10.07.16 / v.10 – i.21 It’s On The Qt!
DePiano Must Go
Well here I go wading my big toe in the current controversies that have griped our LGBTQ community in Philadelphia. Yes, I know I am a white cisgender male so the questions will be raised; what could I possible have to say about anything having to do with racism in the gayborhood?
There is the blaring issue with the owner of Icandy, Darryl DePiano, using the racially charged “n” word in a 21-second video filmed three years ago. DePiano can plainly be heard saying, “Only [n word] ask for drink passes.”
When I first heard about this I was out of town and sent a message with a link to the video in question, I was the 123rd person to view it on YouTube . . . it now has over 50,600 views.
As one can imagine social media erupted, and rightly so as DePiano was clearly in the wrong. He hastily took to Facebook to post an apology that simply fueled the flames of righteous outrage.
“Although I acknowledge that this type of language and action are never acceptable, it truly does not reflect my true feelings,” he wrote. “It is never ever, ever OK to refer to anyone in this manner, but I did make this comment, and I have grown since then to be understanding and respectful to each and every individual.”
“I am so sorry for my stupid and offensive actions,” DePiano added.
What struck me here was his claim to have “grown since then to be understanding and respectful to each and every individual.” What does this mean? Once I was a racist but now I’m not?
Well I think there is an implicit bias taking place here in which on the subconscious DePiano is dealing with his own racial bias’s, and only he can correct them. We ALL have the ability-and the responsibility-to regulate our own behavior.
Three days later, on September 30, the Icandy staff posted a press release on the Icandy Facebook page that stated:
Icandy Nightclub has always and will always be an all-inclusive club for people of every race, gender or sexual orientation. We pride ourselves in being a safe environment; free of judgement, free of ridicule and free of bias of any sort. We are a family.
Unfortunately, recent regrettable and unacceptable comments were uncovered. A Principal (sic) of Icandy, Darryl DePiano used racial epitaphs (sic) during a conversation approximately three years ago. These comments are appalling and in no way reflect the feelings of the staff of Icandy which is made up of a diverse group of men and women of many different ethnicities.
I feel for the staff of Icandy, they are in a tough place, but they were put there by the owner of their work place. There is no place in our community for such racist comments and as such there must be consequences to DePiano’s actions. His comments were racist in nature, and counter to the belief that LGBTQ bars should be a welcoming and safe place for us to meet, and for that I support the boycott of Icandy until DePiano’s no longer has a stake in the ownership of it. #boycottIcandy
What It Looks Like From Here
Idealism. These days the concept gets a bad rap, especially in our contemporary world. It seems to be more relegated to immature youth, unabashed naivetÃ©, foolish dreams, the unattainable, the impractical, the impossible, the never realized. It both connotes and denotes something negative, useless, a real waste of time.
There’s no hope in pursuing idealism. That’s what it seems the experts and supposed thinkers are telling everyone.
It’s become an age thing, a generational gap, like, you know, older people talking down to younger ones, “your ideas are too idealistic,” and when you’re older you’ll come to realize that won’t work.”
Does it have to mean that with age, experience, that the very notion of idealism is reduced to nothing, replaced by practicality with a heavy dose of negativity, even worse, skepticism, and beyond that cynicism?
Without any idealism it makes clear to me that there’s no hope. Obviously, if we become entrenched in a state of hopelessness, then we’re truly doomed.
Now, I grant you that the news from both home and aboard, indeed, around the world, is pretty bleak. But we need to hold onto something like idealism that includes optimism, hope, positive thinking and the courage to be and it’s worth the time to ponder.
Actually, this whole argument began, when we saw, “The Death of Idealism,” in The New York Times, penned by one of my favorite veteran political journalists and commentators, David Brooks.
That title immediately put me in a tailspin of disappointment, discouragement, and even some depression. It put me in a downward spiral. And I was clearly placed on the offensive.
Obligingly, I read Brooks’ piece. He begins with a few punches: “This presidential election is a contest between the oldest of the baby boomers. Yet Donald Trump, 70, and Hillary Clinton, 68, represent two very different decades in the formation of that generation. Donald Trump became famous as a classic 1980s type, while Hillary Clinton first attained public notice as a classic 1960s type. It’s interesting, and sad, to see how the promise of those two decades has aged.”
“Trump now represents capitalism degraded to pure selfishness,” he notes, “His ethos is: Get what I can for myself, and everyone else can take care of themselves . . . Trump reminds us-even those of us who champion capitalism-how corrosive capitalism can be when un accompanied by a counterbalancing ethos of moral restraint.”
Clinton, recounts Brooks, presented a commencement speech at her graduation from Wellesley in a “’60s style of lofty, inspiring and self-important idealism.”
