Archive for the ‘bisexual’ Tag

Love, Simon Hype

I so looked forward to seeing the movie Love, Simon, which we taped earlier in the week. I heard a great deal about how good it was from reviewers and friends that I expected too much. We are all familiar with that experience. The high expectations game that one rarely can win. After all, few things live up to our imaginings, particularly if we are a person who enjoys spending time in our heads. We have the most wicked imagination of all!

I saw the movie last night. While it kept my interest, the lead character did not excite me very much. Although not the precocious teen of Call Me By Your Name, which in some ways is a blessing, Simon seems bland. As bland as the surroundings of the movie, which felt like suburban anywhere America.

Accompanying the blandness is a lack of tension. The plot makes me not feel fearful for the character. It also places him in contact with few people who draw out much positive or negative energy from Simon.

The distance between my feelings after seeing the movie and the hype cause me to read reviews. Generally, the top critics give the movie a positive review. Some even hype of the fact that the movie “is the first gay romance from a mainstream studio.”

Perhaps. As some reviewers mentioned Love, Simon played like a John Hughes 1980s style rom com. While Hughes made his cotton candy, independent studios and studios from around the world began making gay romances. Beginning with Steven Fears’ My Beautiful Laundrette through the late 1980s Merchant and Ivory collaborations (Maurice), these movies challenged sexual norms. The best of them also situated the viewer firmly in a specific environment and included tensions based upon the ethnicity or class background of the characters. During the 1990s we visited the south for Fried Green Tomatoes, middle-class New York City in The Wedding Banquet and the British housing projects for Beautiful Thing.  A somewhat comprehensive list of movies featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual and other sexual categories and interests appears here.

The reviews of Love, Simon that I found most insightful are included below. The first compares the movie with the book that gave it is origin. The book appears so much richer in character and sense of place. It also features more gay sensibilities. The movie hints at this with a comment between father and son that clues in the knowing viewer to the son traversing of the gay online world.

The second review challenges Hollywood liberal politics which it claims always safely return to the status quo regardless of where the movie takes the viewer. I found this reviews analysis of other movies featuring gay teens to be spot on. It reminded me how much I loved the movie Being 17 French film from 2016 that showed the tensions of being out, being gay, and having feelings that you don’t know how to handle. The violence between the boys is something that I I understood from my own experiences.

Armond White’s mentioning of the movie The DUFF  illuminated for me what remains similar in the romcom genre. Leah, Simon’s best friend, like so many other best friends of the leads in romcoms remains unattached. She is special as her description of her and Simon during the bedroom scene informs us. And many of us can relate to her, but why should she remain the only one of the group without a love interest?

Here’s hoping for more changes to romcoms!

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Battle of the Sexes Movie

It was great going with members of the Capital Tennis Association to see the movie Battle of the Sexes this Saturday evening. As a gay lesbian and bi group of tennis people, CTA members had multiple interests in the movie’s topics. We knew the people, could enjoy the sport and identify with the character’s same-sex interest. Many of the actors playing small roles, including Sarah Silverman and Alan Cumming, gave the movie extra gay cache. Thanks to the social director and others in the group’s leadership for organizing the two showings.

Only a few of us were old enough to have experienced the tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King when it originally occurred. Most of us recall the spectacle and our thrill over King’s victory, but I also recall the intensity of the Women’s Liberation movement and the backlash it faced from a wide-range of males in the U.S. at the time. King’s victory proved very important to the movement. The movie captures that spirit of the tennis match very well. It shows the way the professionals played the game in that era, with much serve and volley tactics, and illuminates just how much slower it seems the serves and ground strokes were, partially because of the wooden racquets and other equipment disadvantages.

The story is less successful in showing the strength of male chauvinism that existed at the time. We see the feeling embodied in Jack Kramer, who also represents the elitism of tennis that King battles against. However, he does not spout any of the highly vitriolic language and anger that came out of many male chauvinists. Intriguingly, Kramer was a key figure in the establishment of the “Open-era” of tennis which did democratize the sport to a significant degree.

Since it is a movie, it will need to combine events and things to fit into the short time span. Battle of the Sexes melds the founding of the Virginia Slims Tournament with the start of the Women’s Tennis Association which actually happened three years apart. It makes a point of showing that Kramer kicked the women who joined the WTA out of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. This supposedly denied the nine women of the WTA access to the Grand Slam Tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open). Such an action would have been a huge loss to the women and the sport yet the movie does not discuss it again. King and the others played in those Grand Slams so the denial seems to have not occurred.

At the conclusion, the movie provides a few lines of epilogue to show what happened to the characters afterwards. My husband and I stood agape as the closing did not mention Marilyn Barnett and her famous palimony suit against Billie Jean King in 1981. We mentioned this to the other group members and none of them had heard of the case and how much it cost Billie Jean King in endorsements. Palimony had roots in the famous Lee Marvin and Michelle Triola Marvin in 1977. Other cases include

  • Rock musician Peter Frampton was sued by Penelope J. “Penny” McCall in 1976. McCall asked for half of Frampton’s earnings during the five years that they were together. According to McCall, she gave up her job as a rock promoter and devoted herself full-time to Frampton, right at the time that he achieved superstar status. A New York judge ruled that Frampton and McCall never intended to marry each other and “never held themselves out to the public as husband and wife” and dismissed her complaint on the grounds that to act otherwise would condone adultery. The case set precedent in New York state.[8][9]
  • Tennis player Billie Jean King was sued by Marilyn Barnett in 1981.
  • Tennis player Martina Navratilova was sued by Judy Nelson in 1991.
  • In 1996, Van Cliburn was sued by former partner Thomas Zaremba for a share of his income and assets following a 17-year relationship ending in 1994. Zaremba’s palimony case was dismissed for lack of written agreement, along with claims for emotional distress and that Cliburn subjected him to the fear of AIDS through Cliburn’s alleged unprotected liaisons with third parties.[10][11]
  • In 2004, comedian Bill Maher was sued for US$9 million by his ex-girlfriend, Nancy “Coco” Johnson.[12][13][14] On May 2, 2005, a California Superior Court judge dismissed the case.[15][16][15]

The other omission was the relationship between King and Riggs after the match. After the Battle of the Sexes the two became friends and remained close until his death in 1995. King said she spoke to Riggs the day before he died, and they said “I love you” to each other.

