Archives for posts with tag: Shaftesbury Avenue

Fire Island Pines

1.

The thrupple, along with the cult of Daddy, was a recurring theme throughout the summer.  Three men glued into a happy relationship, usually two older and a younger man working out the sort of relationship most people (straight and gay) may find not only convenient but very rewarding.

My friend W met and fell for a couple he met on Fire Island.  They have since become a thrupple.   I like the word… don’t you?  It’s easy on the lips… like wimple, one of my favorite words.   Robert arrived from London with his two boyfriends.  My friend Fernando lives with two men in one large bed in LA.  This, of course, is not new.  Derek Jarman introduced me to three beautiful boys who lived on Shaftesbury Avenue in the early 80’s.   I was entranced.

A relationship with one person I find nearly impossible.  The idea of loving two men… well, that’s just greedy isn’t it?  The cult of Daddy suits me just fine.  The older man mentoring and investing in a younger man seems to have a superb historical provenance.

“He’s a semi gay, he needs my help to open a gym on Long Island.  He’s very happy to see me and spend time with his girlfriend.”

The big winners in this recent gay perestroika have been bisexual and more sexually fluid folk.  Curiosities become realities.  The beginning of a seismic social shift across the west.  A shift the ‘other side’ is desperate to quash.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

This sexual revolution, because that’s what it truly is, is not allied to any left-wing or socialist principle like it is in Europe.  American male entitlement and arrogance is built into the process.  ‘I can have what I want when I want it.  If they are getting something good… I want it too.’  The gay white male lifestyle with its glamour, easy money, few rules of conduct, lax morality, social mobility etc. is very alluring to many young heterosexual men.  Especially the poor, the disenfranchised and the beautiful.

Gay men have learned to communicate with them, welcoming straight men into our lives without shame or fear of violence.  They come to us for advice and succour.  We appreciate the time they spend in the gym, the product they buy for their hair.  They luxuriate in the attention, yet baffled by compliments.

Straight women rarely compliment men.  They never tell them how good-looking they are nor praise what they are wearing.  Straight women seldom acknowledge the effort straight men have made… instead, expecting men to praise and compliment them.  A stray compliment from a bold gay man is so unexpected straight men blush like girls.  Only a moment, we hope, before a blush melts into something hot and heavy.  If only for a moment.

2.

The political conversation has shifted for thinking gays in the USA.  Conservative organizations like the HRC lead by the lamentable Chad Griffin are forced to become more radical.  They achieved their wish for some partial, piecemeal marriage equality, although the legislation is hardly a road map to equality for all Americans.  Women and black people are still undervalued and vilified second class citizens in the USA.

At dinner last night, three gay men and three lesbians.  Between us we could not identify one female leader of industry.  We could not identify one black leader of industry.  The CEO of Yahoo was the closest we got but we didn’t know her name.  The other woman mentioned was Martha Stuart but her name unleashed a torrent of misogynistic invective from an older gay man.

I got to thinking about the Third Reich.  We were discussing Yom Kippur, we were discussing the Germans.  We were discussing the gays in the concentration camps and it suddenly dawned on me.  The answer to a question that had bugged me for decades… how were there so many gay men in the SS yet the camps were full of gays and lesbians?  Of course, we are seeing the same thing now.  An elite corp of rich, white gay men with profoundly right-wing values who would gladly imprison people like me with radical, left-wing ideas.  The concentration camps were full of undesirable gays.  The trannies, the butch dykes, the trouble makers who didn’t see things Hitler’s way.

No wonder the trans community are fighting particularly hard to be recognized, respected and their freedom to be acknowledged.  Yet, unsurprisingly there is a push back from elite white gay men… as if the trans are spoiling the party.

Remember as you celebrate your so-called equality… it is still possible to be fired from your job  for being a gay or lesbian if you live in one of 35 states.  In 45 states you can be fired for being a transsexual or by redefining your gender or simply wearing clothes that are generally supposed to be worn by the opposite sex.

The elite white gays are not interested in trans people, black people (unless objectified and used as living sex toys), women, poor people or inclusively.  The moment they achieved some sort of parity they turned their backs on the coalition of outsiders who helped them achieve their equality aims.

My idea of hell:  A White Gay President.

