Gay Rights Epicenter Named Historic Site

Straight Guy,

Sometimes a house is not just a house. . . and even more than a home.

In Washington, D.C., the historic sites powers-that-be just named the home of Frank Kameny, the "Father of Gay Activism" an historic site. The Washington Post coverage was nice, but barely scratches the pioneering work of Dr. Kameny, now 83. I am thrilled that this happened while he is alive and well.

A fast overview of why we should all be grateful for his life and for the work that went on in his home: From this site, Kameny worked tirelessly as a community organizer to press for the end of discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Kameny played a leading role in reversing both the law and public opinion regarding:
  • denial of security clearances to homosexuals,
  • removal of homosexuals from the military,
  • denial of employment by the federal Civil Service Commission,
  • the criminalization of homosexuality and homosexual practices,
  • entrapment and harassment by police and other civil authorities, and
  • classification of homosexuality as psychiatric disorder

SG, I know this is more of a gay issue, but it's historic and I know you agree that civil rights victories for one are civil rights victories for all.

Update: Monday, March 2
See a nice post on the topic on the blog, The New Gay. It's a post today, you just have to scroll down a bit to get to it. Well worth the read. The New Gay is a good blog, specific to Washington, D.C., but full of good general posts.

--Gay Guy

Straight vs. Gay: Getting Ready to Go Out

Fellow blogger John wants to know...

Ok, here's a question: how long does it take each of you guys to get ready to go out somewhere?

The sad truth: dirty jeans and a ball cap can have me on the street in a moment's notice. And no, we don't really think we're fooling anyone with this routine.

Straight guys can also make a quick getaway if our clothes have been dry cleaned. Garanimals for grown-ups. Mix and match, coordinate belt and shoes. Shower, shave, and in my best suit in 15 minutes.

It's the stuff in the middle that gives me trouble. Too many choices. But, I do iron all of my clothes myself. It takes me a long time, but I do a good job. A nice polo sweater is a great friend to the straight guy, slightly fancy without all the fuss. Great choice, unless you have a moob situation. (Look it up.)

GAY GUY Responds:

To work: One hour from feet hitting the floor to feet hitting the sidewalk. 30 minutes more if the news is really juicy. That covers news, making the bed, breakfast, shower, shave, dress, hunt for keys and cell phone.

Go out to see friends, probably 30 minutes.

Most of the time is spent doing things that I suddenly find urgent, such as checking my bank balance, while I have shaving cream on my face.
Readers: How long does it take you to get ready? Click "comments" below.

The Kindest or Unkindest Cut?

Gay Guy,

Here's a link to a recent essay on circumcision. Poor guy, no-win situation.
The decision of whether to circumcise our son became, therefore, a referendum on my own foreskin. All my anti-circumcision arguments—the barbarity of the procedure, the theory that it lessens sexual sensitivity—withered in the face of one multiply confirmed assertion: Foreskin is weird. Women think so. Men think so. The majority of circumcised America—itself is a majority—thinks so. I was hopelessly outnumbered.

Did he cave too easily? Don't know. But he's not wrong. Americans just accept the status quo without thinking. And honestly, the more we think, the harder the decision becomes.
It has much less to do with religious or health concerns, than it does with blindly following tradition, not questioning current social norms, and most importantly, avoiding locker room ridicule and backseat rejection. Shallow? Maybe. But you can't say it's inconsequential.

How do I put this delicately, GG? I ask you about this because, well, when it comes to these details, you understand, er, um, both sides, that is to say, oy, in economic terms, the supply AND demand, as it were. Yeesh.

And here's another reason the dialogue fails: This straight guy is uncomfortable and already done with this topic.


--Straight Guy

Straight Guy Style

Straight Guy,

Well, your people are everywhere now, aren't they? Getting into our gay stuff.

I found this straight guy Oscar fashion commentary by Straight Steve.

Is this a pretty fair straight guy take on the ladies?

