Antidotes to Ignorance Features
In the Reign
Gay Magical Elves
[NOTE: The rush to embrace and console every gay man who comes out is infantilizing and condescending—but it's a script written and promoted by GLAAD and reinforced by a sanctimonious establishment of gay men that rewards those who play by the rules—and punishes those who don't. The following was written by out gay novelist Bret Easton Ellis on why he refuses to take the politically correct criticisms of his compatriots lying down.]
|"Divine," the old, untrue, |
nightmare gay stereotype
|The new, idealized, PC gay stereotype|
by Brett Easton Ellis [truncated, edited and partially cleared of obnoxious trendy jargon by FT]
Was I the only gay man of a certain demo who experienced a flicker of annoyance in the way the media treated Jason Collins as some kind of baby panda who needed to be honored and praised and consoled and—yes—infantilized by his coming out on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Within the tyrannical homophobia of the sports world, that any man would come out as gay (let alone a black man) is not only an LGBT triumph but also a triumph for pranksters everywhere who thrilled to the idea that what should be considered just another neutral fact that is nobody’s business was instead a shock heard around the world, one that added another jolt of transparency to an increasingly transparent planet. It was an undeniable moment and also extremely cool. Jason Collins is the future. But the subsequent fawning over Collins simply stating he is gay still seemed to me, as another gay man, like a new kind of victimization. (George Stephanopoulos interviewed him so tenderly, it was as if he was talking to a six-year-old boy.)
In another five years hopefully this won’t matter, but for now we’re trapped in the times we live in. The reign of The Gay Man as Magical Elf, who whenever he comes out appears before us as some kind of saintly E.T. whose sole purpose is to be put in the position of reminding usonly about Tolerance and Our Own Prejudices and To Feel Good About Ourselves and to be a symbol instead of just being a gay dude, is—lamentably—still in media play.
The Gay Man as Magical Elf has been such a tricky part of gay self-patronization in the media that you would by now expect the chill members of the LGBT community to respond with cool indifference.
The Sweet and Sexually Unthreatening and Super-Successful Gay is supposed to be destined to transform The Hets into noble gay-loving protectors—as long as the gay in question isn’t messy or sexual or difficult. The straight and gay sanctimoniousness that says everyone gay needs to be canonized when coming out still makes some of us who are already out feel like we’re on the sidelines. I’m all for coming out on one’s own terms, but heralding it as the most important news story of the week feels to me, as a gay man, well, kind of alienating.
We are apart because of what we supposedly represent because of… our… boring… sexuality—oh man, do we have to go through this again? And it’s all about the upbeat press release, the kind of smiling mask assuring us everything is awesome.
God help the gay man who comes out and doesn’t want to represent, who doesn’t want to teach, who doesn’t feel like part of the homogenized gay culture and rejects it. Where’s the gay dude who makes crude jokes about other gays in the media (as straight dudes do of each other constantly) or express their hopelessness in seeing Modern Family being rewarded for its depiction of gays, a show where a heterosexual plays the most simpering ka-ween on TV and Wins. Emmys for it?
Why isn’t the gay dude I have always known and the gay dude I have always wanted to be not front and center in the media culture now? But being “real” and “human” (i.e. flawed) is not necessarily what The Gay Gatekeepers want straight culture to see.
I was invited to the GLAAD media awards last April ... The night was going to honor Bill Clinton — bizarre since Clinton had signed DOMA and 'don’t ask, don’t tell,' but GLAAD has also honored Brett Ratner this year after he had innocuously said, “Rehearsals are for fags.” and was forced to repent. ... I accepted and started to worry about what I was going to wear. At the time I really had no idea that GLAAD harbored any resentment against a gay man who sometimes expresses his distaste with the stereotypical way Hollywood represents gays in transgressive language on my Twitter account. ...
[E]ver since I realized I was gay I have always supported gay rights ... I have not, however, supported the way gay people have been portrayed in the media, ... but since I know so many gay men who feel like I do—that they are represented in some kind of unending gay minstrel show in movies and on TV often created by gay writers and producers, or just conveniently ignored—I assumed that the community I was supposedly a part of was as inclusive as I. ... Certainly I hadn’t fucked-up as many gay lives as Bill Clinton had. So: I was going to the GLAAD awards. ...
