Mayor Pete Gets Read
Gay Insight Gets Shut Down
Gay New Republic critic, Dale Peck, shockingly shared his misgivings about Democrat presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, in his article, "My Mayor Pete Problem". Peck's candor set off a media and Twitter meltdown. Normally, a presidential candidate's critique wouldn't warrant such a reaction, but Peck's concerns came with a bitchy gay twist. Too bitchy and too gay for polite society. Peck's Op-Ed was published and taken down the same day, becoming yet another death by social media trial.
For starters, “My Mayor Pete Problem” didn't belong in a mainstream publication. It was better suited for The Advocate or Instinct Magazine. Straights don't care about gay infighting. They don't want to know the sordid details of our sex lives. For example Peck wrote, "I’m not saying I don’t want him to shave his chest or do Molly or try being the lucky Pierre (the timing’s trickier than it looks, but it can be fun when you work it out)."
Come on! This makes them ill. Gays fought for gay rights proclaiming, "Look, we can be just like you." Quotes from the article clearly demonstrate we're not "just like you". Peck's editorial was appropriate for a gay audience - one that will snicker at the shocking things he says. Not an audiences that will sneer and take to Twitter to demand the editor's resignation.
So, as David Peck says, let’s dish the dish, homos. Many gays can testify that he's experienced being read by another gay, most likely in a gay bar or online forum, where anonymity breeds super nastiness. Those who've witnessed such horror realize that it's crass and embarrassing. Peck wasn't among fellow bar patrons when he let loose on Buttigieg, throwing around terms like “top” and ”bottom.”
Peck's unnecessary candor cost him his article. It also cost gays an opportunity to rationally discuss Buttigieg amongst ourselves. And there’s much more to discuss than Peck’s conclusion that “Mary Pete and I are just not the same kind of gay".
There’s room in the gay world for both gays on the streets raging against the machine and for gays safe in the boardroom. There’s room in our community for more outgoing men as well as the more reserved ones. Along with every different kind in between.
Prominence and Notoriety
Background of Gay Culture
Whatever you think about modern gay culture, it‘s our heritage. We all benefit from Stonewall and gay marriage. It developed from gay men's alienation from mainstream culture prior to us being "loved" by the media and pop culture. It flourished around unique idiosyncrasies that exist among same-sex attracted men.
From twinks to bears, drag queens to chubs, you can credit gay culture for our diversity. Great inventions and creativity don't thrive when under the microscope of large groups of people. Our variety of tastes formed in private, outside the watchful eye of the general public. Throwing gay culture under the bus in favor of "public approval" demonstrates a lack of pride. A treachery which unfortunately is also part of the double-edged sword of gay culture.
“Gay men in particular are just not very nice to each other,” says John, the adventure tour guide. “In pop culture, drag queens are known for their takedowns and it’s all ha ha ha. But that meanness is almost pathological. All of us were deeply confused or lying to ourselves for a good chunk of our adolescence. But it’s not comfortable for us to show that to other people. So we show other people what the world shows us, which is nastiness.”
Throwing gay culture under the bus in favor of public approval could be a rejection of what gay men see as stress in their lives rather than an asset. The resulting consequence after years of intra-group abuse within the community.
“Gay and bisexual men talk about the gay community as a significant source of stress in their lives,” Pachankis says. The fundamental reason for this, he says, is that “in-group discrimination” does more harm to your psyche than getting rejected by members of the majority. It’s easy to ignore, roll your eyes and put a middle finger up to straight people who don’t like you because, whatever, you don’t need their approval anyway. Rejection from other gay people, though, feels like losing your only way of making friends and finding love. Being pushed away from your own people hurts more because you need them more.
-John Pachankis, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Chronic Disease Epidemiology Department, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division, Yale School of Public Health
What This Means For Gays
While throwing off the shackles within ones own minority group may seem liberating, it's not realistic in an overwhelmingly straight world. In my previous article, The Case Against Straight People in Gay Bars, I discussed the special challenges gay men face. "The average straight person cannot understand how difficult it is for gay men to meet each other outside of businesses dedicated to us."
At just 1.7 percent of the population, our numbers are small. Maintaining some sort of "separateness" from the general public is not only wise but necessary. We get lost in the fray. It shows foresight. It's a survival tactic when it all falls apart. Not saying that anything is going to fall apart (that's never happened before in history, right?), but if things were to go another direction as far as public sentiment toward gays, it's prudent to maintain a safety net.
Social media's reaction along with the publication's response of taking down the article demonstrates both the public's disdain for gay culture and the gay community's willingness to submit to larger society's will. No cries of homophobia or censorship in defense of Dale Peck from the gay blogosphere.
Instead, you find the same angry comments toward the author across much of gay social media tinged with specific contempt toward cultural elements that foment an environment where a gay man would dare to think he had this kind of insight into another gay man.
Gays who cheer this result, the taking down of the article, have no pride. They are the same gays cheering for the extinction of gay neighborhoods to assimilate us into larger society and culture. Cries of assimilation will turn out to be abject subjugation. Gay culture is a double-edged sword...nothing is all good nor bad. Its existence is our community's mark on history. Our contribution that both sets us apart now and through the ages.