This is the final part of a three-part series written and reported by Kaley Fowler for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. To read this story on the Matthew Shepard Foundation's site, head here. To read the first two parts of this series, head here and
If a man is having sex with other men, he must be gay or bi or somewhere on the queer spectrum, right? Not necessarily. At least not according to some men who feel their sexual activities and their sexual identities don't have to -- and do not -- align.
Critiquing our heroes, role models or just regular folks in and outside of our community is a crucial part of holding people...
In a recent episode of The Huffington Post Love+Sex Podcast about sex tourism, co-hosts Carina Kolodny and Noah Michelson chatted with Matt, a DJ from Australia who travels halfway around the world each year to attend San Francisco's Folsom Street Festival, the world's biggest leather event.
Sex tourism can mean many different things depending on who you are and what you're looking to find. For some people, booking a vacation that will center around a sexual event, like San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair, allows them to meet other people who have similar...
Let's just call it like it is: Carly Rae Jepsen's new album, "Emotion," is the best pop album of the year. In fact, it might be the best pop album of the 21st century. Yup. It's that good.
The singer, who first made waves with...
Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper are two of the most well known gay men currently dominating the media landscape -- Cohen on Bravo and Cooper on CNN -- and they're also buddies. So it's not unthinkable that someone (or many someones) might wonder just how intimate their friendship really is or has been in the past.
On a recent episode of Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live," model, actress and musician Amber Rose got the chance to ask Cohen the question so many people have wondered over the years: "Are you and Anderson Cooper fucking?"
Cohen, who initially looked a bit surprised by the query, responded, "No. We've never done a thing. We've never even kissed." He continued, "We were set up on a blind date over 20 years ago and it never took. We spoke on the phone once and he said that he could -- I thought the call went great but he said that he could picture me wildly gesticulating and it turned him off. So we never went out but we became great friends. But we've never done a thing. We've never seen each other naked or anything."
So there you go: another one of life's great questions answered and you have Amber Rose to thank for it.
Also on The Huffington...
SEXUALITÉ - Miley Cyrus a fait les gros titres cet été quand elle a révélé sa pansexualité, faisant découvrir à de nombreuses personnes un terme qu’elles avaient peut-être déjà entendu sans vraiment le comprendre.
Mais la pansexualité n’est que l’une des nombreuses identités sexuelles et sentimentales, dont l’hétérosexualité,...
Miley Cyrus sorgte im Sommer für Schlagzeilen, als sie sich selbst als pansexuell bezeichnete und mit diesem Coming Out auch den Begriff der Pansexualität einer Masse von Menschen näher brachte, die davon vielleicht schon einmal gehört, es aber nicht verstanden hatten.
Aber Pansexualität ist nur eine von vielen...
Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with blogger Scout, LGBT HealthLink and researcher Susana Fajardo, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness visit our page dedicated to the topic here.
Covering Trans Healthcare Could Save Insurers $$$
A new study out shows paying for medically necessary procedures for trans people saves insurance companies money long-term 85% of the time. Please clip and mail this study to your local insurance company today.
World Medical Association Releases Trans Healthcare Guidelines
At their last meeting World Medical Association released new trans healthcare guidelines. These guidelines state that all trans people should have the right to affordable, transition-related care and not be subjected to any form of coercive, reparative, or conversion therapy.
Hispanic Immigrant Study Shows High Rates of Bisexuality and Lower STDs
A new study on Hispanic immigrant and migrant men in the U.S. found that 24% had sex with other men. Only 9% of them had been diagnosed with an STD in the past year, lower than the general rate for U.S. queer men.
CA Begins Providing Inmates with Gender Confirmation Surgery
We covered this story as the lawsuit unfolded, now we're happy to say the policy change took effect last Thursday. California now has an official process to provide trans prison inmates with gender confirmation surgery(ies). Advocates are calling this historic and a possible model for others to follow.
