O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
A blog about LGBTQ+ History, Art, Literature, Politics, Culture, and Whatever Else Comes to Mind. The Closet Professor is a fun (sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes very serious) approach to LGBTQ+ Culture.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Moment of Zen: O Romeo…
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The storms have been widespread throughout Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. Reports are that up to 80 or more people have died as a result of these lines of storms. If the storms have not reached you yet, I am thinking of you guys and you are in my prayers. Where I live, we still have a few more storms to pass through later tonight, but we are hoping that the most severe weather is passed us.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The Wild Honey-Suckle
Each evening during this time of year when I walk outside I am overwhelmed by the beautiful sweet smell that flows on the breeze and envelopes the sky. The smell is that of wild honeysuckles which grow on the fence around the side of my house. There may be many things that I don’t like about the South, but the smell of wild honeysuckle in late spring is something that I will always love and cherish.
The Wild Honey-Suckle by Philip Freneau
Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet;
No roving foot shall crush thee here,
No busy hand provoke a tear.
By Nature's self in white arrayed,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
And planted here the guardian shade,
And sent soft waters murmuring by;
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.
Smit with those charms, that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They died--nor were those flowers more gay,
The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
Unpitying frosts, and Autumn's power
Shall leave no vestige of this flower.
From morning suns and evening dews
At first thy little being came:
If nothing once, you nothing lose,
For when you die you are the same;
The space between, is but an hour,
The frail duration of a flower.
In the picture above, the model is not holding honeysuckle, but it’s the closest thing I could find.
Philip Freneau, 1752-1832, American poet and journalist, b. New York City, grad. Princeton, 1771. During the American Revolution he served as soldier and privateer. His experiences as a prisoner of war were recorded in his poem The British Prison Ship (1781). The first professional American journalist, he was a powerful propagandist and satirist for the American Revolution and for Jeffersonian democracy. Freneau edited various papers, including the partisan National Gazette (Philadelphia, 1791-93) for Jefferson. He was usually involved in editorial quarrels, and, influential though he was, none of his papers was profitable. His political and satirical poems have value mainly for historians, but his place as the earliest important American lyric poet is secured by such poems as "The Wild Honeysuckle," "The Indian Burying Ground," and "Eutaw Springs."
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/philip-morin-freneau#ixzz1KVIHwdwl
Monday, April 25, 2011
Lies and Controversy
On August 21, the gay blogger and youtuber, Davey Wavey (www.breaktheillusion.com), posted a video blog about the “7 Huge Gay Lies” that gay men tell. In the video, Davey explained that the majority of gays lie about:
- how many partners they’ve ever had
- using gay hookup sites
- cheating on their boyfriends
- their penis size
- their fetishes
- having safe sex
- their age
This caused a shitstorm of controversy which, sadly, led Davey to take down the video and post this one instead. The controversy around the video was led by another gay blogger and youtuber named Tyler Oakley, who claims that these are just negative stereotypes and teach young gays bad habits, while also denying ever lying about any of the above. (I’ll take him at his word on this.) I personally have never lied about any of the things above either, though Tyler goes further to state that not only has he never lied about any of these things, but that he has never done any of them. In a comment on Davey Wavey’s original video he stated:
- I’m honest on how many partners I’ve had.
- I’ve never used a hookup site. I met my boyfriend on a blind date.
- I’ve never cheated. I have respect for them and myself.
- I’ve never been in a situation where someone has asked me for my penis size, so I’ve never had a chance to lie about it. Maybe I have a higher standard for the conversations I have.
- I only have safe sex with committed tested partners.
- I’ve never lied about my age.
You should stop perpetrating stereotypes.
Now, if these is true, great for Tyler. Like I said before I won’t say he is lying because maybe he is not. But, I have a few things to say, and I will go through them point by point (all seven of them).
First of all, I am as honest about how many partners I’ve had as I can be, though the exact number is a little fuzzy. (I’ll be the first to say that I had my slutty phase, but I don’t think it was too slutty of a phase.) There are some hookups, that I would like to forget, but I have a pretty good memory of them. To give an example of one of the ones I would like to forget was a guy that I met online. He was a fellow teacher (special ed, which in my opinion makes him a pretty special person). We seemed to have a lot in common, and I enjoyed our chats. We decided to get together for some “fun.” We were chatting after we met up, and he was talking about his kids. Now, I always refer to my students as my kids, so I didn’t think anything more of it. Then he made a comment about his wife. We were kind of in the heat of the moment, and I put it at the back of my mind while we were both naked. In retrospect, I should have stopped him and sent him on his way. I believe in being faithful to a partner, and I felt disgusted with myself for fooling around with a married man. It is not one of the highlights of my life. Not all men are honest about the number of partners they’ve had. I’ve run into this many times. We should be honest with each other, and Davey is right that not all of us are.