--Gay Guy

Gay/Straight Advice: Crushing on Best Friend

Question from a reader:
My best friend and I (he's straight, I am gay, and we're both 21) have been friends for about 7 years, during those years we've spent a lot of time together.We've hung out pretty much every day and for the one year that we were roommates we were together pretty much every waking hour.

There's nothing sexual about it, we just have a lot in common, we'd watch hockey games, play video games and indulge in reality TV mostly. I am the gay one, I only recently came out to him and he was cool with it (which slightly surprised me considering I remember him being quite homophobic throughout our youth).

However there's one thing I can't tell him, that I have pretty much fallen head over heels in love with him. I really don't know what to do, he's straight -- very straight -- so there's obviously no chance for me, but how do I...I don't know...stop being in love with him? I've been told to distance myself from him, to find new friends and build new healthy gay relationships but I could never do that. He's my best friend and I don't want that to end. I still want to hang out and do the crap we always do.

It just hurts being with him and knowing that I have such strong feelings for this guy and he will never feel the same. I can't even imagine how much of a wreck I'll be when he finds a girlfriend, it hurts just thinking about it. I know, he's my best friend and I should want him to be happy (and I do). It just sucks that his happiness goes hand in hand with my heartbreak. Sure there are plenty of other fish in the sea, but Ijust can't imagine myself with anyone else, I don't see how it could be the same. I mean I've formed a strong connection with this person for the past 7 years, how could I hope to recreate that with some guy I meet at a bar? I am sure you guys have heard this a thousand times before, the gay guy falls for his straight friend, but I really just don't know what to do. It's the worst feeling: loving someone who will never love you. I would really appreciate hearing your take on this, thanks guys.


Thanks for writing in.

Loving someone who can't respond in the way that you so very much want is hard and painful, I know. (Trust me, I really, really know.)

Sounds like your friendship has a lot going for it and that you are both invested in it, especially that he's been supportive of you and still comfortable in his close friendship with you since you've come out to him.

And it sounds like you have some good friends who are offering you good advice. But, I don't think it is an either/or situation. I agree that you should make some new gay friends and build some healthy relationships (which don't have to be romantic or sexual, they can be friendships, too). That doesn't necessarily mean you have to "break up" with your friend or can't be close to him, or that you need to distance yourself from him. Of course you want to still hang out and do all the things you enjoy doing. Makes perfect sense. But, I think you would benefit from adding some other dimensions and people to your life. You don't have to make him less important, just make yourself and new chances equally important.

It's good that you are thinking about preparing yourself for his finding a romantic relationship. I don't have any great advice there, except that best friends want the best for each other, and so you need to think about how you can deal with that.

You have the ability to form a long lasting friendship -- that's no small feat. I can say that over time I appreciate more and more my good friendships (that's you, Straight Guy!).

Most of all, please give a gay guy a chance. We aren't just 'fish in the sea' or 'some guy in a bar.' We're people. No, you won't recreate your relationship with your friend, but you'll make a new one that's unique and special.

Sounds like your friendship might need some more air. Clean up a river, volunteer at a soup kitchen, tutor a kid. It will help, believe me.

Let us know how it turns out over time.

Over to you Straight Guy. . .. .


"His happiness goes hand in hand with my heartbreak." Ug. More drama.

Count yourself as lucky. You came out to your long-time friend and he stood by you. Let the high school homophobia go. Many nice guys have grown out of that (maybe me?). Some eventualy come out themselves.

It hurts, but you seem sure that he's straight. If so, you have to let it go. Stay friends if you can. Keep playing video games and watching trash TV. Your crush doesn't have to ruin everything, but it will if you talk about it too much or take it too seriously. It's not really a gay/straight thing, people fall in love with others they can't have all the time. That's universal heartbreak, right?

I shouldn't have to say this. But you're 21, probably haven't been out very long, so your options are NOT limited to choosing between your straight best friend and gay bar pickups. If your friend has never had a girlfriend and you've never had a boyfriend in seven years, then you both need to expand your social circles. Seriously. You'll stop being in love with him when you're in love with someone else. And you better start hoping he gets some soon, too. That's what friends do. You probably know more straight women than he does (and have better communication skills, too). So hook him up immediately so that the "moving on" can begin.

