Showing posts with label Gay Issues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Issues. Show all posts

September 27, 2019

When Being Gay Is Not A Big Deal (Two Sides of The Argument)


Earlier this year, Andrew Sullivan, one of the earliest and most influential intellectuals to advocate for gay marriage, argued that “a gay politics was necessary only so that we could eventually get beyond politics, and live as our straight brothers and sisters do, with our sexual orientation being a nonissue in our wider lives.” He urged a posture of “just getting on with our lives, without our sexual orientation getting in the way,” calling that “the sanest approach to being gay, seeing it as an integral but by no means exhaustive way of being human.”  
Those words came back to me this week as the producer Richie Jackson told the origin story of his forthcoming book, Gay Like Me, while being interviewed at The Atlantic Festival. He began writing after his son came out as gay at age 15. “One of the reasons I wrote the book is that he thinks being gay is not a big deal. And I think he doesn’t think it’s a big enough deal. That’s where our tension is,” Jackson said. “I think being gay is the best thing about me. It is the most important thing about me. It is the blessing of my life. And I want that for him.”
These approaches to gay identity exemplify of a more general phenomenon: Every identity—of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, political party, profession, and beyond—encompasses members who prefer a thick approach to that marker and others who prefer a thinner, or thin, approach. That preference is complicated whenever an identity is subject to oppression. 

“Some might say that this is progress,” Matt Thompson, the interviewer, said. “That the fact that being gay is just one dimension of many identities your son could claim––”
Jackson cut him off.
It cannot be that we have fought back centuries of being stigmatized by religions, that we have fought battle after battle with our government, that we have disappointed our parents, all just to get our liberation so that we can say being gay isn’t a big deal. That would be heartbreaking. It would be devastating. I don’t want to celebrate being gay just one day at the end of June every year. I want to be able, every day, to say this is why I am as successful as I am, why I have a beautiful family—this is how I think, this is how I feel, this is how I crave. It all comes from this well of my gayness. If we’re going to get to our liberation just to say gay is just a matter of fact, then we’re colluding with our adversaries.
An audience member followed up.
“I'm the mother of an 18-year-old who has two moms,” she said. “He is profoundly straight. If your son were not gay, would you advocate that his straightness be as defining a characteristic or would you be okay with it just being a part of his life?"
He answered that Gay Like Me “is a permission slip for anybody who has something unique about them. And straightness is not unique. So many people have it.” Being gay is different, he continued, in that “we’re not taught to feel good about it. And to me, being gay is the best thing about me. It is the most important thing about me. And it’s been a blessing. He doesn’t have to make it the most important thing about him. He doesn’t have to say it’s the best part about him. But I do want him to think it’s a blessing. And that’s why I wrote the book.”
He regards his son’s statement that gayness is “not a big deal to him” as a sign that “he’s not taking full advantage of the gift that it is. And I want him to have faith in his gayness. I want him to rely on it, to invest in it, and that’s what the book is. Here’s how you build up your gay self-esteem. Here’s your permission to take what is special about you, what is unique about you, and hit the gas on it.” He added: “I hope we start making being gay the gift that it is. We’re 4.5 percent of the population. We’re not a defect. We are a gift. We’re chosen. And we have to make sure that it’s treated like a gift, and I want people to join me in that.”
The convergences and divergences with Sullivan are interesting.

