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NYT Looks at the Young Gay Newlywed Game


The New York Times published a major Sunday magazine piece on the new crop of young, 20-something newlyweds that Massachusetts' marriage laws have spawned. Here's a bit of it:

Nytgaynewlyweds"Most of the couples insisted they shared those responsibilities in 'an egalitarian way.' While Joshua occasionally referred to himself as a 'gay housewife,' other young gay married men bristled at the notion that they would fashion their domestic lives around heterosexual stereotypes.

"'It never ceases to amaze me how many people will say to us, ‘So, who’s the woman, and who’s the man, in your marriage?’' says Jason Shumaker, who lives in a Boston suburb with his husband, Paul McLoughlin II, who is an assistant dean at Harvard. They met eight years ago when they were 25, and they legally married at 29 (registering to wed on the first day gay couples could do so in Massachusetts). 'I just think that’s the dumbest question ever,' he added. 'Yes, we’re married, but we’re also two guys, so neither one of us has to be ‘the woman.’' (And 'with no ovaries drying up,' as Paul put it, they don’t need to rush into having children. They plan to adopt in the next five years, once Paul finishes his Ph.D. in higher-education administration at Boston College.)

"During a break from opening the door to trick-or-treaters at their home last Halloween, Jason and Paul — who wore matching lizard outfits — told me about the T-shirts they’d donned at the end of their reception. The front of Paul’s shirt read, 'I Am the Husband,' while the back read, 'I Am the Wife.' (Jason’s shirt had the opposite emblazoned on each side.) 'It was fun to make a little bit of a social statement and poke fun at the idea that we would fit neatly into these heterosexual roles,' Jason said."

I think just about anyone who has been in a gay relationship has experienced the curiosity of straight friends as to 'who's the husband, who's the wife?' As for the 50's photos of domestic bliss, I've yet to come across anything that idyllic among any couples I know. But it's not a bad thing to dream.

Young Gay Rites [nyt]

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  1. The article wasn't half bad, but I have to say I'm sick to death of all the hooplah over gay marriage in the straight press and among the gay activist community.

    One of my favorite things about being gay is that I have access to a community of people who don't consider anonymous or fleeting sexual encounters to be "meaningless," and where there isn't pressure to someday define yourself according to a relationship. So many of my heterosexual (and some gay) friends (even the lefties) have grown to believe that marriage is a goal—something they need to fulfill some sort of life requirement—rather than a convenient legal arrangement between two people who may (or may not) love each other. Whatever happened to a healthy criticism of the institution of marriage?

    Posted by: David | Apr 28, 2008 10:03:38 PM

  2. "One of my favorite things about being gay is that I have access to a community of people who don't consider anonymous or fleeting sexual encounters to be "meaningless," and where there isn't pressure to someday define yourself according to a relationship."

    It's ashamed that that's your definition of being gay, because it definitely isn't mine. Don't defame those of us who value monogamous, lifelong relationships over hedonistic promiscuity. It's one thing for you to live a promiscuous lifestyle, but to assert that this is what it means to be gay is reckless and erroneous. It's what it means to be YOU.

    Posted by: Javier | Apr 28, 2008 11:57:00 PM

  3. I have tried and tried to avoid commenting on Towleroad, but this time I just flat out give up.

    The writer is focusing on a phenomenon occuring within the gay community: young men in their early twenties who have decided to partake in a rite that was previously (and legally) exclusive. The headline, despite its reference to young love, also references something else; the blooming of a new era in America's history.

    I admit, I passed on reading this story because I assumed it would be a campy celebration of juvenile lust. Even the 1950s-inspired photos didn't arouse any interest. But as I went through the article, I found myself not only smitten with the couples, but completely enveloped in their excitement and their joy along with their anxiousness of treading new ground, not having a model to follow or likely being the only gay men united in matrimony within a 50-mile radius.

    As some of the readers noted above, all of the couples who participated in the interview happened to be white. Is this a coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Is it the focus of the story? Unequivocally, no. When I read the headline, I assumed I would be reading a stuffy op-ed about gay young men capitalizing on their new marriage rights, why it's important, the end. What I read instead was a piece about people who were head-over-heels for each other and their wonderment about getting hitched. Oh, and they just happened to be gay men around my age.

    So many other people, including those on the fence about gay marriage, need to read this article. It's not about setting an agenda, conforming to equal opportunity standards or any other point a leftist pundit would blurt. It's a humanly raw look at young love, including its celebrations and failures. So many people need to see that gay men, no matter what their incomes, age, or skin color are, have every right to gush, whine, worry about and ultimately celebrate getting married. Even if you don't agree with it or like it, it's their right.

    Shame on those cynical ones who don't get it. You're the ones who are dragging the rest of us behind.

    Posted by: Keith | May 1, 2008 4:51:27 AM

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