QuestionMark? #86

July 22, 2016by Mark Rutherford

Dear Mark,

I’m writing you this letter because I’ve become unnerved at the way gay life if represented in the media. Well not how actually but “who”. I was okay when Eric McCormac, a straight man played gay in the tv show Will and Grace. I was even okay the other guy, Sean Hayes, who plays his gay sidekick Jack, told the press he didn’t want to discuss his private life. I mean, I think we all know the guy is gay. I just respect his right not to want to talk about it. But then it started happening all over.


There’s the embarrassing spectacle of Bravo Channel’s Boy Meets Boy show where some of the gay participants are secretly straight and trying to pass as gay. Half the guys on Queer as Folk are straight. Every actor who has played gay has made a point to mention his heterosexuality in interviews while flaunting his pretty blonde wife or girlfriend.


Even the porn industry has gotten in on it. Half of those guys we’re paying to watch have sex with other men are actually straight. They downplay it for our benefit but if you do a little investigating you find out the true story. I’m sorry but if I’m going to watch two men have sex on screen, I want to know that both of them are actually into each other. It totally turns me off to think that one of the guys might only be in it for the money.


Signed, a very gay Robert, West Palm Beach


Dear Robert,

I understand your concern. I feel your pain. But let’s get a few things, ahem, straight here. First, gay guys have been playing straight since the beginning of time much less in the movies. Of course the first is about fear and oppression and the latter is about opportunism. But even if you take that into concern we have taken big steps in the representation of gay men and women in the media. Although there are straight men and women playing gay, there are also a good number of gay men and women playing gay. I personally don’t think it should matter one way or the other. Good theatre is good theatre regardless of the orientation of the actor. But I understand your point and sometimes it does make a difference.


When Brian and Justin kiss on Queer as Folk, we all know that one is heterosexual in real life and one is homosexual. You could say it takes away from the authenticity of the kiss. I for one don’t think so.   Some guys have even gone so far as to say the knowledge that the actor who plays Brian is straight makes the sex scenes between he and Justin even hotter. The same goes for your argument about porn. Some guys really like it that one of the models happens to be straight. Is it internalized homophobia as some would suggest? I’m not so sure about that.   I think it’s a mixed bag.


That being said, the honest representation of gay people in the media continues to grow. The success of this year’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy proves this point. These guys are gay and proud of it AND people still want to watch. The sheer idea that Bravo would want to air an all gay oriented show like Boy Meets Boy speaks volumes to our growth as a culture. Rosie O’Donnell’s revelation about her sexuality woke much of middle America up. Everyone really liked her and these people were forced to think about their own ideas about sexuality because now they had a very familiar, likeable face to attach it to. I understand your frustrations but try to keep focused on the progress we have made.


Dear Mark,

I just am able to write about my experience at the White Party in South Beach this year. I went with a group of friends and was expecting a great weekend full of parties and handsome men. There was plenty of both to be had. I ended up meeting this very handsome, very sexy man from Miami on the dance floor the first night. We hit it off and danced all evening. I had taken an ecstacy and I knew he was partying with something but we didn’t talk about it.


At the end of the party he asks me home to his place. We get there and start kissing and getting into each other. All of a sudden he pulls out this pipe. It was clear and looked caked with white stuff. He offers me a hit but I say no because I’m not even sure of what it is. He tells me it’s Tina(Crystal Meth) and takes a hit from the pipe. Before I could object, he leans in and kisses me and blows the smoke into my mouth. It startled me and I breathed it all in. Well, let me tell you. It instantly felt great. We had sex for hours. I insisted on safe sex at first. But then, after a few more hits, both of us had trouble staying hard so I fucked him without a condom.


Then about 5 a.m., we decide to get on the computer and invite some other guys over. Three guys showed up. They had all been partying as well. And the five of us proceeded to have very hot sex. Honestly some of the best sex of my life. None of it was safe. Now it’s a week later and I’m feeling much regret. I can’t believe I let myself do it. I had never done anything before except maybe and hit of X once or twice a year. I thought crystal meth was just for junkies but I’m finding out a lot of my friends have tried it before too. I’m mad I let myself get in that kind of situation where I wasn’t safe. But a part of me really enjoyed the experience. Help.


Signed, Mike Wilton Manors


Dear Mike,


I have heard this story so many times I could almost recite it myself with my eyes closed. Crytal Meth, or Tina, as it’s sometimes called is all over the place in South Florida. It is a highly addictive drug that can have devastating consequences on the user. I’m not one of those therapists that say all drugs are bad or all people that use drugs are bad. Drugs have been around since the beginning of time and will probably always be here in some shape or form. The problem begins when someone uses a drug, gets high and does things he shouldn’t do like have unsafe sex. There is part shame from the experience and part pleasure from the memory of the effects of the drug. If a person is vulnerable, he will use again and quite possibly form a habit. Along with the actual drug habit, which can be overwhelming, comes the increased shame about the behavior and the feelings of self worth that go along with it. Not to mention the other effects like weight loss, decreased job productivity, and, of course, possible HIV/STD infections.


Don’t go crazy worrying about it. My advice would be to try to stay away from using a drug like crystal meth. But, if you do use again, do your best to have the safest sex possible. BUT if you slip up and don’t wear a condom, again, don’t beat yourself up too bad about it. It’s the negative feelings about what people have done that really keeps the destructive cycle in motion. It’s when you start to lose your sense of self worth that all bets are off and you start making risky choices. Respect yourself and cut yourself some slack. If it happens again I would suggest talking to a therapist a couple of times so you can better understand your feelings about such experiences.