Now who says country music can’t be sexy. Damn sexy. At least the appeal of how sexy country music can be now that fast up and comer Steve Grand is now that he is being proclaimed the first openly gay male country singer. Though the music genre has not been too specifically associated with much anti-gay sentiment it is however apparent in the southern influenced good ol boy aesthetic mindset that being gay is not something country music does so often it at all.
Hopefully that is about to change very soon as Grand is getting a lot of attention, and not just for his looks (which if we’re being honest ar more than enough). The smooth, sultry tunes combined with a modern, authentic storytelling is grabbing a lot of attention. His latest All American Boy is becoming an overnight heat with music lovers (and hard, highly toned, muscles bulging body enthusiasts) wanting more.
And if you are not into the music or the incredible body (I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to see more) then maybe you should listen to more of his backstory. Grand recently shared more about his past and the obstacles he faced after he went “ex-gay” reparative therapy that claims it can cure homosexuality (it doesn’t) after coming out to his family. Here’s more:
But Grand tells ABC’s Good Morning America even more painful was trying to accept himself and be accepted by his parents.
‘I felt like there was no way I would ever make them proud,’ he said, barely holding back tears. ‘I felt like I was a constant disappointment.’
That is why he agreed, as a teen, to go into therapy to see if he could be cured of his gayness.
‘I was so consumed by the voices I grew up hearing, like the voices of my parents telling me I need to change — and I was in straight therapy for five years,’ he tells The Backlot.com in an interview posted today.
He explains: ‘Essentially I was just seeing a therapist, a clinical psychologist. I don’t want to bash my therapist even though I’ve come to really believe that homosexuality is not a bad thing, or sinful, and not something that God wants you to rid yourself of, because I still have a lot of respect for him. He was a good man.’[…..]
‘Some of [this therapy] was actually helpful — I was able to talk to someone, he was so compassionate, and he really believed in me. We just ended up having a completely different perspective.’
Grand has a compelling story that some artists don’t reveal about themselves in the decades long span that we hear their music. It’s real and authentic and something we can all learn and gain perspective from. And we can see how incredibly attractive this man is. And best of all he’s just starting.
So that means we have more of this
And this to look forward to! Good luck Grand! We look forward to hearing (and seeing) more of you in the future.
So earlier today I was reading and decided to do a write up in something relating to LGBT in entertainment and came across Ricky Martin and his comments about Puerto Rico and their unwillingness to advance same sex marriage (more on that in a bit) but what really stumped me was how incredibly hot Ricky Martin has become. Granted, the man has always been attractive with those doe eyes and chiseled jaw. And when his first wave came about at the turn of the century La Vida Loca was being played constantly on radio. Incessantly on TV. And even annoyingly at prom.
But as time has gone on, we learned of the personal battles that surrounded the latin pop star because of his sexuality. And through that we saw him come to terms with it and finally believe in himself enough to come out which was remarkable to see him so happy with his family. He has also become an activist with recently discussing the issues surrounding same sex marriage in Puerto Rico. Here’s more:
Ricky Martin has something to say when it comes to gay rights in Puerto Rico.
“The same rights for each and every citizen of Puerto Rico, that’s what we are asking for, and that’s what we hope to achieve, the country of justice and peace we want. Puerto Rico has to join all the countries of the world that are at the forefront in human rights and equality,” said Martin in a press release published in his website.
But also the man has evolved from being very pretty to smokin HOT. And I seriously did not notice that this had happened until today. Maybe it’s because over the years news outlets used photos from his earlier career but when I stumbled on the more recent ones, my mouth watered and mind went to darker, sexy places. Where have I been to miss all this.
Gone are the 90s extremely tight leather pants to be replaced with smooth and subtle wear to accentuate all the right spots. The squeaky clean chiseled face is now lush with trimmed and maintained fur. The man is just…damn,
He’s added some bulk but not too much with decorative tribal tattoos that can make the average hipster look like a tool but not this man. He makes them look like they have meaning. He has this look of satisfaction that’s confidence not cockiness (even if it was cockiness, we’d let him get away with it because look at those doe eyes)
Is he asking us for a ride? Because I mean if he is then…
I don’t know how much more I can handle of this you guys. How much hotter can he possibly get?/
If you grew up in the 90s as I did, then there’s no way you could not have heard about the music group New Kids On The Block. And even to this day, mention of the band drives the most mild mannered of housewives to a state of nostalgia and questionable dance moves. As the group evolved and the band members grew up, they were able to have the room to be who they really are and this is especially true for bandmember Jonathan Knight who came out years later.