Minorities Missing from Academic Medicine
Kudos to researchers for putting out a study to benchmark the level of diversity engagement in academic medical centers, double kudos they included LGBT identity as a measure. Not surprisingly, this new study found that despite diversity initiatives academic medical centers are not successfully engaging with or including their minority staff and faculty members, including their queer ones.
What Makes Therapy Better
What matters to LGBTQ people when looking for a therapist? Researchers found the two most important things were the therapist’s knowledge about sexual and gender minorities and a patient-centered approach. Basically, they wanted to be seen as complex individuals. That’s probably good general advice for everyone.Facebook Analysis Shows Us It's Been a Good Year for Queers
Each week HuffPost Gay Voices and HuffPost Live will take a look back at some of the biggest queer news stories from the past week. Check back every Friday for your queer news round-up in this regular feature titled "QueerView."
Why LGBT People Should Care About This Straight Man's Sex...
Get a jump on Halloween in today’s Huffington Post Gay Voices RaiseAChild.US “Let Love Define Family®” series installment by contributing writer Beth Hallstrom.
There’s a home in Pasadena, California, that is prepared for Halloween most every day of the year. Jack, the five year-old son of...
Did you know that only 22 states require their public schools teach sexual education?
And even in the states that do provide it, the curriculum can be woefully underwhelming and leave out important topics like queer sex and HIV prevention.
So where do teens turn when they...
Miley Cyrus made headlines over the summer when she came out as pansexual, thereby introducing many people to a term that they may have heard before but don't entirely understand.
But pansexual is just one of many sexual and romantic identities that exist beyond more commonly known and discussed orientations like...
Dr. Zoe Peterson, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, believes that for most people, virginity -- and losing it -- is considered one of three things: a gift, a curse or a rite of passage.
But in 2015, is being...
When you start dating someone, how much of your past are you expected to disclose -- if anything? If you don't reveal something, are you acting unethically? And what role does the way society shames and stigmatizes some people for their sexuality play in all of this?
Those are some...
This post is excerpted from the soon to be released 25th anniversary edition of "Bi Any Other Name: Bi People Speak Out" and is available here.
The letter arrived just when we were expecting it. It notified me that I was being drafted into the...
In a recent interview, director Roland Emmerich attempted to explain his baffling decision to make the protagonist of his much-maligned new film, "Stonewall," a fictional twinky corn-fed white cis gay man instead of one of the many non-white transgender people, genderqueer individuals, drag queens, butch dykes and sissy men present at the iconic riots credited with birthing the modern queer rights movement.
"As a director you have to put yourself in your movies, and I'm white and gay," Emmerich told Buzzfeed in what qualifies as one of the most ahistorical, culturally tone-deaf and narcissistic soundbites printed in recent memory. But, sadly, that wasn't even the most ridiculous or troubling part of the interview.
"You have to understand one thing: I didn't make this movie only for gay people, I made it also for straight people," he said. "I kind of found out, in the testing process, that actually, for straight people, [Danny, the lead character] is a very easy in. Danny's very straight-acting. He gets mistreated because of that. [Straight audiences] can feel for him."
:: Shudder ::
As if hearing about Emmerich's inspiration for completely rewriting queer history and erasing the contributions of those who are already erased too often in order to be able to place and view himself in his own movie wasn't bad enough, now we learn he was concerned with making "Stonewall" palatable for straight people. And to make that happen, he apparently thought he had to create a "straight-acting" lead character.
The fact that Emmerich can earnestly trot out the term "straight-acting" (he apparently used it in the production notes for the film, too) with a straight (no pun intended) face (and without spontaneously vomiting up his Fruit Loops) means he's either luxuriously ignorant... or he's just an asshole.
Being "straight-acting," for a gay man at least, is directly related to how convincingly he is able to present traditionally masculine mannerisms. The term is so markedly offensive because its very existence insists that there is a particular, instantly identifiable manner of being gay (defined by effeminacy). And what's more, those qualities are seen as patently unattractive, undesirable and wildly dangerous. Conversely, it then follows that there simultaneously exists a particular, instantly recognizable manner of being straight (defined by "masculinity"). And what's more, those qualities are seen as incredibly attractive, desirable and wholly advantageous -- enough so that gay people would try to "act" in that way.
