The Eye of the Beholder

Subject: Straight Eye

for the Queer Guy

It strikes me as problematic for Bravo TV to embark on its new project, “Straight Eye for the Queer Guy.” I didn’t actually enjoy “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” all that much because of the stereotypes. This seems even more troublesome. They plan to teach the gay guy how to act straight, whatever that is, from what I have read. I suppose this is payback or equal time for the straight men or maybe just another way to make money. I’m curious about what you think about it.

Re: Straight Eye for the Queer Guy

“Straight Eye for the Queer Guy” is the dumbest and potentially most nasty thing I’ve heard in a while. Not only do I think it will bomb big time—the audience for “Queer Eye” is women and mostly gay men and I doubt think they’ll go for this—but it sounds pretty offensive as well. No, this is not “equal time” or any other such bogus thing, and don’t you buy it for a minute.

Let’s be clear about something: “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” is a hit because the straight guys are learning things they didn’t know before, things they find fascinating as all hell and which are now helpful in their quest for sex and courtship with women in the 21st century. In “Queer Eye,” the homos are offering hetero male America skills that men—of every sexual orientation—just didn’t get taught in this macho-dominated culture of ours, particularly as it stood through much of the last century.

Our particular expertise in this area came with a price: Decades of hatred, discrimination, and ostracism forced us to create our own subculture. And it’s a pretty fabulous subculture at that. Now that it has lurched forth from the shadows in these more queer years, it’s literally made its way to prime time. We’re selling our wares, finally, and I’d say we deserve it for the madness we’ve been put through. And yeah, straight guys deserve to now be the butt of the jokes once in a while now––that’s equal time––and no, we’ve not earned our share of it enough for them to rail on us again. (Give us another century or so, and then maybe!)

Truth is, whether they like it or not, we are part of a larger movement to release straight guys from the shackles of masculinity as they know it, and women and the feminist movement are part of that too. The idea, however, of straightening up gay guys, or butching them up, or whatever, is a complete throwback. Straight men do not have something to offer us that we didn’t already know about—we grew up in straight society and we know, painfully, all about being straight, having been forced into closets from a young age.

According to the reports, the premise of “Straight Eye for the Queer Guy” is for five straight guys to teach the poor feeble homo all about power drills and NFL football and other supposedly heterosexual things. Last time I checked, we all had dads who tried to teach us about power drills and the NFL. Some of them were even successful at it and some of us even wound up in the NFL! If you don’t believe me, go and read the book Stephen Thompson’s new book, “Bloody Sundays: Inside the Dazzling, Rough-And-Tumble World of the NFL,” which includes a chapter on gay professional football players (closeted, of course). Or go check out the popular gay sports site, Outsports.com

In that way, “Straight Eye” stereotypes gays big-time by setting back all of our efforts to show that we are everywhere and yes, even among those who are quick with a power drill and follow the NFL. You might say that “Queer Eye” stereotypes straight men, and you’d be right about that. But last time I checked stereotyping of straight men didn’t lead to discrimination and violence, nor is it happening within the context of decades of invisibility, fear, and misguided rejection of them.

So no, I have no problem loving “Queer Eye” and thinking “Straight Eye” is as wrong-headed as they come.

Subject:

Princess Charles?

I couldn’t believe it when I saw that headline in the New York Post that said: PRINCESS CHARLES? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the right wing Rupert Murdoch rag would never pass up an opportunity to display its homophobia. But then I read the gay website 365gay.com and their headline was: IS THE FUTURE KING A QUEEN? Why is that okay for them but the not for the Post?

Re: Princess Charles?

In the same vein as my answer to the question above: Context! Context! Context!

The literally unspeakable scandal enveloping the royal family—which alleges that Prince Charles had sex with a male servant and which has the media in Britain, fearful of the strict libel laws there, laughably dancing around it—is so loopy that it requires a lot of humor. But yes, when the New York Post, a paper with a reputation for bashing gays, uses that humor it is only meant in a demeaning and mocking way. When a gay web site does it, it’s meant with all the endearment with which some gay men call one another “she” among themselves.

True, in these days of the Internet everyone and anyone can read our web sites and publications. But again, it’s still all about context, and coming from us it means one thing, while coming from Rupert Murdoch’s brigade it means quite another.

Michelangelo Signorile hosts a daily radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio, stream 149.

E-mail Mike your questions at mike@signorile.com.

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