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"It didn't bother me"
May 18, 2011 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Charles Barkley on homophobia in sports It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (85 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
And the SF Giants have agreed to do an "It Gets Better" promo.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


[applauds]
posted by orange swan at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2011


I knew I liked him.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:00 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


This just in from Charles Barkley: "homophobia is trrribull."

Is he still planning on running for governor of Alabama?
posted by phunniemee at 10:02 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Charles Barkley is a pretty cool guy. He fights Godzilla and doesn't afraid of gay people.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:02 AM on May 18, 2011 [59 favorites]


I knew I liked him.

Just don't start thinking of him as a role model.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:03 AM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: He fights Godzilla and doesn't afraid of gay people.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:03 AM on May 18, 2011 [39 favorites]


I wish we could make that attitude more contagious.
posted by pjern at 10:04 AM on May 18, 2011


I fight gay people* and don't afraid of Godzilla. Does that count?

*Not all gay people, only the ones in Fight Club
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:08 AM on May 18, 2011


also they mostly win
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:09 AM on May 18, 2011


I fight gay people* and don't afraid of Godzilla. Does that count?

*Not all gay people, only the ones in Fight Club


Did you just break rules 1, 2, and 34 in one comment?
posted by mrgoat at 10:10 AM on May 18, 2011 [32 favorites]


I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.

I dunno, this sounds like typical "we should all just be colorblind and we'll get along" BS.
posted by DU at 10:12 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Err, not break, but you know.
posted by mrgoat at 10:12 AM on May 18, 2011


I think what a lot of straight guys that are uncomfortable with homosexuality are responding to isnt so much the homosexuality itself as it is the cultural homosexuality: the baggage of the stereotypes and cliches (the lisping, Cher-obsessed cartoon that you thankfully dont see as much of as you used to in the media) that they assume always accompany one's homosexuality. This seems alien and "other" to them in a way that might be hard to get their sympathies around.

Now, I'm not excusing this behavior mind you, it's just something I've observed.

So I would hope that more "normative masculine" guys (athletes, etc) coming out of the closet would be a net benefit for us all. It may result in some baby steps towards acceptance overall.

Yes, we shouldn't have to accept that half-step progress and yes everyone should be accepting of all the different flavors of the spectrum. You know that and I know that, but if this gives cover for more "normal acting" gays to come out of the closet and psuh out the bounds of what Joe Sixpack assumes homosexuality to be, then that I think is a good thing overall.

I'm not saying that's ideal. I'm just saying that it could help.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:14 AM on May 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's feeling like there's some kind of critical mass happening in our society right now. Like the snowball of "Let's actually treat gay people like human beings" got started rolling right around the time that Ellen was doing her Puppy Episode and then Matthew Shephard.. and now over a decade later of it rolling slowly down the hill, being pushed along by Will & Grace and Queer Eye for The Straight Guy and other such things... and with it really gaining mass and momentum after that whole rash of publicly reported suicides and the giant It Gets Better outpouring... that maybe it's actually taking off on its own, finally.

This has been an interesting week or so. Not just Barkely's comments, but also that sports team owner coming out, and that CNN anchor who also came out... And polling shows that the majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage...

It's been a very peculiar thing to watch unfold, that is for certain. My brain is so full of it all I'm not even sure I'm expressing it very well in this comment.

I'll just say "huzzah!" and hope things continue to get better without getting worse along the way.
posted by hippybear at 10:14 AM on May 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


I think what a lot of straight guys that are uncomfortable with homosexuality are responding to isnt so much the homosexuality itself as it is the cultural homosexuality: the baggage of the stereotypes and cliches (the lisping, Cher-obsessed cartoon that you thankfully dont see as much of as you used to in the media) that they assume always accompany one's homosexuality. This seems alien and "other" to them in a way that might be hard to get their sympathies around.

It's not just the straight guys who find that image difficult. For myself, the definition of "homosexual" I grew up with included being compelled to wear women's clothing and only wanting to either do hair or interior design as career choices. It wasn't until I brushed up against the (then-in-its-infancy) Bear Movement that I was able to finally come out to myself and after that to the world around me. The idea that there are guys who are just guys who happen to like the guys... it really was eye opening for me, and ultimately liberating.
posted by hippybear at 10:17 AM on May 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


I dunno, this sounds like typical "we should all just be colorblind and we'll get along" BS.

