Watch straight people answer this question: ‘When did you choose to be straight?’


 
Street interviews conducted by Travis Nuckolls and Chris Baker in Colorado, Springs where people were asked “When did you choose to be straight?”

It’s interesting to watch—you can tell by their expressions, naturally—how viscerally taken aback some of these folks are by the question.

 
h/t Brian Morales

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘K-11’: the most brutal cell block of all?


 
K-11 is a new film directed by Jules (mother of Kristen) Stewart, about a prison complex in LA for homosexuals and transgender inmates. It looks brutal, exploitative, and I can’t wait to see it.

The trailer is pretty self-explanatory: a record producer ends up in jail, charged with killing a cop, after he blacks out. The prison is the titular K-11, and there he must navigate a murky world of mixed genders and shifting loyalties in order to survive. (Hmm, maybe I should go into b-movie copy writing?)

Yeah, it sounds corny, but it looks pretty well shot and the cast is decent (though some actual trans actors wouldn’t have gone amiss, and I would love to have seen Kristen Stewart in this, as was originally cast - perhaps she was slated to play Mousey, the prison’s tough bitch queen?) But you know what really surprises me about this? For a subject that looms so large in the American subconscious, it’s surprising that there haven’t been more films about homosexuality in jail.

Even HBO’s mighty Oz was disappointing in that respect (if pretty much perfect in any other.) Sure, two of the main male characters fell in love (or did they?) but the show failed to explore the prison’s gay subculture, in the way it did the Nazis, Nation of Islam, Latinos, etc. Gay characters were only shown flitting away campy in the background, or as facilitators for other characters’ story lines.

K-11 is hardly going to be perfect, but for films about gay life behind bars, it’s a start:
 

 
Pardon my ignorance, but are US prisons really segregated by sexual orientation and transgender identity?

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
Occupy London vs the Gays: or just another media spin party?


 
The headlines are in and the buzz is beginning to build. Occupy London (formerly known as Occupy London Stock Exchange, or Occupy LSX) have set up a new protest camp in London’s Hampstead Heath, one of the city’s busiest public parks.

Hampstead Heath is popular with families, tourists, sun seekers and dog-walkers, but the park also happens to be a renowned cruising spot popular with the local gay community, a fact which has not gone unnoticed by the new Occupy camp.

It appears that tensions between the two communities are on the rise - or are they?

A recent news item posted by the gay-interest site Pink News suggests that they may be, quoting from a protester at the Hampsted Heath camp:

Timothy Sullivan, a 46-year-old protester, responded to potential objections to the group’s presence by saying they would improve safety by deterring gay cruising on the Heath.

He told the paper: “We could vaporise that problem just being here and let people enjoy their open space again.”

As would be imagined, these comments have not gone down well with many in the gay community. Or with other communities, for that matter, as a lot of commentators see this story as proof of the Occupy movement’s ill-founded logic, and the stereotype of protesters as “unwashed” (seeing as they will be camping out in a public park for months on end.)

But is there more to this than the initial reports suggest?

As with anything this neatly packaged, the motives of the site doing the reporting should be examined. While gay people should be very vigilant against perceived homophobia, the cynic in me wonders if this is yet another non-story that has been blown out of all proportion and designed to inspire “victim-rage” in a minority, thus drawing more advertising hits?

Because it seems awfully silly of a movement who claim to represent 99% of the world’s population to make comments that single out, and make targets of, a specific minority (a minority who, lest we forget, are already facing their own tribulations.) The Occupy movement itself has been somewhat of a whipping boy in certain corners of the internet and the oldstream media, who seem intent on discrediting the movement, something that has been made much easier by Occupy’s nebulous nature.

However, Ronan McNern, a gay member of the Occupy London press team, has said today:

“{These comments] are not representative of Occupy London, and against our own Safer Spaces Policy, which is very clear:

“Racism, as well as ageism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, ableism or prejudice based on ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, gender presentation, language ability, asylum status or religious affiliation is unacceptable and will be challenged.” [http://occupylondon.org.uk/about/safer-space-policy)

Occupy is made up of individuals and these are the comments of an individual - comments that run contrary to positions decided by Occupy in its very earliest days and remain at the core of how we relate to and show respect for one another. I will be speaking with him personally (have left a voicemail with him), as I know will others. Having met and chatted with him briefly I thought he was a good guy and I was very surprised to hear these comments. There is the potential that the words reported weren’t exactly what he meant to say, but whatever the case he will be spoken with so that he gains a clearer understanding of the history of Hampstead Heath, the fight for gay/queer rights and the stigma that has had to be overcome, and that still continues.

