Archives for posts with tag: ACLU

I’ll never recover from my love of LA.  However badly it treated me.  I will never forget our ill-fated house in Malibu.  The restaurant at the end of the pier.  The Jacaranda, the delicate pepper trees, those tall palms glistening like cellophane when the rains finally came.  Have you seen Pharrell’s video for his song Happy?  That’s how I’ll remember LA. The light, the streets, down town Los Angeles, the fat and the thin.  Looking heavenward, remembering why we moved there armed only with dreams. Pleading for security, good traffic, and a god who loves us even if the dream slips further from our grasp…

When I left LA I earned more money than I ever earned.  What foolishness made me give it up?  Fear.  The same fear I had in NY and no longer feel here in Europe.  Fear of the speeding bullet, the rogue cop, fear of mud slides, wild fires… and me.

Last week I purged almost all the white, American gay men from my Facebook friends list. When I announced I was doing so… Facebook banned me for a week.  Thank you Big Brother, no Facebook means no compulsive checking.  I didn’t recognize any of the gay white American men who claimed to know me, or I had friended because I am weak and colluded with the notion the gays gather as many other gays around them as we possibly can so we may perpetuate the myth of gay solidarity.

According to Facebook, this declaration to purge unknown faces from my FB page was hate speak.

I was an unwilling participant in an anonymous gay web.  I don’t know the 50 people we have in common.  I don’t want to know the 28 mutual friends.  The 42 people who don’t know each other more than passing their clone on Robertson, Old Compton St, Commercial Street or Ocean Walk.  Lives as the gays chose to document on FB, so utterly boring, so stultifyingly limited.  Haunting the same locations, using exactly the same language we used 50 years ago… and on… the perpetual hunt, the same miserable polemic.  One hundred thousand likes for a shirtless picture.  A million Instagram followers for the most perfectly honed of them.

Recently a young gay man, beset by righteous indignation, complained to his 5 thousand followers his profile pic had been stolen and used on a well-known dating app.  I wondered out loud (amongst the commiseration) why they had bothered stealing the image?  The picture they appropriated was so utterly boring, so drearily identical to any number of equally dull gay men.  There was nothing distinguished or vaguely fascinating about the stolen photograph.  My comment caused OUTRAGE.

Their outrage is misplaced.  The gays are so often angry but unwilling to take action. Emboldened by changing laws: each new generation of gays relive their very own glasnost, embracing ersatz activism.  Their muscle drag and occasional militancy leads nowhere.  Built like warriors, Spartans… fucking not fighting.  Marching in the gay parade, holding their radical (campy) signs high above their heads then… a few hours later it’s back to the soupy hot tub for more identically built/identically aged/undressed… perpetual strangers.  Cock first, talk later.

I seemed, during my time in the USA, to know two types of (repugnant) white gay men:

1. Semi aquatic gays who hang out in hot tubs and swimming pools.  Boasting on-line about their open relationships, their poly amorous lives, one assumes they are ok smelling the stench of other men’s cum over their husband’s perfectly sculpted bodies.

2. Then there are gays like John Derian, the fay New York based purveyor of knickknacks.  Publishing pictures of their grand houses, their grand friends, their holidays in equally magnificent surroundings.  They need me to know what they eat, how they dress their surrogate children, how they arrange flowers and prepare the canape.  These gays have open relationships built on mergers and acquisitions.  Choosing men as they choose tuba roses at the farmers market.  As far from love and monogamy as one can get.

The purge is complete.  The result of this time-consuming exercise?  My feed as dictated by Big Brother’s algorithms is now more representative of who I am. People I know in the world posting pictures of things I want to look at, asking questions I can answer, engaging meaningfully with me.

Good God!  I knew so many white, American gays, fledgling proto fascists.  Echoing fake news, convincing one after another what they want to us all to believe… amplifying easily digestible myths then greedily consuming them like protein bars.  Post by post confirming their collective denial of what the gay community has become and where the community is headed.

During the election the noise of the myth makers in the pink echo chamber became deafening.  Everyone, of course, claimed to know Robby Mook, Clinton’s gay campaign manager.  Armed with their exclusive Robby Mook whispers they convinced themselves and others Hillary Clinton was unassailable.  They believed everyone was thinking just like them.  The violence I suffered at their hands when I told them bluntly they were wrong… was worse than any abuse I had ever suffered from any heterosexual homophobe.  As it turned out, my take on the gay community was right… they were indeed wrong.  Trump won.

