Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oh My Gods! That Straight Guy is kissing that Other Guy!

Before you begin today's Riot, a quick disclaimer: This particular article discusses gay folks, gay porn, and the gay community. If you're a homophobic asshat or just don't particularly care to read about such topics, wait for the next Riot. Or, you know, just list 10 reasons why you hate Sarah Palin in the comments section below.
This is Nick. He's got a wife and he works out a lot. He's a straight guy.
This is his alter-ego Reese. Reese likes boys on camera for lots of money. 
A recent article in the UK issue of Marie Claire was highlighted by gay news magazine The Advocate that brings back into the spotlight an issue that has - for one reason or another - been a major point of contention in the gay community. Straight guys - or, at least, men who identify as heterosexual in their personal life - having sex with other men for money. It's a phenomenon called 'Gay-for-Pay' and it both pisses the gay community off and turns them on.

Now, at first, it might seem confusing as to why the Gay-for-Pay (G4P) guys are so controversial. It's two (or three or seven) guys, usually quite attractive, engaging in some toe-curling bedtime fun for the enjoyment of the masses of guys who can't seem to get it anywhere else. Who cares what the "actors" do in their personal lives, right? I mean, as long as the action is hot and the guys seem genuinely turned on, isn't that what purveyors of the adult arts want?

Yes and no. Apparently. I must warn you that when I was researching this topic, I had to tiptoe around Google. Typing in phrases like 'gay-for-pay' leads to both heated debates on the matter and veeeeeery graphic...umm...stuff. Be that as it may, I found a number of negative opinions on the matter. So, in the interest of flow, we'll look at these in bullet-point form:

  • Umm...They're straight. There are quite a number of dissenting opinion on the G4P phenomenon that dislike the idea simply because the men are actually straight. For some reason, the knowing that the guy, against all appearances and despite the fervor with which he...works, likes to go home and have his way with the opposite sex is a major turn-off. 
  • The Quality of the Art. The most obvious argument against G4P guys is that they just don't seem as in to the act of non-procreative male-on-male horizontal mambo. They appear 'flat' or can't get it up or are otherwise bad performers. Which, I suppose, might be a good argument against G4P. If the guys aren't truly wanting to do what they're doing, it's going to be a waste of time for all involved in the filthy filthy porn industry.
  • It's a Huge Tease. This is like the first argument just with less bile and more of a sexual let-down.
  • They're not really straight! Some in the gay community feel that it's a bit repressive to call these guys straight. This seems to be where the most prudish of arguments originate. Men who have sex with men for money on camera for the world to see that still call themselves straight seems get people pissed as it's a ploy to constrain a guy's sexual truth. Or something like that. Apparently, it would appease these folks if the "actors" at least came out as 'bi.' Though, they would probably not get as much work, as their appeal is the 'straight guy doing gay things.' The appeal of the forbidden fruit. (Pardon the pun.)
  • Unrealistic Expectations. This idea highlights the notion that continuing to celebrate the macho, attractive, straight guy who - when his frat brothers or football teammates or whatever aren't looking - will engage in a little shish-kebob sword-fight does something worse than give guys mental blue balls. It perpetuates an unrealistic stereotype. For as long as anyone seems to remember, gay guys in the modern age have been pigeonholed into being the fairy, the queen, the drag-wearing, body-waxing, superficial sex-fiend who is less deep than a bird bath and as masculine as Miss America. While the gay community continues to make great strides in highlighting the range of masculine/feminine natures and mannerisms, folks who dislike G4P sometimes say that it perpetuates an unrealistic ideal. It somehow elevates masculine, athletic, 'you would NEVER tell I'm gay' guys as what is good, and designates anything else as less-than.
Maybe there is something to this preference-bending, G4P stuff. A little trivia: Have you ever heard of the show Will & Grace? Of course you have. And, yes, you watch the re-runs, and yes you hate Leo just as much as everyone else. But, did you know that the actor who plays Will (Eric McCormack) is straight? Probably. But!! Did you know that the part was originally going to go to an actor that some of you Torchwood fans might know, John Barrowman? However, he was replaced with McCormack, because producers felt he was too straight-acting, and they wanted someone who was obviously gay. 

Funny thing about this is that John Barrowman, the guy who was too straight to play gay, is actually gay. In real life. Like...well, I'll dispense with the gay sex metaphor. Suffice it to say, he likes penis. Barrowman later commented that he was quite displeased with the stereotype that all gay men act the same way. 

It was every little gay's dream. Being the band nerd who lives across from the gorgeous football star in high school and having him reluctantly and finally tells you he loves you at the prom. Oh, wait...that's a Taylor Swift music video. But, the dream was still there for many of us. Everybody in high school had that one guy or girl they longed for, but for the gays that was just not going to happen. So, maybe there's a little of that desire, that longing for the forbidden, that one guy you know you'll never get in our collective putting the masculine jock on a pedestal. 

