lambda literary reading

It was an absolute honor to be selected as one of the Fellowship recipients at this year’s Lambda Literary Foundations Writers Retreat. Here’s a piece about why we need gay clubs in Indonesia. 

 

gay men and body image

Matthew Dempsey, you talking about gay body image is just like people with no cancer telling people with cancer to deal with it and you know damn well why: because you’re not mainstream ugly and you can pretty much have and do anyone you want.

Let’s start with the list:

Thick hair: Check.
Good teeth: Check.
Good skin: Check.
Good body: Check. (Everyone can tell that you have sculpted arms under that shirt).

And believe me, when your mouth is open like that and you still look good, you don’t have the fucking right to say anything about body image.

Don’t you get it? You’re like the 1%.

I don’t know how ugly you think you are. Or how much of a struggle you have to go through every fucking day, every fucking time you take a look at your own reflection in the fucking mirror. Or how much you hate yourself for looking like you are, how much you want to kill yourself for looking like you are, how terrified you are of outside the world, how much you think everyone who looks at you funny judges you and laughs at you.

You don’t have the fucking right.

You are not one of us. You are not one of the ugly people. And now I know why people who never have to deal with cancer can’t say, “It’s going to be all right,” to people who have cancer.

Do you want to know what ugly is?

Ugly is that person with genetically bad, genetically yellow teeth, a huge scar along the leg, pockmarked skin, large pores, weird hairline, sucky nail bed, paunchy belly, bat ears, flat butt, eczema spots, and a small dick.

Ugly is that person who turns the lights off not only when he’s having sex with someone else, which is quite rare and often doesn’t end well, but also when he’s jerking off. Alone.

Ugly is that person who depends so much on the darkness and the sparse and playful lights of gay clubs that he curses when it’s last call and the lights go on. And of course, he’s still alone.

Ugly is that person who makes Jonah Hill look like James Dean.

So don’t tell me to suck it up. Don’t tell me to accept the fact that I’m ugly, because hearing that from guys like you make it even worse. I mean, come on. I’ll bet that you don’t ever want to fuck me, not even with a sack of cloth over my head.

Oh, that’s right. I’m not ugly. I’m just not your type. Or maybe we’re both bottoms. Regardless, my niche market is still smaller than my Asian dick.

Look. I don’t know why you’re doing this. Maybe it’s for the money. Maybe it’s good for business. For exposure. Or you’re fulfilling your HuffPo video quota. Whatever the reason is, find something else to talk about. I mean, if Gwyneth Paltrow can do it, so can you, because right now, you’re the bully who tells the smaller kids that they shouldn’t be afraid.

You’re the mean girl, Matthew, and I’m taking my business to Lizzie Velásquez, someone I can actually relate to.

mean-girls-movie-quotes-19

 

a little hello

I dreamed about you.

I don’t quite remember what it was. I just remembered you, in bed, in your grey brown shorts, in your olive green shirt, you wore a hat, a cap, the cap I knew so well.

You looked at me and your smile just said everything you’d wanted to say, everything you’d been trying to say, all those years, all those years.

I dreamed about you.

Months after months after months without even a little hello, a little acknowledgement of existence, but I know you’re still there, still alive, still surviving.

I don’t blame you. How can I. I was the one who left. I was the villain. The poison. The bitch. I took everything away from you. Everything everything everything.

Delete me. Eliminate me. Annihilate me. I don’t blame you. I won’t blame you.

You’re a better person than I am.

You’ll always be a better person than I will ever be.

The sun kissed my skin when I woke up and for a moment I wondered why I was so happy.

Canggu Beach, Bali

in my hands

We sift through a collection
Of photographs
A lifetime of emotions

I know some of those
In the photos
Different hairs, furs
Different glasses, claws
Smiles, eyes

I can never decipher what they’ve
Journeyed through
Desertion, death, divorce
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

Then there’s this one
You as a baby
Lines as eyes
Did the camera flash?
Were you just trying to
Protect yourself?

