Pride and prejudice

I ran across a tweet the other day that I wanted to share – because for as inclusive as the gay community likes to think that it is, there’s still plenty of hate and bigotry out there.

 

But it also begs the question to the couples out there; if a guy approaches one of your at Pride, would you automatically assume he’s trying to hook up? Obviously I know the reasonable answer to that question but… – isn’t the point of Pride celebrating as a community and getting to know one another?

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The Hook-up App guys…

Ran across an interesting article on Huffington Post titled “Notes From The Hook-Up Apps: 9 Guys Who Take All the Fun Out of Them.”

After all – the apps themselves aren’t necessarily the problem.  We’ve all been on them or some internet incarnation of them at some point in our lives.  The problem is certain people who use them… and ruin them for the rest of us.

As contributor Jeremy Helligar points out, it’s not the guys who ask the cliche questions like “Looking?” but the following nine guys that are the true problem

1. The Validation Seeker: He’s the app equivalent of the bar queen who brags about how many boys he kissed last night. Quantity over quality… or anything else. He leaves the distinct impression that he approaches guys/swipes right just to see how many of them will respond/swipe right, too. He’ll rarely actually talk to any of them. He’s like a social media addict who obsessively courts Facebook “likes” and Twitter/Instagram “followers” and uses them to measure his/her personal worth. The more, the merrier he might be, but everyone involved ends up sleeping alone.

2. Mean Boy: He’s the one most likely to list restrictions (No oldies, no fatties, no fems, no blacks, no whites, no Asians…), anything to make himself feel superior to everyone he’s rejecting. Even if you make it past his velvet rope, he’ll find ways to make you feel inferior, too.

About a year and a half ago, a work colleague introduced me to a guy who snubbed me to my face while gushing about me behind my back. He went on to have a one-and-a-half-night stand with a very good friend of mine, to whom he revealed his (and Mean Boy’s) dating mantra: “Treat ’em mean, keep ‘em keen.” Yep, he actually said that, and he eventually put those words into action with my poor pal.

Alas, I don’t play that dating game. “The more you ignore me, the closer I get,” Morrissey sang on his biggest U.S. solo hit. Great song, but I can’t relate. Neither pining nor stalking has ever been the best use of my time.

3. The “Polite” Responder: For some reason, some guys insist on being rejected outright. No response doesn’t send a clear enough message, so they follow up with question marks until you block them. Defeated but still defiant, they add a familiar request to their profiles: “If you’re not interested, just block or say so. It’s only courteous.”

Oh, the beasts these Mr. Manners have spawned. Personally, if a guy ignores me, unlike Morrissey in the aforementioned hit, I move on to one who doesn’t. But not so fast. Just because he responds, doesn’t mean he’s interested. A lot of them are just being “polite,” offering curt, blase responses to your follow-ups without making any discernible attempt to keep the conversation going.

I once called out someone on it and asked him why he responded if he wasn’t interested. He said it wasn’t me; it was his exhaustion from work. It apparently depleted his energy and ability to offer an online tone that couldn’t be interpreted as gruff and slightly annoyed. So why was he on Grindr and not in bed at 11pm then? I’d rather be ignored.

4. The Compulsive Chater: On the plus side, this one might be blessed with the gift of gab. It’s always nice to bypass sexual positions and penis size, but if smallish talk isn’t going to lead anywhere, shouldn’t you at least be near an open bar? Even though he’s probably the one who approached you and may actually live only blocks away, it’s near impossible to score a date or even a hook-up, because he’s all talk, no meet.

5. Bored/Boring Guy: Hey… How r u… What’s doin… Where you at… If communicating in three words or less is your thing, here comes your man. He’s not really looking for anything. He’s just here because he’s got a phone and functioning WiFi, and there’s nothing better to do. Good times, right?

6. The Pic Collector: Like I recently told one suitor requesting XXX pics, if you’re dying to see a big black c—k, Google “big black c—k.”

7. Mr. Catch Me If You Can: For me, this guy is the most frustratingly unattainable because he’s so good on paper. He’s typically handsome, quick to respond (and not in that detached “The ‘Polite’ Responder” way), engaging, and he’s often online, which would seem to indicate availability.

Don’t get it twisted, though. He may be seemingly free and presumably “looking,” but he’s not available. He’s never available. So busy, he keeps reminding you, though he’s rarely too busy to be on the grid. Grindr may very well be the only place in the world where someone who’s working part-time at a backpackers hostel while looking for a full-time job has a more jam-packed schedule than someone who runs a Fortune 500 company.

