Happy Gay Pride Month!
It’s time, once again, to post my annual pride posting.
In my lifetime I’ve witnessed a most remarkable change in societal attitudes toward those of us on the sexual fringe. One only needs to go back 50 years in time. I was 13 years old then and I knew I was queer. When I looked out on the world around me this is what I saw. Homosexuality was deemed a mental disorder by the nation’s psychiatric authorities, and gay sex was a crime in every state but Illinois. Federal workers could be fired merely for being gay.
Today, gays serve openly in the military, work as TV news anchors and federal judges, win elections as big-city mayors and members of Congress. Popular TV shows have gay protagonists.
And now the gay-rights movement may be on the cusp of momentous legal breakthroughs. Later this month, a Supreme Court ruling could lead to legalization of same-sex marriage in California, and there’s a good chance the court will require the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in all U.S. jurisdictions where they are legal — as of now, 12 states and Washington, D.C.
The transition over five decades has been far from smooth — replete with bitter protests, anti-gay violence, backlashes that inflicted many political setbacks. Unlike the civil rights movement and the women’s liberation movement, the campaign for gay rights unfolded without household-name leaders.
And yet, I sense that soon, if it hasn’t begun already, we will experience a backlash in the dominant culture. I don’t relish the idea, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. And when it comes, as I think it will, it won’t smart nearly as much if we know our history. And we should also remember the immortal words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”
In honor of gay pride month, a little sex history lesson — The Stonewall Riots
The confrontations between demonstrators and police at The Stonewall Inn, a mafia owned bar in Greenwich Village NYC over the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 are usually cited as the beginning of the modern Lesbian/Gay liberation Movement. What might have been just another routine police raid on a bar patronized by homosexuals became the pivotal event that sparked the entire modern gay rights movement.
The Stonewall riots are now the stuff of myth. Many of the most commonly held beliefs are probably untrue. But here’s what we know for sure.
- In 1969, it was illegal to operate any business catering to homosexuals in New York City — as it still is today in many places in the world. The standard procedure was for New York City’s finest to raid these establishments on a regular basis. They’d arrest a few of the most obvious ‘types’ harass the others and shake down the owners for money, then they’d let the bar open as usual by the next day.
- Myth has it that the majority of the patrons at the Stonewall Inn were black and Hispanic drag queens. Actually, most of the patrons were probably young, college-age white guys lookin for a thrill and an evening out of the closet, along with the usual cadre of drag queens and hustlers. It was reasonably safe to socialize at the Stonewall Inn for them, because when it was raided the drag queens and bull-dykes were far more likely to be arrested then they were.
- After midnight June 27-28, 1969, the New York Tactical Police Force called a raid on The Stonewall Inn at 55 Christopher Street in NYC. Many of the patrons who escaped the raid stood around to witness the police herding the “usual suspects” into the waiting paddywagons. There had recently been several scuffles where similar groups of people resisted arrest in both Los Angeles and New York.
- Stonewall was unique because it was the first time gay people, as a group, realized that what threatened drag queens and bull-dykes threatened them all.
- Many of the onlookers who took on the police that night weren’t even homosexual. Greenwich Village was home to many left-leaning young people who had cut their political teeth in the civil rights, anti-war and women’s lib movements.
- As people tied to stop the arrests, the mêlée erupted. The police barricaded themselves inside the bar. The crowd outside attempted to burn it down. Eventually, police reinforcements arrived to disperse the crowd. But this just shattered the protesters into smaller groups that continued to mill around the streets of the village.
- A larger crowd assembled outside the Stonewall the following night. This time young gay men and women came to protest the raids that were commonplace in the city. They held hands, kissed and formed a mock chorus line singing; “We are the Stonewall Girls/We wear our hair in curls/We have no underwear/We show our pubic hair.” Don’t ‘cha just love it?
- Police successfully dispersed this group without incident. But the print media picked up the story. Articles appeared in the NY Post, Daily News and The Village Voice. Theses helped galvanize the community to rally and fight back.
- Within a few days, representatives of the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis (two of the country’s first homophile rights groups) organized the city’s first ever “Gay Power” rally in Washington Square. Some give hundred protesters showed up; many of them gay and lesbians.
The riots led to calls for homosexual liberation. Fliers appeared with the message: “Do you think homosexuals are revolting? You bet your sweet ass we are!” And the rest, boys and girls, is as they say is history.
