My dilemma sounds a lot like the movie “The Object of My Affection.” You know, the one where Jennifer Aniston falls in love with her gay best friend, played by Paul Rudd? Well anyways, my problem is that I have a huge crush on my guy friend. He’s wonderful, sweet, and shy. We can talk about anything with each other. The problem, as you probably guessed, is that he’s gay. Well, actually, he’s just very confused. Lately, he says he’s been experiencing an attraction to other men, and this really concerns and scares him. But I’m completely in love with him, and I don’t know what to do. He thinks there’s also a chance he’s bisexual. Should I be hoping for this? Is it possible to have a meaningful relationship with someone who’s attracted to both sexes?
I try to be supportive, but a friend of mine is really beginning to tax my patience. She has fallen hard for a long-time friend of several years. Spending all their free time together, they are virtually inseparable. All their co-workers and family and friends fully expect them to get married. My friend thought that they would, too. So of course, something happens: he reveals to her that he is, in fact, gay. He has not come out but lives a double life. So now that he has entrusted her with his secret, he torments her constantly with every detail about his latest love exploits, even though he knows how she feels about him. What is worse is that he uses her as a cover–he has gone so far as to tell people that she is his girlfriend in order to keep his sexuality a secret. My friend goes along with it and rationalizes by telling herself, and me, that she doesn’t care what people think. If she doesn’t mind participating in this deception, it is not my place to say. But it does bother her, and she is calling me all the time to complain about it. It is always the same story. Of course she refuses to confront him, but continues to call me about it. She might as well just periodically play a recording of herself to me at this point. I have told her that she needs to decide what she wants and just stick by it, but it has become evident that she would prefer to do nothing and complain. I cannot tell her what to do with respect to him, but I appeal to Breakup Girl to help me figure out what I can do–I can’t stand to hear the same story over and over anymore–and it’t not like I have time to kill, but I also don’t want to abandon her–she has not discussed this with anyone else with the exception of one individual, and those discussions just ended in shouting matches.
Filed under: issues, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:27 am
I know that not everyone thinks It Gets Better is the best response to anti-LGBT bullying. I understand the criticism — it’s facile, it’s privileged, it misplaces responsibility — and even agree with much of it. But I’m still a fan of IGB, not as the response to anti-queer bullying, but as a response among what needs to be more and more, at individual and societal levels. That’s why I like Hillary Clinton’s contribution (h/t Andrew Sullivan) as an addition to the mix. She (appropriately, for her position) makes it not about you the sufferer versus them the mean kids, but about civil — American — society, how far it has come, and what it demands. Yes, it’s on the bullies to desist and the queer kids to keep it real, but more than that, it’s on all of us.
And it’s on all of us not just to give miserable kids hope for magical “later” land when they get to graduate and move to Seattle. It’s on us to help them — and continue changing the culture — now. Some less in-the-headines folks who are working to make it better, today:
Gay issues have been in the news a lot lately, from the debate over same-sex marriage in Congress to a sickening rash of gay-bashing here in New York City. We see a lot of emotion out there, instead of information, and we wanted to provide some data-based context on sexuality so that people might make better choices about what they say, think, and do.
We run a massive dating site and therefore have unparalleled insight into sex and relationships. Here’s what we’ve found, in numbers and charts…
Their data-based results include: gay people are not out to bed breeders, gay people are not “promiscuous” (even on a dating site), and a whole lot of people are gay-curious. (BG: Possibly, in some cases, those who are gay-furious.) Anyway, just go read it. It’s quite important, and also very funny. That’s it. I just wanted to give the report, and its mission, an even bigger high-five than I could in 140 characters. VOTE CUOMO!
Filed under: blogs, issues — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:09 am
In Internet years this is ancient already, but I wanted to make sure that the ten of you who haven’t seen this yet did. Truly moving, and possibly live-saving, it’s Dan Savage’s You-Tube-based It Gets Better project. Savage wrote:
Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates — classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself….I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.