As stated in the previous paragraph, I have used gay hookup sites. When you are a gay man in the South, there are several good reasons for this. 1) There aren’t a lot of places to go meet other gay men, especially while living in small towns or rural areas. 2) Not everybody has friends who know other gay friends to set them up on blind dates, and it can be hard to find us in a small community. 3) Sometimes we need to be discreet. There are other reasons, but these are the three biggies. Good for Tyler for not using gay hookup sites, but what is wrong with it? Those sites are not just about sex and immediate hookups, though many guys think of them as such. I have met some great people that I have had a lot of fun with, sex or not, on these sites, and I will not lie about it (though maybe I will be vague about it to some of my straight friends). The point is, why lie? It is nothing to be ashamed of. (And on a side note, we know Davey Wavey has used hookup sites because he has blogged about it, and his naked profile pics are all over the internet.)
I personally have never cheated in the traditional sense of the word, except for the special ed teacher, and that was accidental. I didn’t’ think I had to ask if he was married or not. I was naïve, and I have since learned. Furthermore, you all should know that I am a Christian. In my belief, lusting in one’s heart (as Jimmy Carter put it), masturbating to the image of another man, checking out that hot guy across the room, etc., are all forms of cheating. That brief though is a betrayal of your partner, and you are not being completely faithful to your partner. The old saying “Just because you are on a diet, doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu,” is actually just plain wrong. If you are in a committed relationship, then why would your eye wonder. Truth be told, it is human nature for our eyes to wonder. How do we remedy this? I honestly don’t know, but I have no doubt that we should be honest with our partners. Lies only lead to problems.
Now, penis size… OMFG! I mean really. If I had a dollar for every time a man lied to me about his penis size, I might not be a millionaire, but I’m pretty sure I would be comfortably well off. If I had a dollar for every time any man has lied about his penis size to me or not, I would be at least a billionaire. Tyler wrote, “I’ve never been in a situation where someone has asked me for my penis size, so I’ve never had a chance to lie about it. Maybe I have a higher standard for the conversations I have.” Really, he has never had that conversation with someone else. I’ve had that conversation with straight men and gay men alike and numerous female friends. When it comes down to it, most men lie just a little. I don’t, because honestly, I’m happy with my size. I wish it were a bit longer, but I’ve never had a complaint. And as for Tyler’s statement, “Maybe I have a higher standard for the conversations I have” what kind of fucking boring life does Tyler live. I mean really. (Maybe that is not fair, but I dislike it when people try to act like total goody two shoes.) What the hell does this guy talk about. It is certainly not all that I talk about, but there is nothing to be shameful or deceptive about. I have friends who are very open about these kinds of things, and a couple of beers, sex talk, and you have a fun night ahead. (A tidbit of historical gossip here, the only man in history that it was widely rumored during his lifetime to have a huge penis is Marcus Antonius. Believe it or not, in Ancient Rome, this was a slur. He was seen as being led around by his cock, and subsequently, Cleopatra. If it was so big, how did he keep it hidden under that short leather skirt?) Enough said. Just be honest about your size.
Okay, so I will admit that I don’t always tell everyone I am with about my fetishes. If a guy were to ask, I would tell. We all have things that we find sexually exciting. By the way, Tyler did not address this lie. Does he tell all of his partners about his fetishes? Why did he leave this out? Maybe he really is just completely boring (again, maybe not fair). I’ve never read his blog, and after seeing how he reacted to Davey’s video, I don’t think I want to.
As for safe sex, I haven’t always been safe. I was the top in unprotected anal sex once (long story that involves and orgy and a guy that put my dick into his ass before I knew it, and in the heat of the moment I went with it). Tyler wrote, “I only have safe sex with committed tested partners.” Again good for him, but he never says that he is always honest with them. Also, no sex is totally safe. Tests are not always accurate. Partners are not always faithful, no matter what we want to believe. Oral sex is not completely safe (though deemed low risk if you don’t swallow) even if you use dental dams and condoms. Condoms can break. All kinds of problems can happen. Abstinence and solo masturbation are the only truly safe sex. All the rest is “safer” sex. Again, this is something that I am honest about. There is no reason to lie. Better to be safe than sorry.
I will not, have not, and never will lie about my age. A year older is a thing to celebrate, and it beats the hell out of the alternative (i.e. death). I am happy that I am a 33 year old man. There are more things that I wish I had done before this age (finished my PhD for one), but we all have some regrets. It doesn’t make me ashamed of my age. Have men and women ever lied to me about their age? Yes, they have, and they will continue to do so as long as we have an emphasis on youth. Be honest and be proud.
I don’t think (in fact, I know) Davey Wavey was not trying to perpetuate stereotypes, but in is touch feely gay guru way was talking about honesty. Davey Wavey, from all of his stuff that I have read and watched, tries to get us as gay men to love ourselves and to guard ourselves against the ever prevalent self-hatred that so many of us face at on time or another. I am sorry that he took down the video. I didn’t get to see it before it was taken down, but I can’t believe it was offensive as Tyler lambasted him for. What Davey is like in real life is, I hope, very close to the personality he portrays on his blog and videos. I may not divulge my completely true identity here, but I endeavor to be honest about who I am. Some of my readers who have gotten to know me outside of my blog would, and again I hope, describe me as a loving and caring person. And as a human being, I may have a temper on occasion and my students get to see it every so often. None of us are perfect. I still work very hard to follow my two main rules in life:
Do unto others and you would have them do unto you.
