Friday, January 06, 2006

Some Gay Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorillas

Okay, you big apes, so you may not be gay yourselves. Please don't hurt me. But here you are, in the middle of our very tastefully-decorated living room, and so deal with you we must. At least eventually. Am I allowed to hope...?

Sometimes we undermine our own credibility. Not every negative perception of the GLBT community is the fault of redneck bigots or fanatical preachers.

I have never been able to understand, when I read a gay and lesbian magazine supposedly geared for "mainstream" readership, why there has to be an ad showing a naked hunk -- hands down inside his underpants -- or something mind-numbingly similar, on every other page. I say this not because I don't like looking at naked male hunks, but because ads like these no more belong in "mainstream" magazines than gorillas do in living-rooms. Publications targeting heterosexual or general readership would not think of accepting advertising even a fraction as sexually-explicit. If straight people want to see stuff like that, they've got to go look in a porno rag.

Do not tell me, puh-leeze, that GLBT magazines need ad revenue wherever they can find it. Every potential advertiser's dollar is as green as that of every other, yet no "mainstream" editor will touch blatantly sexually-explicit advertising. It's called HAVING STANDARDS. If we were more critical of this sort of nonsense, those who sell ad space in GLBT publications would learn, sooner or later, to seek out their clientele elsewhere.

I am embarrassed to leave copies of gay and lesbian magazines around where my straight friends and family might see them. Since I've been "out" to the entire universe, now, for the better part of a decade, it certainly isn't because I'm afraid they'll find out that I'm a lesbian. But every time some poor, unsuspecting soul happens upon one of these "mainstream" magazines or newspapers, I must once again explain that I've got to get my news pertaining to the GBLT community SOMEHOW. The look this usually earns me is the same one straight guys get when they claim that they read Hustler for the articles.

There was a scene on the sitcom, Ellen, in which somebody came into a bookstore asking where a particular nationally-circulated GLBT magazine might be found. "Try the porno section," the clerk grunted. This was supposed to be outrageous enough to be funny. Too bad there are so many otherwise open-mined folks who would agree with him.

Politicians won't support us if we don't support them. To this assertion, you might reply, "Well, duh!" But you'd be surprised how many gay and lesbian voters still haven't learned this elementary-school-simple lesson.

I can't imagine why John McCain, generally reputed to be a solid and straight-shooting guy, decided to turn on our community by changing his mind and supporting a ban on same-sex marriage. There was a time, not too very long ago, when he stood staunchly in our corner. Gee...d'ya think? Scratch your heads for a while over that one. Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that the overwhelming majority of gays and lesbians would vote for Satan himself before they would vote for a Republican -- ANY Republican!

One of these days, maybe your average concerned gay voter will learn enough about how politicians think to realize that nobody is going to take a risky position without some real promise of a reward. Our cause is still so controversial than even a lot of the Democrats are deserting us. Maybe those Log Cabin types, who warn that we must make the political parties compete for our votes, aren't such self-hating losers after all.

I will vote for a candidate who stands up for my rights as a citizen. I don't care if he or she is a Republican, a Federalist, a Whig or a Bull Moose. I stop short at Satan. But when you look at some of the fiends gays and lesbians are helping keep in office, it's all too obvious that many of them don't.

You won't meet That Perfect One by placing a personal ad. Gays and lesbians use the personals a fair amount of the time, and understandably so. It's far more difficult to meet Mister or Miz Right when you are gay, and the pool from which to draw is considerably smaller. Some of the time, you really do meet worthwhile people through personal ads. As someone who has been known to peruse them myself, I am in any case hardly in any position to ridicule them.

You may or may not find the love of your life by reading the personals. But one thing is for certain: you will get a very good laugh. You might end up meeting the man or woman who's just right for you. What you will NOT find is one who is perfect. Nor, of course, will they get any closer to perfection when they meet you.

Therein lies the problem. Anybody -- gay or straight -- who's gorgeous, keenly intelligent and successful enough to rate perfection, in just about anybody's book, gets snapped up much too quickly to ever think of resorting to a personal ad.

The "Women Seeking Women" section (about which I am a particular expert) is almost always thigh-slappingly hilarious. Everybody is dainty, petite, sexy, Olympically-physically-fit and -- of course -- "femme." And they are always seeking exactly the same. Now, whenever you use words like "butch" and "femme" around me, to describe even the most theoretical of living and breathing human beings, I automatically subtract fifty points from my estimation of your I.Q. Some women are, indeed, more feminine than others, and there's certainly nothing wrong with being more attracted to feminine women. But if you are so wrapped-up in yourself that you can't be bothered really getting to know the essense of another human being before writing them off with some shorthand brand-label, then you truly are a Shallow Hallie.

For the record, I seem to be what is generally considered a "Soft Butch," and I actually prefer something of the same. I hope that breaks at least a few dainty, petite, sexy, Olympically-physically-fit "femme" hearts.


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