  On the one hand, Sullivan urged “earning a living, raising kids in some cases, pursuing careers, sustaining marriages, and everything every straight person does without thinking twice about it,” and declared that he seeks, in that sense, “a kind of irrelevance for our sexual orientation—a world in which the hetero and homo categories define none of us, straight or gay, and the category of human includes us all.” On the other hand, he writes that “there’s more to the souls of gay folk than just this kind of normalcy.” Gay people remain a specific minority “with life experiences that do shape us differently, and a way of life that will always, in some ways, be a subculture, as well as a counterculture.”
There is, he posited, a gift in sometimes hidden “sexual and emotional difference” that teaches tolerance and empathy at a very young age. “The suffering that will always accompany gay and lesbian teens — the suffering that is a function of being so different at such a crucial age — can be deployed as adults, if we so choose, to see and alleviate the suffering of others,” he explained. “Very few gay people sail through their lives without some element of humbling or pain or epiphany. We need to nurture this painful insight and expand it.”
As Sullivan sees it, integration need not mean assimilation, and the less defensive post-liberation gay people become, “the more ambitious we can be in crafting a future in a way no previous gay generation has had the chance to. We can see what homosexuality can bring to a culture that is not, as it so long has been, dedicated to our exclusion. We can see what homosexuality can be when it is not driven to the margins or underground. This does indeed require pride in what we have that is distinct, a pride that is worth celebrating once a year.”
If Richie and Sullivan were in direct conversation on this subject, their divergences would likely spark a lively debate. There may be no resolution, insofar as there will always be gay people who differ on whether to embrace the thick or thin version of that identity. But both sides of the debate can hope for a future where those personal preferences need no longer be informed or distorted by anti-gay bigotry.

 CONOR FRIEDERSDORF is a California-based staff writer at The Atlantic,where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

September 20, 2019

Beaten Up in London For Being Gay...By Whom? A Gang of 4 Guys? Adamfoxie Will Give You His own Experience

 Adam on left recuperating from gunshot and on right, My love Bob. He was also with me when about five guys accosted us after we left a gay bar and wated to rob us. They did not succeed and I did not know I was going to pay that price but is ok I got shot better me than him. I feel bad for Rober Seal and not knowing where he is. That was love between two guys not since I never had before.

I won't publish the picture of this gay man that was beaten but I have something to say about this:

First Who Would do that? 

Anti Gay Homophobe, Crazy person Coward

This guy is afraid of being gay and is a coward...Crazy person....*Telle'm you were at the Dr. and have been diagnosed with smallpox and they will get contaminated. I would run after them to touch them. 

The bully cowards...Those are the easiest one to stand up too. *Well, what if he punches me? *You make him pay a price. I have been surrounded many times.  Many but one exception of being in a place similar to London I got a sucker-punched on the mouth which knocks me out for a few secs and to my disappointment the guy had done a runoff. I got off the sidewalk so angry I could hit any man. But otherwise everything that hit me or tries to was hit more than once by me and they got as much injured or a lot more than I did.

Cowards need to be confronted once they confront you! I learn that, when I was about 10 and my older brother about 22 kept slapping me in the face because he accused me of something I didn't do. He would not believe me. And I will not backtrack because I didn't do it. His wife was there and I guess he wanted to show her how he hits. Every time he slapped I cursed him. Would wait until he stepped back thinking he was done and I have cursed him again, and again. He was way too much for me and he was not boxing me or wrestling me to the floor. I don't know how long this went on, I was crying and thinking if he was going to kill me but I felt I had to do this, it was not the first time I was used as a punching bag.  Someone told one of my parents of what was going on and I think my parent most have Told him he was not supposed to do that., not because he felt bad for me but because My father knew what I knew, I could have him arrested. He must've past the information to this bully and he stopped. As for my father defending me from the older guys, never. When my mom came from town she told my brother off the only time she ever did, I always thought she was a little afraid of him. I was in such a rush to grow up and then to find out I was gay I figure the way I learn to deal with bullies does not change. By the way, when you are defending yourself against someone bigger than you or more than one, you use whatever nature gave you to defend yourself (teeth, elbows, legs) If you are lucky someone throws you a baseball bat or stick and you just swing and swing, run and swing. I was arrested once in Miami while I stayed at the Fountain Bleu on a Managers Conference. I went there with other managers that were gay to a famous gay disco. Can't remember the name but it had a Belgian sounding name. Very big, The guys sent me to get the drinks which were just 3 beers. The bar was full but I saw a spot. 