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
I don’t always succeed, but I do my very best. I am sorry that the gay community lashed out at Davey Wavey for being honest about what he sees as problems in the gay community. Never has there been a civil rights movement (at least not in my knowledge), that have taken criticism about and especially from within their community well. A few weeks ago, I was honored to hear a conference paper about homophobia in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. The main person that the presenter was discussing was a gay man (and as I write this I can’t remember his name) who got moved to a behind the scenes position, and eventually out of the movement, because of his perceived sexual immorality, i.e. his homosexuality. However, it was this particular person, who while Martin Luther King, Jr. was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize was called upon to ask King and the other ministers gathered to “stop having orgies in the hotel.” The point is that until we start working together instead of letting the green monster of jealousy and our own ignorance about our community, we cannot move forward. We will only move backwards. Yes, the GLBT community is very diverse, but we have one thing in common, and that is that we are GLBT, we love someone of the same sex, and we have a long road ahead of us for equality.
- Davey Wavey’s Why I Deleted My Video.
- Tyler Oakley’s Post
- Tandy Larson’s An open letter to Tyler Oakley and Davey Wavey
- Tyler Oakley’s Reaction to Larson’s post: “We disagree on the matter.”
There are many other reactions: negative to either Davey or Tyler. I think if you read Tyler’s original post and his reaction to Larson’s “open letter” you will see that Tyler probably took Davey’s comments the wrong way, at least in my opinion. This post is most of all to address the “7 Huge Gay Lies” that Davey outlined in his post. I think the original message is worth reading and that the vitriolic reaction to it tells us (sadly) a lot about the gay community.
For something of more of a lighter mood click “more” below. Warning it contains graphic nudity.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Moment of Zen: A Good Book
Freud is not really my choice for a good book to read, but a good book can transport you away from all of your troubles into another world of possibilities.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Federico García Lorca
García Lorca’s death had been mentioned and discussed in the novel Wild Man by Patricia Nell Warren. It always saddened me that this genius had been murdered by Franco’s death squad because of his political views and possible homosexuality. Therefore, after seeing the movie Little Ashes, I wanted to do a post about his poetry. Whether his poetry is about repressed homosexuality or not, is really not for me to say. I am not an expert on his poetry. I merely find it beautiful and wanted to present it with my interpretation.
As for García Lorca’s homosexuality or bisexuality, I don’t think there is much of a historical debate about it. While it is widely acknowledged that Lorca was infatuated with Dalí, for years the artist denied entering into a relationship with Lorca. Dalí stated:
He was homosexual, as everyone knows, and madly in love with me. He tried to screw me twice .... I was extremely annoyed, because I wasn’t homosexual, and I wasn’t interested in giving in. Besides, it hurts. So nothing came of it. But I felt awfully flattered vis-à-vis the prestige. Deep down I felt that he was a great poet and that I owe him a tiny bit of the Divine Dalí's asshole. He eventually bagged a young girl, and she replaced me in the sacrifice. Failing to get me to put my ass at his disposal, he swore that the girl’s sacrifice was matched by his own: it was the first time he had ever slept with a woman.Writer Philippa Goslett supposes:
It's clear something happened, no question… When you look at the letters it's clear something more was going on there... It began as a friendship, became more intimate and moved to a physical level but Dalí found it difficult and couldn't carry on. He said they tried to have sex but it hurt, so they couldn't consummate the relationship.Federico García Lorca Biography from Poets.org
Federico García Lorca is possibly the most important Spanish poet and dramatist of the twentieth century. García Lorca was born June 5, 1898, in Fuente Vaqueros, a small town a few miles from Granada. His father owned a farm in the fertile vega surrounding Granada and a comfortable mansion in the heart of the city. His mother, whom Lorca idolized, was a gifted pianist. After graduating from secondary school García Lorca attended Sacred Heart University where he took up law along with regular coursework. His first book, Impresiones y Viajes (1919) was inspired by a trip to Castile with his art class in 1917.Selected Sources:
In 1919, García Lorca traveled to Madrid, where he remained for the next fifteen years. Giving up university, he devoted himself entirely to his art. He organized theatrical performances, read his poems in public, and collected old folksongs. During this period García Lorca wrote El Maleficio de la mariposa (1920), a play which caused a great scandal when it was produced. He also wrote Libro de poemas (1921), a compilation of poems based on Spanish folklore. Much of García Lorca's work was infused with popular themes such as Flamenco and Gypsy culture. In 1922, García Lorca organized the first "Cante Jondo" festival in which Spain's most famous "deep song" singers and guitarists participated. The deep song form permeated his poems of the early 1920s. During this period, García Lorca became part of a group of artists known as Generación del 27, which included Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, who exposed the young poet to surrealism. In 1928, his book of verse, Romancero Gitano ("The Gypsy Ballads"), brought García Lorca far-reaching fame; it was reprinted seven times during his lifetime.
