taped shut

How Mike Manning Made Us Revisit Adam Bouska’s Quotidian ‘No H8’ Campaign

Photographer Andrew Bouska’s “No H8” campaign has been an awesome (in both “cool” factor and in its impressive scope) tool to join celebrity with speaking out against discrimination. It’s also been oversaturated to the point of nausea — and we’ve stopped reading the press releases about the latest nonlebrities being shot with face paint and duct tape over their mouths. Well, until The Real World: DC‘s Mike Manning got in front of Bouska’s lense.

From Kim Zolciak and Fran Drescher to Wilson Cruz and Jonathan Waud, the photo stream is endless. We’re not knocking Bouska or his efforts here. The handsome, lithe photog brought together a movement (fighting Prop 8) with social media (spreading the photos virally through Facebook and Twitter) to create an insta-recognizable meme. It’s the sort of branding campaign HRC only wishes it came up with. But like anything else, too much of a good thing grows tiring, and new No H8ers are neither significant nor noteworthy. (Well, get James Dobson in front of Bouska’s camera, and we’ll change our tune.) After you’ve seen Andy Warhol silkscreen his 65th celebrity face, do you need to see another?

But in Manning, there’s something new: A newly visible bisexual guy, who’s confident in his Christian faith, has been added to the mix.

And we’re already certain he’s going to be a hit on the college speaking circuit, given these quotables: “I hate America’s obsessive need to categorize everything. You’re either black or white. You’re either gay or straight. You’re either this or that. Even in the gay community, there’s like this biphobia. Everybody’s like, ‘You have to be gay or straight. You can’t be bi. You can’t like both. It’s not who you are. Blah, blah, blah.’ Isn’t that committing the same crime they’re preaching against? They’re saying, “Don’t judge me, but I’m going to judge you within our own community. People should not give a shit. The question ‘What are you?’ shouldn’t even exist. If you’re attracted to somebody, flirt with them. See where it goes. I like guys and girls. I’ve dated girls, had sex with girls and enjoyed it very much. I find females very attractive. I find males very attractive. If I want to date a guy, I’ll date a guy. If I want to date a girl, I’ll date a girl.”

(Second photo: MetroWeekly)

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  • scott ny'er

    i love him. and love his quotes.

  • terrwill

    Can we get that angle of the photo down about 15 degrees?? : P

  • kyle412

    He’s gay.

  • romeo

    @ Kyle #3: Let him come to his own conclusion. Besides, we don’t want the Wrath of Khan (namely gay hating bi’s) down on us again. LOL

  • terrwill

    I know a lot of 22 year old Bisexuals, I don’t know any 32 year old Bisexuals……….. : P

  • FakeName

    He needs to put down the eyebrow tweezers.

  • hyhybt

    @kyle412: Based on what, precisely? He says he’s attracted to both men and women. Why not trust him to know his own attractions better than anyone else, and leave it at that?

    @terrwill: One of the vanishingly few nonstraight people I know offline is a 36-year-old bisexual woman, and has been open and unchanging on that point since at least 1992.

  • Republican


    Heh heh. Funny how that works.

  • Republican

    Most of your older self-proclaimed bisexuals seem to be men who are trapped in unhappy hetero marriages. (And I think most would be openly gay if circumstances were different.) The few happy bisexual guys I’ve met have only been into breasts, not pussy. I find that a bit odd, but whatever. Considering how common some claim bisexuality to be, finding one seems to be a bit like spotting that rare bird on a birding list. Everyone knows it’s out there, but few have caught a glimpse of the animal with their own two eyes.

  • terrwill

    @Republican: ‘jus sayin…….. : P

  • Dasher

    Mike is a cute and charming guy, and what he says about categorizing people makes a lot of sense.

    As for Mike being bi, I guess I’ll take his word for it, but if I were bi and a cute girl told me I could go to bed with her whenever I want, I think I would have said, “OK, I’m your bedwarmer for tonight.”

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)


    From our long, long, looong arguments on this site re Bi-guys, I think we have quite a few who are not 22….

    But you and Terrwill may have been lurkers when we used to go at it and get to 300 plus comments re Bi guys.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    Also, who gets to see these ads? Any str8 sites or zines?

  • glasshouses

    (and as certain as the sun rising in the east, terrwill et al will make some snarky biphobic comment, negating the responses of leagues of us bi folk, at which point we will retort, likely telling said legion that the evangelicals don’t think you exist either, and the Mike Manning bruhaha continues.)

    On a less than saturated and annoying level, the point of the article is an interesting one near the end: if one hasn’t picked up on the fact that sexual identity and even orientation is being heavily reconsidered and debated among college populations, one hasn’t set foot on a campus (arguably even a high school one) for some time. Mike Manning is clearly representative of that consideration.

    Good recent publication on the matter: “Queer Youth Cultures.” The political and ideological implications of this shift in how we consider identity could be quite strong.

  • Michael W.

    Mike is such a cool and inspirational guy. He seems like he might have a future in politics (though I don’t know why anyone would want that future).

    Also, I’d love to take his butt virginity.