Too bad he probably can't return the favor (his gay contacts are probably limited to you alone). But, still, give him credit for being a good, long-term, low-drama, friend who you can trust with the truth (most of it). That's pretty hard to find.

--Straight Guy

You, Too, Dustin

And, congrats to Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black for his Oscar.

He gave a beautiful and moving acceptance speech with a lot of message. (He's a writer, of course it was great.)

Watch it.

Read an excerpt.

--Gay Guy

Congrats, Sean

Congrats to Sean Penn for his Oscar for playing Harvey Milk in "Milk." A great performance competing with great performances by other actors.

In accepting the award, Penn's remarks slammed those who voted for Prop 8. Watch it. Straight but not narrow. Rock it, Sean.
--Gay Guy

Gay / Straight Advice: Another Bro No-No

Pulled from recent comments: One reader's "Bros before Hos" scenario:
I don't think there is that much wrong with the bros before hos thing, I mean, obviously you wouldn't take it to some extreme, but it works and makes sense when it comes to certain situations. For example:

I had two really good friends, Johnny and Kyle, and the three of us were really close. Self proclaimed "brothers." But when Johnny got a girlfriend, Kayla, times that the three of us had planned to hang out, he would call or text us after he was supposed to be there and say that he was with his girlfriend and would either be really late, or that he was going to have to cancel on us. Kyle was dating someone and he didn't do any of the stuff that Johnny pulled.

Johnny would invite his girlfriend over to Kyle's house when he was there, he would be in the middle of hanging out with us and then get a text from her saying she wanted to see him and he would go. He wouldn't tell her that he was already busy, he would just go. And it's not like they never saw each other, whenever he wasn't with us, he was with her. They lived only a few blocks apart. We started seeing him less and less until finally he stopped hanging out with us completely.

[Straight guy edit: And then a lot of drama happened... See Brian's detailed backstory here.]

Johnny ended up breaking up with his girlfriend, and tried to be friends with us again. He told us that he was in love with Kayla and that he was just doing what she wanted so she would stay with him. Now I'm sorry but that is bullshit. You don't do that to your friends just for a girl. Needless to say we didn't take him back.

After having been through all that, Bros before Hos is not a bad thing. Again, you don't need to do it to any extreme, you don't need to reject a girl for your friends, be sensible about it but it's not definitely not a bad thing.

Straight Guy said...

Wow, Brian, thanks for the response. I'm not sure I processed it all.

But you're making my point. Too much drama negates a good friendship. A good friendship DECREASES the overall drama of life. It's there when you need it and welcomes you back if you've drifted away for a while.

Yes cheating and false accusations are bad things. Maybe some of those folks were bad people. But you're all living in a soap opera. Hurry and get out.

Balance is healthy. But any sane person will easily rank the pursuit of a solid, long-term relationship above "hanging out." Sorry. The normal libido of young straight guys (if they have opportunity and adequate social skills) also makes these priorities crystal clear. Help your friends get some, or at least get out of the way.

Gay Guy said...

I sort-of have a version of a 'bros before' story in my past. I did the classic thing that I've heard my female friends complain about when their friends do it.

Women hate it when their female friends drop them when a new guy is hot in the picture. They get unavailable in terms of time and conversation topics. When things go sour or end, the female friend is back looking for the compassion of the herd.

The life lesson is balance.

I did not keep my balance with my first boyfriend post college. I got swept up in the current, and really deserted my good friend/room mate. I was never around anymore. Yes, that's the way love's journey takes people. But, I wish I'd kept more balance. (First clue was that I felt homesick for my own apartment.) Maybe if things with that guy had worked out, I would have a different view of things.

So, should I have put my bro first? Maybe. Should I have had more balance between my bro and my (it's all too true to call him a) 'ho? Absolutely.

Two thoughts, Brian:

Sounds like your gang was really fused to each other. Is it something you want to repeat?