But it was not of his own will, unfortunately as others decided to voice their own opinions on his sexuality. First by his old girlfriend and teen icon Tiffany. Then by the infamous blogger Perez Hilton that is known for his trolling ways. Here’s more:
“Perez tried to out me many times and I hate that guy for doing that,” Knight noted. “I was already gay and living a gay lifestyle but he wanted me to talk about it. Why? My brother and the rest of the guys don’t go on interviews saying ‘I’m straight’ etc. so why do I need to just because I’m gay?”
He concluded, “People like him want me to talk about it to make themselves feel better. They think ‘I’m gay so I want to make sure everybody knows I’m not the only one out there.’ I hate that.”
“My belief is that you live your life by example, and not by a caption on a magazine! If there ever has been any confusion about my sexuality, then you are someone that doesn’t even know me!I love living my life being open and honest, but at this time I choose not to discuss my private life any further! My fellow band members don’t discuss their private lives with their loved ones and I don’t feel that just because I am gay, I should have to discuss mine!”
It does not matter whether Knight was living authentically as a gay man and just not speaking about it publicly or completely in the closet the journey of coming out should never be in the hands of anyone else. It’s disturbing and flat out wrong for Perez or anyone else have a hand in how someone else comes out because it isn’t anyone else’s business but yours. No one owes anyone to share that part of their lives if they are not ready to do so. All forms of the media should know that. It’s all about decency.
I do applaud Knight in embracing the media coverage that came of all this a few years ago and still doing so today. And hope those so called journalist bloggers like Perez learn some decency and stop trying to out people.
“What? You haven’t heard of the myth about bisexuality? The myth about it is that bisexuality doesn’t exist. It’s all for show. It’s so obvious that they’re lying to themselves. They get to have the best of both worlds with fewer consequences and they are completely greedy. So selfish. They’re doing it to buffer into being gay. Sort of like some gateway. They don’t know how to be monogamous. Or it’s just made up so that clever gay men not ready to face the truth yet and accept that they’re just as gay as the rest of them. That’s why I never date them. It doesn’t exist.”
This is what a normal conversation looks like that sums up how most men in the gay community feel about bisexuality. So often the only discussion is just a few sentences that deny that it has any legitimacy or accuracy. Either many don’t understand it or simply don’t want as a result of resentment and frustration Instead of the outward appearance of solidarity; bisexuality is one of the most openly condemned subgroups. It’s so easily discarded almost immediately upon mention without any further investigation and not worthy of any more discussion.
And at the end of these superficial conversations, they are always met with the declarative phrase like, “That’s why I don’t date them”. The statement is said with so much vigor and so finite that it seems as if they truly believe that bisexuals as some kind of leper of our community. So many believe that being bisexual is actually some type of detriment to their character. That their sexuality is an actual problem, not just who they are and is met with such disdain. There is always a reason to have such a strong stance something so I ask is there any validity to this stance? What leads so many gay men to view bisexuality in such a negative way to the point that they don’t even believe that it’s possible?
The topic is too often avoided or danced around and as a result, these myths about bisexuality appear and just accepted as truth. The myths are that bisexuality, and more particularly in bisexual men, are often believed to be confused about their sexuality. Or that bisexual men cannot be in a sustainable, monogamous relationship. More than likely, when the topic is brought up, it is either overstated that this man is gay and just hasn’t come to terms with it or is looking to cushion the blow of coming out. And the most common belief that bisexuality doesn’t exist.
Think about it, when Frank Ocean talked about his relationship with a man last year, most media, bloggers, and news outlets just referred to him as coming out gay. Despite the fact that Ocean has never declared himself as gay, most of the media wouldn’t even entertain the thought the more than likely that he is a bisexual man and completely okay with that. Even after he clarified later that he does not adhere to these labels and further suggested the fluidity of his sexuality, almost everyone just considers him gay. And it’s for reasons like this that I want to examine these aspects of how we categorize (or dismiss) bisexuality and the way they may be true and why some of them are not true at all.
