Gay Hollywood Rant

Gay Pride?

Today the sea in the Gulf of Mexico is burning. Added to the slick of heavy crude oil toxic, jet-black smoke polluting the air we breathe.   The azure, pristine water marred with acrid plumes of shit colored oil.  The marshlands and beaches painted brown, the life there dying because we refuse to doubt our dependence on oil.  It is officially one of the worst man-made environmental disasters ever.

Yet, the massed people of the United States, indeed the world, politely ignored it.  Until now.  Blame is being apportioned, asses are being kicked yet today I will fill my truck with gas and think nothing of it.  I am complicit; I am responsible yet I do nothing.   Nothing.

It is maybe just the analogy I need to explain the human disaster caused by religious based homophobia that causes pain and suffering to those who live in it’s shadow.

Frankly, I don’t give daily thought to the fact that I am part of a community that is routinely demonized just as I choose to forget that hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil spew into the sea.  I have learned to live side by side a huge number of people encouraged to hate me and people just like me because of the way we were born and the sexual preferences we have.

Politically I have sat motionless on the sidelines whilst living in the USA.  I have not demonstrated like I did in London, I have not written to my representative in Congress expressing my outrage at how my rights are diminished or devalued.   I put up with things just the way they are because I feel powerless, that I am just one man with one lone voice against the angry mob.

Nowadays I am resigned, whenever I am with men who do not know that I am gay and say things that are blatantly offensive, to keep my mouth shut.    I do not blame myself for their views but as I grow older I am less likely to defend my community or myself.  It simply isn’t worth it.  I am tired of being the uppity gay.

I am exhausted by confronting inequity and hate in my life and I am scared.  Scared that I will not be able to fully defend myself against their physical abuse.

My entire career as an artist has been to serve the gay community.  My plays and films aimed at men like me.  I have been hugely admired (and reviled) as a filmmaker but even my gay friends do not respect that I describe myself as a ‘gay filmmaker’ a gay man who makes films for and about our community.  They muse that I could have done so much better for myself if I had abandoned my principles.  If I had gone ‘mainstream’.

All I ever wanted to be was a gay artist who uses the language and locations of our gay lives.  I am proud to have done so.  I am proud to have served my community thus.

I wonder how much damage we do ourselves in the way that we choose to be seen?  How can we expect those who loathe us to accept us when we do so little to let them know who we are?

What is my part in the public relation disaster that still prevents fellow citizens from owning and celebrating my existence?  What am I doing in my community to help those angry people understand who I am?   How can I expect the mainstream to accept my demands for equality when I essentially live in a hermetically sealed ghetto?

How can I expect my gay fellow travelers to start reaching into their pockets and paying for a PR campaign that somehow celebrates our diversity when all we are seen to want is the right to fuck?

Call me old-fashioned but the love I have for another man always felt far more subversive than the act of fucking.

How do you say ‘I love you’ to another man?  What does it mean when two men say that they love each other?  Having sex with a man is easy-isn’t it?   That’s why we all do it as often as we do..don’t we?  But to say ‘I love you’ to another man is perhaps the most shameful phrase I ever uttered.   My tongue, swelling in my mouth, choking me..rather than say those three tiny words to another man.

I love you.  I love you.  I love you.

What I know for sure about love between men is that others condemn the sanctity of that love.  That I still feel a vague embarrassment when I am seen to hold another man’s hand in the street.

We, as a community, do not promote ourselves as hopeless romantics but as half-naked sex maniacs.  By doing so we have become unwitting witnesses for the prosecution.   By publicly sexualizing everything we do we devalue what we have.  On Facebook the majority of my gay friends are shirtless in their profile pictures.  When questioned why he was bearing his chest in his Facebook profile picture one erudite gay friend said that he was ‘proud’ of his body and wanted to show it off.  It seems like a simple enough answer but is this what gay pride has boiled down to, our very own hard-fought perestroika reduced to this?

It seems so..undignified.

In West Hollywood there is a large poster on Santa Monica Blvd for a gay removal company; two half-naked men carry a small box grinning broadly.  At the premiere LA gay bar The Abbey there is another huge poster celebrating it’s twentieth year.  Three massively built and tattooed men, one of them mixing a martini on the rock hard abs of another; their naked truncated bodies engaged in what may be fellatio.

It was past this very poster out walking one evening last week when I had a full beer can thrown at me that very narrowly missed my head and landed squarely on my chest.  The accompanying homophobic insults are not worth repeating.

