Lance Bass Comes Out, But Is He The Chicken Or The Egg?
Posted on July 29, 2006
When fans heard Lance Bass announce to the media and essentially the world that he was gay, what do you think was the first thing that went through people’s minds? If you happen to be me–and you aren’t–I immediately imagined Lance and Darren Hayes meeting up at the same resort on their honeymoons. If you happen to be straight–and you might be–you probably imagined Lance either administering his own personal lance or being lanced by another non-descript male unless you happen to know what his partner, Riechen Lehmkuhi, looks like. In either case if you’re straight, you went right to the sex thing, didn’t you? This brings up an interesting question: is Lance the chicken or the egg?
A friend of mine who happens to be straight recently asked me why gay bookstores–she went to one of my book signings–feel the need to sell half-naked men on magnets, cards with nudity on them, the infamous adult magazines etc. Why not just books in the gay (i.e. non-porn) genre? According to her, we aren’t doing ourselves any favors by reinforcing the public’s perception of gays being porn-crazed sex-addicts. We aren’t doing ourselves any favors… Did we create that public image or did that image create us?
First, homosexuals are a minority. As such, gay businesses have a smaller clientele. While one may not agree with or even like that items of a pornographic nature are sold there, these business owners feel that in order to stay open, they need to stock what WILL sell in order to accommodate the shoppers not interested in pornography. A minority within a minority if you will. It’s a simple truth of wanting to close or stay in business.
If, theoretically, we cleaned up all of our bookstores, would it help straight people to think of us as good little gays and lesbians? I’m thinking not. There’s too much riding against that image right now. Many of us want gay marriage. If not that, then we want equal rights (not special rights). Many of us don’t take the Bible literally and those who constantly throw out quotes from Leviticus really need to sit down and read it. Some of us want to serve in the military not so we’ll embrace a porn-crazed sex-addiction there, but because we believe in the cause. Yet if you’ve read the news lately, all it takes is an unidentified disgruntled individual to write a couple of e-mails to a superior officer to get someone who is gay thrown out, someone who was not violating the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
We have a backlash going right now the likes we hoped never to see since the country abolished slavery. What if the President of the United States had decided to add a constitutional amendment banning women from voting, of not allowing someone of African American heritage to marry someone white…the list could get longer. Ah, but some of you will cry foul! You’ll say the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. Okay, if you’re going to take it literally, then you’d better brush up on your lessons. Any child who curses his/her parent will be put to death. A man who lies in the bed of a woman experiencing her monthly period shall be put to death (so shall she). Want another? A man who has sex with an animal shall be put to death (wth???). So shall the animal. Leviticus. Still want to take things literally?
In the end, whatever image we want portrayed of who we are isn’t going to change just because a gay bookstore stops carrying something found objectionable by someone straight. It may even be found objectionable by someone gay, but the problem goes much deeper than that. Some might say it would be a start and they’d be right. Why don’t we begin with equal rights and go from there? That’s a start.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.