So why do gay men seem to have the biggest problem with other men that declare themselves bisexual? I think there are several reasons for this stigma. First, a believed common trend up until a few years ago was to come out as bisexual to “ease” into the gay community. It’s believed that you were likely to still garner some praise from the straight community as you still had “normal” behaviors by being attracted to women. It meant that you are still a man and weren’t a complete lost cause and just needed to find the right woman. It’s perceived that going this route makes coming out as easier because at one point, these men enacted in acceptable behavior.
It’s true that some men that now identify as gay once categorized themselves as bisexual. I have several friends that have done so and for the very reason of it being easier and admitted later that they felt it would make it easier. But you can any of us really fault them for this? We come from a society that adamantly rejects any notion of a man embracing anything seen as “feminine”. So even bisexual men are criticized the same as those that identify as gay. So maybe this trend did have very apparent drawbacks. Maybe the result of some gay men coming out initially as bisexual, made it harder for some to believe that there are in fact legitimacy of bisexual men in our community.
But these men are still attracted to men whether they identify as gay or bisexual. Why are we so critical when someone decides to take an “easier route”? We all know the process of coming out and how it can be a constant unrelenting challenge both internally and from society. Why wouldn’t we want to further complicate someone’s life by adding to the challenges? That’s what happens when bisexual men are judged in this manner and makes coming out even more challenging by adding stress to this process. All of this scrutiny leaves a harder road for the bisexual man. Because instead of feeling welcomed in a community that should openly support him he feels like he has to choose to be gay or just a straight man that occasionally experimented with guys.
However the same is not true for bisexual women. Actually the truth is that bisexual women are praised for being adventurous and sexy. In both the straight and gay community. Taking on the aspects that are both masculine and feminine, like a tomboy, are heavily sought after. Many things that he may have perfectly blended together are now about him attempting to project an image that is most accepted. Even gay men praise and hold in high esteem women that are able to blend masculinity and femininity in their sexuality. But the truth is that the only reason that is accepted with bisexual women is because women are viewed by our misogynistic society as sexual fetishes.
So there is somewhat of a double standard at play here. It’s okay for a woman in our society to be bisexual because so often masculinity, in any form, is romanticized and depicted as the accepted standard. It’s okay for both men and women to be attracted to masculine qualities. But as always any feminine attribute or anything associated with the feminine gender (like being attracted to men by other men) is disputed and rejected. Men are not allowed to be attracted to what women are attracted to or exhibit feminine qualities.
On some level, when we meet bisexuality in men with such trepidation we are advancing those oppressive beliefs. As a result we erroneously carry those societal norms into our community and project them onto bisexual men. We are carrying those same notions that feminine is bad and masculine is good. Horrible thought that the behaviors and attitudes towards bisexuality drive people to make the same hasty decisions like picking a side. They should be able to express their sexuality openly as we do without the criticism that we faced when we came out as gay. They feel misunderstood and unwelcome, and it’s contradictory when they are condemned by gay men.
What all this information should address to those naysayers is for you to reflect and remember that when you came out, you more than likely had a plethora of straight men promoting this religious propaganda by telling you that this was some phase you were somehow talked into by some delinquents. We also need to remember that sexuality at its foundation has always been a fluid concept. Why? Because we are all different with varying degrees of sexual attraction, expression, and behavior.
We have all learned, sexuality may be fluid and changing. Whether it is small incremental changes to huge monumental moments we change and grow. And while I’m not saying that the category in which your sexuality is placed changes or that everyone is bisexual, the way you categorize or label your sexuality can change. So we need to be sure that we don’t criticize these men and support them, regardless of how they identify their sexuality.
What makes this talk about bisexuality relevant is that the myths are believed without question or any further examination. It’s ignorance and even more so ironic that these beliefs are held by gay men more than anyone else. These negative reactions are a consequence of conditioning from society and we need to be cognizant to not exhibit the same oppressive mannerisms.
