Γυρνούσαμε πάντα σαν οι πιο αχώριστοι φίλοι, μα τα βράδια, όταν μας δινόταν η ευκαιρία να κοιμηθούμε σε ίδιο κρεβάτι, συνήθως εκτός στρατού, τότε γινόμασταν οι καλοί παλιοί εραστές. Αγκαλιάζαμε τα νεαρά μας σώματα με τους τρόπους που είχαμε μάθει από μικροί στο χειμωνιάτικο Σουφλί και παραδινόμασταν στην ηδονή μας. Μέσα στη νύχτα αφήναμε τις ψυχές μας να συναντηθούν με πάθος. Ήμασταν δυο άνδρες ωραίοι και ζούσαμε τις ευαισθησίες μας. Μόνο μέσα στα σκοτάδια. Μόνο εκεί μπορούσαμε να ήμαστε αληθινά ελεύθεροι. Μάθαμε να περιορίζουμε τις ματιές και να μην προδίδουμε τα αμοιβαία αισθήματα μας. Μάθαμε για τις λέξεις «πούστης», «κολομπαράς» και «αδερφάρα», πότε, πού και για ποιον χρησιμοποιούνται και σαν ορολογίες, αλλά και σαν βρισιές. Προσπαθούσαμε, όμως, τέτοιες λέξεις να μην ακουμπάνε τις καρδιές μας, εφόσον δε μας προσδιόριζαν. Εμείς ούτε κουνιόμασταν, ούτε πουστρεύαμε. Για μας ήταν μια σχέση υπέροχη, υπεράνω της λογικής των άλλων και έτσι τη ζούσαμε, στα κρυφά, στα σκοτεινά, μα πάνω απ’ όλα αλήθινά. Δεν την ονομάσαμε ποτέ μας και ίσως γι’ αυτό δεν ταίριαζε με άλλες σχέσεις που γνωρίζαμε. Ήταν μια σχέση αβάφτιστη, μα ήταν όλο το είναι μας.
(…) Μέσα στη νύχτα ξυπνήσαμε πολλές φορές, γιατί η θέρμη κι η ανάγκη του άλλου μας έφερνε πιο κοντά και η γύμνια των κορμιών μάς ερέθιζε διαρκώς. Κάτω από το μαύρο πλατύ ουρανό, με τα τρέμουλα άστρα για στολίδι, βρέθηκα πάνω στο σώμα του που έκαιγε και έτρεμε να μου δοθεί ολοκληρωτικά. Μπήκα με σεβασμό και ευλάβεια μέσα του και χάθηκα στην εξουσία που μουέδινε το πάθος. Έλιωνε μέσα στην αγκαλιά μου σαν να ήτανε η πρώτη νιφάδα χιονιού που έπεφτε στην ανοιχτή παλάμη μου. Λίγο αργότερα με έπαιρνε στα δυνατά χέρια του για να με κάνει δικό του με το ίδιο τρέμουλο και μια αισθητή λαχτάρα μη σπάσω και πονέσαω στα δάχτυλα, στους μυς και στοςυ χτύπους της καρδιάς του. Με αγάπησε, τον αγάπησα με όλη την ευαισθησία. Ο κατακτητής ήταν ταυτόχρονα και πορθημένος. Ο κύκλος του έρωτα ολοκληρώθηκε.
