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View Diary: The most important Coming Out story of the year (147 comments)

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  •  I really do love the fact that he didn't say.... (29+ / 0-)

    ...."I am gay". This is the next stage of coming out -- writing a song about loving someone of the same sex and making plain that's exactly what you did.

    The ability to leave all the cultural baggage of "being gay" behind is wonderful.  Young people now have so many freedoms and I love how they take stereotypes and deconstruct them and construct new ways of expressing same sex passion and/or love without getting out the chisel and stone and writing "I AM GAY".

    •  Exactly. And for a person in his position (23+ / 0-)

      to do it, right on the cusp of stardom, just blows my mind.

      I am unashamedly optimistic right now.  Here's to a bright future.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 10:12:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm from the stone age generation (23+ / 0-)

      All we had we chisel and stone. All we had was that simple message. I love watching this torch get carried on. There's a finish line just around the corner and down the road a piece.

    •  That's one way to look at it. (17+ / 0-)

      Here's another perspective from hip-hop Respect Magazine:

      @Frank_Ocean didn't come out of no closet, nor did he admit to being bi - he just told the world he once loved a man. bit.ly/KTVWXT
      Note the tell-tale use of the word "admit" that always implies something shameful or a crime has occured.

      I wouldn't put words in Mr. Ocean's mouth. And his declaration was lovely and thoughtful and needs no improvement.

      But his conspicuous absence of clear declaration is not something I'd neccessarily cheer. It has this hip hop outlet projecting heterosexuality on him, in a kind of sad denial effort to assert there are STILL no gays or bis in hip hop.

      They seem kind of in denial stage of dealing.

      "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

      by Scott Wooledge on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:01:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True enough, although (16+ / 0-)

        I wouldn't necessarily blame him for what people project onto him.  I have no idea how he self-identifies - or if he self-identifies as anything, for that matter - but I think the approach he took was authentic to himself, and that's important, too.

        For what it's worth, his fellow Odd Future member Syd tha Kyd has talked about her sexuality in interviews (e.g.), and I've had mixed reaction to those, too.  dream hampton attributes it to a kind of inherited homophobia that they can't break free from.  Maybe it's some of that, plus a generational shift in how they approach it, with some good and bad results.  I think that's especially true of, say, Tyler's engagement with homophobia.  Either way they're rewriting a lot of the rules for their own engagement with the industry and with their sexuality.  It's a heck of a time to be alive.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:11:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't blame him, (7+ / 0-)

          Which is why I said this:

          I wouldn't put words in Mr. Ocean's mouth. And his declaration was lovely and thoughtful and needs no improvement.
          But it's also why I'm not sure it something to cheer.

          Sure, in a perfect world it wouldn't matter.

          But in a perfect world people wouldn't project their definitions on him and suggest he wasn't "admitting" to something shameful.

          "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

          by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:51:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess I don't understand (9+ / 0-)

            why it's not something to cheer.  Not trying to be disagreeable; I just don't understand what you're objecting to here.  It sounds like you're objecting to the fact that he didn't say something more definitive in order to curb comments like the one you posted.  If I'm misreading you, please let me know.

            I outlined a whole set of reasons in the diary why I think his decision to set things in the terms he did has paid off enormously.  I'm not going to cheer less because of something someone said on the internet.  

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:00:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am objecting to the suggestion (11+ / 0-)

              made by Bensdad that Ocean avoiding the word gay, or queer or bi (or whatever he'd feel confortable with) is cause to cheer.

              Which is not to say I jeer Ocean doing so. Just remarking on the affect of ambiguity.

              Now Bensdad can project onto Ocean's statement that we've arrived at a new nirvana we're we all now free of the labels.

              And the editor of Respect Hip Hop magazine can project on the situation that, gratefully, no one has yet "admitted" to being gay or bi in the land of hip hop.

              They are both expressions of wishful thinking, IMO, created by the void.

              But, not everything needs to be cheered or jeered.

              Somethings just are.

              "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

              by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:31:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Okay. (18+ / 0-)

                I self-identify gay so I have no problem with the label, but as I tried to argue in the diary, Ocean's route may be having a bigger and deeper impact, despite people projecting into it positively or negatively.

                The labels aren't going away anytime soon.  But if there's a younger generation increasingly comfortable with embracing ambiguity, yeah, I do think that's a good thing, because it's a sign that they're exploring these issues for themselves, and on their own terms. And if this particular act not only moved people emotionally, but has them discussing these ambiguities openly and frankly, I think that's a good thing, too.