We don’t talk enough about the things that we do to each other within our community and how some of our behaviors ask members of this community to conform to our beliefs. We cannot advocate such archaic heteronormative behaviors as we see enough of that from places like Grindr that have profiles asking for “straight only” “no femmes” “masc only”. They are on the same makeup of the negative gay stereotypes that we campaign against. So let’s not criticize what someone defines their sexuality as, especially when they belong to our community.
You may remember the media blitz created by the so-called up and coming rapper Azealia Banks and her unnecessary twitter war last month with equally controversial blogger Perez Hilton last month. Banks very blatantly used homophobic anti-gay slurs after the two had a disagreement. The LGBT community took the self proclaimed “Rapunxel” of rap to task for her verbal diarrhea and her refusal to make a legitimate apology. You would think that run in would have taught her a lesson but apparently it didn’t.
Fresh off a new remix of the song “Harlem Shake” Banks was taken back when the originator of the song known as Baauer was not too keen on Banks reinterpreting his original song he suggests was created in 2001. Banks did not appreciate this return and began to angrily ask Baauer why he didn’t want her to use the song as a remix. He simply stated because it was not her song. This enraged Banks and the conversation disintergrated when questioned by Baauer’s supporters leading Banks to tweet more anti-gay slurs:
This of course caused members of the LGBT community to react but again, Banks seemed unphased by the tension she had once again created. Then Perez Hilton chimed into the debate, and then Banks turned back to her misogynistic, homophobic, and extremely immature rage:
At the time of this report Banks showed no signs of quitting this barrage of homophobic insults. Clearly her management fails to see how her using such language is alienating a fanbase that up until last month supported and embraced her. What bothers me most is that through all this, her message continually implies that femininity is weak and that gay is weak and an insult. I just like any other gay men love other men and trust, I don’t ever hear the term weak come up when we get down.
I’m so damn tired of this mindset that gay equals weak and from wherever she learned this flawed ideology she apparently continues making the same flawed statement. She can claim that because she is a bisexual woman that it gives her a pass but it doesn’t. It’s just as damning to those that are afraid of coming out that feel they don’t have a voice seeing a trait of femininity in gay culture be reduced to less than the majority. I don’t care what her experiences are anymore at this point. To say the least, it implies that we can use words that are meant to shame and degrade us and use against each other.
I’m no fan of Perez, because he has done some pretty shitty things to other members of this community too. But two wrongs don’t make a right. And at this point, fully support a complete boycott of all her music, works, projects, perfumes, or whatever the hell else she’s trying to promote. I won’t support hate in any form. Period.
And can I just say how frustrated I am seeing some of her supporters, more notably gay men, actually condoning this behavior on twitter right now? This is not about Perez, this is about her ass backwards way of thinking. This internalized homophobia laced with misogynistic, anti-woman ideology is disturbing and witnessing the very people she is insulting blindly justify her actions tonight really need to reevaluate their priorities. Her claiming that she’s being targeted as a woman is invalidated especially when she repeatedly puts femininity and women down in the same breath.
Do you think there is a timetable on when a person should come out of the closet? Everyone has an opinion on it, no doubt the result of their own experiences and outlook. And Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears feels that, at least for celebrities, have a responsibility to come out:
I think gay celebrities at least have a responsibility to come out. It can be tricky though. My very good pal, Anderson Cooper, finally came out this year, and though it was hard for him as a journalist, I was so proud that he finally did it.
During the interview, Jake also talked what he felt important when coming out:
It’s never going to be easy. No matter how open your parents, relatives and friends are, it can still be shocking and upsetting for them. It’s important to avoid acting negatively though; allow your loved ones to say and feel what they need to. It may take them some time, but eventually they’ll come around. There are those in our lives however that might be completely shut down because of personal or religious beliefs. It would be dishonest to say there’s always a happy ending with those you love but I’ll return the system thing- it’s so important to have
I can respect Jake’s story and perspective but I still don’t believe anyone should ever give a time table on when to come out. It is a uniquely powerful, life changing experience that you have to make on your own. There are so many layers of interpersonal, social, societal, and emotional that are faced when coming out. But the rewards are priceless. You should check the rest of Jake’s interview here.
