Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gay President

I just googled "ethnically gay" & found this:

"It has been two years since I moved back to San Francisco. ... An entirely new 21st-century urban high-density city is rising. Dire, street-survival poverty jostles up against an unprecedented exuberance of über-conspicuous consumption here. As gay community scholar Gayle Rubin remarked at a recent GLBT Historical Society presentation, our painted lady is being transformed into a "command city for the 21st century." Like Hong Kong or Dubai, it is a "desirable" place for the new global corporate elite to build their personal homes. ...

And as cities have become desirable again, deeper-pocket interests have been gentrifying the gays out of their urban enclaves all across the country. The Castro, our own homegrown "ethnically" gay neighborhood and symbolic (if less frequently visited) gay capital of the United States, suddenly looks like the last "traditional" gay neighborhood. As the Castro has been turning a bit seedy, local queer pride and, increasingly, the city planning and tourism boards see it as the Gay Capital of the World. Herein lies the ironic paradox today: as gay folk have been disappeared by AIDS or sucked into the queer diaspora, gays and straights alike see this newly "ethnic" community through gently softening lenses, engulfed in cloud-shrouded images of quaint, nostalgic, queer white picket fences."

- Les Wright, part 1 & part2

Growing up straight in a gay family I've come to think of myself as "ethnically gay" ie. gay culture being my culture, values, and community; place of origin. Ive noticed other "second generation" peeps speak similarly. I can't betray my people so it pretty much sums up my politics and influences my relationships, career, spirituality, etc. Also my notions of race. Thus, I feel my racism / ideas of race and class come out of racism within the gay community vs. middle class America per se.

It also informs how I see Obama. When he dismisses the cheap radicalism or the apologetics 'excuses & blaming' of black America while totally understanding and sympathizing, I get it. I dismiss the cheap radicalism or the constant apologetics excuses & blaming of gay America while totally understanding and sympathizing. As he is a biracial man who worries about appearing too black or too white I worry about me and my family appearing too gay or my own ability to pass as totally straight (ie. deliberately misleading people about my family, something i do all the time). Not to say i understand at all what racism feels like, but that i sympathize with his unique dual position and all the complications that come with it. We are both bizarre, unique productions of changing times.

For me Obama is also exciting in perhaps foolish ways - if sax-playing bill was dubbed the first "black" president then to me Obama, with all his metrosexual tendencies, is the first "gay" president. He exudes a very casual yet meticulous (gay culture informed) masculinity tho he might mention faith & pander (and trouble me) when it comes to gay rights. But how would his election affect American masculinity?

I know a lot of gays esp. boys who embrace pieces of hh & 'black' masculinity, and I'm curious as to when, where, and why I see so many black men embrace metrosexuality [the trappings of yet not actual gayness = whiteness / class ? The trappings of blackness = masculinity? ]. These two cultures deal with similar presence/absence in the public sphere. Both appropriations seem increasingly common. Both are somewhat awesome. Both are also offensive.

ps. hmm?
pps: speaking of gayness, i LOVE this video:

the shocking truth @ 4:11!


Boima said...

My co worker was complaining to me the other day how the yuppies were taking over the Castro. But San Francisco is just trying to kick everyone out. Black, Gay, Latino, Poor, Handicap. Build more hi-rises, look at the city from across the bay, and hope they don't fall into the ocean when the big one comes.

Boima said...

Also, this:

Calixte said...

Thanks for writing this.