I don't know - a lot of the problems with taking a colorblind approach have do do with the way that racism isn't just institutional but also cyclical, affecting generation after generation in a way that homophobia doesn't. This doesn't make homophobia any less damaging a form of oppression but it does (often) operate in different ways than racism, and I do think it makes the argument of "orientation doesn't matter to me" a lot more workable than "race doesn't matter to me".
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:18 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to concede that institutional homophobia may not work the same as institutional racism. But that wasn't quite my point. There are a lot of people, virulently racist people, who will tell you that skin color doesn't matter. They just never met a black person they happened to like is all.
posted by DU at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


And Barkley's a total trash-talking badass. Not a touchy-feely guy at all. It's like the Darth Vader of basketball spoke out against gay bashing and was just like, "Hey, guys, quit it."
posted by Eideteker at 10:22 AM on May 18, 2011 [22 favorites]


I dunno, this sounds like typical "we should all just be colorblind and we'll get along" BS.

Kind of, but the rest of what he said - or, at least what was chosen for the article - is more along the lines of, the excuses given to justify homophobia are bullshit, nobody is going to hit on their teammates in the locker room, we're professionals and we are here to play basketball. So he's knocking that down, which I think is a bit different than the 'colorblind' angle.
posted by entropone at 10:22 AM on May 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


The journey to one's personal truth can be very hard for a gay guy - the fear of professional and personal ostracism makes it all the more difficult.

Good for Rick Welts for finding the personal courage to come out, good for Charles Barkely (and Steve Nash and even fucking Sean Avery) for saying the obvious - that gay rights and gay athletes should be an non issue - and good for Kobe Bryant for showing genuine remorse for using a gay pejorative.

Anytime we create breathing room for equal rights - its a good thing.
posted by helmutdog at 10:27 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


DU: Absolutely, and I think that definitely can happen with homophobia as well. I do still think that for a lot of people it's a lot easier to accept that someone who's queer within their own culture than it is to accept people with a different culture or skin color - this I think is the difference between trying to be "colorblind" and "sexualityblind".
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:28 AM on May 18, 2011


I think it's cool that Barkley is stepping up and saying this...but there's something about it that's making him sound like he's angrier about jocks being generalized by society as homophobic than he is about gays being generalized by society as sissies who can't be trusted in the locker room.
posted by windbox at 10:28 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


And Barkley's a total trash-talking badass. Not a touchy-feely guy at all. It's like the Darth Vader of basketball spoke out against gay bashing and was just like, "Hey, guys, quit it."


He should do a coming out tour of the NBA, team by team. Watching the audience as the teammates announce themselves.

Anyone caught smirking has to go on-one-one with Sir. Charles. Let the punishment fit the crime.
posted by djrock3k at 10:29 AM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


but there's something about it that's making him sound like he's angrier about jocks being generalized by society as homophobic than he is about gays being generalized by society as sissies who can't be trusted in the locker room.

Well why shouldn't he be more invested in a slur that attaches to him personally? Not everyone needs to be on the bleeding edge of every equality cause. It's just impossible.

Personally I'm very comfortable with people coming around to support equality in a way that includes recognition of how it's better for them as well.
posted by phearlez at 10:31 AM on May 18, 2011 [17 favorites]


there's something about it that's making him sound like he's angrier about jocks being generalized by society as homophobic than he is about gays being generalized by society as sissies who can't be trusted in the locker room.

I didn't get that impression from the article, but I certainly have given jocks that generalization in my mind. It's sadly because of direct personal experience. After 40+ years of being gay and 20+ years of being out, I tend to expect a negative reaction to my sexuality and be surprised by a positive one. Fucked up way to live, but life teaches shitty lessons sometimes.
posted by hippybear at 10:33 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


hippybear: "Not just Barkely's comments, but also that sports team owner coming out, and that CNN anchor who also came out..."