Call Johnny for a beer. You won't regret it. I believe he was indeed under the spell of an enchantress. He's probably gained a lot of perspective over time. It will be good for both of you.

Stimulus Package

Straight Guy,

Stimulus Package.

I like saying it. I like hearing newscasters say it.

Stimulus Package.

I'm not talking about the $50 a month.

I just wanted to say that.

Thank you.

--Gay Guy

Tears and Tiaras for Gay Guys

Straight Guy,

George Mason University, located outside of Washington, D.C., has elected a student who is gay and a drag performer as its Homecoming Queen. Read a story. A fresh twist on a tired tradition.

I always found that being gay was the best excuse to avoid such traditions as Homecoming. The problem with cultural trailblazers is that they leave the rest of us no place to hide out.

--Gay Guy

Blogosphere Buzz: Beard Head

Winter is almost over, but everyone is talking about Beard Head Hats! Now with mix and match Fu Manchu mustache options.

I'm sure these will be a huge, short-term hit with the stoner snowboard crowd. "Epic lid, Brosef!"

I give it extra points for being functional and funny. But don't buy me one. Seriously. Don't.

--Straight Guy

I Always Thought "Bros Before Hos" Was Kind of Gay

Here's proof.

Thanks to these guys for making my point. Yes, sometimes new girlfriends (and boyfriends) can annoy long-time friends. But I've always said that real friends don't hold their friends back when it comes to the pursuit of the opposite sex. If they "protest too much" then they have issues of their own.

--Straight Guy

Not Carnevale, Not Mardi Gras. . . . It's. . . It's???

Straight Guy,

The nonsensically expensive and upscale grocery store near me hijacked a corner of the store and suddenly began wrapping it in pink bunting. Started populating it with flowers. Too early for Mardi Gras, I puzzled. A nod of the head to Carnivale? Oh, Valentine's. Right.

Did you get Mrs. Straight Guy a card, I hope?

Everyone, for those in love, out of it, longing, laughing, straight, gay, or just a mess, there's six words or less for you. The Washington Post collected readers' love stories of six words or less. Very fun.

My favorite: "Excellent tooth-to-ball-cap ratio."

--Gay Guy

Things That Make You Go Ughhh

Gay Guy,

You really can't blame straight guys for the pet-costuming phenomenon featured in my last post.

But, feel free to take straight guys to task for this:

Why can't I ever find anything wrapped in cookie dough and deep fried? Yet there's sushi three blocks either way. Unfair.

--Straight Guy

Pets Who Want To Kill Themselves

The captions aren't really necessary, and many of them aren't funny. The photos are enough.

If you engage in this sick fetish, you should know that the authorities in the UK are working to make this kind of abuse criminal. Here are the details from the Daily Mail.

--Straight Guy

For Better or Worse

Gay Guy,

In case you thought that things were always easier over here on the straight side of the fence, here are some excerpted results of a recent survey by Parenting Magazine:
46% of moms get irate with their husbands once a week or more. Those with kids younger than 1 are even more likely to be mad that often (54 percent). About half of the moms describe their anger as intense but passing; 1 in 10 say it's "deep and long-lasting."

Many moms -- 44 percent -- are peeved that dads often don't notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids (it jumps to 54 percent for moms with three-plus children).

40% of moms are mad that Dad can't multitask. And the more kids they have, the madder they are.

31% of moms say their husbands don't help with the chores -- in fact, they generate more.


Many of our wives are working professionals now. More power to them (seriously). They are doing more than ever and facing impossible expectations. Looks like dads haven't picked up enough of the slack. Plus, we can't seem to send our kids outside to play for hours at a time anymore.

Obviously, the data means something. Many men are disappointing their wives on a regular basis. Some guys are outright jerks (see the article for boorish he-men stories, including one dude who rouses his family - including a newborn - when he returns from his night shift before putting himself to bed). Others (like me) are trying, but still coming up short from time to time. But overall, haven't we increased our contribution as parents and homemakers? Maybe we can still do more, too. (OK, forget the "maybe.") But perhaps our wives can continue to adjust their standards so that we meet in the middle more often?