                It may all be rendered moot if Ocean decides to 'clarify' his sexual identity in the near future.  But in the meantime he's releasing love songs to another man, and he's doing it without the labels.   He dropped an atom bomb into the conversation, and it's pretty exhilarating to watch.

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:47:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm puzzling over Respect's line (4+ / 0-)

                In what country is it that "t[elling] the world he once loved a man" isn't coming out of a closet?

                Are you sure Respect was projecting heterosexuality on Ocean? Because, where I come from, I can't imagine that working. There was no category for straight men who just happened to have fallen in love with other men.

                I'm not endorsing the view that it was good for Ocean not to identify himself as "gay" -- although I agree with pico that his letter would have been much less powerful if that had been the main point.

                •  I think that Denial (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wayoutinthestix, a gilas girl

                  may be a river running through Brooklyn as well.

                  Ocean described it as enduring for three years. That's a long time for a "not gay, not bi" person to nurse a same-sex crush. That isn't a freshman year infatuation with the coolest person you ever met...

                  "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

                  by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:10:28 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think the point being made is more about labels (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    a gilas girl, Bensdad

                    or the lack of them.

                    Ocean will be labeled as gay now no matter what he says or doesn't say in the future.   That is just the way our society currently works.

                    Let's remember that he didn't have to say anything at all and he really is taking a huge financial and career risk so he can be true to himself and his fans.

                    I think it is very courageous and deserves cheers.   Let the kid do this on his terms and the way he wants to do it.   It is a very personal thing and he deserves the right to do it the way he feels it needs to be done.

                    •  I keep saying this over and over. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      lgmcp, a gilas girl, FogCityJohn

                      Like three of four times now. I have absolutely, 100% no qualms or critiques with anything Ocean said.

                      I repudiate the suggestion I did question Ocean's handling of it.

                      And refudidate it as well.

                      Let the kid do this on his terms and the way he wants to do it.

                      "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

                      by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:51:19 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  My apologies (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Scott Wooledge, wayoutinthestix

                        I re-read the comments (I skim a lot to be able to read more) and I see now that you are worrying that the hip-hop community will still be in denial that they have a homosexual in their midsts.

                        I get it.  Isn't denial one of the first phases of recovery?

                        •  Or just that the fact he didn't (4+ / 0-)

                          put a label on himself is evidence we've moved to a the promised post-gay land where we're free of labels! Yay!

                          You know, like when we elect Barack Obama we moved to a post-racial society!

                          (In fact we don't know why he didn't label himself. Is also possible he was afraid of push back if he was "too explicit" in his declaration? We don't know.)

                          Clearly falls somewhere higher than a Kinsey Zero.

                          "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

                          by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:42:55 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Scott Wooledge, TiaRachel

                            The downside of this Kumbaya love-conquers-all, post-label fantasy is the flipside argument. You know opponents of gay equality and rights will quickly point out, "See, without the restraints of labels, you could fall in love with the opposite sex if only you would open your heart to it."

                            I can cheer Ocean professing he has loved another man, but did he transcend labels or merely avoid them? I agree with you. As honest as his letter is, much is missing. We don't know yet. To claim some new age of post-label enlightenment is premature.  

                          •  I've mostly stayed out of this set of threads (5+ / 0-)

                            because the conversation's drifting a bit, but I did want to add on to what you're saying here:

                            I don't go as far as Bensdad in thinking this is a harbinger of some post-sexual era, or anything like that.  I do think, though, that the nature and content of Ocean's letter is getting people to talk about issues of identity, sexuality, and love a bit more broadly than if he'd said "I'm gay" - and for an industry where the 'ick' factor has been especially strong, it may more constructive for people to be wrestling with the immediacy of these issues rather than the labels themselves.  Like I said in the diary, people had to face his the same-sex love itself, and his vulnerability and hurt, and it paid off in the immediate flurry of reactions.

                            Sure, there's no doubt people who are in denial about the whole thing are going to look for whatever loophole they can to justify it (including, disappointingly, Ocean's producer on Channel Orange).  And a lot of internet commenters have reverted to "he's gay", regardless.  But I think that's a risk worth taking, because the payoff has been so much deeper than it otherwise might have been.  

                            So I'm still very supportive of the route that this has taken.  It's a milestone either way.

