“One of Us?” Not As Much…On Fatboy Slim’s Queer Behavior

“The most ironic thing is that most of what we do was invented by black, gay Americans in the first place.”

– Fatboy Slim, on EDM / House Music

Fatboy Slim: Queer…or Just European?

Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) is not one to dither around or dilly-dally when it comes to sonic expansiveness and creative perception. While serving as producer, writer or DJ, Fatboy “Jack-of-All-Genres” Slim happily bounces from genre to genre to suit each new mood, project or opportunity. His range of landscapes at-play include Independent Pop, British Hip Hop and House, Big Beat and Dance music, naturally.

Born Quentin Cook, this UK underground boy gone massive came from punk rock beginnings and scruffy indie aesthetics before heading away to college in Brighton, then segueing into club and DJ culture.

Cook enjoyed a brief stint as the bassist for UK alt-pop outfit The Housemartins and experienced his first dash of fame during the band’s “Happy Hour” phase. Soon enough, Cook worked his way back to clubbing and DJ’ing, finally gaining a critical mass of attention and fans with his production and mashup skills, and eventually coming into his own with the fame and success of the hypnotic tracks “Praise You” and “The Rockafeller Skank.”

Some lads hear it more than others, but the “Is He Gay or Just European?” trope prevails in a culture where a metrosexual is a term the British media coined to describe a distinctly European look, sensibility and sexual fluidity (often but not always attached to disposable income and class). Such themes include but are not limited to: effeminate fashion, unisex/asexual presentation and (ahem) sexual experimentation or fluidity. The fact that all metrosexual men are “straight” is of course hogwash. Too–more and more, youth culture refuses to “pick a team” or define themselves by any label whatsoever.

So now, we have the news that Fatboy Slim is a regular Pride entertainer, a staunch LGBTQ advocate, and has ‘experimented with’ men sexually.

If you’d hear it from Cook himself, it’s N.B.D., but perhaps of some interest: back in 2004, Fatboy Slim told the press, “Well, everyone’s had one try-out experience, haven’t they?”

On his relationship with wife Zoe Bell, Fatboy Slim went on, “Me and Zoe have always been convinced [our son is] gay anyway.”

The fact that such goings on were mostly laughed off and minimized typifies the sexual fluidity that is our shared human experience. In less of a “bi-chic” moment and more of a “yeah, that happened” moment, Cook’s language wasn’t quite politically correct but his sentiment speaks to a nonchalance that reveals how natural and fluid sexuality is.

Is this something we can or should ignore?

Being that Fatboy Slim’s son’s still of a tender age, Cook may be keeping laser-point specifics of his son’s life private and deflecting the concept of queering personal life or relationships. However last year, Cook told Pink News UK his that supporting equal marriage is a ‘no brainer’ and revealed, “I talk about the issue with my son.”

Cook, who’s done much education and advocacy work for local young artists in his hometown, once performed at the Terrace Bar of the House of Commons to support even more community-based music initiatives for youth. By having done so, could he be, however subconsciously, helping to open the minds of UK lawmakers to queer culture, sexually fluid living and LGBTQ art and iconography?

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, are Fatboy Slim’s remarks about his own ‘sexual experimentation’ dismissive…or “normal?”

In essence, you cannot un-queer yourself, culturally or sexually. What’s definitive here is that Cook is decidedly an ally. And for the time being, the rest is none of our “B.I.-IZ-NESS.”

Have a nosh on the concept while you nod your head to Fatboy Slim’s video, “Weapon of Choice” feat. Christopher Walken.  (Yes, Hunty’s: come back and share your thoughts with us after the jump-off.)

 

 

Et Tu, LGBTQ? | Gays Don’t Want to Get Gay-Married

“Men have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the altar – whether they’re straight or gay. Marital data obtained by The Post show a stark, 3-to-2 ratio of lesbian marriages, compared to all-male unions. Can we finally stop pretending that gay men are interested in getting ‘married?’”

