Saturday, March 25, 2017

Like Bros - A Fluid Relationship

Some people still seem to be hung up on the fact that some men enjoy having sex with their male teammates, roommates, buddies, and bros. Books have been written about it and more will follow taking different positions. The bottom line is that people are individuals and the day for labels is passed.


How the Prevalence of the 'Bro-Job' Explodes Our Definition of What It Means to Be Gay

Is it the act or the person that makes someone gay or straight?

Apparently, they called it a "bro-job," which referred to the oral sex the male rowers occasionally engaged in with one another in the showers back in high school. Or at least that's what my friend told me. Neither he nor any of the other guys on the team identified as gay, but according to his reports, they would often hook up post-practice, but "like bros, you know? Not in a gay way."
Every time we talked about it, we always stalemated on the same issues. How can a guy hook up with another and still be straight? Isn't the act of hooking up with and sexually desiring someone of the same sex inherently gay?
Jane Ward may attempt to shed some light on this in her up and coming book, Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men. Crotch-deep in the world of "straight guy-on-guy action," Not Gay explores the ways in which straight men engage in sexual activity with other straight men. According to the NYU Press release, "Ward illustrates that sex between straight white men allows them to leverage whiteness and masculinity to authenticate their heterosexuality in the context of sex with men."
But controlling for race, can engaging in homosexual sex really reaffirm a man's heterosexuality? Can being with another man make him more straight? Or is it more like the "one-drop rule" -- one homosexual interaction and you are forever labeled gay? All of this begs and points to the million-dollar question: Is it the act or the person that makes someone gay or straight? And to this, I look to the split between "identity" and "preference."
I believe that there is a distinct difference between "gay" and "homosexual." By definition, homo- and heterosexuality refer specifically to a person's sexual attraction or preference. In other words, it merely relates to whether the individual prefers or is attracted to partners of the same or opposite sex. Meanwhile, "gay" and "straight" are identities or social categories, which can only fully be assigned to an individual when self-proclaimed, either via declaration or coercion. Thus, I believe that a person is not truly gay until "out," or in the worst-case scenario, "out-ed."
Following this logic, I think that an out gay man can have sex with a woman and still be seen as rightfully gay. While the preference and act may be heterosexual, the individual identifies as gay, and identity trumps act. However, as soon as the roles are reversed, everything feels highly suspect. If a straight man has sex with a man, how can he still be straight?
I posit that this suspicion comes from the nature of the LGBT identity as self-selecting. Because sexual orientation is unlike other forms of identity, which are typically seen as inscribed on the body at birth -- race, gender, ability -- sexual orientation and identity can only be known by the individual. You mark it yourself, ideally, if and when you are ready to do so.
At the same time, we live in a hegemonically heteronormative society. What this means is that "straight" is the presumed default. So, while the gay man must internalize, come to terms with and re-present his sexuality back out into the world, the straight man simply has to be born. Everyone is straight until proven guilty.
This puts straight people in a tenuous position, as their sexual identities never have to be proven outside of the act of sex. Which is why, I believe, straight men who hook up with other men are regarded with such sexual suspicion. To the third party observer, these identities have gone unchecked and unquestioned, and because of this, it is unclear if these actions are part of the individual's preference and identity or the beginning of a self-exploration process that may end in a gay declarative.
So, to Ward's Not Gay point, I think straight men can engage in homosexual sex and still be deemed socially acceptably straight, if and only if they too come out -- as straight. Rather than simply accepting their unmarked, default straight identity, they should have to interrogate, work through, accept and ultimately present their sexuality back out to the world.
Everyone should go through this process of self-identification. Think about what you prefer. Why do you prefer it? Are you OK with that? If the answer is yes, keep going. Keep questioning it. Keep rethinking what it is that you like and how it changes. And if and when you're ready to tell the world, do it, unabashed and unashamed.
I honestly believe that if everyone did this, the world would be a more understanding place. Through the process of sexual and preference based interrogation, people would realize that sexuality is a fluid spectrum, with preferences ebbing and flowing through all forms of attraction. And while identity may encompass specific subsets of these spectrums, the mere act of questioning them individually would do away with much of the long held beliefs, assumptions, and prejudices surrounding marriage, partnership and equal rights.
So, bottom line: coming out shouldn't just be for the gays. It should be for everyone -- a coming of age process that all people are lucky enough to take part in. And if you do that and bro-jobs are still your thing, by all means, proceed. No questions asked.
Mason Hsieh is an activist, dancer, journalist, and screenwriter.

