So Pope Benedict is coming to Scotland in September by invitation from the Queen. Pope Benedict has in the past been accused of stoking homophobia after a speech in which he declared that saving humanity from homosexuality was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
A few weeks ago I happened to be passing the Vatican and popped in for a wee tour of the place. The tour guide obviously had stuff to say about Michelangelo, and the fact that his female figures had a transsexual men-with-breasts quality, therefore the man must have been gay. The meaning of gay, 500 years ago was somewhat different from today. It was both a physical and cultural choice, as his ideals were the classic sculptors of the ancient Greece ( there having young boys as pupils and lovers was a standard thing). There was equally informative info on Raphael and his homo-eroticism. So all that artistic beauty that the world wants to see and associates with the Vatican, Sistine Chapel ceiling etc, was commissioned, created and coloured in by the very gender type that Pope Benny abhors.
In Cologne, a couple of years ago I happen to be passing a restaurant with a German girlfriend, and we popped in for a bite to eat. Pope Benedict had, at that time visited Cologne for World Youth Day and a plaque in the square was inscribed with some gay-bashing doctrine. I know that as I was taken to the place and shown the plaque with pride, but not gay pride. In the restaurant there was much hilarity, and I was advised by my Fräulein that the gleeful participants were most probably Catholic as they were known to exhibit such frivolity, such gaiety.
My earliest re-collection of the word gay was from the cartoon film Gay Purr-ee, an animated film musical produced by United Productions of America and released by Warner Bros. in 1962. It featured the voice talent of Judy Garland, funnily enough.
Later in life, at age 15, and keep this to yourself, my first and only gay sex took place, a messy drunken incident, in a park. (Earlier in life, my step grandfather, on the occasional Saturday night when left alone in his company would exhibit his fondness of me in a touch-feely way, but I don’t think that interaction can be classed as gay.)
The park incident was the catalyst for the forthcoming guilt ridden years, resulting in the classic Freudian reaction, of me having a full-blown case of the homophobic, Therefore, so as to erase the guilt, I took part in recreational gay bashing, where we would drink Eldorado wine and march through the villages and towns of West Central Scotland, armed with pitchforks or ‘a big dod of wid’, hounding out the predatory toly-punchers that lurked in the long grass!
Later in life, I recall a late night discussion with a gay hairdresser that I had met one night, that took place, in a bar, that I happened to have popped into. He scunnered me, though when, he took the debate into the detailed descrption of the physical reaction of the sphincter muscle to penetrative sex, and how it was designed naturally to accommodate such visits.
In those days, famous TV gays ( TV meaning Television) were the likes of Mr Humphries or Larry Grayson, I’m Free and Shut that Door, respectively, being the cleverly constructed camp catchphrases of the times. Now we have the likes of Alan Carr and Graham Norton and in equal terms, just as unfunny.
Back in 1988, Torch Song Trilogy, was a movie I popped into see one Friday Night, in the Glasgow Film Theatre. An innovative film, penned by Harvey Fierstein, not to be confused with the innovative Harvey Weinstien, I didn’t know it was about gays, well I made out I didn’t, but I liked it, although I made out I didn’t, but I didn’t make out, well I made out I didn’t.
Progressively the barriers of Homophobia were being broken down, although the homophobic argument, whereby to be anti-gay was really the manifestation of a suppressed homosexual urge within, was a win win argument for the proofs, I thought, and therefore it wasn’t in the interests of big rough tough building workers like me to even enter into such debate, less we got tagged as being the new bumfun seekers.
On a recent walk with friends we discussed, who, currently, in the film world has come out or is known to be. I happen to have been told, and keep this to your self that the star of Y Tu Mama Tambien , Maribel Verdu, knows for a fact that Tom Cruise has well and truly left the closet. Of course the precedent of the macho star coming out so publicly, was Mr Hudson, but with a name like Rock, why the surprise?
A new , phenomenon, I hear more about, is for Fortysomething singles of either sex, contemplating entering in to a gay relationship, just for the experience of having done so. Well, put me down for that too, and after that, maybe a bungee jump. Middle age stereotypes that come to mind are the likes of Kenneth Williams or Charles Hawtrey, two aesthetically repellant examples, although in Mr Williams case, Stanley Baxter thought otherwise. Pit yermarra inmabarra indeed. Not exactly the stuff of Brokeback Mountain.
But, hey, I might consider it, cos I don’t think any trophies are going in the display cabinet for winning at the heterosexual games. Of course , that could make me a Metrosexual, which can’t be bad. can it?
So Benny and the Jets, lets not get upset about gayness, as Alaistair Gray, the Scottish Writer, says, the thing that blocks society in the West of Scotland from progress, it’s the Glasgow Hardman and if you happen to see one today, just go give him a big hug
Anyway about this rainforest destruction……