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K and Racheee already said what I was going to say, but I'll go ahead and be repetitive. David Halperin is a very important scholar, and his class sounds like it is designed to interrogate the very ideas that that editor is tossing around in her e-mail. I have no interest in reading the kind of uninformed, marginalizing article that that editor seems to want, and I'm glad (though not surprised) that you have no interest in writing it.


I love you because not only are you pretty and fluffy, you're so, so, smart.

Thatnk you for once again saying what needs to be said in a way that is accessible to the masses.

Love and Rainbow Brite,


A black
A gay


Miss Lisa

There was a sitcom that had a straight man meeting a gay man and saying, I know a gay guy in Chicago: Bob. You know each other? And the gay man says, Oh yeah, Gay Bob from Chicago. Yeah, I know him.

That email reminded me of that scene.


I really loved this post. It reminded me so much of own experience. I moved to New York five years ago for school. Often I would get girls saying things like "you're gay! awesome! WE should go shopping!". Mind you, I do not like to shop or relatively no nothing about fashion. And while these girls did not mean badly, it is insulting. I felt like these were just girls who wanted to be the girls from Sex and The City, and a gay man was just another accessory to them. Anyway. I can't say it as well as you did. But thank you for putting it out there.


I just love the fact that I've changed William Sledd's life by being on YouTube and I've never heard of him until I read this post.

This post, by the way, reminds me so much of a gay lit class I had before I graduated from UNC. I can assure you, Rich, that the class was not about Carson Kressley/Sledd types.

Douglas Porter



Truly great post, articulate and interesting.


In advance, I don't mean any of this to be bitchy. I appreciate that a blog post even made me think. That said, I found myself disagreeing with a number of things.

I was all there with you until <>: William Sledd is a minstrel and Chris Crocker is articulate? Sure, Sledd might embody a stereotype and revel in it, but how is that a bad thing? Sure he's shameless in his own self-promotion, and he's a total supernelly, but I've always thought William Sledd owned up to that. Chris Crocker was too busy allowing himself to be mocked and failing to contribute to the dialogue.

In terms of the class, I think the title was meant to provoke, so I doubt it's a semantics issue so much as a perception issue.

Lastly, while I've always been opposed to Queer Eye, is that much else on Bravo really minstrelsy? And by promoting one show, are you really supporting the entire programming slate? I mean, I love The Simpsons, but I hate Bill O'Reilly. Fox owns them both. Why pick on Bravo based on one former program and one that you're aggravated about in advance?

And all of this is my long way of saying: bring back the Project Runway posts!

joe-back mountain

I find it fascinating how it is ok to be one type of "gay". As if all gay men are this big interchangeable lego man. I think there isn't a way to do that logically. Rich you and I are both gay, but that is possibly were the similarities end, or possibly continue. This random assortment of facts and figures that make up our lives is what is so special. It is super offensive to be the expert on what ever statistical group you are in just because you are a member. You handled yourself brilliantly.


I love you. I, literally, check this site everyday. It's not even in my bookmarks, it's in my toolbar. That's how important it is. I check my email, my Flickr,, then you. Even if you haven't updated, I find myself just staring at the screen or finding older things to read. That's all.

(my lame blog)


I agree with you and the commenters who say this is a great post. I appreciate the way your right on point of view comes through in all the important topics you write about -- homophobia, music, tv shows, relationships with pets, etc.


You're exactly right about this:

I don't think that she was calling on a gay man for an insider's perspective, per se. I think it more has to do with finding someone that could pigeon-hole his brothers on behalf of a publication and then take all responsibility away from said publication because: HA! He can't be homophobic; he's gay!

That's so offensive. Although, I'm almost equally offended by the stupid email she sent you. There's absolutely nothing professional about it.

Who's William Sledd? I've never heard of him. I don't think Bravo and Project Runway are minstrel like - the new season showcased gay people with all sorts of personalities and has treated everyone equal, as far as I can see. Is there something specific on Bravo you find offensive? I don't want to support something offensive, but I just don't see it. I think Miss J on America's Next Top Model is more of a minstrel figure than anyone on Bravo that I've seen.


Not to join the jack-off-train too much, but honestly Rich you are one of the most clever, insightful writers online and I wish you'd write posts like this more often. I understand that your blog focuses on pop culture (and I LOVE it and you for that), but when you talk about serious topics like this one, you show how much more to your talents there is beyond animated gifs. Thanks.


