Thursday, July 30, 2015


Dear Straight Men, Come Out Already

Activist, dancer, journalist, and screenwriter
Posted: 07/30/2015 11:39 am EDT Updated: 07/30/2015 11:59 am EDT

Apparently, they called it a "bro-job," which referred to the oral sex the male rowers occasionally engaged in with one another in the showers back in high school. Or at least that's what my friend told me. Neither he nor any of the other guys on the team identified as gay, but according to his reports, they would often hook up post-practice, but "like bros, you know? Not in a gay way."

Every time we talked about it, we always stalemated on the same issues. How can a guy hook up with another and still be straight? Isn't the act of hooking up with and sexually desiring someone of the same sex inherently gay?

Jane Ward may attempt to shed some light on this in her up and coming book, Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men. Crotch-deep in the world of "straight guy-on-guy action," Not Gay explores the ways in which straight men engage in sexual activity with other straight men. According to the NYU Press release, "Ward illustrates that sex between straight white men allows them to leverage whiteness and masculinity to authenticate their heterosexuality in the context of sex with men." [WTF DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?]

But controlling for race, can engaging in homosexual sex really reaffirm a man's heterosexuality? Can being with another man make him more straight? Or is it more like the "one-drop rule" -- one homosexual interaction and you are forever labeled gay? All of this begs and points to the million-dollar question: Is it the act or the person that makes someone gay or straight? And to this, I look to the split between "identity" and "preference."

I believe that there is a distinct difference between "gay" and "homosexual." By definition, homo- and heterosexuality refer specifically to a person's sexual attraction or preference. In other words, it merely relates to whether the individual prefers or is attracted to partners of the same or opposite sex. Meanwhile, "gay" and "straight" are identities or social categories, which can only fully be assigned to an individual when self-proclaimed, either via declaration or coercion. Thus, I believe that a person is not truly gay until "out," or in the worst-case scenario, "out-ed."

Following this logic, I think that an out gay man can have sex with a woman and still be seen as rightfully gay. While the preference and act may be heterosexual, the individual identifies as gay, and identity trumps act. However, as soon as the roles are reversed, everything feels highly suspect. If a straight man has sex with a man, how can he still be straight?

I posit that this suspicion comes from the nature of the LGBT identity as self-selecting. Because sexual orientation is unlike other forms of identity, which are typically seen as inscribed on the body at birth -- race, gender, ability -- sexual orientation and identity can only be known by the individual. You mark it yourself, ideally, if and when you are ready to do so.

At the same time, we live in a hegemonically heteronormative society. What this means is that "straight" is the presumed default. So, while the gay man must internalize, come to terms with and re-present his sexuality back out into the world, the straight man simply has to be born. Everyone is straight until proven guilty.

This puts straight people in a tenuous position, as their sexual identities never have to be proven outside of the act of sex. Which is why, I believe, straight men who hook up with other men are regarded with such sexual suspicion. To the third party observer, these identities have gone unchecked and unquestioned, and because of this, it is unclear if these actions are part of the individual's preference and identity or the beginning of a self-exploration process that may end in a gay declarative.

So, to Ward's Not Gay point, I think straight men can engage in homosexual sex and still be deemed socially acceptably straight, if and only if they too come out -- as straight. Rather than simply accepting their unmarked, default straight identity, they should have to interrogate, work through, accept and ultimately present their sexuality back out to the world.

Everyone should go through this process of self-identification. Think about what you prefer. Why do you prefer it? Are you OK with that? If the answer is yes, keep going. Keep questioning it. Keep rethinking what it is that you like and how it changes. And if and when you're ready to tell the world, do it, unabashed and unashamed.

I honestly believe that if everyone did this, the world would be a more understanding place. Through the process of sexual and preference based interrogation, people would realize that sexuality is a fluid spectrum, with preferences ebbing and flowing through all forms of attraction. And while identity may encompass specific subsets of these spectrums, the mere act of questioning them individually would do away with much of the long held beliefs, assumptions, and prejudices surrounding marriage, partnership and equal rights.

So, bottom line: coming out shouldn't just be for the gays. It should be for everyone -- a coming of age process that all people are lucky enough to take part in. And if you do that and bro-jobs are still your thing, by all means, proceed. No questions asked.

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He gets some things right. But saying guys who have fun with their buddies should be required to go through a process of "interrogating" themselves and declaring their sexuality publicly, that's pretty fucking authoritarian. Leave people the hell alone. That goes for critics on the right, left, middle, or any other perspective. Stop trying to make people conform to your idea of what they "should have to" do in order to be accepted as themselves.

Random Thought of the Day

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gonna be tied up for a while

Not that way. Next couple of days, work projects, deadlines, and people coming together. No, not that way either! But probly not gonna have time for the blog til the weekend, so hold onto it tight!

Joe Santagato: The Whitest Moments In History

One of my favorite faux philosophers . . .