I approached and this guy, with the tough demeanor and trying to be straight, Told me not in a nice way that spot belongs to his friends which were dancing. I guess a new rule here. I told him I was ordering three beers and pulling right away to meet my friends. "He said I don't give a shit!"Just leave the spot open. Yeah, I was to run away and not order because he was superior to me. This was South Miami but I was raised in NYC)

I got the bartender and I ordered. His friends came... He curses me and says I warn you and now I'm going to get you out to the street myself. He was my size younger but with more muscle, my concern was the ones behind him which I could not see and I knew that when someone trip you and you fall you will get boots and shoes you will lose your virginity if you ever had one on your behind.. At that minute I turn facing bar to check if the beers have come in. No, but those were smoking times and there was a nice beautiful glass ashtray. I knew he was waiting for me to turn and he put his hand on my should throw a punch but when I turn I had the ashtray on my hand and you have to do fast not threatened, I  hitting not to kill him but to knowck him out I also hit him with  the forehead, not on his teeth or eyes I hit him right on the forehead not to permanently injured but to send him spinning to the floor hopefully. And to remember how stupid he was every morning when he brushed his teeth. Yeah, he went down like a Cluster bomb.

His friend's complaint they were hit by the glass from the ashtray. What a shame! No one came after me. But they have cams and security which follow me to the door. Cops. were called, the guy cursed the cops, me and EMS because they wanted to force in the ambulance because of the amount of blood. 

I sat in the police car waiting for the investigation but also about where I was going to wake in the am and I had a meeting and we were told if you dont make the meeting don't bother to go to your store. This was Sterling, Inc owners of Kay Jewelers and White Hall jewelers. To me this was the most disqusting people to work for and I already had 20 yrs experience on the field.

All I'm saying and I know my examples would be aggravated because I never have little things happen to me, but all I'm saying is defend yourself any way you can. In NYC when we got the right to marry we had all these low lives who felt maybe we needed a beating as a wedding ceremony. The newspapers and I kept posting most of these cases. I can't say and others joined my voice, bullies are not brave. They need to step on someone to validate that they are a man. The beating of gays stopped and I think it was because they knew that gays have been told to hit back,
Well, don't let them. If you bite him in the arm of taking his ear off he is going to be bussy with his blood. And even if he throws a punch, well You could honestly say when they ask you why the black eye you can say the other guys looks worse and be truthful about it. Feels free to post comments with any question and I will andswe your questions if I can.

{Adam Gonzalez}

Homophobic hate crime: Beaten-up for being gay

Jarek was beaten and hospitalized in a homophobic attack after a night out in February 2019.
"I thought London was the best place to be happy and safe and gay - until I was beaten up," he said.
A BBC 5 Live investigation found the number of hate crime reports across the UK more than doubled in the last five years, to over 13,000.
But the number of cases that led to charges or court summons being issued fell by 10% in the same time, to 1,047.
Jarek says he has had a positive experience with the police, but hate crime victim Ferhan says the police have not taken his report of being chased by a group of men shouting abuse from a car seriously.
"These men should have been tried for their crimes, but that never happened."
The Metropolitan Police Service say they have a hate crime liaison officer within every partnership and prevention hub in its basic command units and a central hate crime team.
"We stand with colleagues and groups to investigate all hate crime allegations, support victims, bring perpetrators to justice," the force said.
Listen to more from BBC 5 Live on BBC Sounds.
Produced by: Eleanor Layhe and Ruth Evans
Commissioning Editor: Kimberley Rowell
  • 19 Sep 2019

September 10, 2019

Andrew Scott, TV Actor Not Happy with The Gay Label But He Never Complaint About The Straight Label!