“The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible,” she said, “We’re not interested in social reconstruction; it’s human reconstruction. . .We’re searching for more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating modes of living.”
“She dreamed of a society in which trust would be restored,” Brooks observed, “That poetic, aspirational quality is entirely absent from what has become the Clinton campaign.”
He concludes: “Ironically, one of the tasks for those who succeed the baby boomers is to restore idealism. The great challenge of our moment is the crisis of isolation and fragmentation, the need to rebind the fabric of a society that has been torn by selfishness, cynicism, distrust and autonomy.”
We-LGBTQ people-are literally everywhere. These days we also do just about everything. And the coming out stories, each one individual, unique, touching and even, at times, precious, contribute to the ever-growing roll call of role models for others who struggle with either their public or private acknowledgement and acceptance of their sexual orientation.
There are still many worlds where “coming out” isn’t conducive to one’s personal and/or career goals and can literally jeopardize fame, fortune, success and accomplishments. The very idea of a “comfort zone” remains unfathomable in many sports. In fact, “for all its countercultural cool, skateboarding has historically been party to the same kinds of homophobia found in other male-dominated institutions” that legendary Brian Anderson would certainly concur.
Recently, the now retired pro skateboarder Anderson broke down the barriers in his all-too-familiar and intimidating “hyper-masculine world of professional skateboarding” by coming out as a gay man on Vice Sports.
Most of his 40,000-plus Instagram followers generally are supportive of his actions agreed that the video was “a moving recollection of his years in the industry and his fight to hide and suppress his sexuality, the athlete opens up in an authentic way not normally seen with celebrity coming out stories.”
The 40-year-old Anderson admitted “that his rough and intimidating look helped him hide his sexuality” while fans and competitors were mostly clueless.
“Hearing ‘faggot’ all the time made me feel at a really young age that it was dangerous to talk about it,” he said. “I figured it out how to balance it to where nobody questioned it and I was a big tough skateboarder, of course they’re not going to question that. Nobody thought anything.”
“I was really scared. And people would have perceived it a lot differently had I said this fifteen years ago,” he recalled.
The outpouring of hearts and hashtags came from obvious sources, like fellow pro skaters and sponsors like Nike, but also from broader popular cultural gay figures like Andy Cohen, the host of the Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” who tweeted: “major skateboarder came out today and the community saluted him. amazing story and BRAVO, Brian Anderson!!!”
“Life’s too short to hold this stuff in,” Mr. Anderson recently told the media.
The list of celebrities (and perhaps untold thousands of their fans) who can only be described as “defying labels when it comes to discussions of one’s sexual orientation” keeps growing, recently handsome Nico Tortorella, star of TV Land’s Younger, came out as “sexually fluid” joining the ranks of Nyle Dimarco and Miley Cyrus.
“Cheating inherently is a terrible thing,” Tortorella told Cosmopolitan. “If you’re going behind the other person’s back and if there’s any type of malice, you’re a bad person, end of story.”
Being honest about his objects of affection is a cardinal rule who stated that “understanding and being compassionate” are tantamount to a healthy relationship no matter what sexual orientation or gender Tortorella is involved.
“But I’ve always done me and never been shy …” he added, “and have been vocal about it.”
Tortorella is currently dating a woman, but says he hasn’t shied away from his attractions towards men.
“It’s just a fluidity,” he told Page Six. “We’re all kind of moving into this one situation.”
What about monogamy? “I think that an open relationship or a polyamorous relationship or an understanding of sorts is acceptable in this day and age,” he explained in Cosmopolitan, “Relationships and people are my hobby of sorts. I love exchanging energy with people and getting to know people and falling in and out of love.”
What about coming out? “We’ve been saying the same thing for a while now – be honest with the people you love, even I’ve never been in any sort of closet … I was never really in the house,” the 27-year-old actor said during a Pride event with The Infatuation blog in New York City.
“I think it’s one thing to hide … and it’s one thing to come out of the closet in a public statement,” Tortorella concluded.
Here’s a way to observe, celebrate and educate yourself in observance of National GLBTQ History Month (the entire month of October) as well as National Coming Out Day on October 10!
We could all use a crash course in the queer history of Philadelphia. It’s actually, genuinely richer than the average LGBTQ member of our community is aware, and compromises many firsts (before New York City’s “Stonewall”) and an impressive and well-known, small but hard-working activists and advocates who we all now owe the ever-expanding list of human and civil rights now enjoyed by all LGBTQ people across the nation.
Beginning tomorrow, the National Park Service, marking its 100th anniversary, and the William Way LGBT Community Center are offering FREE LGBTQ-themed guided walking tours through the city as part of an initiative, established on 2014, between the government agency and the local community nonprofit, “to explore how the legacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals can be recognized, preserved, and interpreted for future generations.”