8. The Ghosting Gay: He’s the one who actually meets up with you, maybe even goes on a date with you. He might even call out your name during sex. He acts like he’d love to see you again and might even tell you to stay in touch, breaking the unspoken “NSA” rule. But after his clothes are back on, he disappears from your life as abruptly as he entered it, possibly blocking you once he’s safely out of sight.

On the rare occasion that you do hear from him again, he’s probably only seeing if you’ll respond (see “The Validation Seeker” above) before the ghosting begins. And if you reach out to him first, he might respond once, maybe even twice (see “The ‘Polite’ Responder” above), before the ghosting begins.

You may see him weeks, months, a year later. If he doesn’t pretend he’s never met you, he might actually go home with you, beginning the ghosting cycle all over again. An accidental hook-up is as good as it’ll get after the first one. He’ll never be a dependable f—k buddy, much less a friend with benefits, because that would require him to stay in touch, and he’s just not that into you.

9. “Wired” Guy: While he’s typically a nocturnal animal, this one lurks during daylight, too, particularly if you live in a tourist-heavy city. He’s drunk on life, love, whatever controlled substance he can get his sweaty, shaky hands on. He’s pretty easy to spot because he mangles simple words and sentences in ways Autocorrect/Predictive text could never dream of, and his profile is typically suspiciously bare.

The good news is that if you’re too busy sleeping or living your offline life to catch your window of opportunity, you’ll probably never hear from him again.

Yes, we still need Pride

posting here because it’s important.

You Think You Know

For every time someone has told you that you are sinning.  For every time someone told you that what you’re doing is immoral.  For every time someone told you that what you’re doing is gross or sick or unnatural.

For every time someone asked you “why do you need to get married?”  For every time someone asked you “why should you have ‘special rights’?”  For every time the government has denied you your unalienable rights.  For every time you’ve been denied the right to visit a sick boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse in the hospital.  For every time society has denied you for who you are, for who you love, and for how you love.

For every time you’ve wondered “will my boss fire me for being gay?”.  For every time you’ve been nervous to put a picture of your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/spouse on your desk at work.  For every time you’ve wondered “will my landlord…

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Do We Still Need Pride?

You Think You Know

Wayne Dhesi published the following article on Huffington Post called “Do We Still Need Pride?” a few weeks ago.  It’s a valid question; after all, President Obama just yesterday declared June “LGBT Pride Month.”  It may make us think our work is done.

I guess the topic comes to mind for several reasons, mostly because my friends in Boston will be celebrating Pride this weekend, and here in New Orleans we will celebrate next week.  But yesterday’s airing of “The Fight Against AIDS” on CNN’s documentary series The Eighties and the documentary How to Survive a Plague are great reminders of a time when our community had to stand up, speak out, and act up to get the rights, recognition, and the dignity we so deserved.  That struggle continues today, especially for our trans brothers and sisters.  Perhaps need to celebrate Pride each year because we as…

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Dancing in the Dark

Given recent events in North Carolina and Mississippi, the post below may be more relevant than ever.  By Hardy Haberman, the post comes from Leatherati – a site dedicated to the leather community – but provides amazing insight into the trans community as well.  I think the best line is probably “Most of the trans folk I know don’t set themselves apart as ‘trans’, they identify as the gender they present.”  It would seem that the only people these days who suggest that the trans community should be set apart are politicians.  Enjoy the read, and share your thoughts.

I enjoy the dance, the sometimes subtle and sometimes brazen choreography of cruising.

He was about 5’4” tall, and slim, but still had enough muscle on him to be interesting. Dressed in jeans with heavy wear on the knees, a leather vest with no insignia and a leather ball cap pulled low over his eyes. His boots shined like glass, military polish. He was a tempting target.

I no longer drink, so I don’t hang out in bars very much, but I do attend a lot of leather events and this one had just become more promising. In the decidedly non-cruisy foyer of the hotel, he and I had already made contact. We hadn’t spoken, but by the way he stayed just far enough away from me to be polite, but close enough wherever I went, I knew I had him hooked.

Or maybe he had me. That’s the thing about cruising, predator and prey are mutually amenable to the whole experience, so it sometimes becomes hard to tell who is pursuing who.

Finally I made eye contact and nodded toward him. He approached and stood at a respectful distance. I knew his name, thank God for events that have name tags, and I asked him if he had plans for the evening. He responded with a wonderfully military, “Sir, no Sir.”

After a little negotiation which involved the usual “what are you into” conversation as well as talk about health issues, limits and intimate details I won’t go into here, we agreed that having a scene together was what we both wanted.