Introduction by publisher {Adam}

I don't like a label as the next gay man but the truth is whether we accept it or not, the people most uncomfortable with labels use it all the time and most of the time without realizing it. Whether is for ingredients on a dish or another human being hobby or life. I had a guy asked me if i was gay looking a little surprised. I said, "Yes, I'm gay!" Then I ask him, are you gay? He responded by telling me he does not like labels and he was much more than that. I responded by saying we are all much more than gay, being gay is like being allergic to nuts but not to peanuts. But I can see you use labels with others. He laughed.  You are not expected to be. an activist because you are gay but without the fights in which we defended who we are, we would not have gay marriage and many of the civil and human rights we have fought with some of our lives. We have not won yet and we will suffer setbacks but I do hope I see that day in which gay or straight labels will be canned forever. Not There Yet!
TV star Andrew Scott has said being referred to as "openly gay", "implies defiance I don't feel."
The Irish actor, best known for his roles in Sherlock and as "the hot priest", in Fleabag, believes the term does not reflect who he is.
"You're never described as openly gay at a party," he told British GQ Magazine.
"'This is my openly gay friend Darren'... [or] 'She's openly Irish'," he added. 
Scott played the forbidden love of interest of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's title character in series two of Fleabag and said his sexuality made no difference to his ability to play the role.
"Sexuality isn't something you can cultivate, particularly," added Scott, who first found global fame starring as crime lord Jim Moriarty, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock.
"It isn't a talent. You believe the relationship, that's my job." 
Forty-two-year-old Scott was recently spotted handing out drinks to theatre-goers outside the London stage production of the popular BBC Three series over the weekend, alongside its writer and star.
He also spoke of his great love of theatre, having completed a recent run of Noel Coward's Present Laughter at the Old Vic.
"You direct yourself. Of course, there's a director, but in the auditorium, if you feel the audience is getting a little coughy, you've got to think 'Well, it's my job to get them back'."
Scott was recently honored with the standout performance prize at the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2019.

September 7, 2019

Do All Gay Men Think Alike? Is There a Little Gay in ALL Men?

August 14, 2019

Marcel Proust’s 'In Search of Lost Time' is the longest, gayest book you’ve never read.

The esteemed French author kept the 1890 tales private because of their "audacity." 

Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is the longest, gayest book you’ve never read. Published in seven volumes between 1913 and 1927 (and totaling 4,000 pages), it’s considered one of the most influential literary works of the 20th century. But while Proust, a noted homosexual, touches upon queer themes in his magnum opus, it seems he saved the juiciest stuff for himself. 
Proust wrote nine stories in the 1890s during his 20s, as he was discovering and coming to terms with his homosexuality. Or, rather, avoiding coming to terms. The stories were intended for his collection of poems and short stories, Plaisirs et les Jours (Pleasures and Days), published in 1896. Proust ultimately decided not to include them, but this fall these stories—including a mix of fairy tales, fantasy, and dialogues with the dead—will finally see the light of day when they are published in their original French under the title Le Mystérieux Correspondant (The Mysterious Correspondent), 97 years after Proust’s death.
The intellectual, novelist, essayist, and critic—who is basically what France would look like if it was a person—
—was known to be gay, but he still clutched that closet door tight even while gallivanting around, cruising for that je ne sais cock. In a pique of masc-for-masc realness, Proust even challenged reviewer Jean Lorrain to a duel in 1897 for suggesting Proust’s relationship with fellow novelist Lucien Daudet was more than platonic. The two men did the whole pistols at 25 paces thing, both missing each other and emerging from the standoff unscathed—much like Proust’s reputation. 
Still, he wasn’t fooling anybody—Marcel Proust? Her? Proust biographer—and a gay literary icon in his own right—Edmund White wrote of Proust being “eager to make love to other young men” but “equally determined to avoid the label ’homosexual.'” For Proust, writing about homosexuality was one thing, but being a homosexual was beyond the 19th-century pale. Which is kind of understandable. 
For context, Proust dueled for his “heterosexual” honor two years after Oscar Wilde was tried for some gay shit in the U.K. Wilde spent two years in jail, lived the rest of his brief life in exile, and died penniless and alone in 1900 at age 46. Sooooooo, the 1890s may not have been the best time to act on homosexual impulses, though it was clearly a fruitful (pun intended) time to write about them. 
Luc Fraisse, a professor at the University of Strasbourg who edited the forthcoming Le Mystérieux Correspondantwrote of the stories:
Without doubt he considered that because of their audacity, they could have offended a social milieu where strong traditional morals prevailed. […] The awareness of homosexuality is experienced in an exclusively tragic way, as a curse. We don’t find, anywhere, those comic notes introduced here and there throughout In Search of Lost Time, which give the work all the colors of life, even in the darkest dramas.
Good times. 
French publishing house Éditions de Fallois is releasing the collection this October to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Proust winning France’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt. Plans for an English translation have yet to be announced, but let’s hope the French don’t keep all that moody 19th-century homosexual longing to themselves.