I hated the smell of beer on my clothes and the pain in my heart but I hated that poster far more.  It’s as useful as a picture of happy, smiling Jews counting dollar bills outside the Jewish Community Center.

The way we choose to be seen is the way we will be perceived.  I am told constantly that there are thousands of gay men who do not go to gay bars, who live happy lives in monogamous relationships who work quietly and steadfastly beyond the glitz of the gay ghetto but, amazingly, I have never met those men.  I don’t know what they look like.  I have never seen them, been introduced to them.  If I have never met those men then those who misunderstand us certainly never have.

The acrid smoke and crude oil are coming ashore; it destroys almost everything in its path.   If we do nothing perhaps nature will deal with it, break it up over thousands of years so I don’t have to think about it.  But, irritatingly, I am not that kind of man.   I worry about the herons and the oysters and the dolphins.   I am outraged by the incompetence and greed, just like I am every time my community is attacked because we do so little to let them know who we are, what we are, how we are.

20 replies on “Gay Pride?”


I really enjoyed reading your last blog, as I do all of your entries, but this one in particular because the last third of it really hit on something I’ve noticed since living in LA.

One of my closest friends, since I was 13 back in Texas (he’s in LA now too), is gay. He echoes the same sentiments you have towards the billboards, the advertisements and the Facebook profile pictures of gays. He is one that, while he’s not in a relationship and hasn’t been in one for some time, lives well outside the gay community and will actually vigilantly refuse to set foot in West Hollywood for many of the same reasons that you outlined in your blog. It’s not that he’s ashamed to be gay, he just doesn’t like how a lot of the gays there portray themselves.

I know a lot of blacks get pissed when gays compare their fight for rights to the black civil rights movement of the 60s, but I find it very similar which is why I’m an advocate of gay rights. But I share the same sentiments with the gay movement as I do with the black movement, “be the change you want to see in the world.” The friend I was telling you about, his profile pictures aren’t him half naked. He’s a quiet, confident, wickedly smart cinematographer/producer who is well respected by all of his peers and friends, straight and gay. If rappers and gangsters and such want to keep portraying blacks in a bad light, our stereotypes will never change. I feel it’s the same with gays.

That’s just my two cents, but I feel as if we’re on the same page.

I see what you mean, and I suppose it’s overcompensation for being different. My guess is if they aren’t blatently being sexual, they feel they’re not proud of who they are. It’s silly,of course, when folks should just be themselves and be proud however they choose to express themselves.
But to be fair heterosexuals flaunt it if they got it too. Women dressed scantilly are used in ads all the time to appeal to heterosexual men kind of like handsome guys are there to appeal to gay men.

@Lisa– you’re right and wrong with your comparing heterosexual advertisement to that of homosexual.

Sure, having a scantily clad person of whomever the target audience is attracted to is a way to draw attention to your product. But as an example of what both Duncan and I are talking about, is like back at my University, the poster advertising the Queer Studies class were two topless guys touching each other provocatively.

Going back to my comparing the black rights movement to the gay rights movement:

The president of the United States is black

By FAR the biggest movie star the world has ever seen, Will Smith, is black.

I feel like this has happened for two reasons. The first is simply because the black civil rights movement was a success and I’d say 90% of Americans don’t have a problem with a well spoken, civilized black man. There’s 10 percenters everywhere you go, but as a whole, the Barack Obamas, Will Smiths and Lewis Hamiltons of the world are accepted.

But what if Will Smith was gay? I’m not talking about the rumors of what he supposedly does behind closed doors, I’m talking out in the open, went on Oprah and said “I like men.” Do you think he would be the biggest movie star in the world? No he would not be. People just don’t accept it.

W.E.B. Dubois spoke of what he called “The Talented 10th.” He theorized that the most capable or “talented” 10% of any race were its representatives, and that they were responsible for lifting the rest up in the eyes of the world. He called on young black men to become lawyers, doctors, teachers, professors, etc in order for the black man to gain acceptance with the public.

Blacks found a way to not only make their civil rights movement work, but they also found a way to make a lot of their stereotypes the epitome of “cool” across the world. Seriously, I’ve been around the world and back again and black urban culture has infiltrated every corner of this world from how people dress, to the music they listen to, to how they talk, walk…

Unfortunately, today’s black talented 10th are not doctors, lawyers, and professors. Instead of talented 10th, it’s become “most visible” tenth. The black race, in the public eye is not represented by its doctors, lawyers and professors, but by the rappers an athletes who are always in the news for all the wrong reasons. It makes me, a young black man, pretty upset, but unfortunately, as I addressed in the previous paragraph, this talented 10th has made America’s number 1 export not software or oil or financial services– but “cool.”