(…) Ό,τι πολυτιμότερο είχα βρει στη ζωή μου αποκοιμήθηκε γλυκά στην αγκαλιά μου. Τον χάζεψα ώρες, καθώς παραδομένος επάνω μου απολάμβανε τη ζεστασιά μου. Δεν έκλεισα μάτι. Τον πρόσεχα, τον χάιδευα στα μαύρα μαλλιά, που είχανε επιτέλους μακρύνει μετά το τελευταίο κούρεμα στο στρατό και τον φιλούσα απαλά. Δεν ξέρω ακριβώς τι γινότανε εκείνο το βράδυ, αλλά δεν αισθανόμουνα κούραση. Ήμουν δυνατός, έπαιρνα συνέχεια ενέργεια από την απαλή, καυτή αφή του σώματός του. Είχα μια παράξενη όρεξη να τον κοιτώ και να τον φυλάω, λες και ήμουν εγώ ο άγγελος-φύλακας και ξαγρυπνούσα μέσα στη νύχτα. Χαϊδεύοντάς τον έκανα όνειρα και σχέδια για ένα μέλλον μακρινό, ευτυχισμένο. Αυτός, εγώ και η Γερμανία. Το μυαλό μου έτρεχε με χίλια πάνω στις κοιλάδες που είχανε πια πρασινίσει και η πλάση μοσχομύριζε λουλούδια. . . Σεβαστός Σαμψούνης: Η επικίνδυνη συνήθεια να αισθάνομαι (Β. Κυριακίδης, 2005)
'Rainbow Imperialism' conflicts with concept of 'don't ask, don't tell'
By THOMASINA LARKIN
. At first glance, homosexual life in Japan can seem quite repressed. Public displays of affection are next to nil, gay Japanese men often live secret lives and it's hard to notice a gay presence at all unless by venturing into Tokyo's "gayborhood," Shinjuku Ni-Chome. But by taking a deeper look past the surface of society and crossing the linguistic barriers that surround the word "gay," the system in Japan often provides a more relaxed environment for men who sleep with men. To many, "gay" evokes images of homosexual men out twirling their rainbow flags and proudly expressing themselves with an "I'm here and I'm queer" attitude. Brought up with this stereotypical understanding of gay life, some foreigners think Japanese men who live in a hushed gay culture should liberate themselves through similar actions. "My term for that is 'Rainbow Flag Imperialism,' " says Greg Dvorak, an American PhD candidate at the Gender Relations Centre of the Australian National University (ANU) and a visiting research fellow at Tokyo University. "It's like its own form of colonization. The word 'gay' in English carries a lot more baggage than we think it does. It includes some people but it excludes others. "There are many men who if you ask if they're gay, they may say no. But if you ask if they've had sex with men or desire men, they may say yes." Being "gay" in Japan has totally different parameters than what has become accepted in mainstream Western cultures. The word itself was imported after World War II ended, when American soldiers scoured the streets in search for sexual relations with either Japanese women or men. Shortly after, one of the first gay bars opened in Shinjuku. Today, over 200 gay bars are crammed into a maze of streets in Shinjuku Ni-Chome, each catering to a very specific clientele such as "debu-sen" (those who seek fat men), "fuke-sen" (men who love older men) and "gai-sen" ('gaijin' chasers). Japan has enjoyed a history of open sexuality dating back to the Heian period when samurai and Buddhist monks practiced sex with young male pages. In more recent days, saunas provide meeting places for gay men. Straight men, as in most of Asia, touch each other affectionately as friends. And Japanese men don't have any qualms about calling another guy cute. But as would probably be done in the West, none of this is has been stigmatized or labeled as "gay" or "queer" or "homo." "People don't come out in Japan, they come in," says Dvorak. "The tendency is to find your own space. You don't need to come out to your parents or boss, it's not about how exposed you can be. It's about coming in, like joining a club. You find your own niche. That's what mainstream Japan is like with sexuality." Unlike Western societies, where people are urged to talk about everything, Japan has an unwritten law of "don't ask, don't tell," where much is left unsaid as a form of respect and politeness to eliminate many embarrassing or potentially dangerous predicaments. "At home, I've felt very threatened in some situations where if I said I was gay I might lose my life," says Jonah from America. "Gay bashing doesn't happen here. Gay life here is much more comfortable because being in a non-gay environment is much less threatening." Another notable disadvantage of the vibrant and open gay scene in other countries is that it can foster pretentious attitudes within queer communities. "At bars in the States, guys sit around with these looks on their faces like they're too pretty to be approached," says Jonah. This rarely, if ever, happens in Japan, he says. Gays abroad may feel they have to fit into a perfect pretty mold that has been created by society. As long as they are interior designers, good cooks, witty and stylish, they are accepted into the mainstream. Those are the types represented on TV and in the media. A fat gay South American making breakfast in bed for his lover isn't likely to get much airtime. "It's a pre-packaged vision of marriage that looks like heterosexuality. That's