And there is a long history of straights attempting to straight-ify queer people (and of us trying to do it to ourselves). The performance of straightness is something that gay men have struggled with and against for as long as modern gay identities have existed. Because being gay has been so intimately connected with being effeminate, which was -- and still is -- equated with being submissive, weak and ineffectual. Gay men have been shamed (and attacked and murdered) for any display that does not reverberate with and reflect what our culture has determined is sufficiently masculine. Therefore many gay men have longed for and looked for any means by which they can throw off (or at least hide) the curse of even the slightest hint of effeminacy and thereby be welcomed into straight society or at least fly far enough under the radar to remain relatively unharmed.
I should know -- I was one of them.
I spent most of my young adult life trying to butch myself up. And it worked to some degree: I'm nowhere near the sissy I was when I was growing up. My deliberate metamorphosis was a survival mechanism. I survived. But I still mourn the little faggot inside of me who pretended to be Jem and secretly draped long-sleeved shirts over his head so he could live the dream of having mermaid hair for a few minutes at a time. I miss him. And I wonder what incredible things I've missed out on -- and who I could have been today -- because I euthanized him twenty years ago. But I also wonder if I would still be here -- if I would still be alive -- if I hadn't.
The bottom line is that we shouldn't have to choose between living as exactly who we are and death (figuratively or literally) because our society says in order for us to be worthy and valuable we have to "act straight." Too many queers have bought into this lie for much too long.
And we certainly shouldn't be sold out by our own kind, no matter how good their intentions may be. We haven't fought as hard as we have to ensure that once queers like Emmerich were able to get into positions of power and influence they could turn around and bleach our history while pandering to the very people who oppressed us.
By claiming that in order for straight people to like us or understand us, we need to be like them in very specific, stereotypical ways (or that if we are like them we must be "acting") Emmerich and anyone else who uses the term "straight-acting" -- including the legions of men on hook-up apps whose profiles read "Masc 4 Masc" and "Str8 acting only" -- is affirming all of the lies about who we are (and who we aren't) that we've been raging against for as long as we have been a "we." In fact, isn't this what the heroes of Stonewall were ultimately battling? Didn't they finally say "enough" to the constant tormenting they faced for being different from what society expected and demanded of them? And how stupendously offensive to take the story of these brave warriors and attempt to repackage it so that straight people can find a way to comfortably stomach our rebellion.
It's time we stop using "straight-acting" as some kind of dreamy, aspirational bridge-building tactic or lure. There are all kinds of different ways to be gay and straight (and everything in between or outside of that binary). And while we're at it, how about we just stop trying to act like straight people all together and start acting like exactly who we are? And let's get some sissies up on the big screen. And let's get some more trans people in the spotlight. And let's remember that our community is not comprised of only gay white cis men. Let's tell our stories to each other and anyone else who will listen. And if they won't listen, fuck 'em. If they'll only take us seriously (or won't jail or oppress or exterminate us) if we look and sound exactly like them, fuck them. Seriously! We'll just keep telling our stories over and over again until we all know them by heart and they're so loud and powerful and yes, of course, awful and painful and tragic in parts, but finally so beautiful and true that when we're finally heard -- and we will be heard -- they'll know exactly who we are, what we have been through and why it matters.
There are enough bad guys out there making it hard for us, Roland, without you joining their ranks. There are enough assholes telling us that we aren't butch enough or white enough or safe enough or relatable enough, Roland, without you adding fuel to their already handsomely blazing fire. "Stonewall" is a mess -- but this isn't over: There's still time to ensure this becomes an invaluable lesson for anyone watching now or one hundred years from now. The sooner you -- and all of us -- stop acting and start being honest about who we are and what we've achieved, the sooner we'll no longer feel the need to make the hideous concessions and compromises we're told we need to make to be like everybody else because we'll no longer want to be like anybody else but ourselves.
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