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

 

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.

i have that scarf

Two hundred and thirty nine people are lost, while hundreds more are mourning, waiting in the dark, huddling and sharing. Yet all I can think of is:

Photo by Reuters

Photo by Reuters

I have that scarf.

That woman is wearing the exact same scarf that I wore today, but she is grieving and angry while I was elated and snarky.

That woman is wearing the exact same scarf that I wore today, but she she is mourning and worrying while I was undulating and shimmying.

I have that scarf. I wore it today. Also on my head. The same color. The same shiny material. But under a different circumstance.

A very different circumstance.

stone

And you sit there on your throne, with your memorials, celebrating the murders, celebrating the murderers, celebrating those who were murdered, wanting, wishing, wondering if we’ll get the message, that war is indeed fathomable but your ego is too big, too strong, too self-aware, too single-minded to stop it or to listen to those who want, wish, wonder if you’ll ever stop, if you’ll ever listen to us.

And I sit here on my own throne, with my own memorials, a victim, a perpetrator, a critic, a skeptic, a bully, a girl, a boy, a queen, a king, a peasant, loving and loathing my memories, how I’ve created my own monuments, carved the names of my friends and families and most of all my enemies (whose names and deeds shall never be forgotten) and wanting, wishing, wondering if these memories are mine, if they are true, if they aren’t too clouded, too subjective, too dependent on my understanding of what life was.

And we sit here on our own thrones, with our own memorials, heroes in our heads, masters in our minds, safe inside, free from cold, free from heat, with things that were considered magic thousands, hundreds, dozens of years ago but here they are now, within our reach, our basic needs satiated but we still want more, wish more, wonder if we could stop wars, if we could stop famine, if we could stop disease, if we could stop speaking for others, if we could stop projecting, if we could do more than just being intrigued, tickled pink and red and blue with this desire for peace, as we type this on our hundred-or-thousand-dollar laptop in our bed in our apartment, as we click publish and move on to puppies and porn and recipes and recreation and crochet and cats and technology and the latest celebrity tweets.

***

For the Weekly Writing Challenge prompt (Threes). I decided to challenge myself further and write in three long sentences. I chose this series of photos.

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.