repression. People who don't fit that model can't find themselves in that. The people who made this rainbow flag kind of world didn't make space for Asians," says Dvorak. "This liberation idea is very important, the need to be visible and appreciated. But globalization is only taking one particular brand of gayness and selling it to the whole world." Because many foreigners in Japan don't feel the same pressure to conform to the ideals of "perfect gayness" that they experience back home, they often feel less inhibited when approaching Japanese men. "If I see somebody I think is cute, I'll just walk right up and tell him or say 'Hi. What's your name?' In America, everyone has so much attitude, I would never do that. "The guys I meet here are way younger, better looking and in better shape, but I don't feel like they're out of my league. Dating has become a much easier endeavor," says Jonah. Those who want to build same-sex relationships with Japanese into something long-term usually feel it's an impossible feat. "I can never tell my parents about my sexuality. They could never accept homosexuality," says Ko-Ko from Tokyo, who is currently involved in a long-term relationship with a foreigner. "They see gay people on TV but they never believe it could happen to them. So I'd never tell them, to keep them happy." And the gay people they see on TV are never regular gay Japanese men, such as a businessmen or politicians, who have come out to provide a public role model. Since Japan has yet to pass legislation for job protection against gay discrimination, it's little wonder why Japanese "don't come out, they come in." While it's easy to be invisible in Tokyo, where many gay men marry and have children, but lead a secret life to satisfy their sexual appetite, it can be especially lonely in the countryside where everybody is connected. "Outside of Tokyo, foreigners or Japanese can feel very isolated," says a volunteer at a gay hotline in Japan. "I've taken many calls from foreigners entering young adulthood at the same time as they're sent to nowhere-ken, Japan to teach English and they feel very alone. That could be a disadvantage of a 'don't ask don't tell' society where when they never tell, they'll never know." In addition to the lack of public role models who could help others feel like they're not alone, most media depicts stereotypical gay characters with the aim to entertain the straight public. For example, TBS's personality Razor Ramon HG (Hard Gay), is a straight man pretending to be gay by wearing leather bondage and cruising around thrusting hips all over the place. And last month, toy company Tomy released "Kurohi-gei Kiki Ippatsu," a game where Razor Ramon hides in a barrel in which the player stabs plastic swords until he pops out of the top. Some believe if there is ever a hope of gaining same-sex legal rights in Japan, Razor Ramon isn't the best image to portray the gay community. "We're correcting the false stereotypes like Razor Ramon that show a lack of respect and understanding and we are trying to educate Japanese people about the advances in gay rights around the world," says Hiroshi Mochizuki, editor in chief of Gay Japan News, an online media service established about a year ago that currently gets about 50,000 hits per day. "The lack of knowledge is the biggest problem. At this point we're bringing people together." Mochizuki also founded a body called Equality, which he expects will be registered by the government as a nonprofit organization within the next two months. While Equality's first aim is to disseminate information to both the gay and straight community, its long-term goal is to achieve antidiscrimination legislation and rights for same-sex marriages. He says to do so, he hopes to strengthen the economic muscle of the gay community by bringing together the support of local business. So for those gays in Japan who don't feel so happy, Equality may be their pot of gold waiting at the end of a rainbow.
(Αναδημοσίευση από την ιαπωνική εφημερίδα The Japan Times)
Τα δύσκολα ενός γάμου... Είναι Ελληνας. Ο σύντροφός του, Αμερικανός. Ζουν και εργάζονται στο Βέλγιο. Θέλουν να ενώσουν τις μοίρες τους με τα δεσμά του ομοφυλόφιλου γάμου, που είναι νόμιμος στο Βέλγιο. Αλλά έχει αντίρρηση η ελληνική διοίκηση. Η υπόθεση δημοσιεύεται στη βελγική «Σουάρ», που διευκρινίζει: Στο Βέλγιο έχουν γίνει 6.000 ομοφυλόφιλοι γάμοι, οι 700 με ξένους υπηκόους που ζουν στο Βέλγιο. Οι ξένοι υπήκοοι πρέπει να υποβάλουν και ένα πιστοποιητικό αγαμίας από τις αρμόδιες υπηρεσίες της χώρας τους. Οι ελληνικές αρχές, όμως, δεν δίνουν πιστοποιητικό αγαμίας σε Ελληνα υπήκοο για ομοφυλόφιλο γάμο. Το μόνο μέσο, σύμφωνα με τη «Σουάρ», που διαθέτουν ο Ελληνας και ο Αμερικανός για να γίνει ο γάμος τους στο Βέλγιο είναι η προσφυγή στο δικαστήριο του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα.Αυτό σημαίνει ότι η Ελλάδα θα καθήσει στο σκαμνί. Να έχει βάλει το χέρι του -το δεξί- ο αρχιεπίσκοπος Χριστόδουλος; Π.Π.