I’ve heard that other members of the Occupy Nomad camp have already expressed serious concerns regarding these comments. As a movement, it is essential that we challenge the language and assumptions that appear to have been made in the comments that appeared in the article - while Occupy is open to all, it is not open to all behaviours."

Sure, there may be many reasons to disagree with the methods of the Occupy movement (if not the motives, per se) and the confusion surrounding the reporting of this issue ties in strongly with that, but with summer rolling back 'round and people getting ready to get protesting again, it will serve us well to keep our media-cynicism levels at an all-time high. Because I think we are going to see a lot more of this kind of thing.

Occupy London have an official statement addressing the comments made by Timothy Sullivan on their website..

With thanks to Paul Shetler.

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
‘Boots Sex Dread’: hardcore gay reggae from 1980 (NSFW)


Image by Finsta

This has to be heard to be believed.

Boots Sex Dread is the name of an anonymous reggae act (is it a band or just and MC? or two MCs?) who brought out a one-off single in 1980 that became instantly notorious. Both sides of the release feature heavy dub riddims coupled with explicitly gay toasting. Like, REALLY explicit.

One side is titled “Rinka” and features an MC coming out: “Mi black and mi proud and mi a Rastafari/And mi a ‘omo-sek-shual”. There then follows an hilarious list of anal sex euphemisms. The flip is titled “Prenton Pressure” and features a different, coarse voiced MC regaling us with the story of how he met his Asian boyfriend, and how their sexual relations in a cornership store room (involving lots of bizarre condiments - Brillo Pads?!) were interrupted by the boyfriend’s mother.

Information on this record is scarce, but rumors about who the authors/vocalists may be have been rife since it was first written about in the NME on its 1980 release. The theory that has gained most credibility is that Boots Sex Dread is the work of the British comedian and actor Keith (father of Lily) Allen. An anonymous source close to Dangerous Minds can semi-confirm this:

It was rumored to be Keith Allen. And Rinka was supposed to be named after Norman Scott’s dog who was shot by the hit man hired by Jeremy Thorpe. [Background: Jeremy Thorpe was the leader of the British Liberal party from ‘67-‘76. Norman Scott claimed to be his gay lover, and Thorpe was aquitted on charges of conspiring to murder Scott in 1979.]

But this was the story running the rounds when Julie Burchill banged on about it as being gay Reggae. Not convinced, but it sounds like it could be him. He is an accomplished pianist, as I found out when I spent 3 nights on the batter with him, whilst he was filming Shallow Grave.

Keith had a character he played on Channel 4 late night back in the early 80s, where he played a gay miner, who’s dad was gay and his father before him, etc. Led to religious people saying he shouldn’t be allowed on TV etc, as they thought Keith was genuinely gay.

There a bit more info on this story over at the Uncarved blog. Here are sides A and B of Boots Sex Dread (even the names have been confused over time):

Boots Sex Dread “Rinka” NSFW
 

 
Boots Sex Dread “Penton Pressure” NSFW
 

 
Boots Sex Dread is rare as hens’ teeth, but it was re-issued not too long ago, so keep an eye out and you might find it.
 

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
Sean Connery gave TV its first male-to-male kiss

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Here’s a small piece of TV history as Sir Sean Connery kisses Richard Pasco in a BBC production of Jean Anouilh’s play Colombe from 1960.

This is the first ever male-to-male kiss aired on television. It would take the BBC another twenty-seven years to show two men kissing on-screen again, in an episode of the soap opera EastEnders. For fact-fans, the first man-to-man kiss in a major movie is claimed by Raf Valone in the 1962 feature Vu du Pont.

While this is a TV first, the kissing couple were not lovers but brothers. Connery’s character Julien believes his brother Paul (Pasco) is having an affair with his wife Colombe (Dorothy Tutin), and kisses Pasco to find out what makes him such a good lover. Hm, that old excuse?

This might seem like nothing to us today, but we should appreciate that homosexuality was outlawed in the UK,  a criminal offense punishable by gaol, until 1967, when the law was repealed. Therefore, it was more than hugely controversial to have two grown men kissing on TV (whether brothers or not) for it could have finished the careers of both Connery and Pasco, as they would have been seen as “corrupting viewers’ morals” and open to attack from those hateful right-wing moral evangelists, like Mary Whitehouse, who wielded such frightening and dangerous power back then. So, three cheers for Sir Sean and Mr Pasco.

The play Colombe was believed to have been lost or deleted, but copies of the drama turned up in the U.S. last year, after a reseracher found copies that had been sent to broadcaster National Education Television. The programs have now been returned to the British Film Institute in London, where Colombe will screened today.
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Sean Connery - The Musical


 
Via the Daily Mail
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Skintight USA: For Superheroes and the men who love them
05.13.2010
01:55 pm

Topics:
Fashion
Pop Culture
Sex

Tags:
New York City
Gay

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This is recent New York Times article is awesome for so many reasons. I used to live a block away from the Stonewall Bar for a number of years and I never saw a single superhero walking in or out of the place. Then again, Clark Kent could have changed into his Superman duds after he was amongst his super friends?

Dim lighting. Rendezvous-friendly nooks. Muscled bartenders. Pulsating dance music. At first glance, it could be any Saturday night in any gay bar in New York.

But then you notice, off to one corner, Superman flirting with Green Lantern. And there, across the room, someone in the form-fitting outfit of Black Adam, Captain Marvel’s foe, determinedly working the floor. In fact, there seems to be an inordinate number of men here tonight who look as if they have all but jumped from the pages of a comic book. And in some way, they have.

This is Skin Tight U.S.A., the occasional costume-fetish party held at the Stonewall Inn in the West Village, which draws a regular group of men (and their admirers) who enjoy a special kind of dress-up. Some wear heroic outfits; some, wrestling gear. The crowd can range from 25 people on an average night to 250 on a spectacular one. The common thread is that the muscle-cuddling garb often leaves little to the imagination.

“I was always attracted to the superhero physique,” said Matthew Levine, 31, who helped found the party in 2005 with Andrew Owen, 44, and who was one of the few participants willing to be named. The two become friends as, respectively, the graphic designer and Webmaster for Hard Comixxx, a predecessor of Skin Tight, once held at the Eagle bar in Chelsea. Mr. Levine is a big fan of the X-Men (who have a handful of gay characters) and the Transformers (all of whom seem straight) and has been reading comics since he was 8. “As I got older,” he said, “I realized, ‘Oh, this is why I admire the Grecian ideal of manhood and musculature.’

Out of the Closet and Up Up and Away (New York Times)

Thank you Alexandra Le Tellier!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Trial of Gay Spy Threatens German Intelligence
11.18.2009
12:50 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Gay
BND
Der Speigel

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Der Spiegel Online reports on the upcoming trial of a German spy who betrayed state secrets to his lover. The whole thing begs to be made into a movie, and we’re not even fully into the second act yet. Serious drama:

An explosive trial about to start in Munich involves a spy accused of betraying state secrets to his gay lover. It promises to expose the shadowy world of Germany’s foreign intelligence and may end up damaging the service…

The defendants are Anton K., a BND agent for many years, and his interpreter. The trial revolves around money and the betrayal of secrets. Love, sex and a betrayed wife are also part of the checkered tale, which takes place against the seedy backdrop of Kosovo’s criminal underworld. In other words, the case that the federal prosecutor general is now preparing is the stuff of a larger-than-life drama, the sort of material that would normally be found in the movies or in bestsellers.

While the outcome of the trial remains uncertain, it is already clear that there will be at least one loser: the BND. If the prosecution wins its case, the agency will face the embarrassment of having to admit that one of its agents was out of control for years, and that a career spy gave away state secrets in the height of passion while on assignment in Kosovo. But an acquittal would be just as embarrassing for the agency, because it would show that the BND had expended tremendous resources pursuing one of its employees.

(Der Spiegel: Trial of Gay Spy Threatens to Embarrass German Intelligence)

Written by Jason Louv | Discussion