Browsing: July-August 2005

July-August 2005

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THE GAY COMMUNITY has a long history of alcohol and drug abuse above the rate that occurs in the heterosexual population. Research suggests that gay men use drugs in specific situations, such as during sex or during visits to specific “homosocial” venues like bars, clubs, sex parties or bathhouses. Thus, for many gay men, a unique aspect of gay culture is that drug use is very often specifically connected to seeking or having sex. …

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Takes on news of the day.

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ON THE AIR since 1990, HBO’s documentary series Real Sex has proven to be hugely popular with millions of cable subscribers curious about the sexual practices and fantasies of their fellow Americans. Ostensibly unscripted and nonfictional, the series’ ring of authenticity adds to its appeal. …

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ARTHUR DONG makes documentary films that examine anti-gay attitudes in American culture. His open-ended approach encourages viewers to situate themselves in relation to the issues he investigates, which include homophobia and racism, among others. …

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IT WAS SEEING the movie Kinsey that triggered a heated discussion about bisexuality between me and my girlfriend Meg, whom I had “accused” of being bisexual in light of her history of dating men several years earlier. She vehemently denied that this earlier life made her bisexual, giving rise to that age-old discussion of just what makes a person “bi”: …

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The stereotypical images of southern Italy as a land of pasta and mafia vendettas needs to be replaced with a new understanding of the Mezzogiorno, as the southern regions of Italy are collectively known. The region now has the distinction of electing the first openly gay regional president in the history of the Italian republic. …

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MANY YOUNG GAY MEN are perceived by themselves and others as “whores,” but it’s a label that other gay youth are consciously rejecting. An earlier generation of gay men embraced sexual liberation as the driving goal of gay liberation itself, and found it empowering to be a “whore” or a “slut.” “Sexual objectification is a focus of our quest for freedom,” declared “A Gay Manifesto” of the 1970’s (by Carl Wittman). But gay youth culture has changed dramatically since then. Gay young people in general have veered toward a more heterosexual definition of their sexual relations. Few would agree with the sentiment expressed in another manifesto of early Gay Liberation, that of Martha Shelley in her classic essay “Gay is Good”: “straight roles stink.”

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JEAN COCTEAU proclaimed friendship to be his only politics. “I would rather be celebrated for constancy of the heart than for any doctrine of the mind,” he remarked in his essay “On Friendship.” Cocteau considered friendship to be an art and equated it with the “fellow feeling” of Walt Whitman. “It continually corrects itself, sets itself aright, and avoids the wars of love. Friendship maintains its balance so that we can maintain ours in it.” …

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AS RESEARCH for Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger, author William J. Mann befriended the famed film director and became his documentarian during the last two years of Schlesinger’s life as a stroke patient in Palm Springs. As a result, there is a loose, conversational tone to the book that places it somewhere between biography and memoir. …

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IN CHOOSING to show some of his own skin for the cover of his essays now collected as Beneath the Skin, John Rechy remains the consummate rebel. He appears shirtless and sexy with a cigarette dangling from the lips. …

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