Friday, May 22, 2015

A man who chooses to be gay against gay gentrification*

I've muttered before about the extraordinary amount of gay navel gazing that is hosted at Slate, and the most tedious writer they have, who is wont to take 1000 words to express what others could in 100 (OK, maybe 200), is J Bryan Lowder.

He recently wrote at length about gay as his adopted culture (as opposed to merely being homosexual), and while I am a part of that large section of the population that genuinely can't quite get its head around why a great many (but not all) men who like to sleep with men act gay, or camp, and share some odd and distinctive tastes in music and art,  I just couldn't be bothered staying with Lowder's boringly expressed attempt at explanation.   As someone in comments said:
....the title seemed to represent some interesting concepts. But I couldn't finish, in part because it became quickly evident that an essentially semantic argument had been overwrought and overthought. And in part because this article reads like a dissertation--one that lacked an outline.
This author clearly has writing talent, but loves his words more than he loves his story.
This week, Mr Lowder (a young man who writes as a young man) has an idealistic, no, actually naive, complaint:  that gay couples raising children in a now somewhat gentrified part of New York should not be complaining about gay sex shops and condom littered footpaths because they don't think these are good things for their kids to be walking past on the way to school:
I realize I’m being hard on these people, parents who I’m sure just want what’s best for their children. But they’ve got to realize that this campaign is a total betrayal of a history of sexually inclusive activism that has made it possible for them to even raise kids and build lives together in this now-fancy neighborhood in the first place. The desire on the part of many gays to assimilate into traditionally straight ways of living is not in itself a bad thing; the problem comes when that move is made as some kind of repudiation of other, gayer ways of living, particularly as manifested with regard to important gay spaces like bars and shops.
Lowder, deservedly, attracts quite a bit of ridicule in comments:

Take a pill, Lowder.   Preferably a horse tranquilizer. Jesus.
"I find condoms on the New York sidewalk a few times a week, and you know what I think, every single time? I’m glad someone decided to use this when they got laid."
No you don't.
Stop prude-shaming gays and lesbians who do not wear their every sexual act and proclivity on their sleeves for their entire lives. The assimilation you criticize is likely the primary, if not only, reason for the sea change we have seen in heterosexuals' attitudes toward gays and lesbians this century. "Don't discriminate against me because of whom I love and build a life with" is a much easier sell than "Don't discriminate against me because all the people at my sex orgy are of the same gender."
And I like the sentiment, to a degree, although the reference to "perversion" makes one suspect the writer is perhaps just a little more intolerant than needed:
When it comes to raising children I would certainly HOPE parents are hypocrites! Boozers, should be hiding their boozing from their children, dopers should be hiding their dope from their children, abusers should be hiding their abuse from their children, perverts of any persuasion should be protecting their children from their perversions. America seems to have entirely forgotten the concept of 'discretion'.
It's not homophobic or prudish to shelter young children from constantly seeing things that they are developmentally unable to comprehend. And it begs the question, what should these parents do in the meantime until their kids are "old enough?" Change schools? Blindfold their kids when walking to school? There is a reason why most municipalities have zoning laws for shops that sell sex and adult-oriented products.
Ah, zoning laws!

That raises another topic on which certain commentators have an excessive obsession.  I've got a post coming about that too.

*  I felt bad about the earlier title, since I hate the sound of the anyone saying "oh, he's a gay" as if that was the crucial identifier for any personality.

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