FiveFilms4Freedom 2017: Heavy Weight by Jonny Ruff


Big Saturday Load

Bearded Boys

I'm not really into beards, but I know a lot of you are, so here's a make-up post with a big load of those scratchy faces . . . and a few with some scruff -- I like, I like!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday PM

Hmm . . .


For all those 'bro-jobs'

A new app has launched which allows straight men to hook up with each other.

The idea is that it might allow men who identify as heterosexual to indulge in their homo side, without having to label themselves as gay.

BRO describes itself as the new social app for “bromance, chat, and dating – just for men.”

Its iTunes description reads, “BRO goes beyond using labels, and is for men that are interested in meeting other men. It’s as simple as that.”

Sticking to much the same format as other dating apps like Tinder, when you find someone you like, you can favourite them, match with them, or even Fistbump with them to start a conversation.

It promises to be convenient and secure, with no catfishes, and is very detailed regarding your preferences: you can choose your Bro type from Brogrammer, G.I. Bro, Preppy Bro or Hipster Bro, among others, though creator Scott Kutler has said, “Bro is about men finding a connection with each other beyond the stereotypes people may try to fit them into.”

In an interview with Global Dating Insights, Kutler said, “I was inspired mainly because I felt there was a huge segment of men that don’t feel welcome in the “gay” community – be it “bi” guys or gay men that don’t fit the “gay” stereotype. As well, I wanted to move beyond the hookup culture that many apps and websites have catered to.”

So straight men aside, could this finally be an app where successful long term relationships can be founded?

It remains to be seen whether this is something that curious straight men will use. Research in the U.S. last year showed that considerable numbers of heterosexual men have engaged in sexual acts with other men.

A book published last year, Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men, by academic Jane Ward discussed the phenomenon, giving rise to the use of the phrase ‘bro-jobs’ to describe oral sex between straight men.

More stories

Just how many straight guys have had gay sex?

93% of straight men have cuddled with another guy


Too Little, Too Late

The story still refers to "gay" hookups rather than same-sex hookups. An academic point, perhaps, but as far as I know, no one verified the sexual self-identification of all those Hines fingered. It looks as if he's being rewarded for waiting it out . . .

Internet Responds to Daily Beast Writer's Apology: Too Little, Too Late

Nico Hines, the Daily Beast editor who wrote an article in August during the Rio Olympics about finding gay hookups during the games, issued an apology for his actions Tuesday. In the article he gave descriptions and nationalities of several closeted gay Olympians, which effectively outed them, putting them in danger because several of them are from anti-LGBT countries. The article was removed from the website after a swift pushback from LGBT readers.
In an article titled "What I've Learned," Hines, who is a straight, married man, wrote that he was "deeply sorry" for the story, which "never should have been conceived, written, or published." 

"The story about athletes using dating apps in the Olympic village did not ask consent and did not advance the public good," Hines wrote. "The article intruded into the lives of people who had a right to be left alone. For some readers it brought up old, ugly LGBTQ stereotypes. And I didn't accurately represent myself during the reporting of the piece. These were all profound failures, and I’m sorry for them."
In an editor's note at the bottom of Hines's apology, it was announced that Hines would be returning full-time to his senior editor and London-based reporter positions. 
Cyd Zeigler, the cofounder of OutSports, an LGBT sports website, wrote about the note from Hines, describing it as "a delayed apology without empathy" and "little more than a press release." It was probably Hines's editors who asked that he write the apology, Zeigler wrote, adding that had Hines written a heartfelt apology and not an "academic" one, LGBT people would have felt they were truly heard.
"You let this fester for the better part of a year. You offered no empathy in your apology," Ziegler wrote. "I'll continue to wait for a real one."
Several writers and editors responded to the news on Twitter: