year Parade?” So why do we have the continous headlining of Straight artists (yes they are talented, but nonetheless) over Gay artists? Now, I have been advised not to talk about this publically. I’ve been told to let the people who wrote letters about this speak about it. I’ve been told that if certain event organizers or Pride organizations herar my opinion, then they might blacklist me from performing. Well guess what? If that happens, then I wouldn’t want to have an affiliation with them ayway. As an entertainer and as an activist and as U.S. citizen, I have a right to speak my mind, and if I am censored or rejected from future events for speaking my mond about this one, then obviously people will catch on. Ironically, the woman who alerted about these goings on to me in a letter is heterosexual, so it’s obivous that this issue is not just a gay one. Now I actually performed on that mainstage last year, with other straight performers, some that are good friends, but even they ar ein agreement with me that it is ridicolous not to include more memebers of the gay community to perform at gay events. That being said, I am 100 percent satisfied at the LIneup of the VIdeo Lounge which is also another attraction at the EXPO, which EXCELLENTLY showcases LGBT artists, performers, and filmmakers, as well as their striahgt allies and entertainers. This to me makes the backbone of the Expo, as opposed to the mainstage.

    My guest slot will be Saturday at 4PM, along with the cast of the WNYE/PBS show “Under The Pink Carpet” (including Lady CLover Honey and Tony Sawicki). Drop by and say hello or to curse me out if you disagree. Either way, I stand firmly with my beliefs.
    The Video Booth is produced by Stephen Flynn of The Long Island Gay&Lesbian Film Festival and curated by Ryan Wolowski of MTV/Vicacom Networks. Aside from myself, there will be several great speakers and performers at the Booth throughout the weekend, such as Bebe Zahara Benet, Athena Reich, Soce, and more.

  • Klarth


    Thank you for posting. Good points, and someone needed to say it.
    As for the dick-waving, this is what discussions always boil down to on the internet. It sucks. We just need some more calm people every so often to get us back on track. ;-)

  • andy

    @Former Lady Gaga fan: wow aren’t you just an ass. “she refuses to depict us in her music videos” what a whiney thing to say.

    Not only did she kiss a girl in “Telephone” but she used a transexual backup dancer in the last number of “Bad Romance”. Not only that but she’s payed her dues speaking at a Nat’l Convention supporting the MAC Viva Glam AIDS fund, etc. She’s beyond grateful to the gay community.

  • a different robert

    i’m astounded that this thread, ostensibly about offering fresh ideas on queer representations, has devolved into a string of sex-negative, “lesbians have it easier,” “lady gaga isn’t an ally” comments.

    porn isn’t evil; depictions of sex are perfectly acceptable. if you have a problem with either, don’t partake. get off your righteous pedestal of indignation and stop trying to tell other people why their personal sexual desires are the cause of our oppression. you’re no better than those misguided people who thought the way to women’s rights was by campaigning against porn

    also, i daresay, lesbians have it as rough as we do. some people commenting seem to think that because straight men find “lesbian” romance to be acceptable, lesbians have it easier. i doubt any lesbians would claim that heterosexually constructed images of “lesbian” desire is a blessing or any less constraining than social notions of masculinity for gay men. prior to the sexual “revolution” (we ain’t come that far), women were robbed of any sexual agency because they were seen as objects for male consumption. not much has changed, really. hence, the horrifying reality that lesbians are raped by men all over the world because, duh, if those stupid women just played with a penis, they’d clearly go straight. i don’t imagine many straight men actually fantasy about women who exclusively have sex with women, unless they have a sexual fetish revolving around unattainability.

    lady gaga has stated she is bisexual. i know it’s en vogue to presume to know someone else’s sexual orientation and desires, but i don’t question people’s assertions about their sexuality because (wait for it) i understand that i can’t definitively know. last i checked, no human being was capable of inhabiting another person’s body and understanding something like their sexuality.