I didn't know what you were talking about, so I Googled "cnn anchor gay". I assume you were talking about Don Lemon, but the first result is Anderson Cooper's Wikipedia page.
posted by brundlefly at 10:33 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


there's something about it that's making him sound like he's angrier about jocks being generalized by society as homophobic

Which is a fantastic attitude to have. It shakes the status-quo of silence to its core, and lets athletes know it's OK to come out, and puts other athletes in a position where their pride is on the line if they live up to their homophobic reputation. Sir Charles knows when and where to hit 'em to change their game...
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:36 AM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think what a lot of straight guys that are uncomfortable with homosexuality are responding to isnt so much the homosexuality itself as it is the cultural homosexuality

Naw. It's that "manhood", as currently constructed, is a fragile thing built of insecurity and desperate need to be proved at all times, and homosexuality is a threat to it.
posted by yeloson at 10:37 AM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


"we should all just be colorblind and we'll get along"

Where does he say anything like that?
posted by John Cohen at 10:38 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re: It Gets Better, Bret East Ellis had a tweet about how that was all bullshit and things don't get better, You Get Stronger. I really like that line of thinking, the It Gets Better ads are starting to gnaw on me.

Also, I think the regarding sports homophobia, it is less to do with the players accepting players, especially the 20-25 year olds, and more with the back office and coaching culture. I know a few people who do back office roles, and they describe a down right Mad Men atmosphere. Shit that just wouldn't fly in a corporate environment. This is where the real change needs to happen.
posted by geoff. at 10:39 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


“First of all, society discriminates against gay people,” Barkley said. “They always try to make it like jocks discriminate against gay people. I’ve been a big proponent of gay marriage for a long time, because as a black person, I can’t be in for any form of discrimination at all.”
Thank you! Seriously, what more is there to say?
posted by 8dot3 at 10:43 AM on May 18, 2011 [18 favorites]


I think what a lot of straight guys that are uncomfortable with homosexuality are responding to isnt so much the homosexuality itself as it is the cultural homosexuality:

I think you might be on to something here, because as a straight guy who has always tried to be on the side of civil liberties and equality in treatment for everyone, I've always hated that small part of myself that gets uncomfortable about some of my gay coworkers.

I like them on a personal level, I respect them professionally, I want them to be able to do whatever they want with whomever they want in a consenting relationship with full legal marriage rights, etc, but there is something that... I don't know, bugs me. And the weird thing is that it only happens with some of my gay coworkers, so maybe I'm reacting to some subtle difference based on the cultural homosexuality that I'm not noticing, but being influenced by.

It's always bothered me, because I don't want to be a bigot, even in such a small way, but it lurks in there, much to my disappointment with myself.
posted by quin at 10:44 AM on May 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


To elaborate... I don't think he's saying there are no differences between straight men and gay men, or that he refuses to look at the differences (the sexual-orientation equivalent of being "colorblind"). He's saying that for himself as an athlete, the differences don't matter. And that's completely appropriate.

By the same token, the difference between a married person and a single person may matter a great deal in general, but that doesn't mean that your coworkers' marital status affects your ability to do your job and work with them.

I don't find this a great revelation, and probably neither do you or most Metafilter readers, but I'm glad he's saying it, since there are people out there for whom it might indeed be a revelation. It's important to look at the context in which these remarks are being made, though I understand it's tempting to trot out the old leftier-than-thou charge that other people naively think being "colorblind" is the solution.
posted by John Cohen at 10:45 AM on May 18, 2011


This has been an interesting week or so. Not just Barkely's comments, but also that sports team owner coming out, and that CNN anchor who also came out... And polling shows that the majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage...

It's been a very peculiar thing to watch unfold, that is for certain.


It seems like what it must be like to watch a river thaw as spring approaches. The cracks appear slowly at first, then the whole thing suddenly breaks up and washes away.

I hope, anyway.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:45 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love it that two tough, badass, straight professional athletes this week have issues strong statements against homophobia. No stupid coach is going to risk pissing off Barkley or Avery. In sports, as in the military, homophobia exists where the leadership tolerates or encourages it, and does not when the leadership does not tolerate it.
posted by QIbHom at 10:45 AM on May 18, 2011


I saw this quote floating around yesterday but didn't know it was said by Charles fucking Barkley. Right on, man!