For additional information see or see which cites Selena Roberts’ 2005 book, A Necessary Spectacle: Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, and the Tennis Match That Leveled the Game.

 

 

 

It Gets Better

The federal government agency I work for created an It Gets Better video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKia_M9Nj0Y

Outrage: Documentary Few Saw

Outrage: the actions of closeted homosexual, gay, bisexual and lesbian politicians who vote against any legislation that advances the rights and offers benefits to gay people, including gay marriage, benefits, equal protection under the law, gays in the military.

Outrage: closeted homosexual, and out gay, bisexual and lesbian politicians political operatives who run political campaigns that demonize homosexuality and strike fear into people in order to have their candidates win elections.

Outrage: the energy that motivates certain reporters and bloggers to report on the closeted political figures who are hypocritical because they demonize gay and lesbian people.

Outrage: what viewers might feel as they watch the movie Outrage

http://youtu.be/NaTsmXaw5NQ

The argument is that these repressed people with homosexual desires attack the gay, lesbian community more in order to be seen as not gay or lesbian. There is some validity to this, especially for people who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. The outing is a fight back method to force these politicians to end their hypocricy. The belief is that if everyone comes out then it will be harder for people to be anti-gay/lesbian.

There are interesting questions about the psychology of these politicians and political operatives but also about the people who marry them and what there lives must be like being with someone who is leading a double life.

What works less successfully are:

The movie does not address the page scandal that rocked Congress in the early 1980s, virtually forcing Congressman Gerry Stubbs to come out. Nor does it discuss Congressman Bob Bauman and his arrest for attempting to solicit sex from a male prostitute. These would have been interesting to establish context and to discusds how difficult it is for some people to come out.

whether being a Republican means more as an identity to these politicians and political operatives than being gay or lesbian. One could argue that the politicians are being hypocritical but also are Republicians who believe in most of the party’s creed. They care less about their gay identity, if they even have such an identity.

whether the politicians can vote against these laws because they view the laws as having no effect on their daily lives as opposed to the effect that coming out would have on their lives.

Martin, Paquan Declare

Who’s surprised with the declarations of sexuality by Ricky Martin and Anna Paquan? We saw the news and a few blogs but does anyone really care?

Did people know already? Certainly, one article seems to claim that both members of the gay and lesbian community and also straights in great numbers had a good sense of the sexual interests of many stars.

I think many people could read between the lines in the 1920s and 1930s if stereotypical behaviors and coded words were used as I argue in my book Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream.

Two one-time big stars express their gay and bisexual interests and inclinations and activities. Gossip column mentions but little stirring among the chattering classes. While the standards appear different between gay men and women with gay interests, it appears that Paquan will still be in True Blood and has a few movies opening.

Martin will certainly release new songs to presumably his faithful following.

American Idol, Lesbian & Gay Music & Hollywood

Like many others, Adam Lambert’s loss on Tuesday spurred thoughts about eyeliner, gayness and cultural acceptance. Two friends commented that they “were not surprised, just as they would not have been surprised but were disappointed, as they would have been if McCain had won the Presidential Election.

 My own cynical response was, thank God he doesn’t have to crow that he’s going to Disney World and Lambert doesn’t have to sit on the hood of Ford’s latest model and shill. However, seeing a guy in blue eyeliner posed across the hood of the car a la Michelle Pfeiffer in the Fabulous Baker Boys would have been a cultural watershed!

My friends clearly thought Adam lost due to his image vis-a-vis Kris Allen’s Middle America, teenybopper appeal. Republican strategist Todd Harris went on CBS’s The Early Show the day before the vote and framed it in terms of red and blue states. He argued that “You’ve got these more liberal elites who live on each coast, represented by Adam, and then Kris represents what those on the coast refer to as the flyover states.”

 This response made me more intrigued by Out Magazine editor’s Aaron Hicklin’s opinion piece in the Washington Post’s Sunday section this morning. Hicklin noted the continued existence of the closet in the worlds of Hollywood and in the entertainment worlds. Certainly, there is significant truth to this. Despite the actions of Ellen Degeneres and Rupert Everett (who he does not mention) and Clay Aiken and Elton John in the music sphere, there are limits to the number of people who have exited the closet and some real and perceived constraints constructed by both of these industries (note the homophobic questions that James Franco faced about men kissing in Milk when he appeared on talk shows.)

However, I was disappointed by the article for a few reasons. With this platform, why not take the opportunity to discuss some of the many people in the industries who are out? Rufus Wainwright and Pansy Division may lead the parade, but check out this website.

What does consistent focus on repression and oppression symbolized by the closet do to readers? Wouldn’t a focus on this variety of out performers found on the above website actually provide new and informative news to that audience?

I thought the article’s reference to politicians such as Larry Craig, was an intriguing link about the Hollywood and Washington closets. However, it also made me think we need to be careful about who we consider gay, lesbian, queer, and someone who has sex with a member of the same sex. Doesn’t a person have to embrace the culture and lifestyle of queer to be queer? Similarly, to be lesbian, gay or bisexual? Isn’t such an acceptance a critical component of being and significantly different from craving a sexual activity with a person of your sex?