Can you be homosexual without being gay? This is the question posed by J. Bryan Lowder (over at Slate), who dissects and theorizes on the advent of gay culture, its influence on (cismale) identity, and the attempts to define, and embrace, it in a world where homosexuality is increasingly accepted.
The Los Angeles Men's Central Jail’s gay wing was set up in response to a 1985 ACLU lawsuit, which aimed to protect homosexual inmates from a higher threat of physical violence than heterosexuals faced. But something unexpected has happened. The inmates are safer now, yes. But they’ve surprised everyone, perhaps even themselves, by setting up a small and flourishing society behind bars. Once released, some re-offend in order to be with an inmate they love. There are hatreds and occasionally even severe violence, but there is also friendship, community, love — and, especially, harmless rule-bending to dress up like models or decorate their bunks, often via devious means. LA Weekly looks inside MCJ, with an exclusive video the unique situation, from Voice Media Group. For further reading on the unique K6G unit, see Two Models of the Prison: Accidental Humanity and Hypermasculinity in the L.A. County Jail (PDF), and Governmental 'Gaydar': Race, Sexual Identity and Incarceration (PDF), both scholarly articles that study this part of MCJ.
“I am gay, and I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre. My goal is always to make songs that a gay dude or a straight dude can listen to and just think, This dude has swag.... The best thing a song can be called is good.” Rapper/producer Le1f, in a short bio article on Fader, which mentions Le1f being swept up with the "more outlandish" (as Fader writer Alex Frank puts it) House of LaDosha and Mykki Blanco. The Guardian has another piece on the rise of gay rappers, but the Amoeba blog was there first in 2008, covering a bit of the New Orleans sissies. More videos and music directly linked inside (and you can assume the music and videos are NSFW). [more inside]
The End of Gay Culture. In a nutshell, the author is saying that the next generation of homosexuals is discarding gay culture after being accepted into society for its financial clout. What do you think? Is this good, bad or way off base?