As an openly gay guy who has been on a sports team I have to wonder what this "professional teams are not ready" line of thinking is all about. How much of it is genuine hostility towards gay folks and how much of it is "black people don't like the gays" bullshit?
posted by munchingzombie at 10:54 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re: It Gets Better, Bret East Ellis had a tweet about how that was all bullshit and things don't get better, You Get Stronger.

It's not one or the other; you get stronger, and things have demonstrably gotten better.

He's saying that for himself as an athlete, the differences don't matter. And that's completely appropriate.

Yup. I think it's fantastic that he's using his position and fame to talk about this, because although it seems completely obvious to a lot of us that your co-worker's work habits have more impact on your life than who s/he sleeps with, it's equally obvious that that concept still escapes a lot of people.
posted by rtha at 10:55 AM on May 18, 2011


...polling shows that the majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage...

I was surprised a poll in my state said 56% of the folks polled were against a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Nevertheless, a bunch of people intolerant fuckwads took time out of their day yesterday to come downtown to demonstrate in favor of an anti-gay marriage amendment to state constitution. I guess those Republicans that got control because of the economy have nothing else to do except hate. This shit is really starting to piss me off more and more.

Good for you Charles Barkley!
posted by marxchivist at 11:03 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's been mentioned above and in the article, but I've been thinking about doing a post on Sean Avery's marriage equality ad, so I guess I'll leave some of the links, etc here.

It got a fair bit of reaction on the hockey blogs, not least because it's gotten a few people fired for disagreeing with him. It's also pretty surreal that someone who's most known for a) getting a new rule named for him after this nonsense (and don't worry, he went on to call Brodeur "fatso") and b) calling Elisha Cuthbert his sloppy seconds to reporters is the one who's taking the lead on this in professional (male, team) sports.
posted by Copronymus at 11:03 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Re: It Gets Better, Bret East Ellis had a tweet about how that was all bullshit and things don't get better, You Get Stronger.

It's not one or the other; you get stronger, and things have demonstrably gotten better.


And really, does the word "better" need to be that finely parsed in a 30 to 180 second inspirational video? The really transcendent thing about the IGB videos (in my not-so-humble-opinion) has nothing to do with the better/stronger/whatever distinction. It's their overt statement that yeah the way this is right now kinda sucks for you.

None of that "they're just jealous" or "just ignore them" message that we all remember hearing and loathing as kids, often spoken with or near the old "best times of your life" canard. IGB acknowledges the pain and misery kids feel - even if we, from our perch in adulthood with sometimes more lasting and scary problems, would trade places in a heartbeat. IGB doesn't parse whether the change is because of others or yourself or anything else and it shouldn't.
posted by phearlez at 11:05 AM on May 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


NFL Player Donté Stallworth Tweets Against Anti-Gay Hate, in Favor of Marriage Equality.
posted by ericb at 11:09 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


NBA's Grant Hill And Jared Dudley's Anti-Bullying GLSEN PSA.
posted by ericb at 11:11 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


ESPN's Interview with Ravens Linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo about Support of Gay Rights from Pro Sports Figures (video).
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


New York Times interviews New York Rangers forward Sean Avery about his support for marriage equality.
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


To follow up on ericb's link, Grant Hill retweeted a bunch homophobic messages he received after the release of that message, saying "As you can see from my retweets, the PSA was necessary."
posted by dismas at 11:16 AM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


marxchivist says: I was surprised a poll in my state said 56% of the folks polled were against a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Nevertheless, a bunch of people intolerant fuckwads took time out of their day yesterday to come downtown to demonstrate in favor of an anti-gay marriage amendment to state constitution. I guess those Republicans that got control because of the economy have nothing else to do except hate. This shit is really starting to piss me off more and more.


I was all "You're in MN, too?" and then saw your profile says NC. There are two states doing this stupid fucked up thing? Fuck.
posted by jillithd at 11:20 AM on May 18, 2011


25 sports people have already come out in 2011: athletes, journalists, coaches and execs.

Let's keep the ball rolling!
posted by ericb at 11:23 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


also they mostly win
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:09 PM on May 18 [+] [!]