– Joe Carter, FirstThings.com

Psst… Opinions Come In All The Colors of the Rainbow

Feelgood marriage equality campaigns make front page news. When it comes to marriage equality, dissent and debate on the subject “doesn’t bleed, therefore it doesn’t lead.”

Emotional appeals, petitions and yummy flash mobs are changing the tides, and they do bring with them a healthy amount of influence. Recent and continued marriage equality victories around the world (http://gayagenda.com/?s=marriage) are a testament to the fact that people are paying attention and spreading the word about freedom for everyone to marry. This translates to success in legislative arenas.

With each new court victory, aftershocks move from one blogger, activist and journalist to another—from one dissenting voice in this or that bar, library, or LGBT center and back again. It sounds like this: “We’re pressured to be good little gays or assimilationist queers, and to fit in. I don’t give a toss about fitting in. You can take your marriage rights and shove ’em!”

You don’t have to go too far to find all any “hell-no’ers.” Just turn your head to the side, away from the press, and voila!

Is it just men who don’t want to hook up…with one person…legally…for life?

Anecdotal evidence could tell you otherwise—check in with your women friends and have a good, long listen. Let’s not talk about the “sanctity of hetero marriage” viewpoint today. But since those dissenters exist (and hold political power), many LGBTQ folks who are politically active or vehemently anti-marriage will align with them—even if those fellow dissenters are anti-gay—so long as they’re against gay marriage in particular. (See” Gay Marriage Agenda” arguments at http://queerkidssaynomarriage.wordpress.com.)

When you think about the concept of “gay marriage,” it can feel confusing. We don’t say “hetero marriage” or “wo/man marriage.” The words “gay marriage” channel utterances of otherness between the syllables. (Like, “Look at this cute kitty marriage on YouTube!” ”Look Honey, it’s the Gays and the Gay Marriage thing on TV!”)

Too, the phrase by nature excludes LBTQ…and IA from the discussion (and other more inclusive acronyms and letters as they evolve, deserving upgraded legal protections as well). Allies are often though not always queer and questioning, and not just straight-identified. Queer culture is fluid like that. The words “gay marriage” can sound like something that needs to be tracked for stats’ sake. The phrase sounds “like an issue: gay marriage, teen pregnancy, drug addiction.”

Here’s the thing—gay marriage is still an issue. When holding hands in public or private space means risking your life, safety or livelihood, that’s a serious issue. When access into hospital rooms to see a hubby or wifey of 10 years (or a month, a year) is denied, what would that be, if not an issue?

The wording is telling: politically in terms of entitlement, agency, money, class (and other bonuses,), it is said that “gay men get the goodies first,” and the rest trickles on over to the other letters in the LGBTQI alphabet. Why, for instance, isn’t marriage equality called “queer marriage” or “LGBTQIA marriage?” “Trans marriage equality” as another concept that’s a tangential, cut-and-paste amalgam of legal and relational ideas still being hammered out.

As for getting goodies first, enjoying the first bits of crumbs when the expectation and norm is the whole damned pie, it’s a “faux privileged” state of affairs, anyhow. This isn’t the space for vilifying gay men by any means, even if they have no interest in sharing spectral space and rights.

The word gay is often interchangeably used in the place of LGBTQIA when we discuss everything from culturality to entertainment, still, the shortcut seems to add “suffer it to be so now” elements to activism work that can’t make good progress if it’s mired in gradualism.

Complicated, no doubt.

The pomp and romance wedding circumstance is something we need to love up on and appreciate. What’s life without love? Weddings are a gorgeous metaphor. Queer folks deserve that option. When the legal equality honeymoon ends and ends again state-by-state, we need to continue to do the work of commitment and marriage to the entire community.