                            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                            by pico on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:33:50 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Oh, there are plenty of people (0+ / 0-)

                  who'll tell you that men can be intimate with/fall in love with men and still consider themselves straight.

                  •  OK (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Bensdad

                    I'm not sure that what men consider themselves is pertinent to my point, although certainly it's pertinent to the broader discussion.

                    I will risk an analogy. In the cultural matrix in which I grew up, Barack Obama is black, full stop. It would not matter in the slightest whether he considered himself to be biracial, postracial, or anything else.

                    (For that matter, in that context, I was borderline "gay" for various reasons that had nothing to do with how I considered myself. I was always madly, helplessly in love with women.)

                    •  It was this: (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      lgmcp, HudsonValleyMark, Nowhere Man
                      In what country is it that "t[elling] the world he once loved a man" isn't coming out of a closet?

                      Are you sure Respect was projecting heterosexuality on Ocean? Because, where I come from, I can't imagine that working. There was no category for straight men who just happened to have fallen in love with other men.

                      "A" closet, sure -- but what's unspoken is: "the" closet?

                      Never underestimate the human ability to compartmentalize. Or the tendency to refuse being inside other people's 'boxes'.

                      For a lot of people, 'straight' is 'normal' -- not just in the sense that most people are interested in the other sex, but in all the other things considered 'normal' as well. Being 'gay' (or even bi or 'fluid') is distinctly other in more ways than simple romantic/erotic/etc. interest (and/or action) -- and the role you're willing to play in public is more important, more real, than whatever goes on inside your brain & glands (& assorted). And if you feel -- or if others see you as -- 'normal' in all ways other than the occasional romantic/erotic situation, then (of course!) you're not gay...

                      •  we may be talking past each other a bit (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Nowhere Man, TiaRachel
                        Never underestimate the human ability to compartmentalize. Or the tendency to refuse being inside other people's 'boxes'.
                        I agree with that.

                        Maybe it would have been better if I hadn't quoted Respect's use of the word "closet." Again, my point has nothing to do with how Ocean considers or defines himself, nor with the significance of publicly identifying oneself as gay.

                        My point is that the place and time of my youth -- and, as far as I can tell, to this day -- if a man talks in public about falling in love with a man, many people will construe him as "gay" (or less polite words), period. Who are the public figures who are widely regarded as being straight despite well-known "occasional romantic/erotic situation[s]"? It's a logical possibility -- and maybe it will become common -- but I don't see much of it at the moment.

                        So, whether Ocean "came out" of "the closet" is a fair question, and whether Respect is trying to treat him as a heterosexual with an asterisk (or whatever) is also a fair question, but I don't think they are exactly the same questions.

                        •  Ah. Yes. But what I think is happening there (0+ / 0-)

                          is (maybe) a minority thing -- this guy is 'one of us' so he couldn't be one of them.

                          It's a variant of the grandma/Liberace thing: "but he's such a nice boy."

                          Closets are sometimes enforced from outside -- think "confirmed bachelor", or that one relative whose personal life was just somehow never discussed... no matter how very similar his life is to those people, he's a good guy (unlike them) and one of the family, so of course he's not one of those.

                          Denial, in other words. I suspect both you & I are used to a culture where that sort of hedging is oldfashioned, but it's still around... I suspect especially in communities where the idea of 'community' (esp. in contradiction to a mainstream) is strong.

                  •  They're all over Craig's List. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pico, TiaRachel

                    "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

                    by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 12:20:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I didn't say that. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel

                I am not recommending that we cheer him for what he didn't say ("I am gay"). That's not what I applaud. What I applaud is what he DID say and not what he DIDN'T say. What he said was nuanced, poetic and beautiful -- a portrait of the artist.  I am gratified that he did not simply resort to the shorthand "I am gay" or we would have missed out on the artistry.

                Now Anderson Cooper on the other hand, should probably just get to the point. : )

                By the way, I have had sex with men and I know it's only rock and roll, but I liked it! I hope to have some more although I am probably not going to get any dates from what I have said here. At the moment, though, I would have to say I am a retired gay person!

                But to get back to my point, I think we may be getting to the day when this is no big deal. Ironically, that is because some people MADE it a big deal,  Scott.  You are completely right about that, if I may imbue a point to you that you haven't made explicitly. That's how you buy freedom in the first place. Someone has to fight for it. I fought for it. And since being homosexual isn't always visible, we are all the better for the many who have said "I am gay" or who expressed the equivalent through their actions (as I did). And now this artist has the freedom not to say that. I applaud that freedom, not the fact that he didn't say it.