But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay — or from ever coming out — by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.
Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.
And so we are. Watch (and upload your own?):
H/t Marjorie Ingall (w/whom BG shares mixed feelings about Dan Savage. But not in this case.)
It’s the National Sex Ed Week of Action! Now with PRIZES! (For the first reader who emails me with answers to the quiz below!) But first, a quick true or false:
• The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among the world’s developed nations.
• According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one in four teen girls has a sexually transmitted infection.
• Half of sexually active young people in the U.S. will contract a sexually transmitted infection by age 25.
• Approximately 750,000 teenagers in the United States will become pregnant this year.
• The health care reform bill included a renewal of $50 million per year funding of abstinence-only education for states until 2014.
• This Op-Ed by an Atlanta teen about the importance of comprehensive, accurate sex ed is awesome.
Answer key: TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE.
Which, now that we’re all riled up, brings us to the one with PRIZES!Planned Parenthood of NYC, BG’s local affiliate, is giving away a package of safe-sex goodies to the BG reader who emails me with the correct answers to all five of the following (at least peripherally) sex-ed related questions. Pencils ready?
1. In how many states is it still illegal for an unmarried heterosexual couple to live together?
2. What was the name of the first daytime television show to feature a same sex wedding?
3. What famous female advocate founded the first birth control clinic and later founded Planned Parenthood?
4. Japanese love pillows, which usually decorated with life-size animae characters are called what?
5. What species was the famous gay couple who raised an offspring named Tango together?
On stands today: Riverdale’s “hot new guy,” who’s gay. Yes, that Riverdale, home of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and now Kevin, who is really, really, not interested in Veronica. As comics fans first heard in the spring, “the most mainstream, Middle-American comic book” — which last made headlines with a good old-fashioned traditional marriage — has now officially gone the way of, well, actual communities with gay people in them. Win.
What’s extra-cool here, as Barbara Spindel reports in the Daily Beast, is how — how mellowly — the gayness is presented and framed. “After Kevin and Jughead enjoy some homosocial bonding at a hamburger-eating contest, Jughead warns the new kid that Veronica isn’t likely to stop pursuing him until he returns her flirtations. ‘It’s nothing against her. I’m gay,’ Kevin explains nonchalantly, showing how much more casual coming out has become since the X-Men superhero Northstar made headlines in 1992 with this clunky announcement: ‘For while I am not inclined to discuss my sexuality with people for whom it is none of their business — I am gay!’”
Also, Spindel notes, the fact that he’s gay does not become the plot. Instead, it gets absorbed right in as the basis of some true-to-Archie-world hijinks: “Far from being labored, Kevin’s coming out feels entirely relevant to a comic book about how teens relate. What’s more, Parent uses Kevin’s sexuality as an ingenious plot device that fits seamlessly within the well-worn Archie narrative. ‘Kevin is going to tell her that he’s gay, but Jughead tells him not to because he enjoys seeing Veronica making a fool of herself,’ [veteran Archie artist Dan Parent] explains. ‘Everyone knows he’s gay except Veronica. Betty doesn’t push it because she realizes if Veronica is chasing Kevin then she’s got the time for Archie.’”
Setting aside my only concern — Veronica’s gaydar clearly needs to go into the shop — what I also like here is the reminder of connection made between gayness and wholesomeness (if, indeed, wholesomeness is to be considered a worthy goal). Gay here (and in real life) does not (necessarily) equal subversive, alterna-, Adam Lambert, or “worse.” Why, the gays fit right in, see? That’s what always puzzled me, in a certain way, about the whole gay marriage thing. It’s like, “People. We scared you when we were flamboyant and counter culture. Now we’re trying to settle down, just like you, and you’re really freaked out?!”
Speaking of marriage — and perhaps the best news of all — Archie Comic Publications editor in chief Victor Gorelick noted to the Daily Beast that protest was much more vociferous when the news broke that Archie would marry Veronica. Perhaps we can look forward to seeing Riverdale celebrate the wedding of Kevin and, I don’t know, Steve?
