I’ve just finished reading Extra Credit by Jeff Black, a gay novel published in 1985, set in a school near Chicago, where two gay teachers are bullied by their bosses, and one of the guys has a relationship with a self hating woman who feels their relationship is so exclusive she follows him to the local gay club, accuses him of having ignored her and slaps him across the face. The two guys also have sex with a 14 year old student at the school. A guy from the hero’s past turns up to accuse him of a lack of initiative; his life in Chicago by comparison is based on the world of escorts and night clubs.
Just recently that Conservative brainless Pat Robertson said that gays are out to recruit your children. In the novel, the 14 year old student makes all the moves on his teacher, reminding me of an older man in my local gay community. When I told him of the sexual abuse by a catholic priest in my town, his response was that he wished it had happened to him, as his teen years had been lonely ones without any sexual opportunity.
Germs Greer has once again made a media scandal of her ideas by pointing to Elton John and his partner; by getting married, his partner would be described as the “mother” of their children, thus emptying the concept of “motherhood” of any meaning.
It has not been the first time that Greer has aimed her verbal volleys at the LGBT community; when she was teaching at a UK university she critiqued a M to F transperson wanting to use the local women’s toilet. Her interpretation was that the patriarchy was trying to define a woman as a man with just some bits cut off.
I once watched a doco about the South Australian painter Jeffery Smart living in Tuscany. He and some other men and Germs Greer were living together in a house; Germs was cooking and serving. Suddenly she realised how thoroughly she had fallen back into the female stereotype and she left the group. I, frankly, have always been struck by how ineffectual that response was; as a character in the sitcom Friends says: “Arguments happen in adult relationships”. She could have stood her ground, demanded equal time, whatever it took.
Yesterday’s episode of the sitcom Friends is about the actor Joey trying to boost his image with a large leather bag prior to an audition. Both Chandler and Ross have a barrage of comments about his new-found femininity; historically, being gay has always been the yardstick of a man’s masculinity, how close someone has gone to to being feminine.
I would not like to assume a pessimistic position for both women and gay men, that having been raised through thousands of years of negative experience, although doubtless this is the case, we are doomed to repeat the negativity of history. Both women and gay men have raised amazing examples of people who defeated the stereotypes and anticipated a future of equality.