It’s placed inside a note
Announcing your arrival
Written in decorative
Embossed soft aqua
Hidden inside a yellowed
Bone-dry envelope

“Here,” you give them to me
The envelope
The note
The photo
And I realize

I’m holding a life
A beginning of a life
In my hands
In my hands

I’m holding a person
A beginning of a person
In my hands
In my hands

I’m holding an ocean of tears
But the clouds
Pregnant with fears and possibilities
Are upon me
Upon us

I’m holding a journey
A beginning of a journey
In my hands
In my hands

YLT_5778

another reading

This time of a short story that deals with jealousy, insecurity, and a big, fat, white zit while visiting – what else – West Hollywood. This is a modified version of this post.

Graduate Reading Series at St. Mary’s College of California. Introduction by Michael Caligaris (Creative Nonfiction Writing MFA candidate of 2014).

Ex-bashing included.

the pilot

If I could unburn that bridge. If I could undo it. If I could, I would, but there are forces stronger than both of us.

Or maybe I was just being lazy, maybe I was just being afraid.

Now with all this talk about airplanes, I wish I could reach out to you without worrying that I would hurt you. I wish I could ask you what your thoughts were – you were always so full of opinions, so opinionated, that was what I liked and ultimately hated about you.

I remember the Sunset Steps, the Chinatown, the Indian Restaurant in the Castro, the Castro Fair, the Castro Theater. I don’t think I can ever set foot in the Castro ever again without risking bumping into you, without worrying that I’ll hurt both of us.

I cannot say how sorry I am. All I can do is tell you that I am sorry and repeat those three words, all strung up together. They started from making sense to no longer having meaning.

Every goddamn piece of news. Every goddamn piece of editorial written by pilots. Every flight lingo. ACARS this and Transponders that.

Every time I see the L Line. Every time I pass by Embarcadero. Every time someone mentions The Castro.

I remember your house. Your house. Your house. That bedroom where we made love, that bathroom where I cleaned my face off my makeup, that kitchen where we both cooked for each other, that lonely dining room, those beautiful bird and flower pictures that your mother made.

That sofa where we cuddled and cried as we watched those stupid Thai commercials.

And remember that British sit com of that old gay couple? Remember when you asked me if we would be like that one day? Still bickering but still very much in love with each other? What did I say? What was my reply? Did I give you hope? Did I kiss you?

Do you still keep the peacock figurine that you gave me? You sneaky little sweetheart. You knew I was eyeing that peacock figurine in Chinatown. You sneaky little sweetheart.

I wonder where you are. I wonder if you’ve moved on.

***

Post somewhat inspired by this prompt.

genderfuck: go ahead, call him a whore

My last post about Genderfuck received so many hits (measly by Huffington Post’s standard, but encouragingly many by mine). It took me a while to find out who shared the link and why I kept getting visitors from Facebook. I wanted to know what the comments were because I was kind of bummed to notice that one commenter (as correct as she was) got hung up on my unclear sense of sarcasm. Anyway, I did some research and found out that my entry got plugged on TransAdvocate’s Facebook page. Yay!

However, I discovered two things about myself. The first one is something really new and shocking, the second one… eh, I’ve always been suspicious of it.

First, as delusional as I am, apparently I’m not ready to be a celebrity. I’m not ready to be in the spotlight, because I want to make sure everyone’s happy with what I do/write/say. I was so intent on finding out who shared my entry on Facebook and the moment I found it, I regretted reading the comments. Sure, I got many Likes, but still. Now I think I know how Miley Cyrus some celebrities feel when they just want to say, “Fuck it, I don’t need to make anyone happy.” Problem is, I’m not there yet. I’m not that powerful yet. But then again, nobody can make everyone happy, not Jesus, definitely not Muhammad, not even Gandhi (ask some of the Brits), heck, not even Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter.

Second, I can be really unclear when I’m trying to communicate. Public speaking is not my forte (I managed to fake my way through three and a half years of being a PR executive), but I’ve spent two years and going on three learning to write (and edit and revise). This is a blog, yes, but I still would like it to reflect my writing skills. (I guess it sort of does, meaning I’m a crappy writer.)

