“Blatantly homosexual” (II of II)

The real issue, though, probably isn’t the fact (and it is a fact) that there are gay and lesbian performers in sg, but that some of these people don’t make much of an effort to pass for straight - the “blatantly homosexual.” In the above averagely conservative world of sg, I assume the anxiety has mostly to do with “blatantly” gay men whose flamboyance disrupts all kinds of accepted (and up to this point in sg, largely unchallenged) notions about masculinity and gender roles. Beyond the larger debate going on within American politics and society about the issue of sexual orientation and same-sex relationships right now, perhaps one catalyst for the current homosexual panic in sg is that the Talley brouhaha made the especially na├»ve or willfully ignorant in sg rethink their assumptions about (potentially) gay performers. My sense is that even among the more worldly minded sg types, there’s often a refusal to accept the reality of homosexuality in sg. This denial gives rise to all sorts of rationalizations (”he’s just very sensitive,” or “or he just hasn’t found the right woman” or “he’s just full of the sweet sweet spirit” or whatever), which in turn allows people who want to do so to pretend that homosexuality in sg is mostly latent or dormant or passive - not, in any case, something anyone acts upon the way Kirk Talley did. Now Kirk Talley’s back from exile. And because the speed of his return made some people suspect the authenticity of his degayification (and for the record, I am deeply suspicious of it, but not only or even primarily because of the short time he purports to have undergone this radical transformation), Talley’s return seems to have heightened the sense that the enemy’s inside the gate and lurking about us everywhere. It’ll be interesting to see how fans, performers, and powerbrokers deal with this issue, because it’s not, I don’t think, going to go away. If it takes as long for open hostility toward gay people to pass away as it has for sg fans to let go of cassette tapes, we’re in for a dispiriting, divisively long haul.

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