In 1929, García Lorca came to New York. The poet's favorite neighborhood was Harlem; he loved African-American spirituals, which reminded him of Spain's "deep songs." In 1930, García Lorca returned to Spain after the proclamation of the Spanish republic and participated in the Second Ordinary Congress of the Federal Union of Hispanic Students in November of 1931. The congress decided to build a "Barraca" in central Madrid in which to produce important plays for the public. "La Barraca," the traveling theater company that resulted, toured many Spanish towns, villages, and cities performing Spanish classics on public squares. Some of García Lorca's own plays, including his three great tragedies Bodas de sangre (1933), Yerma (1934), and La Casa de Bernarda Alba (1936), were also produced by the company.
In 1936, García Lorca was staying at Callejones de García, his country home, at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was arrested by Franquist soldiers, and on the 17th or 18th of August, after a few days in jail, soldiers took García Lorca to "visit" his brother-in-law, Manuel Fernandez Montesinos, the Socialist ex-mayor of Granada whom the soldiers had murdered and dragged through the streets. When they arrived at the cemetery, the soldiers forced García Lorca from the car. They struck him with the butts of their rifles and riddled his body with bullets. His books were burned in Granada's Plaza del Carmen and were soon banned from Franco's Spain. To this day, no one knows where the body of Federico García Lorca rests.
- Smith, David (October 28, 2007). "Were Spain's two artistic legends secret gay lovers?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 11, 2010.
- Bosquet, Alain, Conversations with Dalí, 1969. p. 19–20. (PDF format)
- "Federico García Lorca." Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Si Mis Manos Pudieran Deshojar
-- With English Translation
Yo pronuncio tu nombre
En las noches oscuras
Cuando vienen los astros
A beber en la luna
Y duermen los ramajes
De las frondas ocultas.
Y yo me siento hueco
De pasión y de música.
Loco reloj que canta
Muertas horas antiguas.
Yo pronuncio tu nombre,
En esta noche oscura,
Y tu nombre me suena
Más lejano que nunca.
Más lejano que todas las estrellas
Y más doliente que la mansa lluvia.
¿Te querré como entonces
Alguna vez? ¿Qué culpa
Tiene mi corazón?
Si la niebla se esfuma
¿Qué otra pasión me espera?
¿Será tranquila y pura?
¡¡Si mis dedos pudieran
Deshojar a la luna!!
If My Hands Could Defoliate
I pronounce your name
on dark nights,
when the stars come
to drink on the moon
and sleep in tufts
of hidden fronds.
And I feel myself hollow
of passion and music.
Crazy clock that sings
dead ancient hours.
I pronounce your name,
in this dark night,
and your name sounds
more distant than ever.
More distant that all stars
and more doleful than a calm rain.
Will I love you like then
ever again? What blame
has my heart?
When the mist dissipates,
what other passion may I expect?
Will it be calm and pure?
If only my fingers could
defoliate the moon!
Federico García Lorca
Many recognized his homosexuality from the start, but for decades Spain's literary establishment, and even his own family, refused to acknowledge that the country's best loved poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, was gay. His biographer, Ian Gibson, has conclusive evidence that Lorca's poetic achievements sprang from his lifelong frustration at concealing his homosexuality.
In Lorca y el mundo gay (Lorca and the Gay World), published in Spanish on Monday, Gibson describes how the poet's works were censored to conceal his sexuality. It was not until the late 1980s that Lorca's sexual identity became grudgingly acknowledged, in the face of denials and evasions. Gibson blames the decades of silence on a deep-seated Spanish homophobia. "Spain couldn't accept that the greatest Spanish poet of all time was homosexual. Homophobia existed on both sides in the civil war and afterwards; it was a national problem. Now Spain permits same-sex marriage that taboo must be broken."
Some academics who recognized the truth "suggested the poet's homosexuality was alien to his poetic creativity", Gibson writes of the man he's studied for 40 years. Scholars colluded in the cover-up for fear of losing access to the poet's archives, or antagonizing the family, he says. "All his poetry turns around frustrated love. His tormented characters who can't live the life they want are precisely the metaphor for his sorrow. He was a genius who turned his suffering into art."
After Lorca was assassinated by death squads in August 1936, at the start of Spain's civil war, his brother Francisco and sister Isabel made every effort to expunge any trace of homosexuality from his life and work, Gibson claims.
A family spokeswoman, Laura Garcia Lorca, says they never talked of her uncle's homosexuality when her father was alive. "We didn't want his murder to be considered a sexual crime but to stress it was a political crime. It was difficult for my father to accept the homosexuality of his brother. However my Aunt Isabel [who died in 2002] spoke openly in her later years about homosexuality, and came to accept it as something natural. I imagine my father spoke of it among friends, but never publicly," she said recently.