What I mean is, based on the comments on TransAdvocate’s Facebook page, I realized that some people misinterpreted I was being unclear about my intention of calling men whores, skanks, bitches, sluts. One person says it’s misogynistic.

Well, guess what? It’s misogynistic only if you think it is.

If you call a girl jerk or douchebag, will it have the same feel as bitch or skank or slut? Hell, no. Why? Because “jerk” and “douchebag” are supposedly bad words to describe men. So you “elevate” women to “men” status (by calling them a word for men) and then drop them a notch because the man-word is a bad man-word. 

When you call a man bitch or slut, you “downgrade” that man to “woman” status (by calling him a word associated with women) and then drop him even further down a notch because the woman-word is a bad woman-word.

The question is, why does a word have to be aimed at women only? Or at men only?

By calling a man bitch or skank or whore or slut or calling a woman jerk or douchebag, you aren’t practicing misogyny or misandry, you’re trying to gender-neutralize the word.

And yes, by all means, if you want to go around saying/typing “That’s so gay” to all great, funny, witty videos/photos/articles, go ahead. But “retarded” is where I draw the line. See, with “gay”, it’s the same case as a man-word or a woman-word. The negative connotation of the word “gay” is that it’s something disgusting or stupid and that can easily be countermeasured (Anderson Cooper is definitely not stupid, Zachary Quinto is definitely not disgusting, Ellen Degeneres is perhaps one of the smartest, wittiest people on Earth, so are the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race such as Pandora Boxx and Alaska Thunderfuck, and these people can fight back).

However, with “retarded”, the so-called “retards” can’t fight back. They can’t reclaim the word. It’s an unfair fight for them. I know I’m treading shark-infested water here, but it is what it is. Black people call each other “nigger”. I tell my friends, “You’re such a fag,” and use it as a term of endearment. Yet when a non-black person uses the N-word to call a black person, it becomes offensive.

My point is, don’t use “nigger” unless you’re a black man talking to another black man who’s your friend (or someone of another race that’s been accepted into the crowd, you know, like Eminem, or Jake Sully); don’t use “gay” unless you’re gay or a fag hag and talking to a gay man who’s also your friend; and don’t use “retarded” unless you’re intellectually disabled and talking to another intellectually disabled person.

Eminem being slutty. And you think Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears are “bad influence for younger generation”? Uh, their songs don’t bash gay people.

I’m going to end this entry with this really awesome line from Ian McEwan’s Cement Garden.

This line is used by an entertainer I used to like in a song whose video shows awesome Genderfucking.

genderfuck: why feminine gay men are awesome and why slut-shaming should stop

Oh haaaayyy.

Can you believe this? Two posts, two long posts, in one day. One day! Must be the New Year spirit. Let’s see how long this lasts. I posted thirty two entries in August 2013 (I think they are mostly haikus). August only has thirty one days, so that must mean I wrote two entries on one day.

Anyway, I’m here to talk about why feminine gay men are awesome (hence the title: the girlie show: why feminine gay men are awesome; I’ll get to the next point, which is slut shaming, right after this one, in fact, the two points are going to organically merge. You’ll find out later).

There are some douchebags out there who flat out refuse to meet gays that are “fat (or) Asian (or) feminine.” Well, I might as well be three of them now that I’m eating like crazy and can no longer wear size 4 girl clothes (I’m a six now. WHICH IS THE NEW FOURTEEN).

To be honest, those douchebags are sometimes really hot. I mean, my type hot. But then again, I’ve a very diverse taste in men. So, I whine like a little bitch, saying, “Whyyy? I’ll suck your cock good. I’m a good cock sucker. Reference available upon request.” And then move on to the next victim.

When I was sixteen, my gay friend (who was around my age at that time) said, “You know why you don’t have a boyfriend? Because you’re such a girl. I bet that if you act more masculine, you’ll have a boyfriend in no time.” We stopped being friends after that.

Then fourteen fucking years later (Oh fuck, I just sorta gave away my age), a guy sent me a message on Adam4Adam. Here’s a little disclaimer: I did write “Why is it so hard to find a nice top? Is it because normally tops are mostly doucheys and or intellectually challenged?”

