WELL, IT WAS THAT KIND OF BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER!
I have to confess that when I sat down to write last week’s BGWE! column, it was a little hard to focus on the "BEST" part of the equation. What with all of the news about gay teen suicides along with the usual doses of homophobia and asshattery, it was hard to be in a good mood. But I managed to avoid being unduly negative and focused on the good stuff.
But at least it seemed like there were some actual positive changes coming out of the terrible tragedies of Tyler Clementi and the other gay teens we’ve lost recently. Unfortunately, we then we learned about the horrific beating and torture of three gay men in New York. And that was followed by this horrible video (actually filmed four years ago) of the New York Yankee fans known as the Bleacher Creatures performing a homophobic version of "Y.M.C.A." as a way to taunt fans of opposing teams.
You know how sometimes it’s the small thing that finally gets to you? Like your partner nags you to use a coaster for the 1000th time, and you finally snap and throw his bowling trophy through the big screen TV. We’ve all been there right? No? Just me? Um, well….
Well, this video was the “coaster”-nag that finally got to me and made me want to throw something. While that video isn’t on the level of the deaths of any of the teens who have committed suicide in recent weeks, somehow it was this that really rocked me.
Perhaps it got to me because it is such a naked display of the homophobic bullying that GLBT teens (and many adults) face even today. And it’s been going on for years at stadiums across the U.S. and witnessed by thousands who said nothing or, worse, laughed along.
BTW, I can’t imagine where schoolkids might learn "gay" is something bad and to be made fun of.
Honestly, it just staggers me that people can be this hateful and this awful. Even worse, it made me feel hateful.
So feeling this way, how was I supposed to write a column called the BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER? Believe it or not, it was actually one of the Bleacher Creatures who helped turn the week around.
After I found videos of Yankee fans less than a month ago still singing homophobic chants on BleacherCreatureTV.com (after a Yankee spokesman assured me the issue had been dealt with), I emailed the webmaster of BleacherCreatureTV to ask him why he thought videos like this were somehow all in good fun and appropriate. I asked if he’d post videos making fun of disabled people, African-Americans or Jewish people?
Given the hateful comments already posted on his site by readers, I expected to get a response that was more of the same. Instead, he wrote me right back, said he agreed completely and was yanking the videos. He even added a link to my post on the front page of his site saying he agreed with me completely and no more homophobic chants would be posted.
And suddenly I felt a lot less hateful and a lot less depressed. And I thought about what else has happened the past two weeks.
While nothing could ever make the deaths of Clementi, Justin Aaberg, Asher Brown or any of the other teens less horrible, it has been heartening to see the issue not only being so widely reported in the traditional media, but having actual repercussions on the way heterosexuals behave.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Universal Studios suddenly announced they were going to pull the "gay" joke from the trailer of The Dilemma after Anderson Cooper criticized them for it while discussing the suicides. And today the Yankees announced they will not tolerate any sort of homophobic taunting and anyone engaged in it will be ejected from the stadium.
Then a reader sent me this video by Adam Sessler, editor of G4 who addresses online homophobic bullying in a vlog called "Don’t Be a Dick."
Having a straight guy speak out to the gaming community about this is fantastic.
Meanwhile, the issue of bullying and anti-gay slurs is being discussed on television and in classrooms and city councils all across the country. And gay and bi men of all sorts are sharing their stories and I can’t help but think that because of all of this movie studios and sports franchises and maybe even the average joe on the street is going to be a little less likely to engage in the sort of homophobic asshattery too many of us have had to endure for far too long.
And you know what? That does make this the BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER!
Next page! Cough, cough, cough!