Two Boys Kissing

28 10 2013

Thank you, David Levithan, for distracting me from the boredom and monster that is schoolwork. Also, I love this book, as I do all of your novels. You are awesome.

2013-10-28 23.51.36

Retiring from Gay

27 10 2013

I love you and I miss you, Happy Endings.

The Sexualization of the Desexualized Same-Sex Couple

7 10 2013

Here’s my (hopefully) A+ short paper I wrote for my Critical Studies in Sexuality class. Also, please don’t plagiarize me. I don’t expect it to happen, but hey, students are known to be desperate sometimes.

The Sexualisation of the Desexualized Same-Sex Couple

The article “A New Entity in the History of Sexuality: The Respectable Same-Sex Couple”, written by Mariana Valverde, examines the notion of a new phenomenon known as “the respectable same-sex couple”, or “RSSC” (362). Valverde outlines how a common image of gay couples has emerged in the last decade that frequently depicts them as “middle-class, middle-aged, and white” (363). In addition, these depictions of same-sex couples often desexualize them.

All of this calls into question the idea of sexuality and how this relates to one’s overall identity. By pointing out the desexualized images of the RSSC, Valverde seems to imply that sexuality is an integral part of one’s identity especially for gay couples, whose sexuality is one of the major differences from heterosexual couples. Yet, Valverde does not address a more basic question: why do same-sex couples need to constantly express their sexuality? Is it for themselves, or is it for an audience? For this paper, I will use the example of Josh Kilmer-Purcell and husband Brent Ridge, winners of the reality television show The Amazing Race (TAR). Josh and Brent, as they are known on the race, are both middle-class, middle-aged, and white, fitting Valverde’s description of the RSSC. Like other gay couples in previous seasons of the show, Josh and Brent were desexualized, never shown doing anything more than give supportive hugs after finishing a leg, while their straight competitors openly and comfortably kissed each other. I think it’s safe to say that most straight people watching TAR know that gay people have sex with other gay people, so sexualizing Josh and Brent would not serve as an educational tool; rather, it seems that sexualized images of the RSSC, in this case, Josh and Brent, would serve as reminders to viewers that not only are they a gay couple, but as a gay couple, they have sex with each other. If this is the case, does this sexualisation function as a reinforcement of the classic queer motto, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”? And is the message to other gay and queer audiences the same?

As Josh and Brent are only the second gay couple to ever win the race, perhaps their sexualisation would serve as a reminder that gay couples (and gay/queer people) are in fact able to compete with and beat their straight counterparts – and are also able to win a reality show. Thus, sexualizing them effectively functions as both a milestone in history and as visibility in a heteronormative world. In this regard, sexualisation of the RSSC results in a feel-good, subtle message that can apply to both straight and gay audiences: it reminds everyone of gay people’s existence, but can also serve as a kind of encouragement for those who are queer.

However, there are other questions to consider. If the sexualisation of Josh and Brent is important to queer people’s identities as well as their history and future, then how do we go about the process of sexualising these images? What might their sexualisation even constitute? How much is enough, and how much is too much? And who can judge/monitor all this? These are all questions Valverde does not answer (nor pose). Does the sexualisation of the RSSC include doing things that are outside the norm for a straight couple? For example, if Josh and Brent are shown kissing, is that sexual enough? Or is it not queer enough, relative to, say, showing them having anal sex, or talking about anal sex? (which isn’t really queer, since straight couples can have anal sex as well, but is more commonly associated with gay people) Moreover, if the depictions of RSSCs partly serve to pacify and calm the straight population and convince them that gay folks are just as wealthy, unsexual, and white as the typical straight couple, what might the response be if RSSCs became sexualized? Would people – both straight and gay – complain if Josh and Brent kissed once? Or every week? Or did more than kiss? After all, straight people have complained and blamed their queer counterparts for being too sexual (the many complaints around pride parades and public displays of affection, for instance). Is it not a bit of a double-edged sword, then, that on one hand, people complain (or note, like Valverde) that Josh and Brent aren’t sexualized enough, but if/when they are sexualized, that others may complain that Josh and Brent are too sexualized? In effect, some may complain that their sexuality is being left out, while others rebut that same-sex couples are too sexualized. Is there a way to reconcile these two opinions? Will it ever be possible for everyone to simply accept the image of same-sex couples, sexualized or not, the way we have about opposite-sex couples? And perhaps most importantly, what about the wants of the RSSC? What if Josh and Brent don’t wish to be sexualized? What if hugging is as sexual as they get in their daily lives? What then?

