Category Archives: Gay stuff

The day homophobia died

I will never forget that day. How much we sang, how we danced. Once the clouds had cleared, the sky seemed to be the brightest it had ever been, and bluer than blue.

We could hardly believe what was happening, could we, do you remember? Our hands kept covering our mouths in a mixture of shock and elation that this day had finally come, especially with it coming so soon after racism had magically disappeared, with anti-semitism, sexism and misogyny before it. We’d had to wait until last so we could finally be the community we always should’ve been, no longer turning on and othering those who didn’t quite fit our narrow view of what it means to be gay, to be part of the LGBT movement. Boy, were there some hand-wringing thinkpieces about that, remember? Intolerance clung on for dear life, right to the end.

How clever of them, we said, to make everyone  – straight and gay and everything in between – take the magic cure, so there couldn’t be a trace of hate left in any corner of the world, no vestigial glimmer of intolerance to ruin it for everyone.

All of it gone, swallowed in a second with water holier than any you’d find in a font. And the ones who wouldn’t take it simply disappeared, evaporated into air – because why would you want to be in our world if you wished to see the hate live on? They were gone, mere ghosts, and as we celebrated, it was like all those who died in the name of homophobia were with us again, dancing among us. We smelled their scent and heard their laughter, like music, and they whispered to us that they were glad we hadn’t forgotten them, that we had continued to fight, because today was our day.

Had we ever danced so well? Had food ever tasted so good as it did that day? We couldn’t be sure. We’d never know now, because nothing on that day felt like it had before – all was new, refreshed. We ate and drank the imppossible. Gorged upon it.

Our eyes had never been so wide with joy, we had never been so happy. As we all hugged each other in the street, our limbs were streamers, our mouths klaxons, and our favourite music played. Straight people came up to us and said they were sorry and how glad they were it was all over, and we could all just be free and be there for each other and how nothing else mattered because all the hate had gone.

Some friends messaged us to say they were finally coming out, because now there was no need to be frightened. Nobody would spit at us anymore, or whisper behind our backs, or tell us we were worthless because of who we loved and how we had sex. We would not die for this anymore. It was all over.

And then you kissed me, right there in the street. It felt like no other kiss we’d had before. It felt so full and free, so passionate, and we kissed on and on because we now knew there’d be no repercussions, only the good-natured ribbing of mates saying “Get a room!”

Eventually when we could dance and laugh and celebrate no more we tumbled home to the flat we shared, the home we’d feared might never be ours because of our sexuality – that we would put off the estate agent giving it to us. We were exhausted and hysterical from the bliss of it all, but we didn’t want to sleep, to admit the day was over. We always wanted to feel like this. So we stayed up and talked and watched it all over again on TV and wished everyone we’d loved and lost could’ve been there to see how this was the best day ever.

Finally we fell into bed, our arms around each other, eager for the rest of our lives to start, knowing we were safe for ever, that the world wanted us, that we were all equal – our stupid, idealist hearts barely comprehending the history that had been made. And all for us  to see.

I will never forget that day. I still dream of that day.

I will always dream of that day.

Image: Flickr

Sadly, this is a work of fiction.

 

Gay men and the promiscuity ‘problem’

When you first come out as gay, one of the very first things you might do is reject the notion of homosexuality entirely. This doesn’t define me, you may think, these are not my people. You may even joke you’re the only homophobic homosexual you know.

You’ll rail against the stereotypes; you’ll complain the behaviour of other gay men is damaging your own experience. You won’t live your best life because you simply don’t know how yet. This is all so common, so expected – which must be painful to hear for everyone who thought they were the only ones to feel this way – that it could be mapped out as stages on a chart as you track your progress along the gay pathway. You may hurt yourself and hate yourself because you feel you should, before anyone else – be they straight or from the very community you’re so desperate not to be a part of – has the chance to hurt or hate you first.

You want to be accepted, to show you’re not a threat, not like the others, and because being gay is linked to sex, that’s the first thing you attack – and it’s usually the sex lives of others who cop the fallout. Continue reading Gay men and the promiscuity ‘problem’

Picking Kylie’s best song? There will be blood

If you want to start a fight with a gay man, I’d advise against it. We may come across as sissy or weak to your untrained eye, but we are much tougher than we look. Years of defending our right to dress like a princess, or trying to avoid getting killed on the football field at school have hardened us. We are not to be messed with.

But if you really *do* want to have a barney with a gay bloke, especially one of a certain age and demographic, then the easiest way is to tell them what your favourite Kylie song is. And then maybe chuck in an inflammatory word or two on what her worst track is. The fur will be flying and your head will be rolling down the road faster than you can say “impossible princess”.