But, consider this: guys get paid thousands of dollars to do one gay sex scene. They might get paid a couple of hundred at the most to do a straight sex scene. So, dollar for dollar, fudge packing is one profitable enterprise. (Come on, I am allowed one more bad euphemism.) According to the article featuring homo-for-money Reese Rideout - or Nick Dent - his wife is all for him having sex with men. It puts bacon on the table, and she doesn't have to worry about him cheating on her with a woman. Because, you know, having sex several times a day with someone who isn't your wife isn't cheating, as long as it's with another man. 

This debate doesn't just rage in the porn community. Many gays and lesbians get quite upset that an actual gay or lesbian actor cannot get a lead role in a mainstream, big budget movie. It's become a major interview point in the past several months with many big-named gays commenting on the problem. Yet, when big movies do come along that win critical acclaim and major awards and make the money, and they feature a gay character as the main character, Hollywood chooses straight actors to portray them. Brokeback Mountain, The Kids Are All Right, and many other movie titles highlight gay characters being portrayed by straight actors and actresses. Both of these movies have won many awards, made a lot of money, and supposedly have done a lot to continue the fight for gay rights by presenting positive portrayals of GLBT folks. 

And, yet, the gay community is pissed because the actors are actually straight. I can see the point. Were there no gay guys who could play cowboys? Were there no lesbians who could play moms? It's not that they don't exist, so what's the reason? I've met plenty of gay guys who were more masculine, more muscular, more athletic, and more all-around the stereotypical All-American Guy than any straight guy. They're out there. So...what's the ish? 

Some say it's a comfort thing. It's ok to watch the gay movie if you know the actor is straight. Or, it's a talent thing. The actor can convincingly play gay, so he or she can add that to his or her repertoire and pick up an Academy Award while they're at it. 

What do you think? Does Gay for Pay bother you? Does this say something about stereotyping, or is it a bunch of prudish queens getting up in arms over nothing? I'd love to hear your comments, Rioters!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

8 comments:

  1. Ok, I'm new to your blog, but have to say I love it!!
    I am bi-sexual...I know for some that doesn't count, but whatever. On this topic though I was thinking back on shows that I have seen and "The L Word" was the one I can remember watching and being a bit bummed, for lack of a better word, when I found out that Shane wasn't a lesbian in real life. Because dang, that girl is hot!! But I digress. It just took something away from the fantasy.
    And on the other hand, like in Brokeback Mountain it bothered me as well because throughout the movie all I kept thinking was, well their straight so it isn't the same. I loved that movie, but I think if it had been actual gay men playing the roles I would have loved it even more because that distracting thought wouldn't have been going through my head the whole time.

    That's just my two cents worth. Love the topic and your blog!!

    Many smiles and blessings!!

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  2. I'm one of those who find it hot >.<
    Also money is money, right?

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  3. Wow, I had no idea straight dudes did that. I don't really have an opinion beyond surprise, doesn't effect me that much =p

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  4. Acting is acting. Will people start attacking TV murderers and rapist because they act so realistically that they scare the crap out of them? When I see a character I focus on the role they are playing (so much that I never know the real names of the actors--sad, I know).

    Call me eclectic, but I find sexy things hot, regardless of the gender of those getting on ;-D

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  5. I have two opinions... 1 porn 2 not porn(movies/TV shows)

    1 Porn... who cares? Its porn, the audience doesn't really care if the guy is gay or not its about fantasy, kind of like I bet most of the women who do lesbian scenes are not really lesbian identified. I say hey they pay more for gay scenes that's awesome! And if guys are willing to go straight and gay scenes well more power to them for bridging the gap between straight men and gay men and just being a man no orientation listed. However, this assumes that gay men in the industry are also allowed to do both types of scenes. I don't think it should matter the orientation, its acting, fantasy, and your orientation shouldn't matter when considering someone for a scene.

    2 TV and movies...
    well... Sometimes I feel like to overcome the taboo of prominent gay characters well know and well loved straight actors and actresses are used just to make sure the movie doesn't get pushed to the side. This serves to get positive images of gay and lesbian identified people out there but also doesn't give jobs to gay and lesbian actors. What I would hope is that now that there are been a few BIG name movies out there that in a way the taboo has been broken and more characters played by gay and lesbian actors will be used. But in the end I don't think the orientation of the actor should matter. I think we are closer to that in porn but have a ways to go in movies and TV

    if that made sense....

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  6. porn is so individual. if i watched male on male G4P, I would find the perceived dissonance situationally rather compelling. on the other hand, finding real lesbian porn by and for lesbians is frustratingly elusive in a world where straight male fantasies of lesbians determine the vast majority of what gets made. I'm not sure about male gay for pay actors, but the straight ladies in lesbian porn don't seem to know what on earth they are doing most of the time.

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