I heard, via my own sources, Clinton beat Mook on the chest, crying and wailing…

Now the gays are right behind the liberal ‘reds in the bed’ narrative. Unquestioningly wedded to the dream of impeachment.  Telling each other it’s only a matter of time before Trump is gone for good.  They shyly, foolishly ask their friends on Facebook if another election will take place? After all, they bleat, we won the popular vote… even if the Russians lost Clinton the election.  Their muddled polemic evolved amongst their good-looking selves on social media. Like in needle point class they stitch the narrative of their dreams as if it were true.  Trump will be impeached they chant, Trump… is not my President!

My most violent confrontations on social media seems to erupt when I challenge American gay white men to explain how, as they claim, if they were hypothetically living in Nazi Germany would they take on Nazis? Contrary to their stringency most of the white gays I know would have willingly signed up to become Nazis… like most Germans did, to save their scrawny asses and of course wear the fabulous black and gold Gestapo uniforms.

My friend Bettina’s father, he lived in Germany during the war, told me he only heard about the concentration camps from annoying conspiracy theorists.  The sort of people one didn’t want to believe.  He was genuinely shocked, at the end of the war, to see the truth.

Few people are brave enough to challenge the regime under which they live. Most American white gays are incredibly comfortable.  What would motivate any them to up sticks… unless forced to?  Until the knock on the door.  The stench of unwashed policemen in the kitchen demanding ‘papers’.  Looking for evidence of homosexuality. The gays would hang on ’til the last-minute… until the authorities came looking for them.

The dumbest gays think in 1930 they would still enjoy the connectivity they enjoy today… their mobile phones and the internet. They think they would have access to a large group of similarly minded people, their mutual friends on Facebook. They do not understand the isolation of the activist.  Activists in 1930 constantly wondered if they were the only human alive who thought the system… the regime was wrong.  They were scared to articulate thoughts and ideas with others for fear of being arrested.  Even gay or lesbian friends could not be trusted… lgbt friends regularly turned acquaintances over to the party for punishment.

Activists are often annoying, their message difficult to hear.

The pink triangle worn by gay men in the German concentration camps was the worst of all the badges… because it so often lead to violent and unexpected death from both guards and other inmates, the Jews in the camps would kill a gay wearing a pink triangle as easily as the Nazi. The Pink Triangle became something to aim at by bored soldiers looking for something to kill.  Alan Davies the well-known and well-loved British comedian, lived in Whitstable whilst at Kent and Canterbury University.  We knew each other but we were not particularly friendly.  He wore a pink triangle badge into The Neptune pub in solidarity with the gays… yet continually indulged in casual and not so casual homophobia.  He enjoyed his white heterosexual entitlement and when I challenged him to take off the badge he angrily determined it was his right to wear the triangle regardless of a gay man telling him he had not earned the privilege.

In the Neptune Pub I was told with sneering contempt marriage equality would never happen in my life time.  Sadly, I believed them.  However hard I fight, I thought, I’ll never live in a fair and equitable world.

When I made a fuss others insisted it didn’t matter.  Making a fuss = activism.

Physically and verbally attacked for articulating (complaining) the iniquity and injustice gays endured every day.  Made my friends feel uncomfortable.

Complaining = Activism

I wore pale blue overalls in LA County to determine I am gay.  For all the world to see. There can be no mistaking what you are.  They like to know exactly what they are dealing with… the authorities.  Making me wear a pale blue uniform taught me a huge lesson.  It flagged to the others:  I am what you see me to be.  I no longer enjoy invisibility.  You will never let me forget my vulnerability.  I am at your mercy.  I learned what it was to be black in the USA wearing those overalls. My human rights lawyers assigned by the ACLU… Barry Litt and Lindsay Battles, perhaps the most ghastly people I ever met, never really understood how egregious the uniform was.  They didn’t understand much other than their own egos.  I hated them.  I hated being around them.

I left the USA because I could no longer excuse how many innocent black men were murdered by the police paid by my tax dollars… and I asked myself: what would it take for me to think enough is enough and the first plane away?  How could I justify living in a country that exploits vulnerability in all?  All Americans I know, republican, democrat or progressive, buy into this version of capitalism:  VULNERABILITY equals OPPORTUNITY.  It is their DNA, add this to their inability to own up to uncomfortable historical facts about race and the people they displaced to live in the USA… and you have Donald Trump’s America, no different from how it always was but now the mask has gone.