To continue my analogy, where is the gay “talented 10th?” That is what gay population needs to have a successful movement: a visible group of sophisticated, talented, well spoken men like our buddy Duncan here, to lift them up and show the world “hey, we’re not what you would have us be. We’re human beings too, we deserve to be able to have families, we deserve to be treated just like anyone else.”

Or at least that’s what I think… feel free to disagree.

Totally agree. The portrayal of articulate, intelligent, compassionate and strong black men and women in film and TV has also had a subliminal impact on how the “mainstream” culture sees them. Not the just the cool but the powerful and smart. My question would be, where are the positive portrayals of the LGBT community in film and TV? Why aren’t such TV shows and films being made by the LGBT community to inseminate the subconscious of the mainstream? Why are there so few voices speaking out about the issues that Duncan brings up and if no outlets — even gay outlets — want to put opinions like his out on the airwaves, why isn’t there picketing like there was during the civil rights movement? Where are the boycotts? Where is the collective voice of the community?

Hi Metal,
Now I know this is silly, but I was remarking to my mom the other day while watching a rerun of The Office that the gay character in that show isn’t the stereotypical gay character in a sitcom. I guess you could say it’s a very tiny step in the right direction.
Hopefully soon things will get better. At least I can pray it gets better. We are progressing little by little in the USA.

Hi Teddy! Wow, thanks for what you said. You’re right.

i hope one day in the not too distant future, gay people will be shown in the top 10% of actors/role models.

I think with the election of Obama,though, maybe African-Americans will be shown as more than rappers and athletes (mind you, being a rapper would be awesome….esp. back in the 90s when they still turned out good songs). There are many African American authors should be in the top 10 percent and I think they are. Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Maya Angeleou are all household names.

I surely hope so, Lisa 🙂

I love Lee Daniels… but I’m still holding out hope I can be the first black director to win an Oscar 😀

Any positive portrayals of a previously marginalized group in mainstream media and the promotion of talented artists plants positive seeds in the minds of the larger culture. Just as you were saying about the character in “The Office”. If you rarely. if ever. meet members of a minority in person, seeing positive portrayals on TV in the safety of your home can make a difference in how you think about them.


You said, “My entire career as an artist has been to serve the gay community. My plays and films aimed at men like me. I have been hugely admired (and reviled) as a filmmaker but even my gay friends do not respect that I describe myself as a ‘gay filmmaker’ a gay man who makes films for and about our community. They muse that I could have done so much better for myself if I had abandoned my principles. If I had gone ‘mainstream’.” Damn. How sad for your so-called friends and how incredibly hurtful to you. The only thing that I can say to that is that sometimes the “outsider”, who is an artist, is better able to see the truth that needs to be shown, whether through art, theater or film. If you aren’t comfortable in your niche anyway, you are less likely to censor yourself in order to be able to stay there. Unfortunately, some people do not want to see the truth. They sleep and don’t want to be awakened. You are a wake-up call in a big way. You speak your truth and you strive to be authentic. In a world of artifice and in-authenticity, you are a swan amongst bedraggled ducks.

“Call me old-fashioned but the love I have for another man always felt far more subversive than the act of fucking.” Love is ALWAYS subversive. Love is one soul seeing another soul. Homophobic “others” don’t see your soul and aren’t in toch with their own. If they did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation as a country and as a world. They are all about just the sex. But then why is that a surprise? Our Western culture is all about sex. Hooking up. Hitting that. Pretty bodies, empty minds and unfulfilling sex. I was all for free love when people were at least somewhat kind to each other. When “The Joy of Sex” described sexual encounters as sex “play”. Strangely, in many ways, a more gentle and innocent time.

In talking with a woman friend, I said how horrified I was that the idea of sexual freedom and empowerment for women has turned into being a useful commodity for fellatio and maybe genital sex. Yes, I said “commodity”. It’s not about the pleasure of the woman or mutual sexual pleasure anymore. It’s about girls feeling compelled to give oral sex to boys. The worst parts of the demi-world of prostitution have invaded our freaking middle schools.

I am not against prostitution per se, but I am against ANYTHING that dis-empowers and degrades women, wherever they are. Illegal prostitution does not empower women. It empowers the pimps. We don’t celebrate prostitutes who control their sexuality and empower themselves. We don’t talk about the use of sex and the temple prostitutes who helped in the attainment of higher states of consciousness in ancient times. We celebrate pimp culture. The use and abuse of women and men for power and money. What a surprise since this world has been all about power and money. Not what you ARE. What your soul shines forth but WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE. Surface. Artifice. All hat and no cowboy, as they say. Is it a surprise that this mainstream infection should make the gay community sick? There may be apartheid but cultures still crossover. How sad is that?