The day before the event my agent texted me and told me that GLAAD was “furious” with [me] and that I had been disinvited. ... The agent had sent me part of GLAAD’s email along with their “instructions,” saying that they hoped I wasn’t disappointed by the news ... They also said they hoped that I would not go public... about this decision. They suggested, like they are prone to do (especially with dudes who have somehow “transgressed” the GLAAD Rules of Humorless Social Etiquette), that they have a “sit down” with me. As a gay man, I could only think: Where in the hell are we? Gay Elementary School? I apologized to the agent for any embarrassment this might have caused her and tweeted about the news. ...
GLAAD was at the red-hot center of creating The Gay Man as Magical Elf in the culture and often awarded the stereotypes parading around in embarrassing queer movies and degrading retro sitcoms as simply “gay positive” because they were, um, gay, and conveniently disregarded the fact that there is a silent majority of gay men who actively loathe and resist the caricatures on display. And, no ... these men don’t hate themselves.
Gay activists dive-bombing other gays who express an opinion that doesn’t lean toward their agenda means that within the gay world we are living in a very simplistic place. ...
When a community prides itself on its differences and uniqueness and bans the gay man because of the way the gay man expresses himself—then a corporate PC fascism has been put into play that needs to be seriously reconsidered by the LGBT community. This is a problem: If you are a gay man who is not The Gay Man as Magical Elf, then you run the risk of being ostracized by the elite gay community. ...
An openly gay director ... said that he agreed with much of what I had [written], especially how aggravating it was to see gay people still portrayed in entertainment as basically bitchy clowns or the [effeminate] best friend or now, on Scandal, “The Evil Republican.”
What exactly drew the ire of GLAAD and threw them into a hissy-fit?
[B]ecause of something I tweeted they assumed that I believe that gay actors can’t play straight roles. Wrong. I never said [that]. ...
I’ve been accused by a few vocal sections of the gay community of being a “self-loathing” gay man. I might be a little self-loathing at times ... but it’s not because I’m gay. I might come off that way because I think life is essentially hard and that scalding humor and rallying against its absurdities is the path on which to move through the world—and sometimes that means making fun of myself or lashing out at media targets ... That a gay man can’t make a joke [about] AIDS ... without getting punished [and labeled as] “self-loathing” is indicative of the new gay fascism.
The real shame isn’t the jokey observation, [it’s] the PC gay reaction to the jokey observation.
The real shame is that most gay men—who are every bit as hilariously filthy, raunchy and un-PC as their straight male counterparts—have to somehow tow the GLAAD party line in public or else be criticized. A lot of gay men probably feel they can’t be provocative, raunchy or politically incorrect in the mainstream media because it doesn’t represent The Cause.
This is where we’re at now, I guess. Within the clenched world of the gay PC police there has been a tightening of the reigns. It’s as if in this historic moment for gay men we somehow still need to be babied and coddled and used as shining examples of humanity and objects of fascination—the gay baby panda—and this is a new kind of gay victimization. The fact that it is often being extolled by other gays in the Name of the Good Cause is doubly stifling. ...
Jason Collins ... is, in this moment a legitimate hero if not just an OK basketball player at the end of his career, but the over-protectiveness and the avalanche of acceptance is also for some gay men a kind of condescension. It says that if you are gay in this moment you automatically represent something, and you are expected to play this role just because of your sexuality.
What this notion leaves out is that: We are not all well-adjusted ... We’re not all happy queers ... some of us are cranky, depressed wrecks. ... Some of us feel the need to express our “gay” selves any way we want to, even if that doesn’t conform to “gay positive” stereotypes. ...
Where’s the not-famous, sloppy, somewhat lazy gay dude who doesn’t mind being gay but just doesn’t care about being PC or being an example of “moral uplift?” the guy who just wants to get on with his life ... without becoming a label? The gay man who feels he doesn’t have to march in the parade while smiling?
The inclusion and promotion of this common gay man by the Gatekeepers of Politically Correct Gayness would be ... shattering. It would be a massive move toward eliminating The Gay Man as Magical Elf.
Someone like Jason Collins may have moved us much closer to acceptance, but the fact ... remains that if you aren’t a happy homosexual totally at ease with yourself, promoting healthy mainstream values mirroring The Culturally Correct Gay Elite, then you’re considered a self-hating homo. This is still the ... heart of The Gay Lie.