Here's one rage inducing scenario as told by the mom:
"No one's ever gotten hurt, but once I came home and found that my toddler's brand-new -- expensive! -- rug was covered in marker. It was clear he'd left them on their own for a while, with markers. I was furious. I'm still furious."

Notice how she doesn't question for a moment the decision to purchase an expensive rug for a toddler's room -- that's probably on her, I'm guessing. Or mention that a marked rug is still 100% operational for it's intended purpose. She starts out using the proper standard: does her husband keep the children safe when she is not watching? It's the minimum allowable expectation, but the answer seems to be yes. So, chill. Certainly no reason to respond with long-term rage.

Here's another quote:
Many dads wouldn't even think to buy valentines for the class, for example, or know when it's time to sign kids up for the pre–camp physical, or that curriculum night is next Thursday at 7:30 and you need to hire a sitter and bring a nut-free vegetarian appetizer that can be eaten without a fork. Even moms who work full-time take it upon themselves to store all this data in our already overstuffed heads. We're the walking, talking encyclopedias of family life, while dads tend to be more like brochures.

Yes, modern life is complicated, and I often falter in details like these, but I didn't miss the howler in the middle of that paragraph. Nut-free, fork-free, vegetarian appetizers? They're called carrot sticks, lady. Even then, the expectation is too high. Can't someone just bring store-bought cookies or juice boxes?

I've pulled some bone-headed maneuvers in my time, sure. The quality of parenting would plummet if Mrs. Straight Guy wasn't around. But, she's not nearly as angry as the statistics above. And I think (and hope) that she recognizes that I do much more than my dad ever did. Can't some straight guys get props for that?

"Mad at Dad" is the number one link at the Parenting website. The article closes with a call for moms to demand more for themselves. I don't disagree. Fair is fair. But, this article, on what fathers do well, has just dropped off the list. C'mon, just give us a chance. OK, another chance.

--Straight Guy

The Call of the Mini-Van

Straight Guy,

Is the rumor true? Are you now the owner of a mini-van?

A few years ago, a mini-van was proof that hot guy at the gym was straight. (Like the ring wasn't proof enough.) Today, I know a bunch of gay dads --single and partnered -- with mini-vans. Plus parent-teacher conferences and T-ball

I am happy for them. . . and for you. So, tell me all about the new ride.

--Gay Guy

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Pepsi Max... More Straight Guy Abuse

"Pepsi Max: The First Diet Cola for Men!"

Ummmm. No.

Not for most straight guys, anyway. Certainly not for these schlubs. Not because they don't need it. Because they DON'T CARE. Look at them. Hopeless.

As I've pointed out in the past, it's easy to abuse straight guys in the name of humor. We're a safe, target-rich demographic. Maybe we deserve it. I don't know. Perhaps we've been dishing it out for so long, it's our turn to take it for a while. We haven't always been nice, but have we ever been this mean? Can you imagine any other group ridiculed and beat down like this in a national ad campaign?

So yes, this is fair payback for those idiotic Go Daddy commercials and all the other objectification in Superbowl ads this year. But can Pepsi Max for Men please quickly go the way of New Coke?

I'm going to drink whole milk from the jug, out of spite.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Gay Love Shaq?

Straight Guy,

I read a couple of news stories today that ESPN pulled a pulled an ad featuring Shaquille O'Neal and commentator Mike Breen. Organizations like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign called the ad homophobic.

I went to YouTube and watched, ready. . . ready to be mad, incensed, political, ready to send a shit-gram to ESPN.

I am still waiting to find the homophobic part. Or at least anything worth sending an e-mail about.

SG, in case you haven't seen it, Breen tries to give Shaq a celebratory fist bump. Only problem is that Breen calls it a "fist kiss" not fist bump. Shaq pulls back from Breen: "No fist kiss, no fist love, no fist hump. None of that. You're a weirdo, man. Stay over there. Fist kiss. Disgusting."

Homophobic? Come on, folks, simmer down. As I "read" this ad, it's not about prejudice or homophobia, it's about mocking Breen for being so clueless and uncool as to call it a fist kiss, not bump.

