Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's Not a Gay Thing

By now, I'm sure you've all heard about Idaho Senator Larry Craig's bout with lewd conduct in a public restroom. If you haven't heard, the Senator was arrested for tapping his foot in a restroom stall, which apparently is a sign to say that he was looking for sex. I'm personally surprised that Craig didn't choose to fight the charge. Whether they thought he was looking for sex or not certainly can't make it criminal to tap your foot in a bathroom stall. Craig ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct to try to make the incident go away. It didn't, and now the Senator says he should have proclaimed his innocence.

While I think the arrest sounds pretty odd, the bigger issue for me is how much this has been referred to as a "gay sex" issue or a "gay scandal." I even saw a show last night where the segment about the incident was titled "The Issue with Gays and Public Sex."

Here's the problem--Senator Craig is married with a family and adamantly claims he's not gay. Even if he were trolling this bathroom for sex, this isn't a gay thing--this a problem for straight (or possibly bisexual) men that resort to having sex in public because they have no other way to do it.

In an interview with a police officer that handles these types of crimes, CNN uncovered that most of the perpetrators of public sex in situations like this are actually straight men with families. You see, gay people typically work just like straight people--they do these kinds of things in private. It's when a person is having to come to terms with his own sexuality that these types of problems start to come forward.

Now, all CNN and the other networks, and really anyone that is trying to be honest about this type of story, need to acknowledge is that this is a married man problem rather than a gay one.
These guys are living as straight men, not gay ones. If we're going to be honest about the story, we have to ask the question: "Why are straight married men looking for sex in public bathrooms." Maybe if we approached the issue honestly like that we'd get some real answers rather than pawning off another straight man as an example of what's wrong with all of the gays out there.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm Back from Vacation

So, I may have forgotten to post that I was going on vacation last week, but I went on a cruise (a free one at that!), and I'm back now. Sorry for the lack of blogging. I'm hoping to post something substantial soon, but for now just a couple of thoughts I've had running through my mind lately.

First, my twin brother leaves for law school today. More on that to come, as I mentioned previously.

Second, I had a great time on the cruise, and luckily I'm going to New Orleans in a couple of weeks, so I have the anticipation of that to help stave off the post-event depression I normally fall victim to after I get back from fun trips.

Third, (and this is the long one) while on the cruise I came to the realization that no matter how accepted gay people may become in society, I don't think it is ever going to be to the point where we will be able to completely let our guard down. For example, by the second day on the ship, I found out that it is still completely acceptable to make gay jokes, even if you're a comedian on stage in front of 500 people.

Hanging out every day, J and I didn't make it a secret that we were together, and I met several straight people that told me up front that they were completely cool with us being gay (and several congratulated us on our 8-year relationship), but, it was still very apparent that we were "the other" on the cruise.

Don't get me wrong, I'm used to working, hanging out with, and just generally being around straight people, and most of my family and close friends are straight, but we were on a cruise with 2,000 people and only managed to find one other gay person under 35, it was kind of a weird feeling. It's comforting to find people that are similar to you and have shared experiences. It's nice to not be the "only ones" somewhere. And as hard as we looked, I still felt like the "only ones" at least as far as gay people went.

Sure, at some point it won't be ok for a comedian to tell a gay joke to a crowded theater, but I also don't really see that I'll ever go to a place where gays are few and far between and be comfortable dancing with J or laying down on a lounge chair by the pool together like all the straight couples take for granted. I'm not really sure I'm complaining about it--I've become accustomed to it, but I just don't see things making that much of a change.

It's easier being gay than it used to be, I know that for sure. I actually went up to a straight guy on the cruise and asked him if he was gay (this was in an attempt to meet other gay people). He wasn't, but he also wasn't offended that I asked. He just smiled and said he was straight. J said he thought that anyone under 30 these days lives in a society where they can deal with that sort of thing. I just wonder if we'll ever make the next big leap.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Gay Presidential Debate

Logo and HRC are hosting the first ever presidential debate focusing on gay issues tonight at 8pm Central time** (Update below). This is a pretty monumental event for the gay community, and I'm excited. It will be nice to see a debate on gay issues that is not centered around the argument that gay people are immoral (since that's where this issue has been in the last couple of elections). Hopefully it will also turn the issue from a "talking point" to something more personal. As this writer says, "I am not an issue; I am a human being," and I'm tired of having gay issues discussed as if there aren't real people be affected here.

Unfortunately, the debate will only include the Democrat candidates. It's not that the Republican candidates weren't invited. You see, they just couldn't make it. Most of them couldn't even bother to respond to the invitation. I understand that they aren't interested in this particular issue, but to not respond is pretty telling of what they really think. You guys can draw your own conclusions there.

I'll admit, the debate makes me nervous because gays have been used as such a wedge issue in the past. I'm nervous about what sound bites the far right is going to come up with to attack candidates with later. In the end, though, it's the right thing to do. I just hope the right thing to do ends up paying off in the long run.

So, tonight at 8pm you know where I'll be. You guys should watch too and let me know what you think.

Tiltsatwindmills pointed out in the comments that the HRC hosted a very similar (and some say better debate) back in 2003. Here's a post comparing the two. Very interesting. I wonder how HRC and Logo are getting away with calling this the first even of it's kind.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It's National Underwear Day!

Today is National Underwear Day. Ok, so maybe it's not an official holiday, and I actually don't even think it can fall into the "Hallmark" holiday category, but it's kind of a fun holiday to think about.

Unfortunately I didn't learn about this huge national holiday until it was too late, so I'm not wearing any particularly fun skivvies. Is anyone out there celebrating?

In a strange coincidence, today is also National Night Out--which is a holiday my family used to celebrate every year when I was growing up by having a bbq in the front yard. I wonder if anyone out there is going to be combining the two events. Nothing like a bunch of neighbors meeting each other in their underwear!