These LGBTQ folks aren’t so keen on everybody getting “gay-married up.” Here are 11 different ways to think about things. Folks are saying:

1) No wedding, thanks: “We just wanna f*ck.” – http://www.vice.com/read/dont-celebrate-the-gay-marriage-victory-with-a-wedding-of-your-own

2) “Just because I’m not married doesn’t mean I have to be gay. Or that I should get married. Even if I am gay. Or…lesbian. Whatever. None of your business. Shut up!” (Anonymous anecdotal pull quote)

3) “Why can’t they take the opportunity to add trans rights into the experience? If I’m transitioning and not the supposed correct legal gender, or if I choose to marry a woman or a man, I should have legal protection for that.” (Anonymous anecdotal pull quote)

4) Poly people can be queer and committed too. Duh! (Anonymous anecdotal pull quote)

5) I just “don’t want to get gay married.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-wallace/why-i-dont-want-to-get-gay-married_b_1544781.html

6) “Hi, I live in Europe.” Non, merci: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/most-homosexuals-dont-want-to-marry-or-adopt-french-homosexual-leader-admit/

7) “Marriage is dumb. They just want your LGBT money, Honey.” https://creatingclare.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/silly-gay-people-dont-you-know-marriage-is-for-dummies.

Somebody wrote a song about –wanna hear it? Here it comes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQh5G8mOiSA

8) “Congratulations, you’re boring now:” http://nogaymarriage.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/congratulations-new-york

9) “Equality” isn’t enough. “Gay marriage apes hetero privilege.” http://www.againstequality.org/about/marriage

10) “We’re going to be rejected anyway, no matter what we do, so what’s the use of fighting for it?” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/02/26/gays-who-dont-want-gay-marriage.html

11) You can “find your way,” and stay committed – it doesn’t have to be “conventional.” http://jezebel.com/5328896/nro-valentino-proves-people-dont-want-gay-marriage

Marry Gay? N-F-Way.

If you want to surf the #MarryGayNFWay train, you’ll find many bloggers out there to help you make that happen– many of whom bring to light salient points, and stats upon stats of support. Begin your journey at Gays Against Gay Marriage.(http://nogaymarriage.wordpress.com). Wear protective gear.

This writer believes in love. You can call it what you want, but you’d better get it while the getting is good.

And you? Do you get it?

I’m Not Sure…Am I Gay? – Coming Out Q & A

Burst down those closet doors once and for all, and stand up and start to fight.

– Harvey Milk

“I’m not sure…am I gay?”

Young men and boys commonly ask this question during the coming out process. They might say it differently, and they may not have begun the process yet. If the question “Am I gay?” is pressing on someone’s heart, he’s probably going through the process.

Shorthand for “coming out of the closet,” coming out could mean, more accurately, coming out of confusion.” This connotation removes possible stigma or blame.

 “Be fearless / be honest / be generous / be brave /

be poetic / be open / be free / be yourself / be in love /

be happy / be inspiration.”  –

– Beyonce, writing words for Frank Ocean

“So am I gay, or what?” If this question remains or someone asks you to “evaluate them” with this question, there’s no definitive, easy answer. Just breathe, take a step back, and think about—or pass along—some of these ideas:

1) Empower Him to Find His Own Answers. – Possible feedback: “I can’t answer that for you. This is a question only you can answer. I can support you in your stages of learning, discovery, research, and even play (try to refrain from saying things like ‘experimentation.’ He is not a science project.). But this is your hero’s journey.”

2) You Don’t Have to Lose your Religion. You aren’t coming out to God or your Higher Power. Spirit already knows you. There are several gay-inclusive churches and organizations happy to support and encourage you.

3) Discourage Binary Thinking. Free him up from binary thought. Kids grow up in an overpoweringly heterosexual-defined world, yet heterosexuality is as much of a social construct as the next idea. The best kept open secret in the world is that heterosexual-identified people are also fluid, as sexuality Is fluid (see: Kinsey Reports). Make sure he knows that.

4) Respect Boundaries. Keep it real: if you find yourself attracted to someone who’s newly queer or questioning, first consider his age. If there’s a huge imbalance and/or he’s a minor, please do both of yourselves a favor: don’t take advantage of his twice-vulnerable state (one due to age/inexperience, two due to his sexual uncertainty). The mentor / mentee sex narrative is a common coming of age story—that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate. He needs friends and support, not just sex. If you find you have conflicted interests and he’s not of age, telling him you’re into him also further confuses matters. Even if the attraction is mutual, be smart and be fair.