With what at first started as a trivial pointless verbal exchange on twitter between rapper Azealia Banks and infamous blogger Perez Hilton escalated into an ugly homophobic rant on twitter. It all started when Perez began to question Banks comments about her feud with another female rap artist Angel Haze. Banks did not handle the interference well and started making suggestive comments about Perez being gay, referring to her an
See at first the comments were elusive and the tone was to vague to discern if Banks was making a comment about his sexuality or promiscuity but the meaning of tweets like these became clear as the conflict deteriorated:
Even worse is when Banks tried to cover for what she said in the most misogynistic way, first by saying that if it’s okay for her to use racial slurs in her song lyrics that we should be okay with her using homophobic slurs (what poor, horrible logic). Then she tries to redefine the ani-gay speech and what it should mean? Yeah it doesn’t make sense:
Finally, after having twitter and her gay fans in an uproar, Banks tries to issue an apology but the damage has been done:
Here’s my thing, I know Perez has done (and most likely will continue to do) horrible, vile things. I am not excusing his past behavior in any way because he hasn’t tried to make amends to the community that he belongs to and that he has knowingly hurt and insulted. But as our parents and loved ones have always taught us is that two wrongs don’t make a right. Her being bisexual does not excuse or give her a free pass to say anything else she wants. And I don’t care that Perez instigated it, that still does not excuse her behavior.
The tone was disgusting in Azealia’a rant and using Perez’s sexuality as a weakness was wrong, misogynistic and seemed like self hated. It had the tone of anything relating to a woman or effeminate gay man is weak and that really pissed me off. What further enraged me was the fallout on twitter and seeing some of her fans, gay men, defending what she said. And some of those gay men that were calling out Azealia’s homophobia were using racial slurs to retaliate against her and the fans that supported her. Some of them even saying ignorant comments like “I’m gay so I can’t be racist” were baffling. I was and still am disgusted by this entire thing. Hate is hate. Using any of these slurs is wrong, no matter what the context of it is. There is no re-appropriation as they will always represent times of oppression and anger.
A couple of months ago, wild and out newcomer to the rap genre Azealia Banks sat down to give a candid interview about how her music developed this unique style and how her vivacious personality has began to garner a strong gay fanbase. In her short career, Banks has already made a name for herself for her very blunt and very carefree approach not only to her music but all aspects of her life. This includes being completely open about her sexuality.
When asked initially if her gay fans influenced her in any way, Banks had this to say:
“Definitely. I mean, I’m bisexual, so it makes sense. But I don’t want to be that girl who says all gays necessarily hang out together, of course! I have people say to me, “Oh wow, my friend is gay, too,” and I’m like, “Yeah, so?”
When asked about what music or cultural markers influenced her, Banks references to the 90s in which her EP released earlier this year 1991 is titled features aspects of the time like Vogue-ing and describes the interesting name given to strong gay men:
“Well, I’m from Harlem. I went to art school; I grew up with the cunts. And that term doesn’t come from me! People think I invented it, but I didn’t. To be cunty is to be feminine and to be, like, aware of yourself. Nobody’s fucking with that inner strength and delicateness. The cunts, the gay men, adore that. My friends would say, “Oh you need to cunt it up! You’re being too banjee.” Banjee means unrefined and rough. You need your cunts: they fix your hair for you and do your makeup. They give you confidence and give you life.”
As we’ve asked before, is this adequate evidence of progress having artists at the helm? Unfortunately we still have to ask that question now in 2012. As some call her the leader of “queer rap” for her ability to coalesce both a male and female audience without having to sacrifice her integrity is a marked improvement.
But from the growing feedback, fans, and radioplay of her singles, it seems like Banks may have that charisma to further breakdown walls and pave the way for even more LGBT diversity in the rap/HipHop genre.
You can hear more of what Banks has to say artistically when her highly anticipated album, Broke With Expensive Taste, debuts in February 2013.
To me, music has always been a vehicle for innovation and inspiration. I hum mercilessly, sing in the shower and have no problem belting out a note or tune to whatever melodic music is playing over the intercom in the grocery store. From the soft saccharine voice of Brandy to the fusion rock edge to Mutemath, Incubus, and Foo Fighters. I get all emo and introspective when I listen to Anberlin or Frank Ocean and I listen to Mozart and Debussy every night as I watch the sun set and the beautiful moon rises to greet the dazzling starry embers strewn across the heavens.
Music is such an integral part of my life. And genres don’t mean anything, ANYTHING, in regards to my “tastes” in music, but I know that unfortuantely some genres do illicit certain stigmas and negative reputations. R&B/HipHop is no exception.
For decades the genre has been heavily associated with being homophobic as anti-gay slurs are used as a degredation of one’s character in rap music. But has there been a shift in this paradigm? Havre some of the artists in the genre that heabily use homophobic rhetoric finally began to evolve their views on homosexuality?
Recently rap icon Snoop Dog gave his insight to this change within the genre as well as Frank Ocean’s publicly coming out as bisexual as well as the potential for more LGBT rappers:
“People are learning how to live and get along more, and accept people for who they are and not bash them or hurt them because they’re different–When I was growing up, you could never do that and announce that. There would be so much scrutiny and hate and negativity, and no one would step (forward) to support you because that’s what we were brainwashed and trained to know—There might be some openly gay rappers in hip-hop that’s having success – for real. You never know. There might be some(one) right now that hasn’t pulled a Frank Ocean yet, that hasn’t jumped out of the closet to the living room to make that announcement.”
Yeasayer frontman Chris Keating recently discussed in RollingStone “I think he [Ocean] is a good new face for the R&B world right now, to kind of usher out – no pun intended – some of these folks–Let’s gay it up a little [in R&B]. Though it isn’t too clear in what Chris’s definition of “gaying” something else but his rhetoric during the interview overall suggests diversity.
So has the genre become more accepting of LGBT rappers and musicians by showing support of Ocean? Artists like JayZ have spoken out in agreement of President Obama’s support and evolution in supporting gay rights but some like Nicki Minaj say it would be difficult to see openly gay rappers because of the male dominated mindset in the genre. Maybe. There’s still a ways to go but it is a step in the right direction.
Singer for the Rock Group Judas Priest recently spoke out about the public controversy of Chick Fil A seeing the debate as a freedom ideas (NO). Halford starts off by saying“Before I get into this, I just want to say that I love America. I love the American Constitution and the First Amendment,” And all citizens should be treated fairly and equally, right Rob? But he doesn’t stop there.
Further, Rob feels that if you look at the basis of the debate and “if you really get into the heart and soul of this great country, it’s all about the constitution and the First Amendment and freedom of speech.” But this isn’t just about free speech Rob.
Halford, who is openly gay, feels that despite our opinion for wanting equal rights, protection, and safety that “the people at Chick-fil-A have the absolute right to say and do what they want. It doesn’t matter that all of these people disagree with their opinion.” The fact that you as a gay man thinks this is just about free speech is ridiculous Rob.
Rob thinks the controversy and strong opinions on both sides as “it’s great. That’s our right here. What you’re seeing here are the elements of the American Constitution in all of their glory. It’s a wonderful thing to see happening and talk about and the fact that everyone is discussing the gay rights issue is great.”
Okay Rob, you say it’s about the Freedom of Speech and The Constitution so how how about LGBTQ men and women should be treated equally, which we aren’t. So now do you see that marriage equality is not the ONLY reason why we are against them. And while they have every right to say whatever they feel we sure as hell have every right to disagree with their “beliefs”.
Also, a brief mention to the writer of the article who believes the company doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation. This is also untrue, as Chick-Fil-A has been sued over a dozen times for discrimination.
Rob…here’s a question for you: did you read anything about the issue or just brush through it? I don’t understand how as a gay man Rob you can completely miss the entire poiint of this argument. As a free loving flip flop wearing hippie I understand wanting to be respectful but it is so much more then that.
I am so irritated musicians, actors, celebrities, and anyone else that continually gets this wrong after all of this coverage. This is NOT just about marriage equality. Rob and anyone who hasn’t yet, please read up on what Chick-Fil-A really stands for. They support hate groups that aim to setback the LGBTQ community while treating us like second class citizens or worse. Basically, know ALL points to an argument before giving such a laid back and misguided opinion.