Erotica Readers & Writers Association
Home | Erotic Books | Authors Resources | Inside The Erotic Mind | Erotica Gallery
Adult Movies | Sex Toys | Erotic Music | Email Discussion List | Links




'10 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
Plotting and Planning
Character Profiles
Discovery Draft
Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
Sex With Pilgrims


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Music of Words
The Balancing Act
Your Fictional World
Backstory & Foreshadowing


The Fine Art of Submission
by Shanna Germain
Nailing the Query Letter
Banish the Boring Bio
Becoming a Market Master
Become a Market Master, 2
Backstory & Foreshadowing
Enticing An Editor, Part 1
Enticing An Editor, Part 2
Contracts, Money & More


Serious about Smut
by Vincent Diamond
No More Horsing Around
Short Stuff
Selling Short Stories
Editors' Pet Peeves
Settings: Beyond Time & Place
Beating Up Your Scenes
Selling Your Books in Person
Staying in the Saddle


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Broken Rainbows
Talk the Talk
Equations
10 Commandments for Writing
Plotting to Avoid
Cover Story
Rewriting




'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
Renaming Body Parts
Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction


Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
C. Sanchez-Garcia
Emerald
Kathleen Bradean
Lucy Felthouse
Neve Black
PS Haven
Tracey Shellito
Tresart L. Sioux


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
Bait
The View from Gallows Hill


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

All Worked Up About The Closet

by J.T. Benjamin

 

J.T. Benjamin

I’m glad I’m not gay.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being gay. I’ve been advocating for gay rights and marriage equality both in my personal life and ever since I started this column back when we were chiseling our email messages onto stone tablets.

It’s not as if there haven’t been suspicions, either. More than one of my critics have accused me of being secretly gay, since I’m so obviously a “gay lover” by my writings. I suppose that should be a compliment to my persuasive skills. For that matter, I was called “faggot” a lot when I was a kid, because I was smaller and not as athletic as the other kids, and naturally that’s a tell-tale sign of latent homosexuality. Seriously. Focus On The Family’s website offers a test to allow worried parents to determine whether their children might be gay. Signs include whether a boy is more prone to be bullied than to be a bully, whether a boy is more likely to read books than be athletic, and whether a boy is quiet and studious. I once took that test and I must say I passed (or failed, as it may be), it with flying colors. One might even say it was a “rainbow” of colors, as it were.

The only thing that keeps me from completely embracing my homosexuality is the fact that I only want to have sex with women. Notwithstanding the opinions of James Dobson and several assorted punk bullies at Park Street Elementary School, I have to say that I’m reasonably certain I’m not gay, and I’m happy about that fact for two reasons.

First is the obvious fact that I love women. I mean, I LOVE everything about women. Eyes, hair, bodies, voices, skin, breasts, butts, vaginas, all of it.

Second, and more seriously, I think I’d have a hard time living with a very critical element of being homosexual, namely “The Closet.”

“The Closet” is, of course, a metaphor for the choice homosexuals have to make about their sexual identities. They can either be “out” of the closet and openly gay to their friends, families and the world in general and therefore risk ostracism, bigotry and homophobic violence from self-righteous assholes who can’t mind their own business, or they can be “in” the closet, deny their homosexuality, be safe from persecution by those bigots, and basically live a lie.

If I were gay, I don’t relish the prospect of having to make that choice. In or out? Paint a big red-and-blue gay-bashing target on my back or deny something fundamental about myself and my sexuality? I’m glad that, as a straight person, I don’t have to make that tough call. My life is complicated enough as it is; I don’t need one more thing like that to worry about.

Of course, gays and bisexuals are not so lucky. Sexual preference might be only one element of their lives, but that one element completely identifies them to the exclusion of everything else, if they choose to be “out” about their sexuality. Take, for example, a gutsy young lady named Constance McMillen, an 18-year old high school student from Fulton, Mississippi. Ms. McMillen, who is openly gay, asked permission from school authorities to dress in a tuxedo and take her girlfriend to her senior prom. School authorities had a collective shit-fit at the prospect of a girl-girl couple having the same sort of fun as boy-girl couples might have, and cancelled the prom in response. As of this writing, Ms. McMillen has sicced the dogs of the ACLU on her school district, and she’s gained national attention for her cause. Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Ms McMillen has a loving father who supports her, ample scholarship opportunities, and a 3.86 grade point average. For the rest of her life, Ms. McMillen will be tagged as “the gay Mississippi teen who wanted to go to prom with her girlfriend.”

It could be worse. At the other end of the spectrum, consider the case of California State Senator Roy Ashburn, a Republican from Bakersfield. State Senator Ashburn’s career is noted for some virulently anti-homosexual legislative positions, including opposition to a day commemorating the life of openly gay slain San Francisco Assemblyman Harvey Milk.

So, a funny thing happened to Senator Ashburn last month. He was pulled over late one night for Driving Under The Influence. While leaving a gay bar. With another man in the passenger seat. In the face of overwhelming evidence, this married father of four said, a few days later, “I’m gay. Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long.” State Senator Ashburn then joined the ever-growing Fraternity Of Gay Politicians Who Live In The Closet But Get Busted Doing Something Stupid Instead Of Just Admitting Who They Are. Said fraternity’s other members include Senator Larry “Wide Stance” Craig of Idaho, former Florida Congressman Mark “Love Those Interns” Foley, and former New Jersey Governor Jim “Being Gay Is The Least Of My Problems Because I’m From New Jersey” McGreevy.

There seems to be a closet (pardon the pun) industry centering around politicians who take anti-gay positions on virtually everything, but who nevertheless turn out to be homosexuals. I highly recommend the documentary “Outrage,” written and directed by Kirby Dick. In Mr. Dick’s own words, “This film is about politicians who live in the closet, those who have escaped it, and the people who work to end its tyranny.” The film documents the work of journalists like Michael Rogers, founder of BlogActive, Bob Norman of the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, and Michelangelo Signorile of the Sirius/XM radio show “OutQ” among others, who have made careers out of tracking down rumors, interviewing witnesses, and outing closeted gay politicians, particularly those who have made careers out of using homophobia to sabotage gay rights.

Some of the politicians and movers and shakers featured in the documentary include the aforementioned Sen. Craig (who still denies being gay), former Governor McGreevy, (who admits it), and other politicians including former Congressman Ed Schrock, (R-VA), Congressman Jim McCrery (R-LA), Congressman David Dreier, (R-CA), Ken Mehlman, Manager of the Bush/Cheney 2004 re-election campaign, and Governor Charlie Crist (R-FL) who’s currently in the battle of his political life in a race for the U.S. Senate. All of the aforementioned politicians deny being gay, some of whom do so in light of compelling evidence otherwise, but all of them also are known for some virulently anti-gay rights political stances, including not only opposing gay marriage and adoptions, but funding for AIDS research and education and anti-discrimination statutes.

Many gay rights activists oppose these involuntary outings as invasions of privacy. However, many others endorse them. To quote Rodger McFarlane, former Executive Director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization, “That closet can kill other people, and it has…before AIDS, we were concerned with privacy. After AIDS, that was collusion with genocide. Being silent, being invisible, …particularly being an elected or appointed official whose responsibility it is to respond to this health crisis, and they didn’t because they were closeted gays…My personal experience of the good activist is it is all driven by rage—righteous indignation. People are suffering and dying because some self-promoting asshole is telling a lie.”

Upon reflection, I think I’d like to retract the first sentence of this month’s column. Rather than say, “I’m glad I’m not gay,” I think it’d be more appropriate to say, “I’m glad I’m not a closeted gay politician.” Life in or out of the closet would be one kettle of fish, but I think it’d be another to be in the closet while simultaneously taking political positions that harmed my own rights and those of people like me. That sort of personal anguish would, I can only guess, turn my stomach inside out.

Then, of course, there’s Karl Rove. You know the guy. The mastermind behind the political success of former President George W. Bush. The puppeteer who manipulated the worst elements of human nature, exploiting homophobia and bigotry to depths hitherto unseen in American politics. In Rove’s new memoir, “Courage and Consequence,” Rove addresses a persistent rumor of his family history, when his stepfather divorced his mother and moved to California. “Could Dad (Rove’s stepfather) have been gay?...To this day, I have no idea if my father was gay. And, frankly, I don’t care. He was my father, with whom I had a wonderful relationship and whom I loved deeply.”

As can be expected from anything coming out of Mr. Rove’s mouth, there’s his version of events, and then there’s the truth. According to James Moore, author of “The Architect,” another biography of Rove, “He (Karl) was obviously hurt by the divorce. It’s just absurd when he says, ‘I had no idea what the problems were with my parents and their marriage.’ He knew damned good and well what was going on. His father had decided to come out of the closet. In fact, according to Louis Rove’s best friend Joe Koons, Rove not only knew his father’s sexual orientation but also was comfortable with it and had accepted his father’s honesty.”

I must therefore retract my earlier retraction. It’d be one thing to be gay and live in the closet. It’d be another thing to be a gay politician and live in the closet while at the same time exploiting homophobic fears for the advancement of my own career while at the same time undergoing personal anguish about my own identity.

It’d be another thing completely to be gay, come out of the closet and cause my family personal anguish, and then to have one of my children accept my homosexuality and have a good relationship with me while at the same time exploiting homophobic bigotry to advance the agenda of one of the most virulently anti-gay political movements in Western Civilization.

I’m glad I’m not Karl Rove’s father.

J.T. Benjamin
April 2010

P.S. If you want to show your support for Constance McMillen, feel free to join the Facebook page, “Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend To Prom,” and sex columnist Dan Savage has graciously provided updates and contact information. I’m sure they’d love to hear what ERWA readers think of their position. Additionally, the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition and the ACLU LGBT Project, are working to ensure the safety of gay teenagers across the country. They’d be happy to accept monetary donations.


If you have comments or questions about this column, please drop by J.T. Benjamin's blog or send an email to J.T. Benjamin

Get All Worked Up with J.T. Benjamin in ERWA 2010 Archive.

______
"All Worked Up" © 2010 J.T. Benjamin. All rights reserved.

About the Author:† J.T.Benjamin says, "I'm a generalist. I write about what interests me, which is just about everything." His resume reflects the diversity of his interests. He's been a disk jockey, insurance salesman, private investigator, journalist, college professor, child advocate, political activist, truckdriver, thief,...doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief. He's currently trying to start a hippie commune in the Denver/Boulder area.
Email:† J.T. Benjamin



  E-mail this page


Search ERWA Website:

Copyright © 1996 and on, Erotica Readers Association, Inc.
All Rights Reserved World Wide. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or
medium without express written permission is prohibited.

'10 Book Reviews

Anthologies

Apocalypse Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Bare Souls
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

canít help the way that i feel
Review by Ashley Lister

Coming Together...C. Sanchez-Garcia
Review by Ashley Lister

Coming Together...M Christian
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Coming Together...Remittance Girl
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Erotic Brits
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Fairy Tale Lust
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Like a God's Kiss
Review by Kristina Wright

Like a Sacred Desire
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Like a Veil
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Making the Hook-Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Orgasmic
Review by Kristina Wright

Peep Show
Review by Kristina Wright

Please, Ma'am
Review by Ashley Lister

Spark My Moment
Review by Ashley Lister

Three In One Blow
Review by Shanna Germain

Unleashed
Review by Ashley Lister

Erotic Novels

Backstage Passes
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Dommemoir
Review by Ashley Lister

Fire in the Blood
Review by Jean Roberta

Freak Parade
Review by Jean Roberta

I Came Up Stairs
Review by Jean Roberta

Marianne! A Journey...
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Marketplace
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Memorial Garden
Review by Lisabet Sarai

On Demand
Review by Ashley Lister

Once Bitten
Review by Shanna Germain

Rock My Socks Off
Review by Ashley Lister

The Tower and the Tears
Review by Lynne Connolly

Sensual Romance

Coin Operated
Review by Lynne Connolly

Control
Review by Lynne Connolly

I Spy a Wicked Sin
Review by Harriet Klausner

Libertine's Kiss
Review by Lynne Connolly

The Master & the Muses
Review by Lynne Connolly

Naked
Review by Lynne Connolly

Rampant
Review by Lynne Connolly

Sinful
Review by Lynne Connolly

Tangled Web (MM Romance)
Review by Vincent Diamond

Tucker's Sin
Review by Lynne Connolly

Victor
Review by Harriet Klausner

Gay Erotica

Best Gay Erotica '10
Review by Vincent Diamond

Best Gay Romance 2010
Review by Vincent Diamond

Biker Boys
Review by Jay Lygon

Necessary Madness
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Personal Demons
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Royal Treatment
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Silver Foxes
Review by Vincent Diamond

Sodomy!
Review by Jay Lygon

Special Forces
Review by Vincent Diamond

A Sticky End
Review by Jean Roberta

Wired Hard 4
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Roamnce 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

Fast Girls
Review by Ashley Lister

Girl Crush
Review by Jean Roberta

Sometimes She Lets Me
Review by Jean Roberta

Non-Fiction

Best Sex Writing 2010
Review by Ashley Lister

A Brief History of Nakedness
Review by Rob Hardy

Condom Nation
Review by Rob Hardy

Dictionary of Semenyms
Review by Donna G Storey

Doctor of Love
Review by Rob Hardy

Floridaís Purge of Gay & Lesbian...
Review by Rob Hardy

John Holmes
Review by Rob Hardy

How Sex Works
Review by Rob Hardy

The Orgasm Answer Guide
Review by Rob Hardy

Screening Sex
Review by Rob Hardy

Sex at Dawn
Review by Rob Hardy

Whip Smart
Review by Rob Hardy