August 10, 2019

Tongue in Cheek Watch Out For That Diarrhea

A cheeky public safety announcement from last year on practicing safe “ass play” is resurfacing online and setting tongues wagging.

The city Health Department’s “getting a little tongue in cheek?” ad campaign, which ran on dating sites for gay men in the summer of 2018, popped back up on social media Thursday — and was quickly dumped on by bashful New Yorkers.
“You can’t take it seriously. I see where they’re coming from, but it’s kind of nasty,” Fernando Guzman, 24, of the Bronx, said after being shown a picture of the ad, which features tongue and peach emojis and warns of getting into the sack with someone while suffering from diarrhea.
Patrick Gallahue, a spokesman at the Health Department, said the ad had an “irreverent” tone, but maintained it was well-meaning. 
“Our primary concern is the health of New Yorkers,” Gallahue said, noting the ad ran on sites like Grindr and the Gay Ad Network in response to a spike in Hepatitis A and “diarrheal” diseases.

The ad ran in the summer of 2018 and started making the rounds again on social media Thursday.
 The ad ran in the summer of 2018 and started making the rounds again on social media Thursday. (NYC Department of Health)

The bulletin warns that such infections can spread during “anal sex play like fingering, rimming, fisting” and other forms of “ass play.” It urges people to avoid sex for two weeks after suffering from any type of diarrhea.
But a conservative Bronx man who only identified himself as Rafael said the ad campaign rubbed him the wrong way.
“This is a degeneration of morals and humanity. The youth are lost and the city is corrupt...The youth is coming apart,” Rafael told the Daily News. “The church is really the only safe place now you can raise your kids and safely teach them about sex.” David Chisholm, 19, suggested Rafael should loosen up.
“I think it’s funny,” Chisholm said of the ad. 

Chris Sommerfeldt on NY Daily News

Just a a tongue of an explanation from the publisher: This was a campaign abandoned by the NYC Department. of Health trying to  inform people on the dangers of Hepatitis which can be easily  transmitted by someone carrying this virus through bodily fluids from the engine mounted on the back. I would love to meet the person who gave this idea for the ad campaign, or may be not? There is nothing serious about this ad except the disease which is trying to keep people from getting. It's up to you and me to judge wether they used the right pitch or not.

August 9, 2019

Straight People on Gay Bars

Image result for straights on gay bars

I don't know why Im posting about this except I've heard too many times about it and when I was going to bars, a century ago I saw the following going on. I think it still happens because group behavior is something that stays for a group of decades. Please let me know if you agree or not. I publish what is going on not what is seen with other eyes but mine Remember just because I post it does not mean I agree with it because in many instances Im the word of of one of the gay devils just looking for trouble. B

As a gay person, knowing my straight friends want to come to LGBTQ+ bars and spaces fills my heart with joy. I appreciate the accepting atmosphere that these spaces create, and I love that my friends want to show their support of me and my community so openly in them.

I came out just before starting university, having made wonderful (and very straight) friends during my time at college. I was worried they would treat me differently after I came out, or be freaked out thinking I either hated men or fancied one of them. Luckily, neither one of those age-old stereotypes came true, and actually I didn’t give them enough credit. It turned out most of them knew I was gay long before I did.

But recently, when I took a group of them to Soho in London for a night out, I realised even the most well-intentioned, supportive straight/cis friends can miss the mark entirely. One of my male friends came back from the bar carrying drinks and a phone number, written on a napkin. He loudly demanded to know why the bartender had thought he’d be interested because after all, he didn’t "look gay". Sigh.

"They'd made me feel uncomfortable in a space I'd invited them into"

Later on, we went to dance at another bar. On a small side stage, men in cowboy costumes were dancing. Before I knew it, another friend was dancing between them and trying to take a hat from one of their heads. Awkward side glances and a request for her to get down followed.