Trump is going to be here for a long time.  Get used to it.  Nobody cares about the Russians, nobody cares if Trump is a fucking idiot. Everybody is now fully committed to the drama, the intensity of his high-octane reality TV style presidency.  And get this, after his second term you’ll be voting for Ivanka who I assure you will be the first female american president.

Of course, not all gay white men believe we live in an unfair society.  Since the wobbly supreme court equal marriage determination (so easily overturned) some white gay men think they are equal… the fight has been won.  Even with Trump as president they convince themselves they are no longer vulnerable to exploitation.  They are wrong.  I am the annoying activist you don’t want to hear… to remind white American gays the battle is never won, the freedom you think you have is being eroded at this very moment in some back room at the Whitehouse in a deal between rabid Christians and some crazy Trumpista. We must always stay vigilant.  Our battles fought honestly, not forged in the Supreme Court but in Congress and the Senate for all the world to see.

 

Orange1.

The ACLU 2012 Bill of Rights awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.   I sat with my lawyers Barry Litt and Peter Eliasberg.

We ate stewed pear salad, grilled chicken and for dessert they served a strange, solid cake.

During the dinner they projected various videos describing the work they do for Homeless Veterans, Immigrants Rights, The LGBTQ community.

Of course the work I have been contributing to was just part of what was projected.  I was incredibly proud to be asked to stand in front of the 1000 or so people and introduce myself.

Will Ferrell, Jay Roach, Ermin Chemerinsky and Jane Lynch all spoke beautifully on behalf of the ACLU and their various causes and friends.

During the interval both Usher (the singer) and Scooter Braun (2 million twitter followers) took the time to introduce themselves and congratulate me.

Of course, as usual, not one gay person, including honoree Jane Lynch made themselves known to me.  The chasm that exists between me and the gay community in LA was even more evident than usual at this event.

Only last week the gay ‘director’ Guy Shalem texted me telling me that I deserved to be in jail… mocking the time that I had spent there, telling me that I only had friends I made in jail.

Guy Shalem is a gay Israeli fame-whore who lives in Los Angeles.  I met him at some grimy gay party in the Hollywood Hills last year and he subsequently invited me to Griffith Park for a walk the following day.

The conversation on the mountain centered around his visa problems, his inability to make relationships work, his celebrity friends and his desire for younger boys.

He complained that Outfest were sniffy about his short film.  When I saw it I understood why.  “Bruce Vilanch is in it.” He boasted, “They should love it.”

After all, he’s obsessed with celebrity… why shouldn’t Outfest?

So, it was mildly shocking to see Guy at the ACLU event. Wearing a bad suit and even worse shoes.

He had seen the video lauding the work we are all doing for those held on spurious ICE holds.

He heard the applause I received when they asked me to stand.

He heard Hector Villagra, head of the ACLU talking publicly about my personal bravery and commitment to the ACLU.

Guy is the perennial plus one to any gay celebrity.  Last night, yet again, he was with Jane Lynch.   He saw me, headed toward me and shook my hand.  Apparently forgetting the vile things he said last week.

I told him in no uncertain terms how and what I felt about him coming up to me.

He motioned to his ugly short gay friends lawyer Aaron Rosenberg and his ‘husband’ that this was worth watching.  They snickered, like vile bullying children, behind my back.

Let’s face it, Guy was only there for the free dinner and to stand with his famous friend and hope to ensnare other famous people with his puppy eyes and his maudlin sob stories.

The point of the evening was completely lost on him.

After I walked away from Guy other honorees came up to me and offered their hands.

One of them, an elderly female philanthropist  said, “We are like kindred spirits, you and me.”   I was so touched by her generosity.

So many kind people… not one of them gay.

2.

There was a moment in Beverly Hills recently when my body decided enough was enough.  7am, Beverly Drive, walking the dogs… I fainted.

The last thing I remember:  kicking a fresh pine cone.  The next thing?  I crashed to the ground painfully twisting my wrist under the weight of my body.

Dude, my fat red dog ran away as fast as he could.  The Little Dog stayed beside me as loyal as any dog can be.

I probably should have seen a doctor but, like my Grandmother and my Mother, a visit to the doctor is the last thing I do willingly.

It took an hour or so to persuade Dude to come back to me.  For the rest of the day he looked at me differently.  Like I was a  stranger.