THE EARLY YEARS
Fortunately for all Americans the 1960’s, 70’s and then 80’s led first to greater sexual freedom and liberation – and then to greater sexual honesty. The internet boom of the last decade solidified those gains to the extent that there can likely never really be a return to the sexual
THE GAYS & THE “THREE B’s”
Gays and Lesbians had historically lived prior to the Stonewall Riots lives of quiet desperation “in the closet” facing overt hostility and repression every day of their lives.
After the STONEWALL RIOTS – our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters overall marched straight out of their closets and eventually right down MAIN STREET or FIFTH AVENUE or MARKET STREET or SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD in their festive PRIDE PARADES across North America and now across the world. Many gays and to a lesser extent Lesbians want to be open about their sexual orientation – while this is NOT the case with most bisexuals – especially happy bisexuals.
Soon across America there were dozens of openly gay bars, adult bookstores, and bathhouses in every major North American city. Gay Community Centers sprouted in most every major North American city – save San Francisco – where until recently the community was so fractious they could not even open such a center! Gay Community Centers with time became Gay and Lesbian Centers – then GLBT Centers and soon to be GLBT and P – polyamory – and Q centers – Queer.
Maybe one fine day even the new, trendy METROSEXUALS will join the sexual minorities to party and to parade!
The GAY PARADIGM – which emerged as a result of this desire for being OPEN – was often confrontational to the larger straight community with a certain “WE’RE QUEER and WE’RE HERE!” element in far too many areas of America. In the gay era before AIDS the fact of life was that the gay community was hijacked by the THREE B’S who made a killing – and also ultimately killed off thousands if not millions of gays. They are the BARS, the BATHS, and the BOOKSTORES. Their agenda was to make FILTHY LUCRE and they did so rapaciously for years and years. Gay communities in these early years – including their activists and journalists became dependent on these deep pockets but they too were all too often caught in the thrall of the 3 B’s AGENDA – even hidden agenda of SEEK BUT DO NOT FIND.
Even today the “beau ideal” of the American gay community is some twenty-something twink or hunk or military type – portrayed again and again for decades endlessly and all but mindlessly. This beau ideal type can never be snared and brought home to one’s bed – save at a hefty price (escorts and models or trade) – much less to one’s life and family! Billions have been and will continue to be made on the backs and knees of these 18 to 25 year olds who are then cast off for next year’s “model”. Nothing is sadder than meeting a middle-aged towel boy at a gay bath or spa or a broken down bartender at some gay bar who openly laments that he was once “somebody” in the gay limelight years ago.
The NOT so secret moneymaking agenda of the POWERS THAT BE in the gay community – the 3 B’s and their legion of co- conspirators was “SEEK BUT DO NOT FIND”. Gay men HAD to go out as often as possible to the bars, the baths or the bookstores – as they might be missing out on something or someone. Even if they found someone it was and is all too often a one-night stand if not a 15 minute standup. One gay friend recently admitted to me he had not had horizontal gay sex since the AIDS epidemic was full-blown (i.e. two decades). While many gay men do find long-term committed relationships – as the new Gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire – far too many will regale you with Elizabeth Taylor-esque tales of their 13 husbands and numerous affairs – few lasting more than a season or two. BUT – the 3 B’s want gays “to seek but do not find” – to be good consumers – good customers! I attended University of California’s Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in the early 70’s and one openly notorious homosexual law student openly proclaimed that his small gay bar and its 11 long-term regular patrons who cashed their every paycheck there paid his way through law school. He admitted that over two dozen such “regulars” were openly feted at all major holidays and their every birthday to keep them as “regulars”.
Even to this day – the GAY PARADIGM – the GAY COMMUNITY is still trying to shirk this “seek but do not find” rigid pattern. Unlike many happy bisexuals – gays and even many Lesbians – are still under this spell – notwithstanding that even the major gay mecca cities San Francisco and New York closed the gay baths – gay bars are half in number or half full today -yet the adult bookstores – and videos – and pornographers are richer than ever – harvesting a new crop of young twinks and studs for their 15 minutes of fame every season of every year until the end of time. The internet has been a major boon to pornography and pornography sales worldwide especially in the gay “beefcake” market.
THE THREE B’S REPLACED BY MAJOR MERCHANTS OF GREED
Things – largely due to AIDS as well as long-term maturing gay and lesbian community – have changed and are changing – but the change from the “3 B’s” holding the community in its thrall has morphed into gross and crass materialism as soon as the major marketing gurus found the Gay and Lesbian NICHE of affluent consumers with huge discretionary spending who were eager to “Seek and Find” and then “Seek and Find” again – consumer goods and luxury travel and the like.
NOW the vast majority of the FORTUNE 500 companies market to the Gay and Lesbian Community noting in their
marketing circles that the Gay and Lesbian market is one of the larger and more affluent segments of today’s marketplace. Gays and Lesbians who were already as average American consumers easy prey for materialism and
consumerism were even more easily influenced when buying this and that product led to acceptance by this or that major corporate icon, this or that major world conglomerate – tied with greater status and greater rank in one’s millieu.
HERE COME THE ALTERNATIVES:
Finally, after this gay party and Pride parade – then gay + Lesbian party and parade – was far along – here come some welcome alternatives. The Metropolitian Community Church has been with us for decades and has sought to help fill the spiritual hunger of many gays and lesbians who want to find that solace and inner peace in a gay and Lesbian religious setting.
Many mainstream Christian churches have embraced the gay and lesbian community in many outreach programs as the Churchof Christ and the Unitarian/Universalists and the gay and lesbian support groups and organizations within their home churches as Dignity, Integritry, and the Brethern and the like. Islam offered up “Gay Muslim” groups and there are many GLBT groups for Jews, Buddhists, and other faiths.
Many gay and lesbians have also explored alternatives to organized religions with New Age thinking, yoga, Scientology
and other stops on that long travelled road the American pursuit of happiness trail.
Microcosm vs. Macrocosm:
Maybe gays and lesbians just finally caught up with the mainstream of American life – gross, crass materialism being catered to and cajoled into more and more consumer spending and more and more consumer debt to “Seek and Find” and then continually in yet more and more rounds of self-indulgence and over-indulgence to “Seek and Find” again and again. Sadly there is no “silver bullet” for the Gay and Lesbian community nor American society as a whole. When and where will we all find something more valuable, reliable and relevant – than buy, buy, buy and more, more, more? When?
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Stewart (Mac) McCloud is the Founder and President of the Bi Men Network – http://www.bimen.org – the world’s largest social and support organization for bisexual men, bi-curious males, gay guys, and bi couples – now with over 1/4 million members. With members on all six continents – the Bi Men Network brings together both bi and bi-curious men and bi couples on one side and gay men on the other. Many of the gay men who join the Bi Men Network were once bi themselves, or enjoy bi men or are gay men who are often alienated from and disaffected by the gay mainstream and gay lifestyle. Annual Bi Men Getaway Weekend held each Spring in Las Vegas. Bi Men Network offers support and resources for its worldwide membership and a means to make new friends both online and offline. Free!