        •  Queen Latifah (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, a gilas girl, Bensdad

          It reminds me of all the discussion recently around Queen Latifah and whether or not she actually 'came out'.  She is someone else I would consider 'open secret' out in the Anderson Cooper vein.  She performed at some recent gay events but she never said 'I am gay' so she was criticized on the message boards.  

          I have conflicted feelings about whether celebrities need to have big coming out announcements.  I mean, what do we consider a 'correct' announcement?  A press conference?  A interview in the Advocate?  The idea that there has to be a right way to come out makes me a little uncomfortable.  At a certain point, don't we want those kinds of announcements to be unnecessary because everyone is cool with everyone else doing their own thing?  We are no where near that point, of course, so their will still be tongues wagging when an announcement is made.  I guess I just don't feel comfortable with the idea that there is a correct way to do it.

          Mr. Ocean would be an example of breaking the mold.  And I applaud him for it.  Maybe he doesn't identify as gay.  So why should he say he is?  I have a feeling that he is a young man with enough self confidence to create an identity beyond all the labels.

          Meet me in Cognito, baby

          by out grrl on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:07:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I thought the criticism on the message boards (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a gilas girl

            was directly primarily (and appropriately) at those who originated misleading reports to the effect that performing at a gay event WAS coming out.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:26:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Boards (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp, a gilas girl

              The boards I saw were criticizing her for not coming out.  There was a lot of discussion among the women's community on my FB stream as well.  I thought she came out years ago.  In fact I remember seeing an interview where she mentioned living with a woman but she never said 'I am gay' so I guess it doesn't count.  I have never been in the camp that feels we owe it to the community to be publicly out.  To me it will always be an individual choice even though I have been out in my personal and professional life for two decades.  What works for me doesn't work for everyone else.  

              Meet me in Cognito, baby

              by out grrl on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:43:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  No. Do cheer it. (12+ / 0-)

        When I was young I dated women and lived with them. And I loved them. And I loved what I did with them. Then I met a guy who turned me every which way but loose.

        I hate disco, love quiet old-school jazz and the Rolling Stones and progressive ukulele music. Not much for show tunes.

        What am I? Am I who I love? When? Make no mistake about it, I like men and am not bisexual. But if I had to describe myself in my youth I would say I was wayward and indiscriminate.

        I do not feel that because I lie with a man, that I have to openly embrace of all of gay culture along with that.  I never have and I am not the only one. There are hundreds of thousands of us. Maybe even millions, in a world of billions.

        What happens when you make that clear declaration? You put yourself in a cultural prison that could be belied by your very next love affair. Things are much more fluid than this. Allow for that. This young man is the new expression of that fluidity and I applaud what he has done.....and what he has not done.

        I used to tell people, I am only a homosexual when I am in bed. Otherwise, I am just a guy. That is still the way I feel.  And, after all these many, many years of hard work by people who have said "I am gay" this guy can simply say "I felt so strongly about a guy I was with that I wrote a song about him and us."

        Does that mean he will never lie with a woman? There are fifty shades of gay. Let's allow for the expression of all fifty.

        •  The only person I feel stereotyped (11+ / 0-)

          As a gay man, is by you.

          I hate disco
          You put yourself in a cultural prison
          I assure you, I can declare myself gay (or queer, or whatever sets me apart from the assumption of heterosexuality) without imprisoning myself.

          Or reinforcing the idea that what I am is too shameful to speak aloud.

          And I have 40 Licks on my iPod and play it a lot. It doen't make me less gay.

          "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

          by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:56:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I just can't believe it. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel, Bensdad

          Progressive ukulele? Really???

          "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

          by histopresto on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:36:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I really don't get your point. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FogCityJohn

          On the one hand, you seem to be arguing to get rid of labels such as "gay", "straight" and "bi-sexual", yet then you hit us up with

          "Make no mistake about it, I like men and am not bisexual."
          I'm sorry, you don't want to be labeled but then you go out of your way to label yourself and make it clear to us in no uncertain terms how you should be labeled?