5) “I’m A Trans Guy Who Likes Girls, Period.” Of especial note, questioning sexuality is often a second or third lap around questions that come up for transgender guys who may become fascinated by images of men as they’re creating the life they want to lead. They’re looking for affirming images, like-minded peers, role models and allies, and checking out pictures of men for medical [surgery, anatomy], social [presenting as “male”], empowering and of course arousal reasons [how to please self and others, for pleasure’s sake, curiosity]).

If he says he’s attracted to women, he thinks he is, or he flip-flop, that’s his prerogative and right. Keep snarky “Yeah right whatever, you’re gay” comments and feelings to yourself. You might encourage him to talk to or discover more about other trans guys (depending, some guys might fixate on cis-gender guys only during this time).  If you’re really a true friend or ally, don’t get into the eye-rolling. That helps no one.

6) He May Realize He’s Straight. You may crack jokes about straight folks. Try to tone those down around him, especially if he’s just a kid. What if it turns out he’s “coming out straight,” or he’s just not ready? There are many people who’ve never been in doubt about their sexuality, or heterosexuality. If he’s not in that “majority,” or he’s a bit more passive with girls or women, that doesn’t make him automatically gay. This could take him a while to realize.

7) “Have You Ever Thought About Getting Help?” Even if you’re helping him, guys can be notorious for refusing help, asking for it in a roundabout ways, or not seeking out support or counseling. Share resources and if necessary, walk with him as he researches, explores, visits LGBT centers, picks up “coming out newbie” brochures, etc.

8) For Teenagers, For Young Boys Puberty can really suck. Boys are still figuring out how hormones make them feel, bodies change, crushes unfold. Peer “pressure” and bullying is a minefield that’s so difficult to get through. His anti-gay friends, family or elders might see you as trying to “recruit or convert him” rather than as a sounding board. This makes finding professional allies, especially if he’s underage, extra important. You might need some backup.

9) Keeping Secrets You can keep his journey between the two of you without making him think coming out is a dirty little secret. Help him understand the difference between confidentiality or privacy and shame-filled secrecy.

10) “Are You Using?” He might feel insulted: however, if in the context of “because I really care,” check in to see if he’s using/abusing drugs, if he’s having risky or unsafe sex (with men and/or women), or if he’s acting out in other erratic ways. Help him find support around balancing out all aspects of his life, including but not limited to sexual and other gratification.

11) Gender Expression: “Is There Something Wrong With Me?” He doesn’t have to present as butch, or he might feel so in his heart. He doesn’t have to present as fem, he might be genderqueer, and so on. If he’s trans, there’s nothing wrong with the desire to be stealth (presenting in a certain gender-centric way without immediately telling people he’s trans). Remind him he’s free to explore these ideas. Ask him about preferred terms (he may prefer to call himself “same gender loving” rather than “queer or gay,” etc.).

“Is There Something Wrong With Me?”

“We have to show ’em there’s nothing to be afraid of. If we don’t get over our fears, they never will.”

– Lisi Harrison, from Monster High

12) Undeclared. This life can be like having an undeclared major in school: he never has to come to any conclusions about himself. Remove all expectations: love and accept him for the person he is. It will make such a positive difference in his life and in yours.

13) Re-frame “Normal.” Nature has always made room for gay and lesbian or variant gender expression in all species, of which we are but one.  We may not all understand why this way of being exists, but according to “Gaia,” nature considers a multiplicity of sexual and gender expressions to be normal.

To that end, watch out for so-called “normal” language like “That’s so gay, gaylord, butt-hurt, calling lesbians Klondikes, saying tranny or freak,” etc. Whatever side you’re on surrounding such humor, things are different when you’re learning how to walk before you run. This kind of language is common, but isn’t necessarily normal. He might not see reclaiming the word “fag” as empowering.