  • Kyle412


    Have you watched the REAL WORLD? I’m gay and think his female roommate drooling all over him is pretty, but Mr. bi guy turns her down. He goes out to a gay bar and within no time brings a guy home. So I guess 22 year old bi guys aren’t interested in girls who are pretty and into them, but are into guys they have just met. Maybe if the cute girl had a strap on Mike would have been more interested.

  • hyhybt

    Nah, I’ve never been into reality TV :)

    Seriously, I just figure he knows himself, and his roommate for that matter, better than you do. Are there no good-looking guys you wouldn’t sleep with, for whatever reason?

  • Toby


    I graduated from college last year and went to SU. A pretty big school. There wasn’t much talk of being bi. I never heard much about it from friends at other schools either. Yes, the girls played the game about being into girls to get attention from guys but as for guy/guy that wasn’t the case. I think a lot of people fall for MTV’s representation of what is happening in high school and college as being the norm. Remember those shows spend a lot of time casting to find “characters” that will push buttons and stir debate.

  • glasshouses


    I’m sorry, I should have been clearer. I don’t mean that more students are saying “I’m bi” (having noted, I work at a large university, where ‘artschool bi’ seems, well, kind of a given) but are questioning the whole categorization thing that is suggested at the end of the article.

  • Herb

    There is something so unconvincing about Mike Manning. If I were claiming to be bi, I certainly would not want him as my spokesperson. The aversion to labels is particularly troubling.

    I don’t get the “biphobia” claim. Just because people don’t believe you if you say you are bi does not mean they hate you. It’s like when an obvious gay person, like Clay Aiken, says they are heterosexual and, well, you just don’t believe him.

    queerty’s other thread “The Entire Bi-Sexual History of Real World: D.C.’s Mike Manning” and this thread have taught me something. I really, really, really hope I don’t come across to heterosexuals the same way that these pro-bi folks come across to me.

    This constant whining of “bigot” and name calling is a total turn off. And if I, or any other gay rights supporters, come across like irrational rabid wackos like many of these bi-supporters do, we are not going to educate nor get our message across.

    I started out in the gay community believing that bisexuality in men existed as a mater of fact — a given. I didn’t care. It didn’t bother me. I later changed my mind about bi men because of life experience and studies. Again. I didn’t really care. It’s just a fact. I could change my mind, yet, again, if I were presented with convincing evidence. Anecdotal protestations are not persuading — they remind me of gay guys insisting that they are heterosexual. But, this barrage of insane, belligerent, ad hominem attacks are especially unconvincing.

  • Alexandre

    He’s gay…. Booooring

  • terrwill

    In most cases “Bi” is simply “Gay” with training wheels….. : P

  • Herb

    It’s bizarre that Mike Manning makes the powers that be at queerty’s panties’ wet.

    Mikes quotes are as mundane and more cliché than anything queerty mentioned in the article as old hat.

    There is nothing refreshing or original about Mike.

    One example would be this anti-category and anti-label mantra that is often uttered from the lips those who are trying to hide something.

    Besides commonplace statements, Mike is the most boring roommate, which is why he gets the least amount of camera time.

    I just find it puzzling queerty would get all wet over uninspiring Mike.

  • FakeName

    Herb sez: Besides commonplace statements, Mike is the most boring roommate, which is why he gets the least amount of camera time.

    While I agree he’s boring, he does get more camera time than Callie and the two wretched singer-songwriters. At least Mike’s more interesting to look at, over-tweezed or not.

  • Colby412

    Where are his eyebrows? Do bi guys only have 1/2 eyebrows? Is this genetic?

  • Michael W.

    I don’t think Mike is guilty of over tweezing. His eyebrows are just naturally light. Either way he’s a sexy, smart, confident white male and that’s easy to fall in love with. So get off his dick, haters.

  • Toby

    @Michael W.:

    Naturally light? There is a 2 1/2 inch space between his eyebrows? You can see the eyebrows but there is a lot missing in between. He looks like he is prepping to do drag.

  • Michael W.

    @Toby: So what? He’s got widely spaced eyebrows, oh wow. I know plenty of people with them. Why criticize someone for something you’re not sure they can help?

  • Tylertime

    @Michael W.:

    MW, I’m a hairdresser and those brows are done. You can tell by the arch.

  • Michael W.

    @Tylertime: I don’t see how being a hairdresser makes you an authority on eyebrows. You’re not an eyebrowdresser.

  • Tylertime

    @Michael W.:

    You are right. I deal with hair and Mike’s eyebrows are drawn on so I don’t know what I’m talking about. If Mike had hair above his eyes where it belongs I would be more of an authority :)

  • Dave

    I can’t stand this campaign. The photography is HORRIBLE and the photoshop on it just screams “I don’t know what I am doing”.

  • Maria

    If you watch the MTV behind the scenes video, it turns out Mike slept with Ashley. For some odd reason that was not shown or talked about in the show. Hmmm……..maybe some of the biphobes on here did the editing? Emily’s bringing home women was also edited out, I wonder why……..

  • Maria

    @terrwill: right here

  • Dana

    @Kyle412: No…….turns out he actually HAD SEX with that female roommate, it was just edited out, probably for privacy reasons or b/c some biphobe like you was the editor. So you’re full of BS. Next?

Comments are closed.