Not so strong without your Aegis, are you?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:25 AM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think the most appropriate way to demonstrate thanks to sports figures who speak out against homophobia is to send them hyacinths.
posted by hermitosis at 11:28 AM on May 18, 2011


I should have known that if Barkley was cool with Bjork, he was probably cool with the gays.
posted by hermitosis at 11:32 AM on May 18, 2011


Bret Easton Ellis is also an asshole who tweeted,

"I like the idea of 'Glee' but why is it that every time I watch an episode I feel like I've stepped into a puddle of HIV?"

and

"No, I wasn't drunk last night. I was watching Chris Colfer singing, um, 'Le Jazz Hot' and felt like I had suddenly come down with the hivs."

So, really he can suck my left one. I don't give a shit what he has to say.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:35 AM on May 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


I interviewed Barkley a few times after games when was still with the Phoenix Suns. He's a really interesting guy in person. He's got this weird dumb-guy-that's-actually-not-so-dumb affect to him.

I mean ... he's a dumb guy. But he also seems to know he's dumb, so he generally stays in his lane and that ends up being the smart thing to do. He's a walking example of the opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

So, the whole thing about "Any professional athlete who gets on TV or radio and says he never played with a gay guy is a stone-freakin’ idiot," is essentially just Charles doing the math, rather than trying to overthink it and try to make some kind of profound statement.

He's not a saint. He's dumb. He's just not that dumb.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 AM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm mostly pissed that Barkley was right about the Mavs being better than the Spurs, this year. He's built a post-retirement career out of being a loudmouth and shit-stirrer, but the thing is, he's right. It took me a while to warm up to him as a talking head, but he doesn't take himself too seriously, seems to be having enormous amounts of fun, and isn't afraid to stick his neck out over issues of right & wrong. I've really come to respect him in the last couple of years. He speaks bluntly, which is not common in sportscasting these days, and I enjoy that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:39 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re: It Gets Better, Bret East Ellis had a tweet about how that was all bullshit and things don't get better

Presumably that's why he's still keeping it on the down-low?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:41 AM on May 18, 2011


Here is last year's Sports Illustrated story on Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas. How he came out to his teammates:

"Jemma and me have split," he murmured.

"Look, it's one of two things," said Johnno. "Do you want me to make it easier on you, Alf? Do you want me to say it for you?"

Alf nodded. "Either you cheated on her with another woman, which I don't think you have...."

Silence.

"Does it have something to do with your sexuality, mate?"

Tears filled Alf's eyes. "You knew all the time," he said.

"So ... you're still Alf, right? We love you. This doesn't change anything about you as a person or how the boys feel about you.... But you'll need support, mate. You can't hold this alone. I'm going to speak to a few of the boys. They need to know."

Alf shuddered, hung his head and nodded, then went to a bar in the team hotel and waited in terror for two hours. Johnno checked into a room there, invited in two of the most senior and respected members of the team, Martyn Williams and Stephen Jones, opened a bottle of red and poured out the truth.

The two players finally entered the bar. Williams put a hand on Alf's back. "Hey, mate," he said, "no big deal. We don't care. Cheers for getting it out. Why didn't you tell us before?"

posted by stargell at 11:46 AM on May 18, 2011 [32 favorites]


I dunno, this sounds like typical "we should all just be colorblind and we'll get along" BS.

Then I'd guess you haven't played a lot of sports/ don't follow sports closely.
posted by yerfatma at 11:48 AM on May 18, 2011


It's a shame SI doesn't run more long-form stories like that one about Gareth Thomas.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:51 AM on May 18, 2011


Re: It Gets Better, Bret East Ellis had a tweet about how that was all bullshit and things don't get better, You Get Stronger. I really like that line of thinking, the It Gets Better ads are starting to gnaw on me.

They might be a little overdone, but there is one message that is important, I think. Teenagers are often told that these are the best years of their lives. I was told this. It was total crap.

That might be true for some people. I pity those people.

My teenage years absolutely sucked. My life has been so much better since then (and my 40s? Going great, thanks for asking. Sure beat the hell out of my 20s and 30s). It didn't have to get better and for some people it won't, but I read the "It gets better" thing as a way of saying that your teenage years probably aren't the best years of your life, so don't measure your future by it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:55 AM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's always bothered me, because I don't want to be a bigot, even in such a small way, but it lurks in there, much to my disappointment with myself.