(Αναδημοσίευση από την εφημερίδα ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΟΤΥΠΙΑ 27/01/2006)
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today denounced the United States' vote against two gay rights organizations' applications to join the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The United States joined the repressive, anti-gay regimes of Iran, Zimbabwe, China, Cameroon and others in voting against even granting a hearing to the application of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and the Danish Association of Gays and Lesbians (Landsforeningen for Bosser og Lesbiske — LBL). Instead, the two groups' applications were summarily dismissed without a hearing. "It is an absolute outrage that the United States has chosen to align itself with tyrants — all in a sickening effort to smother the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Apparently Iran, which President Bush has deemed part of the 'Axis of Evil,' is a suitable partner when it comes to discriminating against gay people." The governments of Iran and Zimbabwe are among the most repressive anti-gay regimes in the world. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has long scapegoated and persecuted gay men and lesbians. The recently-elected president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has overseen an anti-gay campaign in recent months, in which many young people accused of homosexual acts have been executed. Also leading the charge against the application of the two gay groups was Egypt, which has persecuted gay men in recent years. "The Task Force thanks the International Lesbian and Gay Association, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Watch for their efforts to promote pro-gay policies at the United Nations," Foreman said. "It is repugnant that the self-proclaimed 'leader of the free world' will align itself with bigots and tyrants at the drop of a hat to advance the right wing's virulently anti-gay agenda." The Bush-Cheney administration has also opposed women's and children's rights treaties, sex education, contraception and family planning in international forums. Today's vote to summarily dismiss the applications of ILGA and LBL was as follows, according to ILGA: Yes: Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, United States of America, Zimbabwe No: Chile, France, Germany, Peru, Romania; Abstention: Colombia, India, Turkey Not present: Ivory Coast. Three years ago, the United States abstained from voting on a sexual orientation nondiscrimination resolution offered by Brazil via the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
Un libro fascinante fue publicado en Suecia, escrito por el Doctor en Ciencias Teatrales [PhD in theatre sciences] y por Göran Gademan, investigador en la Universidad de Estocolmo. El libro tiene el título de “Operabögar” [opera-queers] y fue publicado por Gidlunds Editorial. Una edición noruega está siendo preparada estos días, y Enkidu desearía expresar su esperanza de que otras versiones internacionales vendrán pronto, pues esto libro es el primer estudio empírico Europeo de los Amantes de la Opera Gay [Gay Opera Lovers] y ha recibido considerable atención en los medios de comunicación escandinavos. El libro utiliza las historias de vida de 39 hombres gay como su punto de partida. Gademan los entrevistó sobre sus vidas como gays y sobre sus intereses y fascinación por la ópera como una forma del arte. Cada uno de los hombres respondieron de manera franca y la narrativas resultantes no son únicamente sobre los amantes gay de la ópera, sino que tomadas juntas, también de maneras diversas proveen al lector con un vistazo panorámico de la historia social de los hombres gay en Suecia durante la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Los hombres entrevistados entre 19 y 65 años. Sus vidas son seguidas de manera cronológica desde la niñez hasta el presente. En el libro, ellos comparten sus historias sobre sus salidas del clóset con nosotros y sobre cómo experimentaron sus primeros encuentros con la escena gay, así como con el mundo de la ópera. El análisis explora los nexos entre la ópera y la cultura homosexual masculina, y discute fenómenos como el culto gay a las divas, y la adoración de los hombres gay a figuras como Marlene Dietrich o Maria Callas. El libro utiliza la sociología del teatro y los estudios gay como su marco teórico. La fascinación gay con la ópera es discutida desde diversos ángulos, por ejemplo como una válvula de seguridad, culto a los ídolos, la búsqueda de los hombres gay por fuentes de identificación y modelos a seguir [role models], el confort y también la ópera como un refugio clásico y como un lugar para ligar [cruising] hombres gay. Antes de que los primeros establecimientos gay fueran abiertos, también los gays escandinavos utilizaban la ópera como un como un lugar de ligue frecuente, como es el caso de igual manera, por ejemplo, ocurría en la ex-Unión Soviética, donde la homosexualidad fue prohibida por