Last night we cooked dinner, we ate pork.  We walked to the tea dance.   Later, I looked on-line to see what was going on.  As I lay in bed I wondered how long it would take for the right-wing gay elite to look upon left-wing noisy gays… the anti-establishment truth tellers as undesirables and start freezing them out.  Throwing them into jail, silencing them?   Like they did to Peter Tatchell in the UK.

My guess is, this is already happening… my guess is… this is happening to me.

Int 2

Occasional unfinished notes on becoming Queer.

There’s a difference between gay and queer.  Just like there’s a difference between chocolate and carob.  It looks the same, and used the same but tastes completely different.

Queer: sexual minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary

The older I get… the queerer I become.

I’m not even sure what it means.  But I’m sure that gay no longer describes what I am.

I am not a married drone operator living with my husband and three surrogate children who secretly wishes he could vote republican… and did… once… because nobody was watching.

Nope.  I’m not that and I’m not headed in that direction.

I remain teachable.  My wagon remains unhitched.

Listen, I’ve got a secret I want to share with you.  One I don’t think I’m meant to be sharing.  A secret that might very well discredit my public shift away from gay toward queer as my description of choice.

My description of me.

I feel so let down, betrayed, dishonoured by gay men.  Yes… you.

One day in early December this year I will write the genesis of my change.

This intellectual menopause.  This change.  This perestroika.

Remember:  from the very first play, to the very last film I have sought to make entertainment that re-examined, revealed, remade the gay experience.

I have won endless awards doing so.

My crowning moment was being nominated for a British Academy Award.

Betrayed:

I was used to being told by straight people that if I wanted a career I should stop telling gay stories.

I was not expecting this:  Gay people told me the same thing.  In fact, they (with vehemence)  told anyone talented and gay to live the lifestyle but don’t expect to tell stories about it.

They said,  “You don’t want all your hard work… marginalized.”

They said, “You don’t want to miss out on the big bucks.  You don’t want to end up like Derek Jarman?  Do you?”

My heart sank.  That’s exactly what I wanted.  Back then.  When I relished telling people I was gay.

Derek Jarman.  He was the only film maker I thought worth aspiring too.  That’s how it was back then.  1985.

So, I found him.  Sought him out.

We met on The South Bank in the shadow of the Royal National Theatre.   Denys Lasdun‘s great, neo-brutalist monolith

We sat outside overlooking the Thames.  Gray clouds scudding over the greatest city in the whole world.

Gusts of cold grit blown over us.

He bought two cups of badly stewed tea served in thick Styrofoam cups.

I handed him the Caravaggio catalogue I had bought after seeing the show at the Met in NYC.

“How can I help?”  He asked.

I said, “I want to make a film.”  I was embarrassed.  I was star struck.

He said, “You will. But, you want my advice?  Remember this: Never take no for an answer.”

We talked about Tilda Swinton who nobody really knew back then.

He told me about a young tousled man he met in the street.  A builder.  The builder came up to him on Shaftesbury Avenue and said, “You’re that gay film maker, aren’t you.”

Well, he expected the worst.  It wouldn’t be the first time he had been beaten by a stranger but he looked him in the eye, straight in the eye and said, “Yes I am.”

Ten minutes later the beautiful young man was naked, towering over him.  Blowing a load.

That’s a queer story.  It’s not gay.  For a start, a gay wouldn’t have told the truth.

Secondly, a gay would have been too scared to take a big straight acting blue-collar worker back to his prissy apartment.

The gays.  God.  You were right.  It wasn’t worth it.  Making those plays, those movies.

Yet, I’m still here.  Sitting in my huge bed in California.

Good taste and tenacity will always make you enough money to enjoy a great life.  Where ever it may take you.

The gays betray each other.  They have no respect for themselves or each other.  Perhaps it was me?  Perhaps I had unrealistic expectations.  You know, mutual respect, support, honor?

I remain curious.  Even though I am sure of what I am.

P.S.  Tilda Swinton saw my film AKA at Sundance.

My agent threw a party for her and me in some crazy restaurant.

We talked a great deal about Derek that night.

He was right.  I never took no for an answer.

I begged and I borrowed and I stole to make a moment in my life that no one can ever take away from me.

Not even the gays.