Stop pretending


Greg Milliken

Stop pretending


This passage from Michael Bronski's review of Larry Kramer's Cooper Union speech caught my eye:

"I agree that a single HIV infection is one too many. But I understand -- without excusing -- that some gay men may act self-destructively in a queer-hating culture, and that the simple need for affection and the touch of another human being may at times be a stronger drive than self-protection."

[emphases mine]

It caught my eye because there is a very simple and easy way for gay men to be accepted into straight culture.

That is they should stop pretending they are different from any other men.

Once they get rid of the effeminacy and the freakshow it creates, straight society will be much more willing to accept them under its wing.

Because straight men will then have to stop making excuses about how gay men are different.

They aren't different. That's a fact of life, not a theory. Gay men are men, just like straight men, and there is absolutely no evidence to the contrary.

Whereas there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that men are men, regardless of sexuality.

If gay men were naturally more effeminate, there wouldn't be effeminate straight guys.

They would be gay.

And there wouldn't be masculine gay men.

They would be straight.

Effeminacy is made-up. It's a sexist view leftover from two centuries ago, and it's long past time to put it to rest.

Gay men want to know why some aspects of straight culture hate gays.

Because gay culture has allowed them to.

And they've allowed them to based on the lie that gay men are different.

We in the frot movement have figured out the simple solution: gay men aren't different.

Gay men aren't naturally effeminate.

Gay men are men.

Show straight culture that, and they will be disarmed.

Your fellow warrior,

Greg Milliken

"If you must choose between two paths, either of which will bring death and defeat, then choose the path wherein you die fighting for honor and justice."

-- Pan Ku

Bill Weintraub

Re: Stop pretending


Thank you Greg.

Sometimes minorities buy into their own oppression.

For example, when, as Harvard's African-American Studies chair Henry Lewis Gates has described, academically-gifted Black teens buy into gangsta / thug culture, they buy into their own oppression.

They accept and to some degree internalize an image of Blacks as innately criminal, violent, and under-achieving -- which is untrue.

Same for those gay men who buy into effeminacy.

They're buying into a self-image which is false and oppressive.

To say so will cause those who practice the politics of identity -- as in Queer as Folk -- to scream that we're blaming the victim.

We're not.

We're saying that to embrace effeminacy is to embrace your oppression.

And that there's a better way:

To reject effeminacy and with it, your oppression.

Now, let's take a look at the quote which touched off Greg's thoughts.

The quote is from Michael Bronski, a typical gay male establishment writer and academic, and in it, as throughout his review of Larry's speech, he's criticizing -- that is, undercutting -- Larry's effforts to get young gay guys to take responsibility for their manifestly murderous sexual ways.

You see, Larry gave a speech at New York City's Cooper Union on November 7, 2004, in which he attacked gay male indifference to the epidemic and other current events and in effect accused gay men of murdering each other through anal penetration.

Needless to say, this didn't sit well with the gay establishment.

Says Bronski,

Even while insisting that he [Kramer] "loves" gay people, he comes across as as down on his own kind as he is on those who hate his kind. "Does it occur to you that we brought this plague of AIDS upon ourselves?" he asks dramatically and inaccurately (p. 54).

Yet that's not inaccurate.

To the contrary, it's exactly what happened.

Gay men, through anal penetration and promiscuity, created the HIV epidemic.

They didn't create HIV -- that already existed.

But they gave it the perfect conditions in which to flourish.

To be fair, they didn't know they were doing that.

But that's what they did.

Larry's statement is not inaccurate -- nor particularly dramatic.

It's the truth.

Bronski continues:

From his 1978 novel "Faggots" to "The Tragedy of Today's Gays," Kramer has admonished gay men to treat themselves and one another with respect -- especially in the context of the AIDS epidemic. Over and over, Kramer raises important questions: Why do some gay men reject condoms? Why is there a growing problem with crystal meth in some gay male communities? Why do so many younger gay men seem to know so little about, or respect, the sacrifices of their predecessors?

For the most part, Kramer admits he has few answers. Unless that answer is, as he implies, that gay men are so consumed with self-hatred that they want to die, that they want to murder themselves and one another. "You kids want to die? Because that's what I sometimes think. Well, then, die" (p. 50).

Needless to say, Larry's blunt pointing of the finger at gay self-hatred, self-loathing, and internalized self-oppression is too much for Bronski -- who is, after all, a gay establishment guy.

So while Bronski claims to "share some of Kramer's concerns about self-destructive behavior," he is also quick to say,

"I agree that a single HIV infection is one too many. But I understand -- without excusing -- that some gay men may act self-destructively in a queer-hating culture, and that the simple need for affection and the touch of another human being may at times be a stronger drive than self-protection."

[emphases Greg's]

I have many problems with that statement, which in many ways epitomizes the gay establishment's approach to the epidemic and to analism itself.

First off, Bronski says he's not excusing -- but of course he is.

He's attributing these self-destructive acts to the "queer-hating culture" -- rather than to those men who've chosen to identify as queers and behave self-destructively.

Yet I, like most Frot men, would never identify as a queer, because "queer" means "odd" or "strange," and there's nothing odd or strange about being a man who loves men.

Men who love men are beautiful and strong, masculine and heroic.

Not queer.

Queer is without question a self-loathing self-designation.

Just as anal is without question a self-loathing practice.

Yet Bronski also somehow, through some bit of absurd analist alchemy, translates "the simple need for affection and the touch of another human being" into getting fucked up the ass.

There's no affection in getting fucked up the ass.

Nor is there anything affectionate about fucking a man up the ass while he's on crystal meth.

