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Watch: Stop Letting Stereotypes Rain on Your Parade

Wrestling_barbra

How one gay dude in a wrestling singlet overcame his bias and learned to love Barbra.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. @Phil

    Your second paragraph is kind of getting at my point, although I think you kind of contradicted your first paragraph with it. You see I think the whole "iconization" of straight women comes from the misguided notion that many gay men have that straight women are our friends and straight men are our enemies.

    You mentioned politics. Who have been the real champions of gay rights lately? Senators Lieberman and Levin and Representative Kennedy on DADT repeal--all straight men, Governors like Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown on gay marriage, both straight men, and even athletes like Charles Barkley and businessmen like Bill Gates

    And who have been among the most outspoken opponents of gay rights? Michelle Bachman, Sara Palin, the Concerned Women for America, etc.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying that straight men are our friends and straight women are our enemies.....I am just saying that the converse is not true, either, and it is precisely belief in that converse that drives the "iconization" phenomenon...

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 1, 2011 4:48:22 PM


  2. It's totally cool to not like certain types of music. I love punk rock and opera, and totally understand how some that like one do not like the other.

    What I don't understand is the statement that one has to choose One or The Other.

    You can like football and Barbra Streisand. But if one makes a statement that they don't like "any of the female 'Gay Icons'"...well, they're all actually different. it's not the same music, nor style. If what you dislike is their "Gay Icon Status"..well....

    ;-)

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 1, 2011 4:49:22 PM


  3. Just curious...where is this "list" of gay icons, who maintains it, and what are the criteria for being added?

    My icons list include Barbra, Cher, Judy, Liza, Patti, Debbie, Bernadette, Madonna, Gaga, Belinda and Cyndi.

    It also includes Gareth Thomas, Dave Kopay, Harvey Milk, and Gene Robinson, Michael Feinstein, and Cheyenne Jackson.

    Oh, and then there's Suze Orman, Ellen DiGeneres, and Tammy Baldwin.

    Not to leave out Barack, James Carville, Jim Lehrer, and Charlie Rose.

    Perhaps my list is more expansive than Rick's because I've lived long enough to relaize that opening one's mind and heart to diversity is enriching, emboldening, and rewarding.

    And this from an aging queen rapidly nearing my AARP eligibility!

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 1, 2011 4:51:25 PM


  4. Leontyne Price's AIDA for the win!!!

    Or Lena Horne. Or Dionne Warwick (that's what friends are for)

    there seems to be a resentment in some gay men that certain performers have gone out of their way to show support for our Community.

    It's not the fault of people like Barbra Streisand or the late great Dame Elizabeth Taylor that pro-sports figures didn't Come Out in support of the LGBT Community until recently....

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 1, 2011 4:52:26 PM



  5. "Name anyone who is not a heterosexual female that would be considered a 'gay icon'."

    Well, Rick, let's see...you got Greta Garbo, Josephine Baker, Bessie Smith, Marlene Dietrich, Ethel Waters, Tallulah Bankhead, Gladys Bentley, Joan Crawford, Billie Holiday, ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, Janis Joplin, Patti Labelle (well, there were rumors),Grace Jones, K.D. Lang and Madonna and...and ...shall I go on. These are all female icons who were bisexual or rumored to be Gay. Part of what makes some female celebrities become gay icons IS their sexual/gender role ambiguity.

    And why shouldn't we worship female icons. They are the center of human creation, dammit. They just spread open their ever-lovin' female legs and out comes an explosion of life! Men have worked to contain and dominate that female power of bringing life into the world for 50,000 years--even going as far as inventing some crazy religions based on a male God just to control women...ooops, please forgive me, Dear Lord.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Apr 1, 2011 4:53:11 PM


  6. @Little Kiwi; Yeah, man, all the icons are different--the one thing they have in common, though, is that they are straight women. In your earlier post, you mentioned a lot of famous gay men, and while some of those are icons in the larger culture, I don't think any of them could be considered icons the way certain straight female entertainers are--you know what I mean and so does everyone else here, don't you? Be honest now.

    Incidentally, I do love opera as well as football and attend the Met on a regular basis.......and I am equally likely to shout "Bravo" at a brilliant performance by a tenor as I am at a brilliant performance by a soprano. I daresay the same is not the case, however, with many, many gay men.....in fact, I know it is not the case....and there is a reason for that, isn't there?

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 1, 2011 4:55:28 PM


  7. Maybe it's a generational thing, Rick. Those men are very-much known to be gay icons to the younger queer generations.

    You don't seem to understand that. Maybe it's a generational thing.

    But if a gay man cannot understand why Barbra Streisand has become a gay icon...well.. then that man is either unaware of who she is, or is being intellectually dishonest.

    or, is a product of a very different time and place.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 1, 2011 5:00:59 PM


  8. "I daresay the same is not the case, however, with many, many gay men.....in fact, I know it is not the case....and there is a reason for that, isn't there?"

    you want to lead into a "gay men are scared of/hate men" thing, but it really sounds more like you being a misogynist....