After another friend who was feeling queasy and asked me (the only actual LGBTQ+ person in the group) to go outside with her, I left feeling let down and a little pissed off. They’d been so supportive of me for so many years, yet they’d made me - and others around us - feel uncomfortable, in a space that I had invited them into. 

I could go to “straight” bars with my friends, and I often do. But there’s something quite special about being able to hold my girlfriend’s hand or kiss her without double takes from passers-by (or the horrifying offer of a ménage à trois). That’s why queer spaces and bars are important to me and many other members of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s where we can be in the majority for once, where we can feel the most comfortable and protected, and where we have the most access to music by early noughties queer icons – an integral element for survival. These spaces give people who can’t be “out” publicly for whatever reason somewhere they can truly be themselves. These are places where trans and gender nonconforming folk can hopefully feel physically safe and recognised, away from a world that isn’t always so accepting.

For Meg-John Barker, author of Life Isn't Binary and expert on gender, sex and relationships, queer spaces are vital. “LGBTQ+ people often become used to having to come out repeatedly, to being asked intrusive questions about their bodies and sex lives and being treated as an object for people (the weird one in the office, or the gay best friend, for example). It’s understandable that they might want some spaces where they don’t have to worry about that stuff. Where they can assume that everyone will ‘get it’, relax and breathe easy,” they say.

How to behave as a straight person in an LGBTQ+ space

So, you want to support your queer friend in the space they love and have a boogie to Whitney Houston? That’s fabulous. But here’s how to do it while being respectful and considerate of the space you’re in. 

If you’re there on safari and looking “to see something strange and exotic to you or you’re there to exploit the coolness of LGBTQ+ culture in some way” as Meg-John puts it, then maybe take your night out down the road instead.

“I've tried to buy a drink for/ask for a number from several women in queer spaces, who have turned out to be straight. Instead of politely declining, I've often been made to feel like a gross pervert for even suggesting they might be queer and interested,” says 22-year-old Becca, a bisexual student from Oxford. “I've also taken straight friends to queer clubs and been horrified and embarrassed when they react inappropriately when someone has assumed they're queer.” 

Meg-John says your reason for wanting to go to a queer space should be to “support your LGBTQ+ friend who is keen for you to go along.” They add it’s fine “if you want to learn something, or it’s an event that’s particularly looking for allies to support it and the people going.”

 Am i bisexual?
Check whether you’re actually welcome there

For straight, cis people, the world really is your oyster! You can pretty much go anywhere and everywhere without worrying that you’ll be physically or verbally assaulted because of your sexual or gender orientation. Meg-John explains, “Don’t go to [a queer space] with your straight, cis partner and get off together very publicly. Remember that everyday spaces are safe for you in a way they aren’t for the rest of the people there.”

"It’s where we can be in the majority for once"
Luke, a 27-year-old gay writer, says queer spaces have become somewhat of a tourist attraction for hen dos. And this can cause a lot of problems. “If you’re thinking of going to a queer space as a primarily straight, cis hen do – just don’t do it,” he says. “I’ve been to numerous nights were a group of be-sashed, wasted white chicks show up and start shrieking. It really changes the vibe. Having a hen party there makes everyone feel that they’re a spectacle on display for someone else’s enjoyment and entertainment, which isn’t much fun.

"When hen parties invade queer spaces, they bring the gaze of the outside world with them. This means we have to go back to monitoring the way we behave, in spaces that are supposed to belong to us.” 

Educate yourself before you go

Even if you think you know everything about every identity under the LGBTQ+ acronym, do your homework Meg-John says. “There are plenty of videos out there about things LGBTQ+ people are sick of hearing, or what not to ask them, as well as easy 101 introductions to language,” they add.

There’s no shame in not knowing something about a community unfamiliar to you, but there’s plenty of shame in asking a same-sex couple an ignorant question steeped in stereotypes like, “Who’s the man in the relationship?” Believe me, it still happens. 