Valverde’s article is important in that it points out homogenous and unrealistic depictions of same-sex couples; it does leave a lot of questions unanswered, however. Since TAR is a television show that is heavily edited, the image of Josh and Brent as an RSSC is ultimately left in the hands of a network. Sexualised images are important, yes, but going about the production and maintenance of these images is more complicated than it seems.

Work Cited

Valverde, Mariana. “A New Entity in the History of Sexuality: The Respectable Same-Sex

Couple.” Queerly Canadian: An Introductory Reader in Sexuality Studies. Ed. Maureen Fitzgerald and Scott Rayter. Toronto: Canadian Scholars/Women’s, 2012. 361-366. Print.


17 09 2013

Saw this and felt very sad after (I still am). Ohad Knoller is so good in this. I just want to hug him and hold him close.

Vancouver Queer Film Festival 2013: What a Magnificient Presence

19 08 2013

Okay, okay. So I know it’s a little late to be blogging about the start of the Queer Film Festival in Vancouver when the festival started on Thursday. I’ve caught a few films already but I haven’t had a chance to really review them until now. Before I get to it, I want to say that it’s always such an awesome time to attend the festival because it really does feel like a community gathering. I love how loudly people laugh during the films, the hums and haws at the quiet moments, and even the rare cheer when the guys hook up with guys (I haven’t seen enough women’s films to know whether or not it happens with female audiences). And to have a film screening as part of the festival too– that’s such an awesome feeling.

So to get to it: Magnificent Presence.

The film is about a shy, quiet Italian guy who lives with a troupe of ghosts who believe it’s still 1943. He’s the only one who is able to set them free and to solve the mystery of what happened to them.

At first, this sounds really interesting. It’s even more promising that this is supposed to be a comedy, and the film is comedic in parts, especially at the difference in time periods. Pietro, our protagonist, longs to be an actor and the his ghostly roommates give him outdated, hilarious advice for his upcoming audition, including bursting out into song if there’s an uncomfortable silence.

Unfortunately, writer and director Ferzan Ozpetek’s script too underdeveloped to be fully enjoyable. The rag-tag troupe is all visually and physically distinct in their own ways, yet they are mere skeletons of characters. And the characters aren’t eh only underdeveloped aspects of the film. Subplots, such as a flirtation with a hunky downstairs neighbour and one of the suave ghosts who watches Pietro sleep yet admittedly still comes off as alluring and romantically charming instead of creepy– all these are cut short or disappointingly lead to nothing. Even the main plot, Pietro’s investigation into the history of the troupe, has a troubling plothole: [spoilers herein] Why would Livia Morosini report them? If it was out of jealousy or for her own career, why flee to South America after? What was her relationship with the troupe, anyway?

Instead of fleshing out the who’s and the how’s, Ozpetek tries to juggle too many subplots at once, including Pietro’s own transformation, and none of them are really satisfying, ultimately, not even the main plot. It’s all very well to have a comedic film have some funny lines, but what keeps audiences truly mesmerized, like Pietro’s subtle facial expressions in the end, is a good, thoughtfully constructed story.

Grade: C+

Oh, and the actor playing Pietro, Elio Germano, looks ridiculously like my friend Ryan Clayton, except Elio is older. And speaks Italian. But they’re both so adorkable!

Ferzan Ozpetek

Interviewing a wall

13 08 2013

How do you have a conversation with someone if they never ask you any questions? Like this, for instance:

Me: I am saying hi, as requested! How’s life?

Him: hey life’s good how r u

Me: Life’s alright. I take it you go to ubc too?

Him: yea I’m on campus

Me: Are you unfortunately taking summer courses?

Him: no I’m working

Me: What do you do? I work as a writing tutor during the school year.