To which he replied:

“Of course it’s hard for you to find a top. You’re girlish. You’re a dude. Stop acting like a girl.”

Before I could reply, he’d blocked my profile. Coward.

This may not be apparent in more developed countries like the US or Europe (excluding Turkey), but in Indonesia, feminine guys are easy to spot. We can’t hide. I mean, sure, there are some really oblivious relatives who asked me when I’d get married (to which I’d usually reply, “I don’t think it’s legal yet.” It’s a hit or miss joke). In Indonesia, “straight-acting” gay guys can lead a life of lies. Heck, even a guy who makes me look like Stallone (Sylvester, not Jackie) compared to him, can get married to a poor girl somewhere in the village and settle. Perhaps not happily, but without fear of getting discovered.

My point is, feminine gays are the ones who get bullied more often. Every beating we get, every spit, every nasty word makes us stronger. This is why I’m getting so angry every time someone equates the word “sissy” to “coward”.

I know perhaps Nicole Kidman’s Stepford Wives got Razzie nominations or something (it’s rated 27% on RottenTomatoes.com), but I love that movie. At one point, the men try to change Richard, sweet, sweet, bitchy, loud, effeminate, Richard to a manlier man. This change is supported by Richard’s partner, Jerry. Apparently, no one wants gay men to be stereotypically bitchy, loud, and effeminate. 

Well guess what, that’s because the bitchy, loud, and effeminate gay men are the ones who stand out. We’re the visible ones. While the “straight-looking” ones can hide, the feminine ones most of the times can’t.

While we’re on the subject of stereotyping, I guess now the gay stereotype is butch, straight-acting, and gym buff without the slightest lisp. I don’t think anyone is complaining, because that’s how men are supposed to behave.

Well, I ain’t gonna behave like that. I ain’t gonna hide.

I know why many men can’t stand us. I know many men can’t stand my high-pitched, trebly voice, my girlish demeanor, my bitchiness. This is why I’m doing all of those. This is why I’m walking around with my eyeliner and my limp wrists and my tight ass jeans and my knee-high girl boots and old-woman jewelry, shaking my hips to Vogue and Suddenly I See and lipsynching to Natural Woman at the bus stop.

So for 2014, if you haven’t already, try to do something that’s stereotypically not for your gender (I’m not saying sex, which is more of a biological term while gender is a state of mind). Call a guy a skank instead of a douchebag. Other terms you can use for guys include whore, bitch, slut. See how he likes it. Ladies, take a hint from Mean Girls and stop the slut shaming.

I know this is a stretch, and perhaps you guys can make out the connection between effeminate gay men and drag queens, but this is worth knowing. The Stonewall Riot, the very riot that helped propelled the campaign that made USA this gay friendly (although still two steps behind Canada and the Netherlands) involved drag queens. Also read this, this, and this. If you’re looking for a more “balanced” diet, you may want to read this

(Guys, seriously, I thought I didn’t have to tell you that I was being sarcastic about this whole balanced thing. Seriously, I’m not claiming I was there during the riot, but I’m sure drag queens were involved. Everyone knows how fierce drag queens are. I mean, really. A girly gay man like me not being supportive of drag queens? And really, I linked FOUR articles that support drag queens’ presence at Stonewall Riot and ONLY ONE that doesn’t. Doesn’t that mean anything? So before anyone gets all worked up, once again, the “balanced diet” thing is sarcasm).

And finally. Here. Here’s to 2014. Again.

Yeah, I totally made this one. Ferrealz.

Yeah, I totally made this one. Ferrealz.

ADDENDUM: My hit counter has gone bonkers over this post. I think it’s all over Facebook (well, “all over” is an overstatement), and yet only TWO comments (one of which is my reply)? I can’t see your “Like” (if you “Like” it) or your comment on your friend’s Facebook link, so by all means, please type your comment here. You can use your Facebook account to log in to WordPress and give comments on this blog post. I promise I won’t stalk you.

oh 2013 and the importance of having a clean ass

So, 2012 was full of possibilities, just as it was full of fear and apprehension. I remember trying so hard to live in the present. I’ve abandoned that notion a long time ago. I live for the future. If it gives me anxiety, so be it. Living in the present gives me even more anxiety.