The Man Who Killed the Lion

Lion-Killing Dentist Could Face Prosecution in the US, Extradition to Zimbabwe
by Sean Mandell
July 28, 2015

The Minnesota dentist who allegedly killed Zimbabwe’s famous and beloved Cecil the Lion could be tried in the U.S. or extradited to Zimbabwe.

Outrage emerged on Tuesday as people across the world learned of Walter James Palmer’s reported slaying of Cecil, who was lured out of Zimbabwe’s national park at night, shot with a bow and arrow, then killed, beheaded and skinned.

Cecil was known to have enjoyed human contact and was said by one conservationist to have been, “one of the most beautiful animals to look at,” as The Telegraph reports.

While Palmer’s whereabouts are not currently known, U.S. law would allow prosecutors to try Palmer. However, he would not be tried for killing Cecil but rather for bribing local officials to do so.

Slate reports:

If Palmer did indeed kill Cecil, that’s not a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Under that federal law, it is illegal to “take” (that is, wound or kill) an endangered animal. But the U.S. doesn’t consider the African lion to be endangered—just “threatened.” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed revising the lion’s status to list it as endangered; a final decision is expected in October.) When an animal is merely threatened, federal law prohibits only the possession, transportation, or shipment of the animal (or part of its carcass, as a trophy) across state or international borders. And even if the lion were endangered, the Endangered Species Act probably doesn’t apply to acts committed outside the United States. In other words, on its own, the killing isn’t punishable in America.

Palmer didn’t just stumble upon the lion: According to Zimbabwean authorities quoted in the Independent, he allegedly bribed wildlife guides $55,000 for the honor. And a federal law called the Travel Act forbids foreign travel with the intent to engage in certain “unlawful activities” overseas. One of those activities is bribery. If Palmer traveled to Zimbabwe to hunt exotic species, and planned to bribe guides if necessary to access his prey, that offense would fall within the broad scope of the Travel Act. Palmer could be prosecuted in America for it.

Extradition is also a strong possibility:

The United States has a generous extradition treaty with Zimbabwe, which contains a “dual criminality” clause. Under the treaty, if an American commits an act in Zimbabwe that is illegal under both American and Zimbabwean law—and which is punishable by more than one year in prison—America is “obligated” to extradite him to Zimbabwe (and vice versa). Palmer’s potential violation under the Travel Act is punishable by up to five years in prison under U.S. law; his alleged bribery is punishable by many years in prison in Zimbabwe. His crime thus fulfills the “dual criminality” requirement of the treaty, and America must extradite him to Zimbabwe if the government so desires.

Certainly, many are hoping Palmer will be arrested and tried, whether in the U.S. or in Zimbabwe.

Palmer issued a statement earlier today on the “taking” of Cecil:

"In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have. Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."

Palmer with a lion he killed in 2008.

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Lions are not technically "endangered" under U.S. law but "threatened." A century ago, it's estimated there were 200,000. Now by all counts there are less than 30,000 and the number is rapidly going down. This guy hired (bribed) local professional hunting guides. They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure the lion out of a protected zone. The brave dentist shot him with a crossbow. It took 40 hours before they shot him with a gun, beheaded him, skinned him, and left the remains on the edge of the national park where the lion had lived. They tried and failed to destroy his collar. Palmer's accomplices have been arrested in Zimbabwe. Palmer is in hiding.

Keepin' Cool Pic of the Day

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hot Shot of the Evening

Deserves its own post w/o the usual restrictions . . . click to see full size in the window . . .
then right click to open image in new window for original size . . .

Paint That Pees Back

Urine-Proof Paint Returns Fire On Peeing Perps. Hard partiers, beware.

Andy Campbell, Crime And Weird News Editor, The Huffington Post

In the hot, sticky summers of many of America's cities, the smell of urine can be all too familiar.

San Francisco is peeing back at public urinators by painting its walls with UV-coated, urine-repellent paint, local TV station KPIX reports. The paint is so hydrophobic that it keeps the wall clean and sprays urine right back at offenders.

“We are piloting it to see if we can discourage people from peeing at many of our hot spots,” Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru told SFGate. “Nobody wants to smell urine. We are trying different things to try to make San Francisco smell nice and look beautiful.”

San Fran -- which CNN reports has a bad whiz kid problem -- got the idea from Germany, whose hard-partying city of Hamburg can "smell like a sewer" each morning, said Julia Staron, who organized the city's paint campaign.

San Francisco Public Works has received 375 requests to steam-clean pee-soaked walls since January, CNN reports. Public urination has been punishable by a $50 to $100 fine there since 2002, but the fine has done little to curb the problem.

Walls that pee back just might.

Crews have already painted 10 walls in San Francisco and Public Works intends to expand the program, according to KPIX.

Your move, New York!

Grab Bag Sunday