The joke of the ad is about the cliche of the high-five and fist bump. Breen's desire is for street cred, but what he reveals is what a dork he is. Shaq's pulling away signals "Game over, dude, because you don't know how to play the cool game." That's how I read it. The lobbying for ESPN to drop the ad should have come from the geek police, not gay advocacy groups.

I am not a fist bumper. Never have been. The last straw was when I was worn out by a boss who punctuated every conversation with high-fives. Then he moved on to fist bumps. Called me "Dawg." He had about as much street cred as Breen.

Readers, please weigh in on this now-withdrawn spot. Homophobic and offensive? Satiric cultural commentary? Just dumb and pointless?

P.S. In withdrawing the ad, ESPN said that it was never their intent "to be offensive to anyone or any community of people."

--Gay Guy

ESPN uses these simple ads to emphasize the overlap between jocks and reporters. Star athletes often work in the blah cubicles of ESPN corporate, and ESPN personalities mix in the off-court lives of athletes. The ads never focus on real sports drama, but place ESPN as the premium brand with unlimited access. Brilliant, I think.

This is one of a series of ads in which the ESPN personalities visit Shaq in his RV (the tight quarters emphasize Shaq's size, of course).

In my favorite, Shaq is winning a Scrabble game with an abundance of Q words including "Shaqtastic."

"Where did you get all of those Qs?," they ask.

"Don't worry about it," he replies with a hint of menace.

It's Shaq's world and we're just lucky to be living in it. Don't confront, challenge, or bother him.

Same thing with the ad above. It's not about sex, obviously, but when "hump" and "disgusting" run together, I can see how someone might force a connection. I didn't see one either, GG.

--Straight Guy

Nice to Meet You, Mr. Springsteen, But Around Here We Usually Just Shake Hands

Easy, Bruce. We like you. Just not that way.

All in all, I thought he rocked it last night.

"America, step back from the guacamole! Put down the chicken fingers!"

Now can we forever dispose of the gimmicky, stunt-driven, halftime show and just let great performers do their thing?

--Straight Guy

Gay / Straight Advice Roundup

You've asked, we've answered...
We're here to help. Please send your questions to the emails in the right-hand column, or post your question as an anonymous comment to this post.

--Gay Guy and Straight Guy

Men of Austen: Not Zombies. Nor Gay, But British Accents and Britches Are Close Enough

Straight Guy,

Great job on your 1/29 post on finding the "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" book. I don't know how you find this stuff.

I'm a big (Zombie-free) Austen fan. I know the Austen canon is considered girls' books, but I love them. (I draw the line at Alcott's "Little Women," don't worry. There are some places that Gay Guy may never go for fear of no exit.) Yes, Austen's books focus on women but they have gems for everyone: How do we see and experience the world? Do we see correctly? Can we trust the reliability of what others tell us? Or do we trust ourselves only? Great questions for all of us.

Most of the men in Austen's books have a powerful, yet clueless, lovable buffoon/prick side to them. Hey. . . maybe they really are zombies in those books.

Plus Austen is still damn funny. Society hasn't changed much in 200 years.

Do you remember --of course you don't, what was I thinking -- that last year PBS ran a series of all the Austen novels. It was hit or miss. The web site is still up. Just because it's sooooo hilarious, check out the teen dream interactive space on the site. Scroll drown a bit on the home page and you find the "Men of Austen." You can read all about them as if they were real and on a reality TV show like Amazing Race. Best of all, you can vote for your favorite Austen man.

We've kept our site clean and non-politcal, but can I please campaign for Edward Ferrars (Sense & Sensibility) or Edmund Bertram (Mansfield Park) for the 19th century Tiger Beat favorite. Please not that drone of Mr. Darcy. This site is one click away from feeling like voting for which of the Jonas Brothers is cutest. Not that I have an opinion.

Gay, gay, gay. No straight woman that I know would fall for this hook.

Okay, off to the gym here.

--Gay Guy

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive