Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Why Gay Men Hate Each Other

Current gay pop-culture it-boy Russell Tovey recently had some interesting things to say about growing up gay and turning out the way he did: “I feel like I could have been really effeminate, if I hadn’t gone to the school I went to. Where I felt like I had to toughen up. If I’d have been able to relax, prance around, sing in the street, I might be a different person now. I thank my dad for that, for not allowing me to go down that path.” Apparently, the father of Tovey refused his young son’s request to attend a performing arts school; now, Tovey is thankful for his father’s insistence; whereas, Tovey believes that the school of his choice would have turned him into a less masculine man.
And, this isn’t the first time the masculine vs feminine war within the gay community has spilled out from the gayborhood into the public consciousness: soccer star Robbie Rogers’ assertion that he wanted only a “very masculine” actor to play him in a perspective movie about his life; when Neil Patrick Harris was on Broadway playing the transgender Hedwig he said of taking on this role: “I’ve lived my whole life being attracted by masculinity - it's why I like guys. I’m not a super effete person, and I have to turn into that, and in doing so it brings up a lot of homophobic insecurities within myself;” then, butch gay actor Tuc Watkins criticized the depiction of homosexuals on “Modern Family” as perpetuating an effete 80s stereotypes.
Why the bitchiness? First of all, peace and tranquility are never found in the gay world of over testosterone saturation: it’s always agitated and restless; there is a consistent pervasive air of hunting and devouring; everything seeps sex – I learned quickly as an 18 year old new to San Francisco, that something as innocuous as a prolonged look or an innocent smile can turn into a heated sexual encounter with someone you never met before. In that context, in the homosexual male mind, there is always a persistent push and pull between the image of masculinity and its reality. From its modern inception, gay males have worshiped the hyper-masculine persona – epitomized by the 1970s drawings from artist Tom of Finland. Through the horror of AIDS, today, only gay porn has kept that dream alive. Across the board, actual living breathing gay men fail to equal these unrealistic phantasms of masculine perfection. Those that fall way short are rather negatively referred to as “fems” or more oftentimes as “bottoms.” To the more masculine types – they must be both passive and subservient; for, in masculinity – they see their ultimate salvation.
Gay men both adore and fear the masculine ideal. They dream of literally rising to the heavens – attaining and or becoming the embodiment of physical perfection; and, they will do almost anything to make it – hence, the tragic propensity for recipients of anal sex to bear the brunt of the AIDS epidemic; in choosing to seek out the elusive masculine through sex, they forfeit their own lives. Those that survive, especially as they near middle age and everything either begins to deflate or sag – a palpable and all-pervasive bitterness, verging on hatred, sets in; although, currently, I see this also appearing in the younger generation, a premature swerve towards anger and resentment, caused by the modern phenomena of internet porn-inspired teens who have out-sexed their predecessors. Inevitably, the inability to create a personal peace through sex leaves everyone frustrated and feeling semi-cheated; and, all that’s left is sadness and regret; it’s a horrible reversal of fortune – everything that draws them to the gay lifestyle – a promise of happiness beyond the sadness that was childhood, comes back and they find themselves that same bullied little boy all over again.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Express Yourself: How a Music Video Shaped the Destinies of Gay Men

...scenes from the music video "Express Yourself."
Returning to the gay community after 10 years, the dust and debris stirred up and left behind from my generation has settled or been collected in the refuse bins of history - the absence, for me, has also fostered clarity. Yet, oftentimes, while walking the streets of the Castro and West Hollywood, just around the corner, I can still hear the reverberations of past disco beats; emanating from some old dance-club location - once a semi-seedy warehouse that has since been demolished or retrofitted into a trendy café. Many of those whom I loved, lusted after, and abused - are long since dead; those that survived often weave tales of excess and hate; one such story: a gay man, now in his 40s, burned and dejected from the scene, recalls wanting to leave it all back in 1989 - a year after I arrived in the Castro. Coming to the same realization that I did in the late-90s, he had already found the homosexual lifestyle far less than glamorous. Yet, after hearing and seeing the song and accompanying music video of Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” he decided to stay. 
Yearning for a level of love and excitement lacking in a current lover - from the very beginning - Madonna yells out: “Come on girls, do you believe in love…don’t go for second best baby, put your love to the test…make him express how he feels…” Then in the 80s, when music videos still held an incredible amount of power over the public, the rather tame video for Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” was enough to shut down her multimillion dollar endorsement contract with Pepsi, “Express Yourself” reached an apogee of high ritualized propaganda with Madonna bewitching a cadre of muscled enslaved men as she sets them free through the magic of sex. 
The video is undeniably entrancing: like much modern art, taking its cue from pornography, it’s a bizarre mixture of the beautiful and the ugly. In a homage to the German film “Metropolis,” Madonna walks about an over-loaded set of Art-Deco: wearing bright green - she is part Wicked Witch of the West and part Glinda from “The Wizard of Oz.” With her familiar in hand, a perfect black cat, Madonna sends out her spirit - glowing eyes amidst the darkness - to give hope among the masses; the men slaving below: as a metaphor for the battered and imprisoned gay male population. Like the eye of Horus - she is all seeing, and all knowing: commanding, not requesting; making followers out of the confused; giving purpose and order to a mixture of lost boys. Slowly, they hear the music, one of them breaks out - and finds solace and freedom inside Madonna’s bed. 
When I first heard the song, in a San Francisco gay bathhouse, like Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” from the previous decade - it became an instant rallying cry: after the destruction of AIDS, the resulting fear and devastation driving many homosexuals into the underground, the post-AIDS era wanted again the lack of restrictions enjoyed by those who came before the scourge: to express themselves. Yet, like the video itself - it was all an illusion; as St. Augustine remarked: “the apples of Sodom;” beautiful, ripe, and juicy to the eyes - evaporating into dust once touched. The image had power - to sway the hearts of many - some, staid - and died. Others, like myself, whirled to Madonna’s tunes for another 10 years - barely surviving to see another sunrise. 
Today, a new generation (see below) continues what Madonna started: flashing eyes of promise - hiding the real presence of hell. And, as Lady Gaga herself refers to them, her “little monsters,” the next generation will be all the more sick. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

ISIS Kills More Gays as the Self-Centered West is Locked on Same-Sex Marriage

ISIS released new shocking photos of a “gay” man being thrown off a roof and stoned to death. Following a trial in an Islamic State court, the man was taken to the roof of the building and thrown to his death in front a large crowd below. The horrific act was carried out in Tel Abiad in the Islamic State capital of Raqqa in Syria.

What do we hear from the gay power-brokers? Nothing!!! For, the gay community in America has become myopic, provincial, and obsessively compulsive. Over the last few years, in their neurotic need to push gay marriage, they have created a narrative focused on the inherent inequity of Christianity and the alleged victimhood of homosexuals suffering under the yoke of Puritanical oppression, now - they simply cannot back-peddle in order to rewrite the plot line. And, because homosexuality has no genetic component, contrary to what the gay apologists have been claiming, gay struggles often remain regional – even relegated to the familial; and, as a whole, those in more tolerant Western nations have had a difficult time relating to what is currently taking place in many Islamic states; this is due again to the personal nature of the homosexual wound which encourages a singular focus on the claustrophobically individual and the immediate; they see gay marriage, a concept which would be impossible to fathom within even the most reformed Muslim sectors, as the realization of heaven on earth – thus missing the need of some to just survive; they remain anti-Christian zealots – grasping only Christian bigotry (mainly Catholicism) as the enemy; concentrating not on images of dying gays in the Middle East, but with idiotic stories involving Christian bakers who refuse to make “gay” cakes. In the US, where homosexuals have reached levels of acceptance and toleration, seen nowhere in the history of mankind, their arguments, except in their insular worlds of heroic martyrdom, recently deified by the current obsession with unbalanced sexually confused children who sadly commit suicide, have proven to be completely false. In fact, but in Christian, or once predominantly Christian nations have homosexuals been able to outwardly thrive. This benevolence, inspired by Jesus Chris Himself, has made it possible for the production of such statements as this, from “The Catechism of the Catholic Church,” regarding the treatment of homosexual person: “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” (CCC #2358)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Gay and Transgender Youth Make Up Large Percentage of Sex Workers

Researchers have found that LGBTQ youth make up a large number of youth engaged in survival sex in New York City, nationally, and across the continent. LGBTQ youth are estimated to make up only 5 to 7% of the youth population but 20 to 40% of the homeless youth population. Authors of a multiphase, multiyear, multimethod transnational study estimate that 25 to 35% of young men in the sex trade identify as gay, bisexual, or transgender. Youth reported experiences of social and familial discrimination and rejection, familial dysfunction, familial poverty, physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, and emotional and mental trauma.

Author’s note: One of the things I found most interesting about this study was the rather bizarre lumping together of reported reasons for transgender youths leaving home and then falling into sex work; for the most part, they are extremely divergent; for example, there is a great deal of difference between the emotional and physical trauma experienced by someone who has been sexually abused or raped and someone, who, perhaps, had family members that may or may have not supported their decision to be gay or transgendered. This effort, mainly originating in the gay media, to equate non-acceptance of homosexuality with physical and sexual abuse recently reached an apogee when some gay commentators recommended that the parents of a transgender boy be brought up on charges after he killed himself; the consternation primarily originated with the fact that the parents had taken the boy to a Christina-based therapist. In reality, they are related, but not in the way they think: first of all, there is the trauma, this consequently causes the child to seek healing within homosexuality; oftentimes, then, there is a reaction from family members – sometimes a negative one; becoming defensive, especially in the current political and pop-culture climate which perceives homosexuality as an inborn trait, the child reacts and subsequently leaves home; on the streets – they are exploited, become diseased, or worst of all – killed.

Link to original study:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

No Matter How You Do It – Gay Sex Will Kill You

...taken from the CDC web-site.
The risk of acquiring HIV through unprotected anal sex is at least 20 times greater than with unprotected vaginal sex and increases if other infections are already present in the rectal lining. In the United States alone, receptive anal intercourse is practiced in up to 90% of gay and other men who have sex with men, according to International Rectal Microbicides Advocates. Moreover, the practice is not limited to men. U.S. estimates and surveys in the United Kingdom indicate between 10 to 35% of heterosexual women have engaged in anal sex at least once. Lubricants are typically used before and during receptive anal intercourse, but their use could increase the risk of rectal sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a study involving nearly 900 men and women in Baltimore and Los Angeles has found. Even after controlling for gender, HIV status, city, condom use, and number of sex partners in the past month, the association between lubricant use before receptive rectal intercourse and rectal STIs remained strong, reported Pamina Gorbach, Dr.PH, from the School of Public Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the study. According to the study's statistical analysis that considered the HIV status, gender, condom use and study site, participants who used lubricants before receptive anal intercourse were three times more likely to have a rectal STI. A laboratory study that compared over-the-counter and mail-order lubricants commonly used with receptive anal intercourse found many of the products contain higher amounts of dissolved salts and sugars compared to what's normally found in a cell. As a result, the products had toxic effects on the cells and rectal tissue studied. Some of the lubricants caused significant portions of the epithelium -- the layer of cells that serves as a protective barrier inside the rectum -- to be stripped away.

Author’s note: As I wrote in an earlier blog, initial US government recommendations (particularly targeting the gay male community) about the use of the spermicide Nonoxynol-9 [N-9] in preventing HIV infection have since been proven highly incorrect (see: http://www.josephsciambra.com/2015/01/oops-i-did-it-again-why-us-government.html.) And, now, the same could be stated about the continuing endorsements from the CDC to Planned Parenthood’s teeny website “Go Ask Alice” that the use of lubricants, in conjunction with condoms, makes anal sex “comfortable” and “pleasurable.” Interestingly, no one uses the term “safe sex” anymore; along with “Just Say No!” it was the drilled-into-your-head tag-line mantra of the 1980s.

Link to study:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Road to Hell: The Failure of the Post-Vatican II Catholic School System

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco recently approved language for a new high-school teachers’ contract and handbook that called on faculty to avoid publicly challenging the Church’s position on issues like same-sex “marriage” and abortion; the statement called on teachers “to avoid fostering confusion among the faithful and any dilution of the schools’ primary Catholic mission.” “[A]dministrators, faculty and staff of any faith or of no faith are expected to arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths,” read the language of the schools’ statement. “To that end, further, we all must refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true.” The statement also affirmed Catholic doctrine on contraception, chastity and same-sex “marriage:” “We accept the Church’s teaching that all extramarital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.”
As a lost child of the 1970s and 80s Catholic parochial school system, I can personally testify that the efforts of Archbishop Cordileone have nothing to do with bigotry, self-righteousness, or ecclesiastical control or overreach, but primarily concerns innocent children who have been placed under the care of instructors who may, or may not, uphold or pass on the True teachings of the Catholic Church; yet, this is not just a matter of pedagogy or differences in educational styles, but a fight for the minds, and for some, especially those who may be already been influenced by the pop-culture pull towards homosexuality as the answer for same-sex desires, it’s a fight for their very lives.
In my own experience, as a student in Catholic schools all the way from first grade through high school - what I learned, or failed to learn from teachers and priests had a major impact on my future life after graduation. For the most part, Christ was presented as all-too-human, as a lovable and rather disinterested historical spiritual master; sort of the Christian equivalent to Mahatma Gandhi. As for His teachings - he mainly suggested that: we share our lunches with classmates, pick up garbage in the schoolyard, and be nice to our little brothers and sisters. First Holy Communion was casually staged as a communal gathering around a table - with Jesus as the maître de. The only thing memorable: in eighth grade, a minor scandal erupted at school when one of the associate priests offered instruction on the evils of masturbation; he was then resoundingly scolded by the pastor and never heard from again within the confines of the classroom.
High school religion was a bizarre practice in avoidance and meeting a superfluous academic requirement necessary for graduation. Early on, we sat through a screening of the recent R-rated film “The Breakfast Club.” In another class, the teacher compared Jesus to the character of Spock in “Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn;” Jesus as self-giving alien and humanitarian of big Buddhist proportions. It was nonsense. In another, the female teacher could barely mask her support for abortion rights - in a year that saw the first woman candidate for Vice-President; I remember writing an essay about how I thought contraception was a worthy means of population control and thus ensuring environmental sustainability - she praised my conclusions; being at best a mediocre student - in my mind, this was treasured praise. In my senior year, I opted out of religion by volunteering as an aid at a local public school. 
Armed with nothing, I was defenseless and stupid. My estimation of being a good Christian entailed fostering an accepting and non-judgmental nature. Christ has been presented as such an empty shell - a rather bland and insipid good guy; the last thing He inspired was praise and adulation. Instinctively, I knew I needed more. And, from the time when I was a child, ever since I saw The Village People gyrate on the Merv Griffin Show, I wondered if I was gay. I didn’t know where to go or where to turn. The Church? It was highly irrelevant, as outdated and superfluous as the stupid Simon and Garfunkel songs they forced us to learn and sing at Mass. Even as a kid, and as a teenager, I could sense that the Church was weak and discordant; the ever-present contrast of the celibate male religious who nevertheless had pet-boy favorites, and the lay faculty who looked with disdain on what they perceived as an antiquated bureaucracy hopelessly stuck in the past; they didn’t believe in it – so, then, why should those they taught. There was nothing that I could draw from; there was nothing to help me: I thought, Jesus had tried to do His best, but He was long dead.
Echoing in my head was the song “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” from 1967; in the 80s, there was the cyclical feeling of nostalgia for an era that was 20 years in the past; the 60s, for the 80s generation, symbolized so much: the antidote to Reagan conservativism; a time of free-love before AIDS, and a moment when San Francisco was the epicenter of the cosmos. Feeling lured towards something seemingly time-tested and still relevant, after 12 years of Catholic schooling, I ran to the Castro and the Haight-Ashbury. I felt as if I had been bullied and attacked for years; I wanted to leave it all behind. One of my social studies teachers in high school, then in her 40s, romanticized the openness and experimentation of San Francisco in the 60s to such a degree that she regarded it as the American version of the High-Renaissance. There, I thought I would meet the modern gay Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci; in fact, what I found there was the Marquis de Sade. 
Far from being a haven for sexual liberation, the gay world was a wasteland of lost boys: all seeking some solace for a childhood wound that they couldn’t even admit to. Most of those that I met, even when I sunk to desperate lows in the hell of gay porn, were former Catholic school boys. We shared much of the same history. At once, we all began to live the same daydream; and the same nightmare. We were the children of confusion; experiments in a post-Vatican II landscape that imagined a new reality without absolutes. We were taught to find our own truths; our own paths of happiness and righteousness. But, we couldn’t. Instead – we looked towards the world. Only, the world didn’t care about our souls – it simply wanted to manipulate our brains and abuse our bodies. As the years passed – I watched helplessly as my friends gasped and coughed their way to death; they still had nothing to cling to; and, I had nothing to offer. Like the Church of our youths, Jesus was merely the sing-song hippie; gone by the wayside like the faded Summer of Love. For the most part, they died scared and alone. Yet, thorough the Grace of God – I was saved from the same fate; for them, and for the future – I speak out; and, as St. Paul said: “I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.”