          You also give us this

          "I used to tell people, I am only a homosexual when I am in bed."
            I am really glad you don't use that one anymore because I find it really insulting.   It implies there is something wrong with being gay that must be hidden in the bedroom.   What would you think of a man that said of his wife or girlfriend
          "I only love her in the bedroom"
          - isn't that what you are basically saying about the men in your life?
          •  Well, I disagree..... (0+ / 0-)

            .......sexual expression is one thing and emotional bonds are another. We like it when they coincide. If a man says "I only love my wife in the bedroom" he is denying the emotional bond that we expect in such a relationship. That would be ridiculous. But that emotional bond does not always tell us how he expresses himself sexually, and frankly, we don't even really want to know, do we?

            The only proof of that is in the bedroom and there as many different ways of expressing that as there are bedrooms.  We may assume from the fact that he is married that he expresses himself heterosexually in the bedroom. That is not always so, though. The only proof is what happens in the bedroom.  And even that is not the final proof. We don't ask "papers please" and so nothing prevents him from having sex with a man, other than the bonds of fidelity.

            It is much easier from a political standpoint if we require well-known people to present their papers if they are gay. If they take the podium and say "I used to love women, but I got my heart broken by a man, and now I think only another man can heal that, but there is this woman I used to love who is back in my life and now I am kinda tempted to get back with her and see how it goes...."  Well, that is just not politically effective. If he says "I am gay", that works politically, but doesn't describe things very well.

            But at some point we want to get beyond that where the expression of sexual conduct is not the first thing we think about a person anymore than their race would be. That conduct occurs in the bedroom (sometimes!).

            The rest of being "gay" is tribal and cultural. People engage in that conduct all the time outside of the tribe and so may not strongly identify with being "gay".

            This performer focuses not on the sexual conduct, but on the emotional connection he had with that man. I very much like the fact that he focuses on that aspect rather than presenting his papers.  It is touching and artistic and I am glad that we have reached that state in our evolution where we may no longer need to say "Papers, please".

            •  I have no clue what you are trying to say (0+ / 0-)

              in regards to my comments.

            •  I think you're taking this a bit too far. (0+ / 0-)
              The rest of being "gay" is tribal and cultural.
              Look, I self-identify gay and I don't like disco either.  It doesn't mean I stop self-identifying as gay, or disrespect the gays who like disco.   I'm still part of the tribe, and I welcome our diversity in expression.

              Identity's a complicated thing.  Some aspects of it are purely personal and/or biological, some are social and/or conditioned.  That's fine.  Labels can be restraining, no doubt.  But I do think you're overreaching in comments like this, where you try to cordon off gayness into a particular cultural paradigm.  

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 11:20:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The are-you-or-aren't-you problem (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel, Scott Wooledge, Bensdad, doroma

          is part and parcel of a strict (and perhaps necessary) devotion to the born-this-way argument.  

          I've been an out lesbian for more than 30 years, but I still feel like there was an element of choice.  I feel like I could probably have settled for an okay hetero life without doing such great violence to who I am -- I just wanted the very, very most from life.  My best friend from college still identifies privately as bisexual though she's been monogamously married to a woman for fifteen years and goes with the flow of using the public label of lesbian.  She makes the point that when you marry, your sexual orientation becomes defined for all practical purposes by the gender of your spouse.  

          We don't choose our innate proclivities, or how pronounced they are.   But where they are not very decidely at one or another end of the Kinsey scale, well, perhaps in SOME people's case there ARE some decisions involved.

          But that is a completely sepearate subject from stereotyped subcultural expectations like disco for guys and combat boots for gals.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 10:06:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My point exactly..... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lgmcp

            ....there isn't a solid white line with straights on one side and gays and lesbians on the other. People jump back and forth across that line all the time.  Some people are predominately straight or predominately gay or lesbian.

            I am only a homosexual in the bedroom. When I emerge and go into the kitchen, I am something else: hungry.

            And, I wasn't even always homosexual in the bedroom. Saying "I am gay" is a political statement. I applaud the next stage of gay evolution which is to begin letting go of the word entirely, as this performer has.  

            Then we can stop saying "What is he?" Papers please!

            Just as with race, we want to get to the point where it is not the first thing we think of a person.   And no, we do not choose it. But "it" has many variations that the words gay and straight do not express. I think of my homosexuality as situational: when I am having sex with a man, I am homosexual.

            •  For myself I wouldn't go that far. (0+ / 0-)

              My identity as a lesbian, or more than that, as a lesbian feminist, informs all my waking and sleeping hours.  But I feel I had some role in choosing and shaping that identity, it wasn't just fore-ordained for me.