Bob Skiba, Curator from the LGBTQ Archives at the William Way Community Center, and Mike Doveton, National Park Ranger, will lead the three separate tours for a stroll through Old City, Midtown and the Gayborhood and learn about Philadelphia’s amazing LGBT history.
Tour dates and times will be: October 8, 10 and 15, at 10:00am-12:00pm. The starting point will be at the Independence Visitor Center (NE corner of 6th and Market Street) and end at the William Way LGBT Center (1315 Spruce Street).
Skiba said that space is limited, so an RSVP is highly recommended by replying to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating which day you’ll be attending and further details will be sent to participants via email with your confirmation.
The tours are a great way to understand more about the past in order to appreciate the present and have hope for the future for our local and national LGBTQ community. National GLBTQ History Month!
In honor of both National Lesbian and Gay History Month and National Coming Out Day, both observed and celebrated each year in October, this weekly column in Qt for the past 10 years will look back at what some now out celebrities and our allies had to say in 2001, about themselves, their sexual orientation, the LGBTQ community in USA, that appeared, in print, in “Celebrity: The Advocate Interviews” mostly conducted and edited by Judy Wieder.
Who could have predicted back in the early 1990s that a bricklayer from working-class Dorchester, Massachusetts, would turn into a mega star white rapper, crotch-grabbing, trou-dropping on stage and all to show off more than his tighty whities that swiftly skyrocketed him into an international male underwear model that the world had never seen before, the perfect marriage of sex, flesh and fashion with Mark “Marky” Wahlberg and Calvin Klein, on larger than life billboards on the sides of buildings from New York City to Tokyo, who would eventually become a major, serious, Hollywood A-lister actor, with side business ventures like his recently launched chain of burger joints. From the early days, Wahlberg attracted, for obvious reasons, a considerable gay following but it wasn’t always nice and easy. There were accusations that Wahlberg was homophobic and the backlash wasn’t pretty or comfortable or, he claims, even true. “The first time I ever did a gay show, I said, ‘That was the best show I ever did. They go out there and party and do what they want’,” he recalled. When he was younger he admitted being inspired by the LGBTQ community and the struggles that they were (and still are) dealing with, “As an advantage, you have loyalty and you have unity, which is very rare and something that I’ve learned a lot about from being around gay people. . .For gays to through these experiences and have people dislike them for something as simple as their sexual. . .[orientation], to be able to come up from that and be proud of what they’re doing-well, I’ve learned a lot from that.”
Ellen DeGeneres. You’ve gotta love her. She proved, without a doubt, that coming out can not only be life-affirming but lucrative. The early years of her career are text book where she when from a standup comedian to landing her own network television sitcom. It was good but not followed enough by viewers to last. Suddenly, DeGeneres was out of a job and had little prospects for a career advancement. Being on top is great so long as you don’t reach rock bottom. This is exactly where the clever, smart, entertaining, peculiar sense of humor that the female comedian found herself. Nowadays, given that chapter in her book of life is all but way behind her, as the talk show host is so popular, it’s the challenge of how much higher can you go-in both the ratings and the love-showered upon her five days a week. Recounting her own lesbian coming out story, she explained: “I did Oprah because Oprah was in my coming-out episode. Oprah wanted me on her show. And of course I wasn’t going to say no. Also, the other reason I didn’t go to the gay press is that there were people in my camp that were advising me, telling me, ‘Let’s not just target a gay audience, This is bigger than that’ which, of course, is true.” And admits: “Maybe I did a lot of things wrong, but I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t have a booklet; I didn’t open it to page 1 of ‘Coming Out: Here’s How To Do It.’ I just did what I thought I should do. Yeah, I went ahead and showed you exactly who I am.”
Sting has always been his own man even during his days with “The Police.” For decades, the international pop superstar cares about ideas, issues, causes and the human condition. Never seeking out controversy for its own sake, the gay-friendly Sting also doesn’t shy away from theories that may not be accepted universally or are rarely discussed in such brutally frank terms. “The whole business of sexuality is strange to me. I mean, we all have the gay gene, don’t we?” Answering his own question, he continues: “Yes, I think that we all have this gay gene. That’s how we interact. Men couldn’t live with each other if we didn’t have the ability to be tender with each other or the ability to love each other. We do have that ability, whether it’s spoken or not. Male bonding is nothing but erotic behavior. Football hooligans are homoerotic. Rugby teams are homoerotic. It’s just that it’s under a different guise-a disguise.”
James Duggan Thom Cardwell
John Adam Di Pietro Michael Feighan
David Schellenberg Matthew Paterno
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