Being ashamed of being uncomfortable around a certain type of person is a lot like being ashamed of being unattracted to a certain type of person. However, it is not much like persecuting people because of something about them that makes you uncomfortable.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:57 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I think what a lot of straight guys that are uncomfortable with homosexuality are responding to isnt so much the homosexuality itself as it is the cultural homosexuality: the baggage of the stereotypes and cliches (the lisping, Cher-obsessed cartoon that you thankfully dont see as much of as you used to in the media) that they assume always accompany one's homosexuality. This seems alien and "other" to them in a way that might be hard to get their sympathies around.

Now, I'm not excusing this behavior mind you, it's just something I've observed.

So I would hope that more "normative masculine" guys (athletes, etc) coming out of the closet would be a net benefit for us all. It may result in some baby steps towards acceptance overall.
"

I think that's kind of true for me — The gay guys I knew in high school who were out were basically the ones that could not hide it at all. Both were in theater with me, and even though one of them had a "girlfriend" all through high school, well, let's just say it wasn't a huge surprise when she came out as a lesbian about ten minutes into college.

But I had this roommate, and one of his best friends from high school was gay, and the dude was just cool as hell. He liked the same bands I did, liked cheap beer, and was up for the sort of destructive fucking around that came with that house (the only place I've ever lived where we played "rowdy pub").

Once I kind of got that there were guys who were just like me but happened to be gay, it was a pretty big sea change in how I thought about gay folks in general.

I think another thing that helped was that because I knew him in the context of his high school buddies, he was always out to me. Just thinking about some of my girlfriend's former housemates, and how one of them is a guy my age who came out to her a couple days before I started dating her, and so I got to have that weird graded disclosure thing (and the dude still isn't out to his parents, which just feels fucking sad as hell), and it was harder to just be comfortable around him because there was this secret that I was obligated to take on without really knowing the guy at all past that…

But I'll also say that most of the guys I know now who are into the super campy performative gayness do it with self-awareness and part of it is the goofy parody of retro attitudes about homosexuals and homage to the only guys who were even quasi-out in earlier times. Plus, Drag Race is super fun to watch, and makes my friends seem like Ray Walston in comparison.
posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: super campy performative gayness
posted by Windopaene at 12:08 PM on May 18, 2011


As someone who has been groped by Dennis Rodman, I believe Mr. Barkley should repeat his statements while being groped by Dennis Rodman.

this groping took place in a gay bar, I was consenting, and also Carmen Electra was pinching my butt
posted by PapaLobo at 12:10 PM on May 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Re: It Gets Better, Bret East Ellis had a tweet about how that was all bullshit and things don't get better, You Get Stronger. I really like that line of thinking, the It Gets Better ads are starting to gnaw on me.

Eh, I can't really support that line of thinking, because the issue shouldn't be You Should Change Something. If you're living in a world where everyone is trying to shit on your soul until you break or die, the problem isn't that You're Just Not Strong Enough. 'You Get Stronger' is just internalizing your aggressors saying 'Toughen Up, Faggot.'
posted by FatherDagon at 12:11 PM on May 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


So in other words, Barkley is saying we should all just Shut Up And Jam... Gaiden
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:26 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


most of the guys I know now who are into the super campy performative gayness do it with self-awareness and part of it is the goofy parody of retro attitudes about homosexuals and homage to the only guys who were even quasi-out in earlier times.

I really appreciate this. People are so hasty to dismiss this facet of gayness without really ever attempting to understand it. Personally I've found that the people who perform their gayness this way tend to be way more aware of gay history in general, they are curious about the touchstones and figureheads of gay interest, and this appreciation surfaces in their interests and aesthetic. Also, I think that goofiness you mention has something to do with acknowledging the ridiculousness of being born into the world as an essentially disposable human -- of one's status being rendered ultimately inconsequential because of something so innate to selfhood. To respond to that dark realization with silliness and grace instead of abject despair, and to shrug off the typical expectations of gender performance -- these are interesting phenomena worthy of a closer look.
posted by hermitosis at 12:30 PM on May 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


", I tend to expect a negative reaction to my sexuality and be surprised by a positive one. Fucked up way to live, but life teaches shitty lessons sometimes."