As late as 1987, a long introduction to a standard textbook of Lorca poems, The Poet in New York, contained not a word about his sexuality. But that US trip in 1929, which produced an explosion of anguished creativity, was the result of a failed love affair with the sculptor Emilio Aladrén, Gibson reveals. The beautiful sculptor abandoned the poet to marry an English woman, Elizabeth Dove, which plunged Lorca into a deep depression.
Poems written shortly before his death were finally published in the mid-1980s. But the title, Sonnets of a Dark Love (to read this sonnet, click "Read more" below), was softened to Love Sonnets, even though the verses clearly referred to a man: "You will never understand that I love you/ because you sleep in me and are asleep./I hide you, weeping, persecuted/ by a voice of penetrating steel." The masculinity is clear in Spanish, in which nouns have gender.
Gibson says he went back to the beginning and re-read all of Lorca's earliest poems for this latest book. "I discovered an anguished, tortured – gay – love ... Those who deny his homosexuality must now shut up, or at least question their prejudices. It's a relief after so many decades of obfuscation and silence, to reveal the truth."
Monday, April 18, 2011
In a conversation recently, a friend of mine asked, “Do you ever have sex dreams?” This was my answer:
I rarely remember my dreams. When I was a kid, I used to remember my nightmares, but very rarely any other dreams. As I have gotten older, the same is true. However, there is one major exception. A friend of mine who lives in Louisiana introduced me to a new vodka that she loves. It's a hand-crafted vodka from Texas called Tito's. It has a wonderful smooth taste and mixes well with cranberry juice, which is what I most love it with. I have found that it has one major affect on me. When I've had a fair amount of it, not necessarily drunk, but a good buzz, I have sex dreams. I realized this the first night I ever drank this particular vodka. We were out at a bar, and we ran into this really hot guy who we started talking to. Turned out his name was Joe. He was this very hot, tall, dark, and handsome redneck from Georgia. He was very nice, not homophobic like some rednecks, but it was pretty obvious he was straight. Anyway, after we got home that night, I dreamed that he had come home with me. When he undressed he had a beautifully muscular body (not overly done, but had muscles showing in all the right places) and had a huge cock. I began by giving him a blow job and a lot of kissing before he rimmed my ass and then fucked me seven ways from Sunday. We did it in every possible position my mind could think of. I woke up and was quite saddened to realize it was just a dream, but it had gotten me so hot my dick was rock hard and covered in precum.What kind of dreams do you guys experience? Do you have sex dreams? How real do they feel to you? Do you often remember your dreams? I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about this.
When I remember my dreams, it is a very sensual experience. I can feel, smell, and taste the various parts of my dreams. Whether it is the masculine smell mixed with cologne, the hardness of his body against mine, the taste of his salty sweet cock, or even the sensation of his cock sliding into my ass or vice versa. It is like the person is really there, or the event is really happening. Often, they are so vivid that when I wake, I find it hard to believe that they are not true.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Gay Caveman Debate
The “man” found in the Czech Republic is a prehistoric man. The Corded Ware culture from which he originated may have had a proto-Germanic language, but no written records survive, and it is doubtful that humankind during this period and in that region had a written language (Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Harrapan, and Yellow River Civilizations had written languages and rich urban civilizations). Central Europe was not urbanized during this period. The Corded Ware culture, however, did not live in caves, and it is an incorrect generalization that prehistoric men are cavemen. Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) humans were cavemen, though the term is rarely used by professionals, and the Corded Ware culture was a Neolithic (New Stone Age) culture or Chalcolithic (Copper Age) culture, thus not a caveman, though he is prehistoric.
Second, is this skeleton even the skeleton of a man? I tend to take the archaeologists who found the skeleton at their word, since they have examined the skeletal remains and determined it to be a man. Until concrete evidence is found to the contrary, then I will believe that it is a male skeleton. Rosemary Joyce has a fascinating discussion on her blog about the problems of determining the sex of a skeleton. It is quite complicated and more in the purview of the archeologists and anthropologists than the historian. However, though Joyce makes an argument that they may have decided the sex too early, she gives little evidence that they were incorrect. Press TV, an Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English, sent a reporter to the Czech Republic and interviewed Kamila Remisova Vesinova, of the Czech Archeological Society. She stated:
The grave in Terronska Street in Prague 6 is interred on its left side with the head facing the West. An oval, egg-shaped container usually associated with female burials was also found at the feet of the skeleton…. We found one very specific grave of a man lying in the position of a woman, without gender specific grave goods, neither jewelry or weapons. So we think based on data that it could be a member of a so-called third gender, which were people either with different sexual orientation or transsexuals or just people who identified themselves differently from the rest of the society.…None of the objects that usually accompany male burials, such as weapons, stone battle axes and flint knives, were found in the grave….From history and ethnology, we know that people from this period took funeral rites very seriously so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake. ... What we see here doesn't add up to traditional Corded Ware cultural norms.Another member of the archaeological team, Katerina Semradova, said that colleagues had uncovered an earlier case dating from the Mesolithic period where a female warrior was buried as a man. She added that Siberian shamans were also buried in this way but with richer funeral accessories appropriate to their elevated position in society. (We should also remember that third gender individuals were sometimes seen as magical or spiritual beings because of their ability to bridge the gap between the masculine and feminine worlds.) This grave did not include any richer funeral accessories. In fact, it seems to only have been buried with the oval, egg-shaped container mentioned above. So this is what we seem to be able to gleam from these reports: 1) the skeleton seems to be that of a man, and 2) the body was buried in a female manner with female accoutrements.