Him: I’m doing some research right now

Needless to say, I’m extremely turned off and uninterested in the conversation. I don’t feel like messaging him anymore. But this has happened countless times, where I ultimately end up basically interviewing a guy who never me about myself. Some people have told me I just have to insert myself and say things, but that feels wrong to me. I tried to do it in the above, to try and make it a conversation, but he completely ignored it. Once, someone I had been chatting with randomly, after we said the usual “hey”s, said “Went on a trip for two weeks” out of nowhere. My immediate reaction was, I didn’t ask so… I don’t really care. Why are you even telling me this? I’ve convinced myself that people think the same thing if I ever try to insert bits about myself without them asking first. But boys don’t ask things, they just talk about themselves, so I end up interviewing a wall. It’s gotten to the point where I will stop responding to messages quicker if there are no questions posed at me; I should feel like a jerk, but I don’t have patience to interview people anymore.

In fact, after that very unstimulating conversation I had today, I wondered if I should point out the fact that he was being so boring and uninteresting but then I thought that’d make me seem bitter, which I suppose I am anyway. Gay boys just can’t seem to know how to have proper conversations and it makes me want to slap them in the face. It makes me want to educate them, and especially to tell them that they really aren’t as interesting as they think they are. In fact, they are as nameless and unmemorable as almost everyone I’ve met online or via apps. Should I say something? I reeeeeeeally want to! Even if it’s a snarky, verbally ironic remark.

So if you’re trying to act coy and play hard to get by not asking questions, try again. It’s not working.

And if I don’t respond to your message about how you went to Japan or that you’re doing research, it’s not because I haven’t had a chance to reply. It’s probably because you make me not give a shit.

Published again!

9 06 2013

A couple days ago, I got a package in the mail. I knew I hadn’t ordered anything from online since I’m not working at the moment, but the package was addressed (correctly) to me, and had my name on it, although the phone number was different. When my mom brought it to me, I told her I didn’t know what it was and we puzzled over it for a few minutes. Then she asked if I wanted to open it, and I said of course, since it was addressed to me and all.

Partway through opening, I saw that it was a book. “I didn’t order any books,” I said. And then I remembered: it’s a book that I’ve been published in! Oh yeah.

I know “Cinema Love” has already been published already in Best Gay Romance 2012 but I still find it pretty damn cool to see my name in print in a book. My mom, on the other hand, didn’t seem too impressed. Alas.

I want to thank Steve Berman for surprising me when he asked if he could include my story in the collection, which is starting to make me think that maybe people actually want to read my stuff. I think support and encouragement is probably the best thing anyone can do to a young writer.

best gay stories



What do you say to your homophobic dad?

2 05 2013

For example, how would you respond to an email that says (in part) this:

There is a big difference  in a relationship  between the gay  and the traditional,it’s what comes after( children ) ,it’s human nature even wild animals , to look after their young,( to provide food and shelter/ all the necessities etc ,)  With the children in tow, they have to realize  to have to work to set up and run as a family , no more fooling around.
It’s obvious the gay relationship will not end up with  this kind of headache , so it’s party time every day,and it’s easy to find target of interest when you are young and full of energy/desire ,relationships don’t last , the possibility of contacting serious diseases prevail . It’s no wonder  gay men would general die young before their time.

I believe my dad isn’t aware of how his beliefs are actually hurtful and offensive to others (ie. me), so I patiently explained how his words weren’t very nice, and how his outdated, stereotypical beliefs were wrong.

My dad was responding to a personal essay I wrote about what it means to win people back after a relationship. I included some anecdotes in the essay about my father’s experiences trying to win my mom back, as well as my own. He had this to say about my piece:

You don’t need me to tell you that this essay can only be found in the gay magazine and newspaper

Well, I didn’t need him to tell me because, quite frankly, it’s not true. I know it isn’t. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I have a better picture of the publishing industry than he does. Also, and more importantly, most people, especially in Vancouver, are a lot more open to diversity than him.

How would you respond if you got this email?

Cure(d) — gay short film

11 04 2013

Hello, everyone! Here’s another short film I made a few years back called Cure(d). Hopefully it can be as popular as Stay! (which I still can’t believe)

Share it around! Leave comments! Like the film!

Best way to come out to your family

20 01 2013

As the guy I`m seeing said when I showed him this video, “I fucking love this!!! What`s his number?”