“I was once at a gay club with some straight friends celebrating our friend’s 21st. Perhaps trying to be supportive and ‘in touch’ with the birthday boy’s sexuality, they started throwing phrases like ‘Yaaaaaas queen’ around to all the camp men, assuming they’d respond positively,” says Ellen, a recent graduate who identifies as bisexual. While you may think this referencing of queer culture by straight people is totally harmless, not all LGBTQ+ people agree.

“Many queer folk are tired of hearing such over-used drag queen lingo,” Ellen adds. “And they don’t owe it to you to respond if they aren’t comfortable, especially in their own safe spaces.” 

Treat people queer people like you would anyone else
Meg-John says you should avoid going to queer bars if your intention is “to flirt or get off with somebody LGBTQ+ because you’re curious, or want to have a story to tell. This involves treating people as objects for your pleasure, not full human beings.”

"Straight women have used me a bit like a shiny new handbag"
Ed, a 22-year-old bisexual teacher, has experienced this kind of behaviour first hand. “I have experienced problems with straight women using me a bit like a shiny new handbag. They just pull me over and are very tactile. They randomly dance with me before ushering friends to take pictures of us dancing without asking me. Then they can get frustrated when I try to walk away!”

Pansexual sex educator Topher, 30, agrees that although this behaviours is common, it can be really harmful. “I was in a very famous gay pub in Soho, resting on my boyfriend’s chest when a drunk, straight-presenting lady informed us of how attractive we were as a couple,” he says. “I said, ‘Thank you’, and turned my head away back to him.

“This is when I felt her hand run up the back of my T-shirt and down my back, before attempting to squeeze my bum. We shoved her off, and she acted very shocked to have been corrected while sexually assaulting me in public. I felt invaded and we left. One of my biggest issues with it, other than the assault, was that this was my boyfriend’s first experience of a proper gay bar and what he’d witnessed was unpleasant.”

 Straight people in gay bars
Don’t take over the space

“Don’t go with your straight, cis mates and take up a lot room in the venue with your bodies or your noise,” Meg-John says. “Many people will feel less safe if you’re doing that. Be considerate of places with a maximum capacity that are already pretty full, too. It’s better to let LGBTQ+ people be the people who get to use the space,” they add.

So, maybe trying to get you and six of your friends into G-A-Y on Pride weekend is an idea to rethink….

The morning after my night out I was presented with a bacon sandwich and some sheepish looks. Hopefully my next trip to Soho will be more successful, with a lot less eye rolling and quick escapes out of the side exit.

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"Gay Face" Flagging an Identity

Gay face interested me because I have been seeing a cousin if not an offspring of it where I nor you would expect to see it. Where is this place you might ask?

   Stuart (left), Zack and Sergio are three of the subjects in Lauren Tabak’s photographic series that explores queer...
............................ IDENTITIES 


       She calls it “Gay Face” and identifies the subjects just by first name.
P photo: Lauren Tabak
The past summer was supposed to be a lot different. It was supposed to be Louis with his head out the car window lapping at the wind as Lauren Tabak cruised down a never-ending road. It was supposed to be her visiting friends and the sort of landscapes that a person never forgets.
But a day before that summer was to begin, Tabak broke her arm. The road trip was canceled.
She needed something to do, some sort of project to help keep her sane. Maybe a series of portraits, something that explored queer identity. Maybe she’d call it “Gay Face” — as in, No way he’s straight, that dude has definite gay face. 
“Is that even relevant anymore?” a friend asked. “We live here, in San Francisco. No one cares if you’re gay or not.”
Fair enough. But then “Gay Face” wouldn’t be about passing or trying to hide an identity, it’d be about flagging, about broadcasting it for anybody to see. The same way Tabak wears androgynous clothes and a black hat with a wide brim. “Sometimes,” she says, “you just want your community. You just want to be seen.”