    whether lady gaga is bisexual or it’s all a marketing ploy, it really doesn’t fucking matter. (although, i will point out that i was reading an article that mentioned how lady gaga meets personally with management and is uncompromising in her creations.) queerty is asking how to transform queer media. perhaps it is already undergoing a transformation, and figures like lady gaga are pointing the direction. in my opinion, her videos offer up an extraordinary tool for changing representations of not just the lgbt community but human beings in general. take the telephone video. without going too heavy on the academic talk, i’ll just say that her videos introduce a saturation of meaning. that is, the symbols of our day (brands) are appropriated from their consumerist origins and transformed into tools for self-expression. coke cans as hairpieces, transforming the discarded and the waste into fashion. food items as symbols for a woman’s place in the kitchen, where, incidentally, she is; however, the upshot is, she uses those very same products against the culture that proscribes the woman’s place. do i really need to point out that the scene takes place in the conventional “all-american” diner with a chauvinistic male character who clearly treats women as products for his consumption? i could wax forever about the theoretical implications of her videos, but instead i’ll simply close by saying that this “will to power” she is putting on display in her videos is about appropriating our current iconography, releasing meaning from impersonal cultural constraints and fashioning it into a personal statement. the epitome of pop culture. we can try to escape it, we can try to deny our materialistic, brand-name culture, or as Heather Cassils (the body-building queer love interest in the telephone video) said in an interview with out, you can manipulate yourself and insert yourself into a mainstream setting, thus demonstrating concretely that you have a choice, options, a voice in creating yourself.

  • beverlyheels

    Well, all things considered, contemporary gay identity in the colonized west was made possible via capitalism (D’Emilio). Paradoxically, capitalism and patriarchy are the very systems that oppress queers in violent and pervasive ways. I’m less concerned with shifting “queer media focus” from Lady Gaga and Homophobes to the dismantling the systems that perpetuate our oppression.

    Also @whoever asked for an example of civil disobedience helping the queer community – you really know nothing about queer history.

  • a

    @jason: That BS story that you pulled out of your ass is sad. Theres no rumor concerning male-to-male intimacy being prohibited in her videos!

    If there was she certainly wouldn’t stand for it seeing as almost ALL her male back up dancers and most of her friends are gay. And she acan put almost anything a video and “Interscope” wouldn’t be able to censor it.

  • a

    @jason: Excuse me, why don’t you stop being a pathetic little man child.

    Lady Gaga isn’t tantalizing sleazy men, for attention. If she was claiming bisexuality for the fun of it she wouldn’t bother participating in half of the ventures like MAC Aids fund, equality march, etc.

  • Andre

    @jason: ” Lady Gaga is not promoting gay rights. ” thats what you think? After she stood in a crowd of thousands saying that EVERYONE Should have rights and its not fair when its “only sometimes”.

    Please if anyone sucks its you.

    You say she’s failed to deliver a gay kiss in a music video? Keep in mind she’s a new artist with a single album and an EP under her belt she hasn’t had the chance to do that many videos.

    And at the least she’s putting in a great effort which more than I can say for a shitload of others.

  • Andre

    To be blatant, I wouldn’t complain about Lady Gaga when she’s happily lent a hand to the gay community. She’s campaigned for rights and is letting people know that gays are equal to everyone!

    She shouldn’t be attacked for something like this.

  • Meg

    Devaluing Lady Gaga’s contributions to the queer community and attempting to presumptuously invalidate her self-identification is not only assholish, it’s counter-intuitive too. The queer community really doesn’t need any more division, and bisexual folk really don’t need any more doubt and derision.

    This “let’s hear from ~ACTUAL~ LGBTs” nonsense drives me up the wall–Lady Gaga IS an “actual” LGBT.

  • Vanessa

    “Because yes; our most popular articles w/r/t traffic are often about Lady Gaga or Adam Lambert.”


  • Shakermaker



    but yayyy wave that rainbow flag (which, to me, stands for STDs, filthy male whores, older perverted fucks, and the colorful glow of the meth/crack pipe)

    You would think there would be a progressive movement for this so as this community can be taken seriously; yet NO ONE SEES THAT WITH THE BUYING INTO THESE WHORE POP ICONS, THEY ARE ONLY REGRESSING FURTHER AND FURTHER

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