During the first year after Stonewall, a whole new generation of organizations emerged, many identifying themselves for the first time as “Gay.” This not only denoted sexual orientation, but a radical way to self-identify with a growing sense of open political activism. Older, more staid homophile groups soon began to make way for the more militant groups like the Gay Liberation Front.
The vast majority of these new activists were under thirty; dr dick’s generation, don’t cha know. We were new to political organizing and didn’t know that this was as ground-breaking as it was. Many groups formed on colleges campuses and in big cities around the world.
By the following summer, 1970, groups in at least eight American cities staged simultaneous events commemorating the Stonewall riots on the last Sunday in June. The events varied from a highly political march of three to five thousand in New York to a parade with floats for 1200 in Los Angeles. Seven thousand showed up in San Francisco.
My wife gets excited when I talk about my fantasy of her having sex with another woman. She will orgasm every time I bring it up while we’re having sex. When I bring it up in general conversation she says she’s not interested. She also has a female co-worker who flirts with her frequently, but my wife says she’s just goofing around. My wife did admit to me though that at one time about 15 years ago she thought about having a relationship with a female friend. Do you think my wife could be bi-sexual and maybe desiring a woman privately?
There’s one concept that you need to get a handle on right away. Fantasy material, in your case your sex chatter about your wife doin’ another chick while humpin’ the misses, rarely translates well to the real world. That’s the beauty part of fantasy, don’t cha know. We can let ourselves enjoy the most outrageous, vulgar, lewd, disgraceful, shameful and unconscionable scenarios without actually having to mess with them in real life. And god knows that could get real messy. So I encourage you not to read too much into your wife’s lezzie fantasy, or ever expect that someday you might get her to change her mind if only you keep harping on it. Here’s a tip: persistent pestering about something like this will surely backfire.
That’s not to say that lots of people, maybe even your wife, on occasion won’t use fantasy to rehearse a sexual situation that they might one day want to live out for real. Lots of people do! But if you’ve asked your wife about this and she shows no interest in making the fantasy a reality; then why don’t ya just drop it already.
And the fact that your wife may have had a fleeting interest in another woman 15 years ago don’t mean nothin, darlin’. It sure as hell doesn’t suggest to me that she might be a closet bisexual. It does however confirm that you’re a guy with a typical guy jones. You’re itchin’ to get the little woman to munch some muff by hook or by crook with the hope she will let you watch. That, my friend, is gonna get you in a whole lot of trouble if you’re not careful.
Name: Dan and Rebecca
Age: 25, 20
We are a happy but frustrated couple looking for advice. I’m a 25
year old male, and my lovely girlfriend is 20.
I have no problem bringing her to orgasm and pleasing her, but since we’ve been seeing each other I have not been able to cum once. In the past it was always difficult for me to cum during sex, my first time (age 18) my then gf and I went for about three hours before we just gave up. Usually I would have to jerk myself off afterwards but now I can’t even do that.
However if I am alone with porn I am easily able to masturbate and can get off a few times a day. How is it that I can jerk off to pictures that mean nothing to me, but can’t cum for the woman I love the most?
I’ve spoken with a doctor and he said medically there is nothing wrong with my penis. What do you suggest we do? We are really getting frustrated and just want to be able to please each other.
Simply put, there’s a difference between the psycho-sexual response we have when we are alone and the one we experience with a partner. Your doctor is right, there’s probably nothing wrong with your unit. It’s all in your head…or your mind, to be more exact. And I’m not being flippant.
If I had to guess, I’d say you have a real bad case of performance anxiety, pup. Here’s how this nasty thing works. Say I have a less than satisfying sexual experience for one reason or another. Before I know it, I’m replaying the incident over and over in my mind’s eye till that’s all I can think about. The proverbial molehill has become a mountain, don’t ‘cha know. I then bring my anxiety to my next encounter. My hyper self-consciousness primes me for more disappointment. And I’m all prepared to interpret the disappointment as a failure. Well, you can see where I’m going with this, huh? My fears become self-fulfilling and I find I’m beginning to avoid partnered sex and my relationship flounders, I develop a full-blown sexual dysfunction and my self-esteem takes a nosedive. My preoccupation with my problem makes it less likely that I’ll be fully present during sex with my partner, which pretty much scuttles my sexual responsiveness and any hope for spontaneity.