Third, what can we know about his gender identity or sexual orientation? The Czech archeological team classified the body as that of a third gender. Considering that gay, bisexual, homosexual, and transgender are all modern terms, what then is a third gender? Historians find it hard to classify pre-modern men and women by a specific gender identity or sexual orientation. Gender can generally be determined by secondary sexual characteristics; however, skeletons, obviously, don’t have a penis, vagina, or breasts. We must look at other determining factors, such as the ones mentioned above. What is a third gender? Will Roscoe gave a good overview of the Third Sex debate, in a paper that was presented at the conference “Lesbian and Gay History: Defining a Field” at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, City University of New York, October 7, 1995. I won’t go into detail about his theories here, but you can read this fascinating piece by clicking on the link above. The terms third gender and third sex describe individuals who are categorized (by their will or by social consensus) as neither male nor female, as well as the social category present in those societies who recognize three or more genders. The term "third" is usually understood to mean "other." Transgender is defined as when gender identity doesn't match physical or genetic sex. Third gender is a broader term that covers a wide range of gender identities in a number of cultures, some of whom reject the male-female binary altogether. The term has been used to describe Hijras of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan who have gained legal identity, Fa'afafine of Polynesia, and Sworn virgins of the Balkans, among others, and is also used by many of such groups and individuals to describe themselves. Like the Hijra, the third gender is in many cultures made up of biological males who take on a feminine gender or sexual role. In cultures that have not undergone heterosexualization, they are usually seen as acceptable sexual partners for the "masculine" males as long as these latter always maintain the "active" role. The fact is that many cultures have recognized a alternative gender identification. There were males, females, and others. These others, or the third sex, could be hermaphrodites (those born with male and female secondary sexual characteristics), those who chose to live a life of the other sex, eunuchs, or those who were born with homosexual or bisexual orientation. We tend to think in the form of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions and prejudices of the world; however, many prehistoric cultures elevated women to a higher status than the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions. The male dominated masculine world often arrived with the invasion of Indo-Europeans (though not always) and with the rise of empires, see The Closet Professor Theorizes: Origins of Homophobia. Women were seen as life givers; many prehistoric deities were women, often with large breasts and protruding pregnant bellies. In the quest for male dominance and procreation, we often overlook the seeming normality in the ancient world of those who were of a different orientation of sexual identity. In small nomadic or semi-nomadic cultures, human populations needed to be small for mobility, thus there was not the overwhelming drive to have many children to increase the population and to build an army for defense of conquest. Therefore, there may not have been the prejudice against non-procreating third sex individuals, whether they were homosexual, transsexual, eunuch, sterile, asexual, or hermaphrodite. Therefore, since we cannot ask this skeleton his sexual orientation or gender identity, we can conclude that if the skeleton is male, then he is of the third gender, but that is all we can conclude.
Does any of this even matter? The answer for me is a resounding yes. If the skeleton is a man and was buried in a feminine manner then it will tell us more about gender identity in the ancient world. Third gender history is an emerging field of study and one that I find fascinating. Pre-twentieth century GLBT history is difficult enough because of the problems associated with identifying the sexual orientation of a historic individual. We really do not understand fully the notions of sexual identification and it needs to be studied further. We have a lot of scholars who make quick assessments, or even ahistorical, assessments about homosexuals in history. As we (the LGBT community) discover our place in this world, it helps to understand the positions those that came before us.
For Suggested Readings, click "Read more."
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
GLBT bloggers UNITED in SILENCE!
The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.
I will not be able to practice this at school since I am a teacher and must teach throughout the day. I will however continue my efforts to stop the use of derogatory language and the bullying LGBT kids. Since my school would never understand being silent for a day, I have decided that instead of blogging this Friday, there will only be this post (even though I usually do not post on Fridays anyway.)
For someone who suffered unmercifully throughout my school years, this is an important issue for me. When I was sixteen, I even tried to commit suicide to end the daily torture I endured. Luckily, I was unsuccessful and learned to love myself and do my best to ignore the ignorance around me. It's not easy being a gay kid in the Southern United States, especially in redneck central.
I have done my best to stop anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment, and my straight friends know that there are certain things you just don't say around me. I will not tolerate: "That's so gay!" or the words "fag," "faggot," or even "queer" if it's said in a derogatory fashion. If we all stood up for ourselves, we can make a difference. When you hear someone use a derogatory word towards LGBT people, make a stand and show that person how wrong they are. If I can make one young persons life a little easier by stopping ignorance, I believe I have made a difference.
On the National Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.
Archaeologists Find “Gay” Caveman
The male body – said to date back to between 2900-2500BC – was discovered buried in a way normally reserved only for women of the Corded Ware culture in the Copper Age.