This is not an act of affection, and it's not the act of one "human being" to another.

It's an act of brutality and oppression, of dominance and destruction.

As one of our warriors said, "There's no male connection, no bond, just raw lust. It's not sex or love, it's violence and power. The problem is implied in the politically-coerced masculine/feminine roles."

When Bronski, a member of the gay male establishment, characterizes this act of violence and power driven by politically-coerced roles as "the simple need for affection and the touch of another human being," he's doing what gay men and that establishment have done for the last 30 years: romanticizing and distorting the true nature of anal penetration.

That too is oppressive.

The better way to go, always, is to tell the truth.

Blogger Jim Lynch did just that when he referred to anal as "shit sex."

Another accurate term would be "pain sex."

And "disease sex."

If gay leaders like Bronski would start referring to anal as shit pain and disease sex, rather than "affection and touch" sex -- they'd be telling the truth, and we'd begin to deconstruct anal and the last 30 years of anal exaltation.

That's what's needed.

That's what was done with smoking.

It was stripped of its glamour and portrayed as it is: dirty and deadly.

Is effeminacy deadly?

Sure it is.

The timidity and passivity of effeminacy -- and I'm speaking as a founding board member of the New York City Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project who's done years of self-defense work -- invites attack.

Should people be attacked because they're effeminate?


Will they be?


While men who reject that passivity and timidity and learn how to defend themselves will be far less likely to be attacked, and far more likely to survive an attack if one occurs.

Which is why I push martial arts.

But not the gym.

Here's the difference between the gym and the dojo -- the martial arts academy, what was known in the ancient world as the palestra or fight school:

At the gym, the gay man gets pumped and looks in the mirror.

Then he gets pumped some more, and looks in the mirror.

Then he gets pumped some more, and looks in the mirror.

After a lot of lifting and a lot of trips to the mirror, he goes to the shower.

Where he looks in the mirror.

And where he may jerk off as well.

Then he gets dressed, while looking in the mirror, leaves the gym, and checks out his reflection in the nearest shop window.

The reason he needs to constantly look in the mirror, is that the gym, though leaving him pumped, has not had other than a very momentary effect upon his self-image.

He has muscles, but he's not stronger.

That's not true of a martial art.

The heightened self-confidence, plus the adrenaline and testosterone rush, that you feel from training at a dojo stays with you for days.

And every time you train, your self-confidence and self-image improve.

Because you're learning a very fundamental and useful skill, and one of which you're proud, while getting a terrific workout.

At the dojo you gain both muscles and strength -- true strength, which is inner.

Is it oppressive of me to say to gay men that you can be authentically strong -- like any other man or indeed any other human being?


Is it oppressive of Bronski to say to gay men that their need for affection and touch can legitimately lead to unsafe and indeed cruel "sex"?


Of course it is.

Because rather than being told, falsely, that being violated anally is a pathway to affection, these men need to hear that the only true way to satisfy one's need for affection is through acts which are truly affectionate.

Let's repeat that:

The only true way to satisfy your need for affection is through acts which are truly affectionate.

Shit sex and pain sex and death sex and whore sex are not affectionate.

Those who seek affection in such acts will never be satisfied, and may well be killed in their quest.

Those who seek affection in acts of affection will be satisfied, and will ultimately find life.

So Bronski is wrong.

Just as calling oneself queer is an act of self-loathing and self-destruction, so is the act of anal itself.

And we don't do anyone any favors when we fail to characterize it as such.

Larry has been edging towards our view of anal, but he's still not there and I'm not sure he'll ever be there.

In my experience, most men like Larry, who were infected with HIV -- and Larry was also infected with hepatitis C -- through anal, are just not able to truly examine the act and see it for what it is.

Larry condemns condomless anal, and has said we need to "de-eroticize anal"; but he has yet to condemn anal itself, and to acknowledge that maintaining anal penetration at the heart of gay male life is maintaining a self-loathing lie.

Rather than that phallic bonding which is what true sex between men actually is.

Finally, as a self-defense guy, I want to put just a little caveat on what Greg said:

Gay men aren't naturally effeminate.

Gay men are men.

Show straight culture that, and they will be disarmed.

I agree that as gay men come to accept that they are men, and start behaving like men, and as straight guys come to accept that they too have same-sex feelings, and that those feelings are normal and natural, anti-gay sentiment will fade.

However, in our present state of civilization, the reality is that you can be a completely masculine man, and still be attacked simply for being a man who loves other men.

If you know a martial art, you'll be far less likely to be attacked, and far better able to survive an attack.

Again: Given the insanity and lust for power of the religious right, masculinity per se will not entirely protect you.

Here's what Robert Lorspir said about that today in an excellent reply to the message thread on this board titled, Is Homosexuality a Sin?

Sadly we live in a modern world that has turned RIGHT into wrong and WRONG into right. Men have had sex with each other since the dawning of time. It is a part of the Warrior Bond as many of the articles posted on this site speak of. Sadly, in our modern society that Warrior Bond is weak and, frankly, most men are LOST because our society is so homophobic it condemns any affection shown between two men. How insane.

[emphasis mine]

Robert's right.

That's insane, and insanity breeds insanity:

Some straight-identified men who, because they don't know the truth, are tortured by their same-sex needs and desires, will be driven to acts of violence against men who strongly and openly love other men.

You need to know how to fight.

That knowledge may not only save you from attack or save you during an attack, but the inner strength you gain from that knowledge may also enable you to reach out to some of those many men who as, Robert says, are LOST because they've been denied a true Warrior Bond.

Help yourself -- through the study of a martial art -- and you will learn how to help them as well.

Thank you Greg and Robert -- great work!


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