It looks to me like performance anxiety is putting a damper on your sexual arousal and short-circuiting your sexual response cycle, Dan. Get thee to a sex-positive therapist ASAP, darling! Believe me, this is nothing to fool around with, especially for someone at your tender age.
When I see this sort of thing in my private practice, I always begin the therapeutic intervention by calling a moratorium on fucking of any kind. This immediately takes a great deal of the pressure off the couple. From there we begin to rebuild the partnered psycho-sexual response one step at a time. We begin with sensate focus training, stress reduction and relaxation exercises. I have the greatest confidence in this method; it succeeds over 90% of the time.
Hey dr dick! What’s that toll-free podcast voicemail telephone number? Why, it’s: (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!
I am a homosexual, and I have a “friend” who has been incarcerated for five years. The relationship while he was out with me was excellent. I have asked him numerous of times is he having sex with the homo’s in jail and he responds by saying no. I think otherwise, and he wants to come back to me upon his release. My question is “should I wait for him”?
Gene, Gene, Gene, there are so many things wrong with this picture, I hardly know where to start. Your man’s in the big house for 5 years, and you expect him to keep it in his pants for the duration…just for you? Like WHY? Hey, he’s in the clink, darling, not in a monastery. Oh wait; even monks in a monastery don’t keep it in their habit nowadays! At any rate, it may not be up to him if he has sex or not…if you catch my drift. He might be someone’s bitch right now, he’s just not telling you about it.
Should you wait for him? You mean, all alone by yourself with no one to comfort you while your guy is doin’ his time? This sounds like the script for a real bad 1950’s prison movie. You could play the role of the long-suffering girlfriend pining away while her good-for-nothing man pays his debt to society.
Honey, you need to get out more.
Is it wrong for a married woman to want to masturbate when alone?
Gee, let me see. Is it wrong for a woman to feed herself when she is alone?
Erin, what could possibly be wrong with wanting to pleasure yourself when you are alone? As we all know, many women only get off through masturbation. Hell nowadays, liberated women folk everywhere are comfortable enough with their sexuality to jill-off even with their partner. So no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with self-pleasuring…alone or with a partner.
Besides, there’s no better way to get to know your body and your sexual response cycle. Once you acquainted yourself with how your body works, you’ll have a whole lot more information about how you tic that you’ll be able to share with your partner when the time comes. It’s a win/win situation for ya’ll.
I have been dating this guy for almost 3 year and also live with him. I love the way he makes love to me and i love dick, but sometimes i just want to make out with girls… does this make me a lesbian at all?
Hardly, not even a little bit lesbian! Ya see, it takes more than suckin’ face with another chick to make a gal a lesbiterian. You’re gonna need to get yourself a she-mullet, some plaid shirts and a vibrator that you can kick-start. Now that’ll make ya dyke for damn sure. Sheesh!
Hey dr dick! What’s that toll-free podcast voicemail telephone number? Why, it’s: (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!
Just in time for National Coming Out Day, which just so happens to be today, October 11th, we have this from Craig:
I’m 19, and I’ve decided that I’m gay. But I don’t know how to tell anyone. I’m afraid that I’ll lose my friends and family. I come from a very religious family, and they’ll never understand. I don’t want to hurt them, but I want to be honest about who I am. Just wondering if you could help me.
Coming out is never easy—or almost never—but having to do so to bigoted people makes things worse. There are many different aspects to the coming out process. It means both owning and valuing who you are, and sharing that information with others. You’ve apparently laid the groundwork by self-identifying as gay. Unfortunately, coming out also means learning to deal with the hostility many people have toward us sexual minorities.
Owning your sexual identity and integrating it into your overall sense of self is the first step in what I believe is a lifelong process. Your sexual preferences are just a small part of who you are. It is indeed an important part, but it’s not necessarily the defining element that some would make it out to be. In this instance, LGBT folks are not all that different from everyone else who is awakening to his/her sexuality. We can take some comfort from the fact that we are not alone. So many other segments of the population are marginalized and discounted because of their race, gender, age, religion, ethnic origin, you name it. Let’s face it, pup, our culture doesn’t do real well with diversity.
And ya know what else? There are a whole lot of us who are marginalized and who are discriminated against, who then turn right around and discriminate against and marginalize others. This just breaks my heart! Hopefully you’ll avoid the temptation to do this yourself.