Ha -- I just stumbled you and I wasn't the first one! That makes me happy! Rich, I adore you. I rarely comment but I just wanted to say how happy I am that you blog!!!!


I'm so glad that you posted about this. I've often commented on my blog about how I think Kathy Griffin is hilarious, but I hate how she always refers to "her gays." I've always found that so demeaning, but I could never verbalize exactly why.

Eloquently put. Hope you don't mind if I make a link to this entry on my blog.


this was amazingly well-written. thanks for sharing your insights, you rule!


Rich, You are brilliant and funny and original. And this post kicks serious ass. The Advocate should hire you as a regular columnist NOW. They need voices like yours.



I go to U of M. I returned last year to finish two undergrad degrees I started. Anyway, the most controversial thing about this course is probably the title. The professor, obviously, has acknowledged the sensational nature of the title. Last year, a writer for the student newspaper, the Michigan Daily, wrote an article reflecting on his experience in the course (

I enjoyed your post today. It is very insightful. Also, it's interesting how it can be both simultaneously easy and quite difficult to write about something that is near and dear to one, and which you've ruminated on. My freshman year at U of M, I took a Latino Studies course. Nearly everyone in the course self-identified as a latino. Halperin's course is not an ethnic studies course, per say. Though the class reminds me why such a course would appeal to students. Students, at least some within the large student body, are looking to find themselves (I know, it's cliche). This class has been around for a few years already too. It's not new. But, what surprises me is that the title, at the very least, gets people thinking. Granted, their thinking may reveal some superficial thoughts...but, I think, they are thinking.

Well, I am all done rambling.
Thanks for your post, Rich.


I appreciated this very much.

Thanks! :)


Well good for you! Even apart from the gay stereotyping, she came across as being very arrogant and condescending. Whether she meant to or not, it came out that way. Good for you!


Well done. Glad you kept editorial control and posted your thoughts here instead of for the editor. As a huge admirer of your unique, distinct writers voice, I was further offended that she would not want to pay you to write your thoughts on the course more or less carte blanche in your own style. If paying editors do not know your work (beyond a label) and talent they don't deserve you.


Just out of curiosity, have you actually read the course description of the UM class? I did, and it doesn't seem nearly as reductionist or one-dimensional as you make it out to be.

Here is an excerpt from the course description:

"This course will examine the general topic of the role that initiation plays in the formation of gay male identity. We will approach it from three angles: (1) as a sub-cultural practice — subtle, complex, and difficult to theorize — which a small but significant body of work in queer studies has begun to explore; (2) as a theme in gay male writing; and (3) as a class project, since the course itself will constitute an experiment in the very process of initiation that it hopes to understand."

You can read the full course description here:

That does not read to me like it is trying to reduce all gay men to being one thing. Except that the one thing that almost all gay men have in common is that at some point they were "initiated"--either sexually, culturally, or politically. I believe thinking critically about the rituals of initiation, and people's particular experiences of similarity and difference during this process, is something that would benefit many of us. Not just gay men.

I totally think you did the right thing by turning down that assignment--it's asinine and beneath you. But I wonder if you should throw Halperin's class-as-baby out with the bathwater.


I just wanted to comment that, in my opinion, the only characteristics that separate gay men as a group from straight men as a group is their sexual orientation. Any other characteristic you can name probably exists in sufficiently equal numbers in both groups. That may have been the editor's point of view, communicated inartfully. Yes, you are more than just your sexuality and yes our sexuality is a big part of who we are. But all of the other unique traits that make up who you are also found in straight men -- and in women. So... I'm not sure what's wrong with suggesting that the only quality that "makes you gay" is the actually being gay part.

Queen Lena

"He speaks so well!!"

I know that was actually about black people (from one of Chris Rock's comedy shows), but for some reason, it's the first thing I thought of when I finished reading this.

That editor was way out of line, and it was totally classy of you not to reveal her identity.

Like always, eloquent and insightful. You are the love of my internets life.


Thank you so much for this post. Things like this need to be said. I have only a few friends that know my true sexuality and only 4 of them treat it as a secondary if not tertiary trait, they never bring it up. I do have a few friends that I feel I need to put on a show around them in order to fit that stereotype or quota. Half the time I do it just to see their reaction, but afterwards I feel disgusted. It's nice to hear reaffirmation that that the most important aspect of being gay and accepting it is that we are being ourselves, first and foremost. It seems that once we get past that one step, a lot of us tend to try and "act the part". I have so much respect for you after reading this post. Although you got my respect quite a while ago based on your love for early 90' R&B!! take care!

much love


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