Either, the subculture becomes well and inoculates the mainstream culture which infected it to begin with. Or the mainstream culture heals itself and it filters into the subculture. Because like it or not, unless you grow up in a commune, we all START OUT in the sick, greedy, unconscious, media led STILL patriarchal mainstream malaise that is the US of A. And the UK. And Western civilization.

Enlightened souls create a tipping point. Even when you were unconscious to yourself, your soul was able to make itself heard in small bursts. Now, your new found authenticity and your bravery in living out loud add to the power of the Light to wake people the hell up. And drive out the darkness. Erase it like the insubstantial shadow that it has always been. It only seems solid and real and threatening because WE GIVE IT POWER!

I carpet bomb tweeted and retweeted the following today after reading your blog. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King | STAND UP, PEOPLE! Just reading @duncaninla’s blog post about feeling paralysis in the face of the BP disaster & the ugly current of homophobia in US & world. Damn, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed in the face of this crap. But just think MADD & Megan’s Law. ONE PERSON did that. BE THAT 1 PERSON. “BE THE CHANGE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD!” In your busy day, make 1 phone call, send/forward 1 e-mail, recycle 1 can, buy bio-fuel. Choose paper not plastic or better yet, get your own reusable bags. Donate 1 damn dollar. Donate 1 damn dollar 2 Gulf clean-up, Audubon Society, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund. Volunteer 1 day a month, 1 day a quarter to environmental causes, cleaning up waterways. Do something POSITIVE. If u must bitch & moan, do it to Congress to protect environment. Call BP HQ. Shame them into paying Louisiana volunteers. Following strict drilling regs. “BE THE CHANGE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD!” Do u have gay relatives/friends/co-workers? Next time u hear a homophobic joke, stand up. Do u have gay relatives/friends/co-workers? If u hear hate preached, say Jesus loved ALL. Ask yourself y u see marches against homosexuality but not against sex before marriage? Ask yourself y u c marches against homosexuality but not against adultery? Watch Jerry Springer? Maybe it’s because we r willing 2 extend Christ-like tolerance to some but not to others? How hypocritical is that? White-washed sepulchers. WE R ENJOINED BY GOD 2 LOVE EACH OTHER. 2 judge not, lest we be judged. 2 forgive others, as we wish to be forgiven. 2 clean our houses 1st. Homage 2 Elvis: “A little less conversation, a little more action, please”. | A little more tolerance & a lot less judgment, people! Remember that adulterous woman wasn’t stoned because Jesus said 4 the person w/o sin 2 cast 1st stone. Guess anti-gay people must b saints. Guess anti-gay people must b saints. NOT. Saints don’t use hate speech. Saints don’t physically threaten people. SAINTS LOVE. If adultery & fornication r major sins but we can treat those who commit those sins w/gentleness & civility, y allow the apartheid of gays? We r all sinners. We r all in the same boat, asking humbly 4 forgiveness & mercy. Y do we allow our relatives/friends/co-workers to suffer? Y do we tolerate hate speech? Y do we want 2 continue social apartheid? Laws against fornication r off books. Adultery, 2. Y r gays targeted? U don’t ask the teacher/lawyer/accountant if they’ve had sex before marriage or if they’re an adulterer. Y do u worry if someone is gay? Fornicator/adulterer is more likely 2 break up your marriage or go after your girlfriend/boyfriend than someone gay. Y the double standard? Another 1 of the 7 deadly sins… GREED. Let’s go THERE. Who’s more likely 2 destroy your financial present/future? Someone gay or greedy? Unless your financial planner, accountant, stock broker is a gay & GREEDY SOB. But then the gay part really doesn’t factor in, does it? Next time you point your finger at someone else in judgment 4 “sin”, remember that there 3 fingers pointing back at u. Clean YOUR soul 1st.

I got pissed off and fired up because of YOU. I’m all of 5′ 1/2″ but when I get pissed off, in my heart, I’m Andre the Giant. Adrenaline kicks in and I don’t give a fucking rats ass. My mouth may write a check my body can’t pay off but that will never stop me. Go ahead and hit me for TALKING. I’ll sue your damn ass and get you thrown in jail to boot. [Hopefully, it won’t come to that. 😉 ] I try not to come off bellicose but damn if I’m not going to be aggressively assertive. I don’t have many followers but I don’t care if they get made at me. Maybe a few of them will add to the Light. Maybe they’ll retweet. Maybe they’ll wake the hell up. YOU HAVE AN EFFECT, DAMMIT! You feel powerless because you keep telling yourself that crap. QUIT FUCKING TEARING YOURSELF DOWN!