Being different in our society is a double-edged sword. Obviously, it’s a challenge to the status quo, but it also frees us up to tread a less traveled path. To compensate for the difficulties of being a minority, we get to define ourselves in ways that are unavailable to the dominant culture.
I don’t suppose any of us is ever entirely really free of our own internalized homophobia, any more than other marginalized minorities can rid themselves of their internalized self-doubt. No one can completely escape the prejudices and biases that surround them, but most of us make our way, regardless. That’s why coming out is so important. It empowers us. It increases our self-esteem. Honesty increases personal integrity. And when we stop hiding or denying this important aspect of ourselves, we have greater freedom of self-expression, and we become more available for happy, healthy and honest relationships.
So, how much do you know about LGBT history? Knowing that you belong to a big and vibrant community with a long and illustrious history will enhance your queer identity. You’ll find positive role models in every era of human history, and in every human endeavor—and affirmative role models will help you achieve a positive sense of self. (However, you’re gonna have to do some digging. The dominant culture suppresses queer history, which often leaves those who are just coming out feeling isolated, alone and unsure. Fear of rejection from the dominant culture is greatest for those who don’t know they belong to something bigger and stronger than themselves.)
Knowing your gay history will also give you ammunition to refute those around you who will try to label you as sick or sinful. Loads of LGBT folk have enriched civilization through science, religion, music, politics, art, theater, sports and literature, to name just a few. Long before you and I showed up on the scene they were paving the way for the freedoms and tolerance we currently enjoy in this country.
If you’re not already involved in your local gay community, it’s high time you got hooked up. Practice your coming out skills with other LGBT people. Coming out to those who are most likely to be supportive will make this phase easier. And in doing so, you’ll be creating a natural support system of friends who will be your gay “family.” You will also find helpful resources, including support groups, crisis lines, gay-friendly churches and synagogues, social outlets and political and cultural activities and organizations.
Once you’ve honed your coming out skills with the queer community, you’ll be ready to move on to straight folks. This will probably be a mixed bag. Some won’t give a hoot. Others may have a lot of hoot to give. The best advice I can give you is the same advice I received from my gay elders when I was coming out at about your age: Make your coming out a celebration.
Listen, if you carry your hat in your hand, shuffle your feet and look all dejected when you make your announcement, your audience will have little choice but to receive the information as bad or troubling news. However, if you stand up, look the person in the eye, and tell her or him that you have some wonderful news to share with them, you will be giving them a running start on receiving the information as good news. Besides, a positive presentation will help short-circuit some of the initial shock or confusion they may experience.
Expect that most straight folks—particularly those of a religious bent—will need some time to get used to the idea of you being queer. And as you suggest, it is quite possible that some family members or friends may reject you initially. But it’s not the end of the world, and lots of people, even some religious folks, come around in their own sweet time.
Coming out to others will be a more positive experience if you’re comfortable in your own skin. Hopefully you’re not overly dependent on others for your sense of self—a tall order for someone of your tender age and background. But remember, thousands of people, young and old from every corner of the world, are making their first tentative steps out of the closet right this minute. You are not alone.
How well you do fare may ultimately hinge on controlling, as much as possible, the time and place you come out. If you “out” yourself as opposed to being “outted” by someone else, you’re more likely to succeed. Being able to judge the receptiveness of your audience is also important. The best time for you might not necessarily be the best time for the person you’re about to tell. (F’rinstance, grandpa’s funeral may not be the ideal time to announce to your family that you’re a big fat flamer.)
While some friends and family may have figured you’re queer long before you have, give everyone the time and space he or she needs to work through the news. Be prepared for some negative reactions. (Having some supportive friends available to talk things through afterward, or retreat to, will help.) If you do your best to bring the news in a life affirming way and your audience still rejects you, that’s not your fault; nor does that make them right. You have the right to be who you are. You have the right to be out, proud and open about all the aspects of your life, including your sexuality. Never let people unable to accept that, even if they are family, diminish your self-worth.
Coming out may be difficult, but it’s also very rewarding. Coming out affirms your dignity, as well as underscores the dignity of other queer folk. Finally, never take for granted the freedom and tolerance the dominant culture begrudgingly gives us. It’s only through vigilance and political action that we secure our rightful place in society.