You may know him from “How I Met Your Mother” or “School of Rock,” from his popular YouTube channel, or from his critically acclaimed, extended-run show at Hollywood’s Celebration Theater. Or you may know his sidekick, Lucas Coatney, from season 3 of Idol! He’s Ryan O’Connor, a self-described “big fat gay singing Kathy Griffin, and his big fat gay singing show, “Ryan O’Connor Eats His Feelings,” is coming soon — very soon — to a cabaret near you.
The show tells O’Connor’s life story through song and gab, covering his childhood and adolescence in conservative Arizona, his relationship with a Mormon ex-college-football star from Salt Lake City, and his lusts for everything from food to theater.
Our own Amy K. caught up with Ryan as he was preparing for his national tour’s June 7 launch in San Francisco (that’s Monday night!):
AK: Are gay breakups different from straight breakups?
RO: The truth is, gay breakups just tend to be more dramatic. But I’ve also noticed that the transition from boyfriend to friend is more prevalent in the gay community than the straight community. My boyfriend and I are always going out with exes of mine or exes of his. Truth be told, they’re usually his — I’m not as good at it. My breakups tend to be more abrupt. Besides, it’s not my favorite thing, if I’m going to be completely honest. I feel like if you’ve cut it out, really cut it out. That’s part of the magic of crossing that line — knowing that once you cross it, you can’t go back. If I’ve been naked with you, I can’t un-see you naked. And with my boyfriend’s partners? I try to be the bigger person, but I can’t help but be like, “you slept with it?”
AK: I know what you mean! I have my husband’s ex-wife to contend with!
RO: Oh, that’s even worse! Not only did you sleep with it or live with it — you married it! That’s one of the blessings of not having gay marriage — not having ex-husbands to deal with.
AK: Well, speaking of — what did you think of the Prop 8 experience here in California?
RO: It was so surprising, when the Supreme Court even made that ruling in the first place, and it came as a total shock to most of us. I was single at the time, and suddenly there was this right we didn’t know what to do with. We were all aware there was this tiny window of time when we could get married and have it be legal, and it felt like there was tremendous pressure to partner up — now! It was like a giant game of emotional dodgeball.
Then when Prop 8 went through, it was such a letdown. It all happened at once. I was at Obama’s headquarters in Century City here in LA, and it was this huge ballroom where all these giant TVs were showing the announcement that an African-American had been elected president. And on this tiny TV in the corner with about 15 gay and lesbian men and women huddled around it, and that’s where I found out Prop 8 had gone through. So there was all this hope on one side, and disappointment on the other. But never fear. A lot of people have had their consciousness raised by this. I think California will have gay marriage by 2011.
AK: I’ll take that bet. You talk a lot in your act about being a compulsive overeater. What’s that like on a date?
I’ll tell you, I’m so fortunate because my boyfriend is what you might call a chubby-chaser. Though that has its own complications: if someone loves me for the thing I hate most about myself, could I lose the man I love just by getting skinny? I’ve learned to love myself in a whole new way because he loves my body the way it is. And I have to, too: because if I can love myself at any weight, dropping pounds is just icing on the cake — no pun intended!
AK: What’s the show like?
It’s called cabaret, but I’m going out of my way to make it accessible to people who’ve never been to cabaret in their life. Even though it’s very specific, it’s completely relatable — it’s called Ryan O’Connor Eats his Feelings, but it could just as easily be called John Doe Drinks his Feelings or Tiger Woods Fucks his Feelings. Because it’s about learning to feel your feelings through music and laughter rather than whatever addiction you have.
To me, it doesn’t make sense that cabaret is not as popular as standup. They’re both storytelling. Cabaret should be as mainstream as Kathy Griffin or Dane Cook. It just takes a few people getting out there and starting it.
Click here for Ryan O’Connor’s full tour schedule!