The event had three dungeons set up for the nightly parties. One was “pansexual”, one was for men only and one for women only. At this event the pansexual dungeon was pretty much the venue of heterosexual folks and he was uncomfortable with that energy, so we entered the men’s space. It was dark, and mostly abandoned, but it would do well for what we had in mind.

The boy removed his boots while I got my set floggers near a suitable St. Andrew’s Cross. He put his boots and socks aside and presented himself to me. I removed his leather vest and unbuttoned his jeans. In moments I had undressed him to his leather jock and had him against the cross. His muscular back was a perfect playground for me and he responded well to my work. Before long he had bright raised welts in a herring bone pattern across the pale expanse of his shoulders and his ass was glowing pink. I could tell by his body language he was having a good time, as was I.

After a very exciting and exhausting 45 minutes, I hugged him and pulled him away from the cross. As he sat squirming on my knee, I felt the energy flowing off him. He was in that blissful afterglow and it was intoxicating.

We decided to adjourn to somewhere more private, since the room had become more busy than when we started. As he was dressing, I was approached by one of the men who had watched our scene.

“Damn that boy is hot!” he said.

I had to agree, and he nodded at me as we left the dungeon.

I tell this story not as a tale of conquest, but as a testimony to the delights of male energy in a space for men. The scene wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting or as intense in the pansexual space. I much prefer having a scene with a man in the company of other men. Playing in “men’s space” eliminates the curiosity element which often intrudes on a gay scene in a pansexual space. There it can feel like a show, and though I sometimes enjoy my exhibitionistic streak, I like a sexually intense scene with another man in “men’s space”. We get it! There is an understanding among brothers that transcends the play and makes the whole scene feel more intimate.

Anyone who saw that scene would agree, the male energy of that boy and I was palpable, and that was the point.

Now, time for full disclosure. Though I considered the boy every bit the man I enjoyed playing with had he removed his jock things might have been different. He was a transman, and the jock was one of his hard limits. We negotiated that and it didn’t make our scene any less hot or less intimate or less infused with male energy. We also discussed where he would feel most comfortable playing. He was hesitant about the men’s dungeon, but the pansexual space was a non-starter. In the end we agreed to “go for it” and also understood that we might be asked to leave.

That is something we were willing to accept.

I know that this might anger some men who feel the sanctity of the men’s space was violated, but I would note that the only comments we got were from men who thought the scene was indeed hot, and from men who thought the boy was worthy of lusting after. I have never told the organizers about this, and I don’t feel a need to. The boy I played with identified as male, and to me he was every bit a man with the exception of his genitalia and as per our negotiation that wasn’t going to be a factor anyway.

The point of this whole story is this, I feel strongly that we as a community need to understand our transsexual brothers and sisters. Most of the trans folk I know don’t set themselves apart as “trans”, they identify as the gender they present. Who am I to disagree?

In the leather/fetish realm we need to be clear about the distinction between “fetish” and gender identity. Since we play in both areas, we should be even more aware of the distinctions. The transmen and transwomen I know do not fetishize their gender identity. That is a totally different issue and since it is not my fetish, I can’t speak to it.

I sincerely hope I am not stepping on anyone’s toes, but I am expressing my opinion. As leatherfolk, I feel we should recognize people who identify as men as men and who identify as women as women. It’s a simple thing, and unless I plan on getting more intimate which would be subject to negotiation anyway, why not take things at face value? Besides, I know more than a few leathermen who seem much more feminine than many of the transmen I know. I suspect the reverse is true as well.

For me, I fully embrace my friends who are transgender as whatever gender they present. And my gender-queer friends, I embrace them as the rebellious and wonderfully non-gender binary.

Unless we are going to start having genital exams at the door of every dungeon, (which might be fun but that is another issue), it’s time we stopped balkanizing and started enlightening ourselves. And as to those toes I might have stepped on. Well, I hope you don’t carry that limp too long, but you will recover.

The Next Time You Hate on LGBT People

You Think You Know

Jan Albert Suing, a graduate student as well as a LGBT rights and social equality advocate, wrote the following Facebook post a little less than a year ago when same sex marriage became the law of the land thanks to the Supreme Court.  In light of professional boxer Manny Pacquiao’s recent controversial comments (read: outright horrible comments) regarding the LGBT community, Jan re-posted this open letter on Huffington Post, as a letter to Manny and any one else in the straight community who perhaps needs a little reading.

The next time you hate on LGBT people and call them an ‘abomination,’ remember how easy you have it compared to them who have to go through all oppression and pain and suffering just to get the same rights that you’ve been enjoying practically since you were born and never had to fight for.

The next time you hate on LGBT…

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