"I think we are finally coming to a time and place where we can be a wholey integrated male that encompasses a homosexual sexual politic without being outlandish or obscene."
I resemble that remark, Phil.
Actually, I don't understand this viewpoint. What makes gay people "outlandish" or "obscene" are the puritanical and often hypocritical values of the dominant culture.
It's troubling to see gay people, anxious to be assimilated, appropriate these values, often becoming more judgmental of the "outlandish" spectacle of gay life than straight people. (Remember the emergence in the early '90s of "queer" as a term that described a sensibility rather than a sexuality?)
Here in Atlanta for a period there was a guy called "Baton Bob." He could be seen marching all over the city in drag, twirling a baton, blowing a whistle and shaking his stuff. The owner of a business in Midtown told me that his gay customers hated Bob and his straight customers loved him. To many gay men, he was an embarrassment. To the straight customers, he was a wacky, entertaining gender-bender.
I don't understand why gay men find the consequential reality of our orientation so hard to accept. The way we express sexual desire, our attraction to other men, is repellent to most religious teaching and this is not going to change. As long as religion dominates the morals of a society, homosexuality is going to be objectionable to most believers. (Spain is an example of a Catholic-dominated country where people actually intensely distrust the church because of its alliance with Franco. Thus they can approve gay marriage because they know religion is often corrupt.)
Also, like it or not, most gay men exhibit some degree of gender variation. No, not all gay men are effeminate but the extreme preoccupation with an almost outdated style of masculinity is itself a dead giveaway now (as I suggested in my earlier post). Whatever form this gender variation explicitly takes, it is objectionable to religious traditionalists too. But it's pathetic to see gay men adopt this value, which, like the purchase of religiously regulated sexual conduct, is simply a new closet. There are many ways to construct a closet.
Personally, I think our society could use a lot more outrageous, outlandish and obscene expression. I've been mindful lately of this because it's the 20th anniversary of ACT UP's founding. Those of us involved in it were repeatedly lectured by more "mainstream" gay people for our angry rhetoric and theatrical and "tasteless" demonstrations. But there is no doubt that ACT UP, by pressuring the FDA to expedite experimental drugs and pharmacy companies to lower their prices, saved and prolonged countless thousands of lives. Yet I still remember the head of a major circuit party telling me he wouldn't permit condoms or ACT UP materials to be circulated at the event because we were so "in-your-face." (He contracted AIDS and made a public apology.)
ACT UP demonstrated a way in which the outrageous and the outlandish -- the marginalized given full voice -- can speak truth to power and change the course of history.
There is no need for gay men to become less "outrageous." We have more to teach the culture than they have to teach us.
I'll go to dinner now and be quiet.