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:16:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Agree and disagree (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lgmcp, pico, Scott Wooledge
            We don't choose our innate proclivities, or how pronounced they are.   But where they are not very decidely at one or another end of the Kinsey scale, well, perhaps in SOME people's case there ARE some decisions involved.
            We certainly don't choose our orientation, no matter where that orientation falls along the Kinsey scale.  I think the decisions to which you refer are not the result of orientation per se, but rather a choice about the object of one's affection.  A person could be completely bisexual but choose to live an outwardly "gay" or "straight" life depending upon the gender of the person's chosen life partner.  

            In such a case, the innate orientation has not changed.  It's still fundamentally bisexual.  The only choice that's been made is to settle down with one person, but that's not an issue or orientation at all, in my view.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:19:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn

              and I basically agree with your analysis.  

              I do think, though, that terminology is so much simpler for the 0,50, and 100 points on the scale.   If someone's innate urges  are 50/50 homo/hetero, clearly they are bisexual, and still if they are 60/40.  But at 70/30 and 80/20 and 90/10, then what?  Obviously whereever you "draw the line", any such categorization is going to be arbitrary, and ultimately it will be up to the individual to select their personal or public descriptors.  In other words, attraction is beyond our control but identity formation is not.  

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:33:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What a sad view of gay culture (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, Scott Wooledge, TiaRachel

          I think you revealed more about yourself than you perhaps intended when you wrote this:

          I hate disco, love quiet old-school jazz and the Rolling Stones and progressive ukulele music. Not much for show tunes.
          So that's what gay culture is to you?  Disco and show tunes?  Did it not occur to you that gay culture also includes Tennessee Williams' plays, Truman Capote's short stories, Susan Sontag's essays and novels, Leonard Bernstein's music, and Alan Ginsberg's poetry?  That you choose to characterize "gay culture" using stereotypes common in our heterosexist society shows you don't really know very much about real gay culture.  It also suggests to me that you may have some unresolved internalized homophobia, particularly as you profess to be homosexual only when you're in bed.

          I think you ought to wake up and expand your horizons a bit.  There's a vast ocean of gay culture out there waiting to be discovered.  Despite what you may think, we don't all love disco and show tunes, and those are far from being the sum total of our cultural contributions.  

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:14:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is important to distinguish..... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nowhere Man

            ....between being culturally "gay" and homosexual expression. That was my point, made broadly through a stereotypical description of gay culture that doesn't seek to diminish it, but just to use a shorthand so we can talk here. There is no question that gay culture is much broader than my tossed off statement. My point remains, homosexual conduct is one thing; being "gay" is another.

            This performer has expressed a gay sensibility without saying "I am gay". I love that.

            And I applaud all those who loudly said "I am gay" that opened the door for him to express this in a more subtle way.  This is progress. I am not going to ask him for his papers.

            •  I see . . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pico

              So you used an admittedly stereotypical description of gay culture but claim that said stereotypical description doesn't seek to diminish gay culture, even though it reduces gay culture to disco and show tunes.  And all of this is just "shorthand so we can talk here."

              Funny, after reading your "shorthand," I don't think you're someone with whom I can carry on any kind of worthwhile discussion of gay culture or of what it means to be gay.

              So I think maybe I should end this here.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:43:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  A look at the calendar today (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FogCityJohn, TiaRachel

            at NYC's Gay Community Center (probably a good barometer of the Gay Community's interests, you think?) shows
            *Toasting seminar to learn public speaking
            *Yoga
            *Book discussion
            *Spiritual group
            *Ice cream social
            *Life coaching
            *Queer Buddhists
            *Seminar on the life of Harry Hay
            *Seminar on planning for parenthood (women)
            *Seminar on planning for parenthood (men)
            *Square Dancing

            I hope people don't let the "gay" label isolate themselves away from the many opportunities participating in the gay community can open up.

            "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

            by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:55:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I really think you're making mountains (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        satanicpanic

        out of mole-hills here.

        Denial runs deep.  When confronted with basic facts, Americans choose to deny things all the time.  Not least when confronted with the complexities of human sexuality.  

        Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

        by Nulwee on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:44:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How am I making a mountain? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nulwee, FogCityJohn

          I just was contributing to the conversation with a perspective I saw (a highly retweeted tweet).

          "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

          by Scott Wooledge on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:32:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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