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 1, 2011 5:02:14 PM


  9. It's funny how lesbians support and admire famous out lesbians and consider them their icons/heroine... but most gay men would rather choose straight female entertainers than a gay one.

    Posted by: Noname | Apr 1, 2011 5:08:46 PM


  10. @Rick:

    You didn't mention the underlying dynamics in your first post, but you did later, and you hit the nail on the head. I've personally seen more anti-gay intolerance in the business world coming from straight women than straight men, although it's fortunately a minority. I very often see straight men bullied into "going along" when companies try to prevent gay men from advancing. If some gay men prefer female musical artists, fine...so far, so good. But when they extrapolate that tendency to the larger world, then it's counter-productive.

    By the way, when I said that gay iconization of females is harmless in my first paragraph, I meant harmless, not ideal.

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 1, 2011 5:09:42 PM


  11. @Little Kiwi:

    Why don't you address my point instead of engaging in name-calling? I actually do think many gay men (not all, certainly) DO hate men and hate all things masculine.....at the same time that they worship at the throne of masculinity and are sexually titillated by the very men they hate....and that all that does, yes, play into the irrational iconization of straight women by some gay men and a tendency to turn a blind eye to the homophobia that some straight women perpetrate (while at the same time turning a blind eye to the heroism of some straight men in fighting homophobia, including those I alluded to).

    Sorry, but I am not the one with the double standard here. My icons are not all heterosexual women, so I am not the one with the explaining to do, as much as you are straining to make me that......

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 1, 2011 5:11:01 PM


  12. I don't see an "irrational iconizing of straight women", i see a very understandable iconizing of a select crop of straight women who have, historically and individually, been vocal and visible supporters of the LGBT Community in a time and place where very few people were willing to do so.

    My icons are not all heterosexual women. I listed many of my own personal non-straight-female Icons, and indeed ones that MY GENERATION is aware of and looks to.

    You're missing the specifics. It's not just "female artists", it's specific ones. For very discernible reasons.

    Elizabeth Taylor being recognized by an icon in the gay community has nothing at all to do with "turning a blind eye to homophobic straight women"

    it's not like we're the wimps at GOProud who are making icons out of Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter because they remind them of their anti-gay mothers who are ashamed of them.

    These are very specific women who have done a lot of very specific work for our community.

    The only person saying "gay men only worship straight women" is in fact YOU. This might be a generational thing, as I've said.

    You don't seem too in-touch with the younger queer generations and our view of culture.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 1, 2011 5:17:17 PM


  13. "I actually do think many gay men (not all, certainly) DO hate men and hate all things masculine"

    that has nothing to do with a person getting over a fear, based on an incorrect cultural assumption that being gay and liking Barbra Streisand is a "negative gay stereotype"

    You said you can't understand why some of these women are Icons. There are very specific reasons for each. Learn about them.

    They were the ones who were our champions before men in the NFL were, you know.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 1, 2011 5:19:53 PM


  14. @ Little Kiwi:

    In your reply to Rick, you said: "but it really sounds more like you being a misogynist...." WTF?! I think that women do a very capable job of standing up for themselves. Gay men who are struggling against homophobia would be spending their energies more wisely by standing up for *themselves*, but a few don't and only stand up for straight women. Rick is right when he says: "and there is a reason for that, isn't there?"

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 1, 2011 5:36:29 PM


  15. They may have been "champions" but there was a lot of self-interest involved in it, as many of them were propelled to fame by gay male fans--so I am afraid the chicken came before the egg in many cases and they were iconized by gay men BEFORE they became "champions", not the other way around.

    Also, for decades, straight women were allowed to be "champions" of gay men without it being detrimental to their careers in a way that straight men were not.....and in a way that gay men, themselves, were not......because if a man had been such, his career would have been destroyed by it, which was not the case with these straight women.

    So don't give them more credit than they deserve--even today, most gay male actors in Hollywood are in the closet, not because they hate themselves or their brethren or don't want to see gay causes advanced, but because their careers would suffer if they came out, so to act as though straight women were somehow uniquely heroic for doing so when they would not fact the same consequences for it is a little disingenuous.

    You mentioned Barry Manilow not being out and that is a good specific example--coming out in the 70's would have ruined his career which was not a risk for a Barbra Streisand or a Liza Minnelli or any other straight woman at the time.....

    For these and other reasons, the iconization of these women is at best overblown......

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 1, 2011 5:36:30 PM


  16. @ Little Kiwi:

    Rick mentioned that: "straight women were allowed to be "champions" of gay men without it being detrimental to their careers in a way that straight men were not", and his comment is dead on target...again.

    That's because hateful sexual taboos, homophobic blackmail and obligatory homophobia was forced on 100% of the male population in past eras. I think you would be surprised to find that you have much more common cause with all men than you think. That older culture is rapidly falling apart, and change is picking up steam. Straight men are increasingly sticking up for *all* their male friends, not just the straight ones.