The skeleton was found in a Prague suburb in the Czech Republic with its head pointing eastwards and surrounded by domestic jugs, rituals only previously seen in female graves.
"From history and ethnology, we know that people from this period took funeral rites very seriously so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake," said lead archaeologist Kamila Remisova Vesinova.
"Far more likely is that he was a man with a different sexual orientation, homosexual or transsexual," she added.
According to Corded Ware culture which began in the late Stone Age and culminated in the Bronze Age, men were traditionally buried lying on their right side with their heads pointing towards the west, and women on their left sides with their heads pointing towards the east. Both sexes would be put into a crouching position.
The men would be buried alongside weapons, hammers and flint knives as well as several portions of food and drink to accompany them to the other side.
Women would be buried with necklaces made from teeth, pets, and copper earrings, as well as jugs and an egg-shaped pot placed near the feet.
"What we see here doesn't add up to traditional Corded Ware cultural norms. The grave in Terronska Street in Prague 6 is interred on its left side with the head facing the West. An oval, egg-shaped container usually associated with female burials was also found at the feet of the skeleton. None of the objects that usually accompany male burials such as weapons, stone battle axes and flint knives were found in the grave.
"We believe this is one of the earliest cases of what could be described as a 'transsexual' or 'third gender grave' in the Czech Republic," archaeologist Katerina Semradova told a press conference on Tuesday.
She said that archeologists had uncovered an earlier case dating from the Mesolithic period where a female warrior was buried as a man.
She added that Siberian shamans, or latter-day witch doctors, were also buried in this way but with richer funeral accessories to appropriate to their elevated position in society.
"But this later discovery was neither of those, leading us to believe the man was probably homosexual or transsexual," Semeradova said.
The Corded Ware culture takes its name from the frequent use of decorative cord impressions found its pots and covered much of North, Central and Eastern Europe.
It is also known as a single-grave and battle-axe culture due to separate burials and the habit of being buried with stone axes.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Homoerotic Poetry of Michelangelo Buonarroti
My lover stole my heart, just over there
– so gently! – and stole much more, my life as well.
And there, all promise, first his fine eyes fell
on me, and there his turnabout meant no.
He manacled me there; there let me go;
There I bemoaned my luck; with anguished eye
watched, from this very rock, his last goodbye
as he took myself from me, bound who knows where.
If, through our eyes, the heart’s seen in the face,
more evidence who needs, clearly to show
the fire within? Let that do, my lord, that glow
as warrant to make bold to ask your favor.
Perhaps your soul, loyal, less like to waver
than I imagine, assays my honest flame
and, pitying, finds it true – no cause for blame.
“Ask and it shall be given,” in that case.
O day of bliss, if such can be assured!
Let the clock-hands end their circling; in accord
sun cease his ancient roundabout endeavor,
so I might have, certain-sure, – though not procured
by my own worth – my long desired sweet lord,
in my unworthy but eager arms, forever.
What in your handsome face I see, my lord,
I’m hard put to find words for, here below.
Often it lofts my soul to God, although
wearing, that soul, the body like a shroud.
And if the stupid, balefully staring crowd
mocks others for feelings after its own fashion,
no matter. I’m no less thankful for a passion
pulsing with love – faith, honor in accord.
There’s a Fountain of Mercy brought our souls to being
which all Earth’s beauty must in part resemble
(lesser things, less) for an eye alert to truth.
No other hint of heaven’s here for our seeing,
hence, he that a love for you sets all a-tremble
already hovers in heaven, transcending death.
Monday, April 11, 2011
National Day of Silence
The National Day of Silence is almost here! It’s time to pump up the excitement and to make sure everyone is prepared!
- Spread the word: You've may have worked for weeks to get the word out about the Day of Silence, so keep it going! Make sure students, teachers and administrators in your school know that the Day of Silence is happening and what to expect from participants. Notifying people early is the key to a successful and effective Day of Silence!
- Be visible: Red is the official DOS color, so if everyone participating wears red you'll be sure to stand out. And don’t forget t-shirts, buttons, stickers, face-paint—these are all ways you can help draw attention to your action.
- Be respectful: The Day of Silence is about ending anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in school. To do this, it's important to treat people with respect. There are likely people at your school who will try to challenge your silence, your activities or your beliefs. Treat these people not as they treat you but with the same respect you hope to be treated with. Remember, the Day of Silence is a peaceful demonstration!
- Know your rights: Remember, you DO have the right to remain silent between classes and before/after school. You do NOT have the right to ignore your teachers' requests during instructional time. If a teacher asks for you to speak during class, do it! Please don’t put your education at risk. Review this document, which outlines some of your rights during the Day of Silence. (Lambda Legal PDF Download)
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The Big Gay Musical
This weekend, Netflix sent me The Big Gay Musical. I’ve been wanting to see it for a while, but I only recently was able to convince Netflix of my new address. I’m loving my Netflix again. But that is beside the point. The Big Gay Musical was directed by Casper Andreas, a gay Swedish director, who has made several gay films that I have seen. After seeing Andreas’s other films, truthfully, I didn’t have much hope for this one. Not that the movies are awful, they were entertaining, just not great gay cinema. At least in my opinion.
