Must-See TV: Gaycation


Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, hosts of Gaycation. Photo courtesy of the Vice Channel.

Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, hosts of Gaycation. Photo courtesy of the Vice Channel.

You don’t realize how lucky you are to be an LGBTQ person living in the United States until you watch “Gaycation,” a new travel show on the Viceland Channel.

Every Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern newly out actress Ellen Page and her friend, art curator Ian Daniel, check out LGBTQ life in different nations. So far, they have visited Japan, Jamaica and Brazil.

At first I thought this was a breezy travel show visiting gay hot spots around the world. But this program has a serious side and packs and enormous emotional punch. Watching it is truly sobering.

For instance in Japan there is no religious culture that overtly condemns people who are LGBTQ. However, despite having bustling gay districts in places such as Tokyo, being gay is still considered abnormal. And Japan’s conformist, conservative culture discourages open conversation about sexuality.

Ellen and Ian interviewed a gay man who had entered into a marriage of convenience with a lesbian so he could save face with his family. Sadly, he said even if gay marriage becomes legal in Japan he will never come out of the closet.

Ellen Page talks with gay homeless youth in Jamaica have been run out of a lot where they had been squatting. People driving by in cars had pelted them with rocks and one man had been stabbed. Most said they wanted to leave Jamaica.

Ellen Page talks with gay homeless youth in Jamaica forced out of a lot where they squatted. People driving by in cars  pelted them with rocks and stabbed one man. The men said their only hope of living a fulfilling life was to leave Jamaica.

In another scene in Japan a man hired a person to pretend to be his friend so he could muster the courage to admit to his mother, who had raised him alone, that he was gay. When his mother burst in tears and ran from the room it was heartbreaking to watch.

In Brazil gay marriage is legal and Brazilians celebrate gay culture during carnival. But Brazil is still deeply machismo and homophobic and the South American nation has one of the highest murder rates of people who are LGBTQ.

One of the most affecting scenes in Brazil was when Ellen and Ian talked to the mother and lover of a man murdered simply because he was gay. Despite acting as an objective journalist Ellen burst out crying as she embraced the grieving mother and lover.

And the most chilling scene was when Ian and Ellen interviewed a masked, former policeman who murdered people simply because they are gay. This  man was angry because he came home and discovered his son in bed with another man.

He accused his son of deceiving him and decided to take out his rage on other gay people. Fortunately his son ran way from home to escape his father’s wrath.

In Jamaica being gay is a class-based thing. If you are middle or upper class you can get away with it. But in poorer  neighborhoods gay men and lesbians, especially those who are too feminine or butch to hide their sexuality, risk beatings, “corrective” rapes, torture and death.

Yet in Jamaica, despite its reputation as one of the most homophobic countries on the planet, there was a glimmer of hope.

At the end of the episode a small group of brave lesbians and gay men held the country’s first Pride gathering. They went through with the event, dancing in a public square, even though they risked beatings or even death.

Despite lingering hate in the United States we take for granted the rights we have here as people who are LGBTQ. After watching Gaycation I will never take these rights for granted again.

 

The DL Boys in the Neighborhood


hangingout

These look like the youth that hang on some corners of my neighborhood. Despite the masculine bravado I am surprised some of them play with other men. Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk.

My neighborhood in Baltimore sits right by the water near the football and baseball stadiums and casino and is targeted for growth. A billionaire developer has already bought up a large chunk of it.

But it’s still sketchy in places. Young men sell drugs on some corners while neighbors turn a blind eye.

One of these young men flirts with my partner “Van” and me constantly. He hangs with the drug crew and I know he just served several months in juvenile jail.

He is tall and gangly.  Light-skinned with sandy, kinky hair.

When he sees Van or me he will pull down his already sagging pants even further and even his drawers, showing much of his ass. He will do this even with friends nearby.

Early Saturday Van and I were driving up the street and came to a stop sign. He was standing there. I was in the passenger seat. He looked me straight in the eye and put his hands down his pants and rubbed his dick.

I think he even licked his thin lips.

I averted my gaze and tried to act like I had no reaction at all.

“Did you see that motherfucker?,” I said after Van turned the car around the corner.

“Yeah, just ignore it he does that with me,” Van said. “If you acknowledge it, it will get worse. He is just trying to get attention.”

“They aren’t on Jack’d and they aren’t on Adam4Adam,” Ray said. “They are really down-low.”

I have to admit the boy is cute. And that red bubble butt perched on top of those long legs looks tempting.

Under other circumstances I would invite him in the house and Van and I would fuck the shit out of him. But it’s not good to play in your neighborhood.

He could be setting us up so he can get in our house and steal. He could really be gay and looking for sex. Or knowing that we are a gay couple he could be homophobic and taunting us although showing your ass and rubbing your penis is a funny way to harass two gay men.

Finally, he could be merely hustling. I know gay men who pay these boys on the corners in Baltimore for dick or ass. With jobs scarce in the hood it seems some are “gay-for-pay.” That line of work certainly beats risking your life or serving jail time by selling drugs on the corner.

“Ray,” the “Thug Up the Block” in an earlier blog post, visited Van and I Saturday night. His house caught fire but insurance is rebuilding it and he wanted to update us on his progress.

We told him about the young boy and he wasn’t surprised. He has fucked around with several neighborhood men.

“They aren’t on Jack’d and they aren’t on Adam4Adam,” he said. “They are really down-low.”

He talked about one neighbor around the corner who sucked his dick like a pro and then would go out and hang out like any homie on the corner.

“You would never know that nigga loves dick,” Ray said.

Ray works nights and was sitting on his porch at 3 a.m. when a man who lives on the next street over came by walking his dog. The man made eye contact with Ray and held it and then looked back at him as he walked down the street.

Ray stood up on his brick porch steps and said, “So wassup?”

Yep, Ray got some ass that night. The dude didn’t even bother to take his dog home.

Ray fucked another guy around here who was barely out of his teens but had to break it off because the boy kept knocking on his door at all hours, making the fact Ray is gay too obvious to the neighbors.

Van and I have a “straight” neighbor three houses up who is very friendly. A handsome brown-skinned older gentleman with curly gray hair who has a cute younger girlfriend.

When Van and I had a sex party he noticed all the men entering at night. I said Van and I were having a card party.

“You have to invite me next time,” he said.

Ray told me the real deal. This neighbor likes to suck dick and was surprised by another neighbor giving a man head in his car.

“If you asked him to your sex party I bet he would suck every dick in the house,” Ray said.

Q: Readers should I follow Van’s advice and keep ignoring him or confront him?