14) “How do I know for sure?” The answer “You just know” isn’t entirely correct. It would be more accurate to answer, “Whatever way of sexual expression and identity gives you the most pleasure (sexually and otherwise), whatever predominates,” these are good indicators. If comfortable enough, you can use your own experience as an example.

15) Pride In the Name of Love Share with him what “pride” means to you. Parades aren’t required for all gays to attend, or he may not be able to attend one for logistics reasons, but explain to him why we celebrate Pride, and how activism has influenced and affected gay culture over time.

16) Gay Role Models Help him learn about LGBTQIA role models—and gay role models in particular. If he’s also a person of color, help him to discover role models that mirror his nationality, ethnicity, background, etc. Share with him stories of people who’ve come out later in life (different age, same process!). Sexual orientation and gender haven’t stood in the way of well-known kings and queens, artists, designers, athletes, philosophers, scientists, writers entertainers and others throughout history. It shouldn’t stand in the way of his progress either. Coming out and thriving-as-out stories are important—and these shouldn’t all be rich and famous people’s narratives. That adds the extra pressure of having to be famous or wealthy in order to get “special treatment,” which is a myth.

 “‘Faggot, faggot…’ Do you hate him ’cause he’s pieces of you?”

                                    – Jewel

17) Outing, Safety Issues Outing is not the same as coming out. Being outed in inopportune ways can cause safety, social or financial challenges. Best and worst case scenarios are important to discuss. Don’t push him out, as the most important person he needs to come out to is himself. Depending on where he lives and his age, coming out might be physically unsafe for him at present, but you can help him to prepare. Unfortunately, there is also the possibility of someone outing him without permission, or falsely accusing him of something he hasn’t even stated or realized yet. Help him to have plans and solutions prepared as much as you can, realistically.

18) “I’m Not the Right Person to Ask.” Sharing these words honestly is also helpful. You can still direct him to many other people or resources who can support him with his questions and concerns. Let him know you respect him and it’s got nothing to do with him (sharing helpful resources reinforces this truth for you.)

19) “How Long Have You Been Gay?” And Other Leading Questions. In short, don’t ask things like that. Don’t try not to lead the conversation. This is his deal, not yours.

 “Being gay is not living any type of lifestyle (at least not for me).

It simply pertains to my sexual orientation.

I am sexually attracted to guys. That’s it. It’s life, not a lifestyle!”

– Scott Penziner

20) “Things Are So Much Easier These Days.” No, they’re not. Don’t belittle his experience by equating your pain with his. Everyone needs a support net, almost everyone has a rejection and/or bullying story, and this life is his to live. Be present with him rather than disowning him or silencing his voice.

21) Celebrate! Debutantes have coming out parties, why can’t we? Remember to praise him for his courage and self-love. He’s brave enough to ask these questions and cares enough to make this his quest. You don’t have to whip out the glow sticks or anything (unless you want to?), but remember, this is all about finding joy and holding onto it.

You can find some starter resources below.

Book Recommendations

Now That You Know by Betty Fairchild & Robert Leighton

Beyond Acceptance by Carolyn Welch Griffin, Marina J. Wirth & Arthur G. Wirth

Websites

LGBTQ Inclusive Religions http://gaylife.about.com/od/religion/a/gaychurch.htm

Coming Out As Intersex  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2013/06/12/op-ed-intersex-final-coming-out-frontier

Family of Choice Holiday Support http://www.yourholidaymom.com

Coming Out Bi http://www.biresource.net/comingoutasbi.shtml

Coming Out As A Straight Supporter  http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/straight-guide-to-lgbt-americans

National Coming Out Day http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/national-coming-out-day

Safe Space Network List http://safespacenetwork.tumblr.com/post/23388828318/the-safe-space-network-tumblr-list

PFLAG Coming Out Help http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=539

Resources for LGBT People of Color http://guides.ucsf.edu/content.php?pid=211162&sid=2009927

HRC / Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Coming Out Resources – http://www.hrc.org/resources/category/coming-out

E. Lynn Harris wrote, “My heart knows who I am and who I’ll turn out to be!”  Isn’t following your heart rule number one in everything?