The Big Gay Musical blew me away though. The plot is fairly simple. Paul and Eddie have just begun previews for the new Off-Broadway musical "Adam and Steve: Just the Way God Made 'Em." Their lives strangely mirror the characters they are playing. Paul is looking for the perfect man and Eddie is dealing with how his sexuality and faith can mix. After yet another disastrous dating experience, Paul has an epiphany. He is done dating and just wants to be a slut like the sexy chorus boys that share his dressing room. Eddie has to tell his parents that he's gay and is starring in a show that calls the bible the "Breeder's Informational Book of Living Examples". Eddie comes out to his family and Paul goes on Manhunt. Eddie's parents are destroyed by the news and Paul can't even have a good one-night stand. But after musical numbers with scantly clad tap dancing angels, a retelling of Genesis, televangelists, a camp that attempts to turn gay kids straight, and a bunch of show tunes.
Here are two clips:
1. “I Wanna Be A Slut” - The Big Gay Musical
2. “Sing Me a Love Song - The Big Gay Musical
The reason for this post is because in last Thursday’s post, Are Gay Guys Obsessed with Sex?, I got a lot of responses that made think. (Thanks to all those who commented.) A lot of us seem to have gone through a slutty phase, but have since calmed down. The two clips above featuring Daniel Robinson as Paul/Adam, struggling with the same issue. Some have always been looking for love and still searching, but have yet to find it. I am much the same way, I have always been looking for someone to love and spend my life with, but I am still lonely. Too often the guy I have tried to date either don’t want someone with intelligence, have an image of a guy they want, or just want a one night stand. At times, I have been horny enough to go for #3, but I usually don’t fit the other two. Oh well, the search continues.
Watch The Big Gay Musical. It’s a fun and feel-good movie. Have any of you seen it already?
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Are Gay Guys Obsessed with Sex?
Many guys are obsessed with sex, gay or straight, it doesn’t matter. And contrary to what many people believe women are just as obsessed with sex. Gay men do often get stereotyped as the world’s biggest horn dogs, but there are good reasons for this.
For one, we’ve got plenty of testosterone. Gay or straight, testosterone does increase the sex drive. When the hormones start flowing in our teenage years, a fascination with the human body emerges, and soon after we figure out how to masturbate and the world changes for us. For straight guys, they become fascinated with women, and the world accepts them and welcomes them to the world of machismo. For gay guys, we become fascinated with men, and we are told that we are perverts and should be ashamed of ourselves. When it comes down to it, gay men and straight men are no less obsessed with sex, it’s just the amount that we get to show our obsession. Gay teenagers often have to hide this obsession and it just grows until there is a point where we are able to express it. Often this point becomes our slutty phase.
The expression of that obsession, though, may be a bit different. Women experience tremendous pressure to refrain from promiscuous sex. If a woman has many sex partners, she’s labeled a slut or a whore. If a man has many sex partners, he’s labeled a stud – and his buddies might give him a high-five. Sexual promiscuity among men isn’t as taboo as it is among women, and in some ways, I think this gives men a mental green light. And when you have two men with mental green lights together, well… there’s no brakes.
So we might have lots of testosterone, less of a stigma on promiscuity and no path to marriage – but I wonder how much more sex we’re actually having? Are gay men actually more promiscuous?
It’s worth noting that there are plenty of gay men that aren’t promiscuous (I’ve been through my slutty phase and I’m not very promiscuous anymore.). And that the sex-obsessed label that is applied to our community isn’t accurate for all people, everywhere. It’s obviously a stereotype. It’s also worth noting that I don’t think promiscuous sex is necessarily a bad thing, so long as the parties involved find it fulfilling – and, of course, that it is practiced safely.
When all is said and done, I think the obsession with sex isn’t a gay thing. It’s a human thing. I think that in our younger days, we often deny ourselves, sometimes even denying who we are. When we finally comes to terms with who we are, we can go wild a lot of the time. Think of it like this, it was always the preachers daughter who was the wildest. They are constantly denied, then when the got the chance they went wild. I think a lot of us as gay men are the same way. We finally free ourselves of our mental restraints and then we are able to explore more freely.
What do you think? Are gay guys obsessed with sex?
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Emily Dickinson on Spring
A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown —
Who ponders this tremendous scene —
This whole Experiment of Green —
As if it were his own!
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here
A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.
It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.
Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —
A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Moment of Zen: Thumbs Up
In modern popular culture, it is assumed that "thumbs down" was the signal that a defeated gladiator should be condemned to death; "thumbs up", that he should be spared, a view popularized by a widely reproduced painting by the 19th-century artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, whose Pollice Verso (usually known in English as "Thumbs Down") depicts a triumphant gladiator looking up into the stands for the verdict of the crowd.
To see the painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme, click to see more below and go to the second part of the post.