I thought 2013 would be awesome. Nah. It started so shitty (which we’ll cover in a moment). It involved so much drama (break-up, etc). I declare that 2013 is The Year of:

  • Leaving Men
  • Loving Men
  • Leaving Oneself
  • Loving Oneself
  • Making Friends
  • Leaving Friends
  • Being Drunk
  • Being Skinny
  • Being Stupid
  • Being Slutty
  • Being a Sore Loser (I want to scream every time a copy of Glimmer Train shows up in my mailbox)
  • Discovering a New Hobby (have you seen my Flickr page?)
  • Frequent Bottoming

In accordance with saving the best for last rule, I’d like to talk to you about bottoming. Yes. I’m going in (HA!). I think I’ve earned the right to blog about this. I have more than ten thousand hits since I started this blog in July 2014. Granted, it’s not as many hits as I’d like, but then again, the subjects I write aren’t that popular. In fact, the post that really stands out is my review of The Conjuring (6,330 hits as of the time of this entry). I should point out that my other posts are also excellent (there’s nothing sadder than plugging one’s blog post on one’s blog. I mean, really) such as my How To Guide to Survive Parties for Socially Awkward People, and my essay about Relationships.

But I digress. Back (ha!) to the subject of bottoming.

Ah, the joy of prostate orgasm. Read this. I’m trying not to provide any links from Wikipedia because, well, it’s Wikipedia. So read this. There’s a tight (ha!) section in article about diets which we’ll discuss.

1350572616273_2691325

And I don’t douche – I’ll save that one for when I’m ninety. I was once asked by someone how it was possible that my ass was so clean and ready whenever he wanted to mount me. I told him it was because I’m Indonesian. After pooping, we clean the area with water, not just toilet paper. No, it’s not frivolous.

However, as much as we hate to admit it, we bottoms are not always pristine. We curse, we fart (we don’t do this in the presence of a top because it reduces our mystical qualities; we sometimes don’t do this in the presence of other bottoms because bitches will talk to our top and badmouth us it’s just impolite). I know I’m smelly (not down there, but how would I know, right?) after a good workout or when it’s hot and humid. We have mushy, chocolate mousse-y (or perhaps chocolate moushe-y?) days. Upon reading this WebMD article about fiber, I decided that fiber is all in all good for you. In and out. (Ha!)

Chocolate Mousse. Yum. Image borrowed (without permission but with acknowledgment) from Family Heritage Recipes.

So, here are some dietary items that don’t work for me (I’m vegetarian):

  1. Coffee (thank goodness I generally don’t drink coffee)
  2. Spicy food (which includes Indian, Mexican, and Szechuan, all of which are my favorites)
  3. Some types of cheese (I’m borderline lactose intolerant too, unfortunately)
  4. Anything that makes me gassy or bloated (beans, broccoli). This is probably the worst feeling. It’s like being constipated but knowing there’s nothing inside but gas.

If you like these things, then plan ahead. I get instantaneous reactions from consuming beans and broccoli. I think I’ve had several accidents involving coffee (let’s just say that during which times I wished humans excreted Nutella instead).

Ooh, it’s heart-shaped! Image borrowed (without permission but with acknowledgment) from HauteApplePie.

Finally, if you, as a bottom, think that you’re not ready to do it (for whatever reasons), just say so. It is pretty confusing because having something up the bum feels similar to pooping. Then you lose your hard-on because you’re obsessing whether or not it’s fudge and hoping by all things good and mighty that it’s not fudge. Some people are just so anal (ha!) about it.

And Tops, please respect our decision not to take it for the team and give us time if we really don’t feel like it? Thanks.

Well, there’s that. All the opening hoopla and just a teensy note on bottoming tips. I think it’s a pretty fair way to end 2013, don’t you?

Here’s for a cleaner, more pleasurable 2014.

***

Post probably totally somewhat inspired by The Daily Post’s Prompt.