Photographer Lauren Tabak spent the summer of 2019 making photo portraits of the queer community in San Francisco.Photo: Jana Asenbrennerova, Special to The Chronicle

“Gay Face” grew into a collection of 30 or so portraits of queer people in the Bay Area, a series with earnestness and honesty in self-expression at its center. The photographs are shot in the vertical, the subjects, each having come as they are, pop against a pink background. (Tabak chose pink because, well, it’s gay.) 
Some of the subjects were models. Some were deeply uncomfortable in front of a camera. Some were friends of Tabak’s. Others found her as the portraits began to make the rounds. Some dressed casually; two wore chain mail; a few didn’t bother with shirts. 
The effect is a larger portrait made of individual ones, a photographic sketch of San Francisco’s queer community in the summer of 2019.  
The process, Tabak says, was collaborative and casual. In truth, it sort of doubled as a chance to hang out with people she hadn’t seen in a while. “I’m actually really shy and awkward. I find that if I want to catch up with someone and hang out, it’s so much easier for me to have a creative project.”

In a statement about her queer identity and posing for a portrait, Amaris wrote: “The queer-exodus has made me want to be as visible as possible.”Photo: Lauren Tabak

The subjects would come to her home in the Mission District, a place full of soft, natural night. She’d offer them a glass of rosé (“I did a lot of day drinking during this project”). They’d chat some. Then, they’d take their place in front of the backdrop and Tabak would begin to shoot. 
Some sessions were fast, others — like the time her friend showed up a little too stoned — took some time. Afterward Tabak would send the subject about 10 shots. Together they’d pick The One and then Tabak would work with them to add some words on being visibly queer. For the series, Tabak uses only the first names of the subjects as a matter of style and to provide them a degree of privacy given the mostly online nature of the project.
“The queer-exodus has made me want to be as visible as possible … ,” Amaris wrote for her personal statement. “My wife and I are excited to play our role as ‘elders?’ in the community. I hope that when the gaybies see us around town they think: OK. You can get older, find your unicorn, rock your own style and make a little coin in this city without compromising your identity.”
“Do I have a gay face? If people had to make a snap judgement, I feel the resounding answer would be ‘yas queen’!,” Havilah says in her note. “I love blurring the lines between feminine and masculine as an androgynous cis woman; proudly pushing back on a dominant culture’s ideas around what it means to be ‘normal’ without having to say a word.”

Miles posed for the “Gay Face” project, stating, “I hid the fact that I was trans so well most people ignored it — I did too, but that left me isolated from any kind of community, and made talking about a large portion of my life impossible, or embarrassing.”Photo: Lauren Tabak

For all the bright colors and bold styles and bravado, the project is one of vulnerability. One subject pulled out, their portraits shot, but their words not yet written. They’d gone through three drafts, they told Tabak, and they just weren’t ready. 
In one image, a man name Miles stands with his arms crossed over his bare chest. He’d found his way to Tabak’s home after seeing her portraits on his friend’s Instagram feeds. They did a shot of tequila and put on some music by Lizzo.
The decision to pose for Tabak wasn’t a small one for him. For a long time, Miles tried not to flag. That’s changing, bit by bit. Painted nails serve as a small sign of his queer identity. He writes: “I hid the fact that I was trans so well most people ignored it — I did too, but that left me isolated from any kind of community, and made talking about a large portion of my life impossible, or embarrassing. Because of that internalized shame it’s taken me a long time to be comfortable publicly identifying, even within an LGBTQ+ space. Now that I have though, I’ve realized what a pleasure it is to be seen for your whole self. And I’ve realized that I don’t actually want to look or be cis. I don’t want to be some cheap facsimile when I could be myself.”
At the beginning of the project, Tabak snapped a quick self-portrait. She pulls it up on her phone. It’s a beautiful image — all the right angles and just the right light. No one has seen it yet, she says. Maybe she’ll hang it at a show planned for Sept. 21 at Dreamers and Make Believers, a small salon in the Mission. Maybe she won’t. 
At the moment, Tabak says, she’s a little stuck on her own caption, on the words to pair with her image. But maybe her portrait can stand alone. Looking at the photos, all together, nice and neat in a grid, it’s clear she’s been saying something about queer identity since the very first shot.

Kyle was a subject in Lauren Tabak’s photography portrait project “Gay Face.”Photo: Lauren Tabak

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