Posted by: brian | January 23, 2009

Gay for pay

Tyra Banks, the stupid man’s Oprah — wait, I thought Oprah was the stupid man’s Oprah? Tyra can be the thin king man’s Oprah. Clever, that, with the extra space, eh? — So Tyra Banks had a show about “gay for pay” porn stars. These are guys who identify as straight, and have girlfriends or wives (or maybe both?), and even kids, in some cases.

I saw a small clip of this on the tubes somewhere. (I’m to lazy to go find it right now and include a link, but you know how to use YouTube, right?) I was unsurprised to see that the tone of the host and the audience was “How DARE you defy our attempts to classify you!! How very dare you!”

(The more I think about this, the madder I get.)

Perhaps the most “offensive” part of the YouTube clip I found was where Ms. Banks asks a straight guy in the audience (really? Straight guys go to the Tyra Banks show?) – a tall black man named Don who says, “I ain’t doin’ nothin’ strange for a piece a change, they crazy.” This elicited laughter and applause, because it rhymed (he’s black, so he has to talk like that – you know, all rappers are black – even the white ones. They CAN’T be white – they’re rapping! They MUST be black. How dare they attempt to defy my preconceived notions!), and because it degraded the men who have chosen this occupation.* The expression on Don’s face is difficult to describe. It looked like a combination of disgust, sadness, and confusion. Later, they cut to Don shaking his head in disgust and horror when the guy on stage (“Dean”) mentioned the word “toys.” Dean also mentions kissing other guys (gasp!) and says, “I’m really just acting.” In some movies (most recently, Milk, and soon, I Love You Phillip Morris, along with dozens of others), straight professional actors sometimes play gay characters. They kiss and they have simulated sex scenes. Are they “gay for pay”? Are they denying their own homosexual tendencies? Or are they just acting?

Dean’s girlfriend says she thinks he’s a little bit bisexual, but she doesn’t argue about it with him. Which is good, because that would start a whole new argument about how we define sexuality. Is it based simply on attraction, or is it based on experience? (We’re not going to tackle this issue right now.)

Tyra and her audience seem to be missing the important part of the phrase “gay for pay.” It’s not the “gay” part. It’s the “pay” part. People will do a lot of things for money. Yes, these guys have sex with other men. FOR MONEY. Does that make them gay? NO. Homosexuality is more complicated than just having sex with the same sex. It’s about being romantically attracted to the same sex. By saying, “You sucked a cock, you must be gay,” morons like Tyra Banks are not only being simplistic; they’re also making a statement about what it means to be gay, and it’s not a flattering statement. Of course, she’s a fashion model, and so she must fall into certain categories herself, right? Oh, I know: All pretty people are fashion models. There is nothing to being a model except being pretty and anorexic and a little bit stupid. It’s no more complicated than that. Am I right?

*I’m not typically easy to offend, and in this particular case, I appreciate the wit of the comment. What offends me, however, is the idiocy behind the comment. I can put up with a lot, but I have a tough time tolerating self-righteousness and willful ignorance.

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