There are enough assholes out there without you jumping on the bandwagon to dis-empower yourself. In your wounded heart you may be 2 and at the mercy of a brute BUT IT’S A LIE! You are a strong, empowered man with a beautiful soul. OWN IT! The people that you meet in heaven, that you’ve had an effect on, that you never knew will blow you away. And you’ll say “I did THAT? I created that geometrically increasing wave of enlightenment?” And God will answer, “Yes. Yes, you DID. And YOU ARE LOVED FOR IT.” BELIEVE IT.



Thank you. As to length, a writing teacher told me to read Hemingway and write shorter sentences. (I was reading Proust around that time.) I still did well in the class but as for the the advice/criticism… :).

Yes M’am, Its ok D you can come out from behind the armchair now, It’s safe.
Amanda, you rock.

Thank you. Degradation of the environment and the suppression, marginalization and attacks upon the gay community have just enraged me, ever since reading about how Technical Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, who served 3 tours in Vietnam, was awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, and then was kicked out of the Air Force when he came out. On his tombstone is written, “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”. He was a hero and he was treated dishonorable by the military and this country. It brought me to tears. Thinking about it still does. Maybe because my parents were military (MP & Army nurse). I’m not sure.

This is the most beautiful of your blogs, it feels sincere with so much sentiment. I feel the same way What am I doing to improve things at the Gulf? I almost fainted with anger today speaking to my Dr. of how upset he was about the Gulf spilled. I said to him is only greed, and he replied no. you are wrong!!! We need the oil! We cannot live in an acquarium. shit happens!! You just believe what the liberals say. I was speechless although he is a Dr. he is ignorant, compasionless and hateful. It feels futile to fight ignorance specially with people who feel superior and are on top. I feel completely hopeless. Needless to say I feel your pain.

You’re both right. And wrong. Disregard of safeguards on the rig because of the concern over money is greed. Our dependence on oil is our own stupidity and a national security issue. And if the oceans die, it won’t matter if we have oil, because we’ll all be dead anyway.
We had the oil crisis in the 70’s with long lines at gas stations and all we did was make smaller cars with not even great increases in gas mileage standards. We had the Exxon Valdez disaster and still no better safeguards and not better oversight for oil drilling. 50% of our energy comes from coal & miners die because of lax safety & health standards. Plus we’re blowing the tops off mountains and polluting the water in the surrounding area. Who paid attention to drilling in the Gulf until now? And there are more oil rigs out there.
The computing power that put a man on the moon is now available in a laptop. But in 30+ years, we haven’t come up with better ways to use solar, wind & geothermal energy. Because when thing’s were good, and gas wasn’t at 4+ dollars a gallon, no one gave a rat’s ass. We had warning after warning but we didn’t listen. Karma’s a bitch. Maybe this time, we’ll get the message.
There’s a catch phrase from an old cartoon: “We have met the enemy and he is us”. Sad but true.

This is the dilemma of the gay community. In one way demonized, misunderstood, and attacked because it is seen as “other”. But then the gay community and with me I am speaking mostly from a male perspective has bought into the advertising, the hype, the ingrained misconceptions of what it means to be a gay man. Think back years ago and one had to go to some hidden dark place in order to meet another whether it was a restroom, a seedy bar in the wrong side of town, or in some dark bushy area of a park and afterwards that dark lonely feeling of unworthiness crept in. So we lived with the belief that we were deviant sick. And the oil of this belief is still sadly ingrained in the minds of many. Therefore so many of us by into what it means to be a gay man. And what is that? A hot body, great smile, a nice cool place to live, and sex at the touch of the enter button. Celebrate, good times, come on!

And yet so many of us desire more but get on the treadmill of today. Trying to look better and fell better about ourselves and our lack of real involvement with others. Our lack of love that many of us have for ourselves or the belief that we will never ever truly love. This oil this darkness has a way of covering us without anyone really noticing saying hey something is wrong here, help me, help us get out of this mess. But we get up to go to work to go the gym listening to our IPOD and texting on our IPhone or some android device, looking at grindr, “hmmm he is hot and hey he is just, omg he’s right now next to me!”

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