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 1, 2011 5:49:36 PM


  17. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of gay history should know why gay men gravitate towards divas. It makes perfect sense. But if you're not particularly into Cher or Barbra (and I'm not--we all have our own divas), no one's going to force you to be. And, as others have pointed out, it's quite possible to be a Barbra and a football fan simultaneously, if you want, imagine that! Diva-worship has evolved as gay men have come out of the closet and (some) straight men have come out of their homophobia. It will continue to evolve, naturally.

    The bonds between straight women and gay men are long and strong--and one obvious thing we have in common is that we fall in love with and like to have sex with men. We sing to men.

    No one needs to explain or justify their cultural likes and dislikes. If that were the case, I'd be explaining all day why I prefer old-school country music to show tunes and opera. (My b/f still doesn't get that one.) Honor your tastes, whatever they may be, without over-thinking them. Taste snobbery and disapproval usually rise out of insecurity about your own tastes. Many gay men kept their diva worship private as children for fear that it would brand them as sissies--some gay adults seem to hold on to that fear.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 1, 2011 5:52:26 PM


  18. Umm, some of us don't like musicals and many of the icons because we don't like their music and musicals tend to be stilted, unreal monstrosities. It's a matter of one's taste. You'd have to tie me down to sit through a musical, but if other people like Barbra et al, so be it.

    Some of the analysis in these comments seems excessive. We're not all the same, thank goodness.

    Posted by: Paul R | Apr 1, 2011 5:52:47 PM


  19. I believe that gay men tend to worship our divas because they prove that you don't have to be traditionally masculine in order to be strong. That maxim might not speak to you, Rick; but it means the world to an awful lot of us, especially the young'uns.

    And I realize that not every gay man is effeminate, but in a homophobic society, all gay men are less than 'real men.' And our divas look that society right in the eye and say, "SO F*CKING WHAT??!!" That's why we love them.

    Posted by: Red Seven | Apr 1, 2011 6:01:02 PM


  20. Straight men would list divas like Barbara, Madonna, Gaga, Cher, etc. as icons too if it weren't "uncool" in our society to do so. That is precisely what this vid is talking about.

    Gay men by liking other men are already blowing the door off of "traditional" society. So we are more free to like who we like and have our genuine interests that aren't forced upon us like in the straight world.

    That's why its so great to be gay!

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 1, 2011 6:19:55 PM


  21. Amazing how a story about a gay man addressing the baseless cultural idea that "it's a bad stereotype to be a gay man who likes Barbra Streisand" has turned into one man's venting of his anger towards, well, all women.

    nothing about this video, nor the comments, is about making straight women into gay icons. it's rather specific in its address of why a certain woman is a specific type of gay icon.

    and in 2011, Barry Manilow still isn't Out...

    This might be generational. I have been fully, 100% OUT, since I was in high school. The idea that "coming out is hard' isn't a new one. Of course it's hard. it's also important. Older generations have an obligation to open the doors for the next.

    On that note, this proud Queer young'un tips his hat to the brave men and women, regardless of their orientation, who either Came Out, or came out in SUPPORT OF the LGBT Community, and thus opened the door for me.

    :D

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 1, 2011 6:20:59 PM


  22. Cool that you like her! I'm still unimpressed with her singing, though I do like her acting. I never was trying to go against the gay stereotype, her voice is just like nails on a chalkboard to me. I loved the video this guy made, and it is true: like what you like and to hell with anyone else's opinion!

    Posted by: Travis | Apr 1, 2011 6:40:15 PM


  23. Okay, here’s the thing about Barbra. Like gay people, in general, she was, at first, looked down upon because she didn’t fit a “norm.” She wasn’t a raving beauty, she had crooked teeth, she had that nose, she wore funky thrift shop clothes, she was overly expressive and kooky with her hands and her long nails; in other words, she just “didn’t fit in” or belong. Yet, when she opened that mouth and that magnificent instrument began to emote, she became something more than the sum of her parts. She was incomparable and unique. It was all those quirks and oddities that made her talent that much more beautiful. The outsider now was one with the inside, “the norm” and no one could doubt what she was: a rare spectacular talent. Gay people can relate to that because they too feel as if they don’t fit in, yet have so much to offer their world. At first others may not see it, but in time they do because they realize what is “to the bone” and look beyond just what is just “skin deep.”

    Posted by: Jeff in NC | Apr 1, 2011 6:44:35 PM


  24. Viva the power of La Streisand! Cute video and cute guy.

    Posted by: jaragon | Apr 1, 2011 6:48:43 PM


  25. Gosh, why would gay men single out strong, stereotype-breaking, mold-smashing, taboo-shattering people to admire?

    Really, ask the question out loud and you'll see how silly this discussion is.

    That there were precious few men who dared to buck the rules and that those who did paid for it with their careers is hardly the fault of 1) iconic women entertainers or 2) gay men.

    People also seem to ignore that many of the long-term icons remained in the public eye because they could both act AND sing.

    Posted by: BobN | Apr 1, 2011 7:10:46 PM


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