This is a slight tangent, but let me relay an anecdote. This past semester I had my students read an essay titled "Is Homosexuality Unnatural or Immoral" by James Gould. In it he argues that it's neither. I'm never having students read that essay again.

Why?

Because of all of the essays we read this semester, it generated the least amount of discussion. Let me put that in context, they had more interest in Anselm's ontological argument. And these are by no means stereotypical "liberal" college kids, they felt perfectly fine arguing against abortion rights. But, in the case of an essay defending homosexuality they simply felt there was nothing remarkable or even mildly objectionable.

When I asked my students why they had nothing to say about the essay. They (across three different classes) pretty much collectively shrugged and claimed that it was so obviously right that there was no point in even playing devil's advocate against the essay.
posted by oddman at 12:30 PM on May 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


For those interested, there is a great book on the topic of self-hatred (it helped me deal with it a lot, at least to understand why I was feeling that way): The Velvet Rage.

Also reminds me of another documentary on which they put sensors on men's penises to see their reaction to gay porn. The straight guys that had no issues with gay men weren't reacting to it. The only ones who got "stimulated" were the homophobic ones... all of that while pretending that the porn didn't do much for them.
posted by Vomiaouaf at 12:39 PM on May 18, 2011


In sports, as in the military, homophobia exists where the leadership tolerates or encourages it, and does not when the leadership does not tolerate it.

And that's a parallel which Barkley explicitly draws, where the commentariat make claims about the readiness of the people in the trenches to accept gay colleagues which are not borne out by the actual voices coming from those trenches. Opponents of the repeal of DADT - often with no service record - were making dire predictions about the effect on "unit cohesion" long after polling supported the idea.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:40 PM on May 18, 2011


I just realized that my last post may have come across as dismissive of the very real problem of homophobia. It wasn't that all. I was trying to relay a small anecdote to support the observations that it is indeed getting better and that equality gets a little bit closer all of the time.
posted by oddman at 12:42 PM on May 18, 2011


Bill Simmons has a nice interview with the owner of the Phoenix Suns who just came out.
posted by stratastar at 1:10 PM on May 18, 2011


I dunno, this sounds like typical "we should all just be colorblind and we'll get along" BS.

You get down with your hate bat...i'll be happily applauding ANY alabama man whose attitude reeks of "i dont care what your sexual preference is...i just want a good teammate".

Big ups, 'bama!
posted by hal_c_on at 1:11 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Michelangelo Signorile's interview with straight ally and rugby star Ben Cohen, on an Acceptance Tour in the U.S. to raise money for LGBT causes.
posted by ericb at 2:08 PM on May 18, 2011


Because of all of the essays we read this semester, it generated the least amount of discussion

Oddman, I can't tell you what a relief that is. I dropped a class I was really, really into in the early '90s because there was a contingent of students who couldn't discuss Plato's "Symposium" without saying, "But didn't the Greeks understand that homo stuff is wrong?" every 3 minutes, roadblocking the teacher.

What an amazing world we live in.
posted by Gucky at 2:59 PM on May 18, 2011


The attitudes of athletes towards gay teammates is changing relatively fast because athletes have to be young, and homophobia correlates pretty well with age. The real barrier for gay athletes coming out isn't their teammates, but sponsors worried about alienating old bigots.
posted by benzenedream at 4:08 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


God, I would love to see Barkley do a It Gets Better series. No script. Just him and as much studio time as he wants.

That was one of the great things of having Karl Malone in L.A. for a year (when I lived there). Countless rambling nonsensical lunatic interviews that made Charles Barkley look like Edward R. Murrow.
posted by En0rm0 at 5:34 PM on May 18, 2011


NFL Player Donté Stallworth Tweets Against Anti-Gay Hate, in Favor of Marriage Equality.

Good, but he should probably focus on tweeting against drunk driving.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:32 PM on May 18, 2011


Good on him, I love me some Sir Charles. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes of his:

"I was asked for years about being a Republican, probably because most black people are Democrats. My mother heard it once and called me and said "Charles, Republicans are for the rich people." And I said, "Mom, I'm rich."