It’s hard to say why Kylie is important to a lot of gay people, because she means many different things to everyone – liking Kylie is a very personal thing. Even those who have left her music behind still like the idea of her. The world is a better place with Kylie in it, and whatever she’s doing, it’s always good to know she is out there somewhere doing it. Continue reading Picking Kylie’s best song? There will be blood

Yes, straight men at my gym, it’s true – I’m secretly in love with you all

There are secrets and betrayals we must take to the grave, as to utter them would cause untold destruction. There are opinions we can never admit, secret crushes we can never act upon, and sworn enemies blissfully unaware they are at war, because nobody says it out loud. But I cannot hold back this confession any longer. It burns inside me, a raging fire that will consume me unless I finally get it out in the open. And it’s all for you, straight guys at my gym. At last, the truth: yes, I am in love with each and everyone of you.

I’ve been going to the gym now for over a decade on and off and, I have to admit, I’ve fantasised about every single straight man I’ve ever seen close to collapse on the stair master, or retching with effort taking on a full load of weights at the lat pulldown. You’re just all so fascinating, so inspiring, in your own way that I, a gay man, am simply powerless to resist your charms.

Let me count the ways in which I adore you. Continue reading Yes, straight men at my gym, it’s true – I’m secretly in love with you all

The strange case of the phantom gay uncle

It’s funny, the future you imagine for yourself when there is so much of it in front of you. When you’re young and in a circle of friends and you’re all, essentially, at the same point in life – financially, emotionally, romantically – you idly think it will always be this way. Midweek drinks, partying on a Friday and/or Saturday, meeting up for lunch/still going at it on a Sunday, before all trudging back to work on Monday with heads low and tails between your legs, waiting for the cycle to begin again.

But of course it cannot, and should not, always be this way. It’s hard enough to get served at the bar as it is, without entire generations of mates refusing to grow up. Only two or three of you in a group get away with that, and it’s usually the gay ones. Why? Well, until fairly recently, the traditional milestones, the trappings of heterosexual life, didn’t apply to us. We didn’t get engaged, we didn’t get married, children weren’t a particularly easy or common things for us to do – so we had all this freedom, acres and acres of it stretching out in front of us. Free to go wherever or do whatever and be whoever. We don’t have to grow up if we don’t want to. Although many of us do now do fall into line. Sometimes I suspect it’s out of sheer boredom than anything else.

Now, of course, we can marry and have children of our own, instead of the dog or cat substitutes earlier incarnations would have had to settle for, but if following that path isn’t really of interest to you, you can feel like you’re being left behind by the straights.

One by one, the hetero friends in my circle have peeled off in the direction of wedded bliss, pregnancy and moving away, leaving only a few of us here in the cold, hard metropolis, jostling for space on the Tube, dashing through the streets with our cardboard coffee cup, tweeting. Continue reading The strange case of the phantom gay uncle

13 reasons we hate hookup apps – and why we should maybe think again

We all love a good old whinge about dating apps, don’t we?

As a gay man, especially, it can be very tempting to blame all society’s ills on them – be it an increase in superficiality, the death of romance or body insecurities. We romanticise a time before Grindr when, in our heads, we all met up in public and cultivated beautiful, caring friendships and relationships in cosy little bars with rainbow flags above the doors.

And then it comes. “FINALLY deleting this horrible app!” they say. “I want to meet men the old-fashioned way,” spits a 22-year-old who’s been on the receiving end of one-too-many “hello m8″s and unsolicited dick pics. But the thing is, the old-fashioned way doesn’t really exist anymore and if it did, you’d be even more miserable. Take for granted the freedom apps have given us at your peril. They’re changing lives.

Before the internet came along, being a gay man could be a very isolating, confusing, and heartstoppingly sexless experience. Grindr and its desktop predecessors may have changed the face of gay culture, but they haven’t made it worse. The same things are going on, it’s just that the journey to them is different.

I’m not saying you’re totally wrong, or I’m right – we’re all a bit wrong. Here’s why: Continue reading 13 reasons we hate hookup apps – and why we should maybe think again

Broverload – where have all the men gone?

The older a gay I become, the fewer straight men I tend to hang around with. It’s not a conscious uncoupling from my boob-loving brothers, but most of the ones I knew have either moved away, or got married, or had children or all three. We keep in touch, of course, but with a few exceptions, it’s mainly through their wives.

As for making friends with new straight men, other than online through Twitter, that too has challenges. I write for a gay magazine, so not too many heteros hanging around there, and most of the other work I do is in an industry that’s teeming with gays or amazing women. The straight men I do encounter are very nice, but keep a professional distance. Even those my age or older have got their very specific issues to deal with: children, mortgages, their other straight male pals. And as for the younger ones, they’ve got their own cliques and befriending an older homo whose cultural references need a serious software update probably isn’t high on their agenda.

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But of the straight men I do still know, not one of them would want to be considered a “bro”. What is a bro anyway? When did we start talking to and about straight men like this? When did we treat every straight man who’s never bought a pocket square like a dumb teenager? Continue reading Broverload – where have all the men gone?