And his reason for defecting from the Republican party:

“I was a Republican until they lost their minds,” Barkley said. “The word conservative means discriminatory practically. It’s a form of political discrimination. What do the Republicans run on? Against gay marriage and for a war that makes no sense. A war that was based on faulty intelligence. That’s all they ever talk about. That and immigration. Another discriminatory argument for political gain.”
posted by emd3737 at 7:37 PM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


holy shit, sir charles got himself some eloquence...and logic.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:01 PM on May 18, 2011


Big ups, 'bama!

Careful saying this to Barkley. He's an Auburn man.
posted by This Guy at 6:39 AM on May 19, 2011


I felt really good after reading Barkley's remarks, but then I remembered Eudy Simelane. There is still so much work to be done...I'm happy to have Sir Charles on our side.
posted by malocchio at 8:56 AM on May 19, 2011


I think you might be on to something here, because as a straight guy who has always tried to be on the side of civil liberties and equality in treatment for everyone, I've always hated that small part of myself that gets uncomfortable about some of my gay coworkers.

As a pretty much straight guy, I know what you mean, but I don't think it has anything to do with "gay culture" or whatever. "Gay culture" could be whatever it is and it would just be different, that's the problem. The problem is that it is different, now how it is different.

The way I've dealt with this feeling is to try and accept it and examine it in myself, and try and understand why it is that it bothers me. And in the end I feel like, for most of us, if we are feeling homophobic, there is a fear that we are also gay and OMG what if? And when that happens, I think the only way to defuse that is to embrace it, and say, "well, so what if I was? How would I want to act, and have people think about me and treat me, and how would I want to treat people, and etc. etc.?" And that makes a lot of the awkward feeling dissipate, for me, because it shows you how the whole fear is absurd.

I think the problem with knowing someone is gay in our (mainstream) society is that it is—still—this all-encompassing overwhelming quality of identity that sits in the room, larger than life, alongside the individual, when it's really just an aspect of who someone is, and one that doesn't have (or shouldn't have) a lot of bearing on the sorts of interactions you have at work, say. (As Charles Barkley is also essentially pointing out.) Coincidentally I was talking with a gay acquaintance tonight and he was relating an anecdote about going to a wedding in his hometown with his boyfriend at the time, and everyone had to come over and acknowledge that they were cool with him being there and out and gay and yes it's just fine. How fucking tiresome, really. I mean, good first steps, but how fucking tiresome.

I don't mean to not acknowledge the amazing struggles that lgbt folks go through in their lives and have gone through historically, and I'm not suggesting the sort of "let's all just get along" simplistic solution DU was talking about in an earlier comment—I'm speaking purely about a personal psychology, individual sort of approach.

But it's helped me a lot when I'm feeling homophobic (or, you name the prejudice...) just to 1) acknowledge I'm feeling that way and accept it, and 2) put myself in other people's shoes and try, very hard, to envision what their life is like and what they would want in that simple human interaction with me. The answer generally seems to be: it's nothing really different than what I would want.
posted by dubitable at 9:54 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"But it's helped me a lot when I'm feeling homophobic (or, you name the prejudice...) just to 1) acknowledge I'm feeling that way and accept it, and 2) put myself in other people's shoes and try, very hard, to envision what their life is like and what they would want in that simple human interaction with me. The answer generally seems to be: it's nothing really different than what I would want.""

There have also been a fair number of times when I've asked myself, "Do I not like him because he's gay, or because he's a skeezy weirdo?"

Knowing more gay folk has helped me realize that there are just as many skeezy weirdos who happen to be gay as there are skeezy weirdos who happen to be straight, and that the creeper vibe isn't necessarily homophobia — especially where drugs are involved. It just sometimes takes an extra millisecond of cognition to realize that the warning signals my brain is giving me isn't because somebody's gay, but because they're acting inappropriately.
posted by klangklangston at 12:15 PM on May 19, 2011


MetaFilter: Do I not like him because he's gay, or because he's a skeezy weirdo?
posted by hippybear at 3:03 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There have also been a fair number of times when I've asked myself, "Do I not like him because he's gay, or because he's a skeezy weirdo?"


My understanding is that IRL George Takei is one creeeeeepy creeper.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:10 PM on May 20, 2011


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