largos periodos, y la ópera se convirtió en un lugar de refugio. En una entrevista con Svenska Dagbladet, Gadman subraya que la ópera llena la función de un lugar de encuentro [cruising spot] también en la Suecia contemporánea y casi con certeza en otros países. La mayoría de los estereotipos que se expresan con más frecuencia sobre los hombres gay es que son el público más comprometido y dedicado a la ópera como de hecho se confirma en el libro. Acorde con Gademan, las tragedias del siglo XIX parecen ser especialmente atractivas para los amantes gay de la ópera, en particular Wagner y Richard Strauss. Las tragedias del periodo victoriano tratan con frecuencia sobre el amor verdadero y el amor prohibido, y estos son tópicos en los que muchos gays pueden identificarse. El libro también indica que los amantes de la ópera son menos atraídos por la ópera barroca. Muchos individuos entrevistados en el libro expresan que prefieren discutir sobre la ópera con otros amantes gay de la ópera, en lugar de con heterosexuales entusiasmados. Parece ser que con frecuencia es difícil para los amantes gay de la ópera establecer una base compartida para el diálogo con amantes heterosexuales de la ópera, en parte porque sus experiencias de vida, así como sus experiencias en la ópera difieren en modos fundamentales. Las experiencias de los hombres heterosexuales con la ópera frecuentemente son demasiado diferentes y sus experiencias de vida con frecuencia les hacen menos capaces de identificarse con los dramas que se representan en el escenario. Muchos de los individuos entrevistados por Gademan se quejaron de que los hombres heterosexuales no eran buenos para verbalizar sus experiencia de ópera y su modo de discutirla con ellos fue por lo tanto menos excitante.
Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες στα σουηδικά και αγγλικά στο www.rfsl.se
Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain and a season of gay cinema.
By David Edelstein
In dubbing Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features) "Marlboro men in love," I'm not being flip. OK, I'm not only being flip. Ang Lee's films often focus on the tension between people's formal roles—those ritualized, culturally mandated poses they feel compelled to strike—and the passions under the surface that struggle to express themselves. Even manners as elaborate as the ones in the martial-artsy (a reader's phrase) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were destabilized by the characters' unruly ardor and volcanic sex drives. So, in Brokeback Mountain—adapted by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana from a plain but evocative story by Annie Proulx—you have two guys with slim hips and dungarees and cowboy hats pulled low. They lean against pickups, smoke cigarettes, and trade monosyllables (if that). They're suitable for framing. But in the course of an early 1960s summer herding sheep on an isolated Wyoming mountain, they find themselves growing closer and closer and … yes, on Brokeback Mountain they make the beast with two broken backs. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play the men. Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist is the more extroverted one, the rodeo rider, the cowboy who makes cow eyes. Ledger's Ennis Del Mar is the quintessential Westerner of few words, and the words he says are not always audible: He speaks with a Wild West lockjaw that's sometimes annoying but also weirdly hypnotic. Ledger's performance is prime Oscar bait: He's ostentatiously immobile, with uncanny low tones—his voice is 50 fathoms deep. The whole performance is subtextual. What does Brokeback Mountain (the place) symbolize? It's the natural world in which society's strictures fall away and these men can be true to their own natures—where dinners of canned beans yield to elk-hunting, shirtless romps, and hungry coupling. Lee and his cinematographer, Rodrigo Prieto, mirror the forces in play with vast mountain backdrops full of mysterious planes, huge cumulous clouds, slashes of lightning in the far distance, and hailstones the size of apples. When Jake and Ennis return, as they must, to civilization, they live amid squat, faceless, pre-fab buildings set far apart from one another, and the flat landscapes once again mirror their emotions—now flat-lined. They take wives—Michelle Williams as Ennis' high-school sweetheart, Alma, and Anne Hathaway as Lureen, a kind of Texas rodeo queen with a wealthy daddy who's the perfect trophy for an up-and-comer like Jake. But these are passionless unions, and Ennis' drift into unemployment and alcoholism is relentless. Despite the physical distance between them (Ennis is in Wyoming, Jake in Texas), they come together again and again and head back to the wild—aware that if they're caught, they could be lynched by all their neighbors, those less-than-liberal "real" men who wouldn't know a real man if he fucked them in the ass. (Or maybe that's the only way they would know a real man.) The lovers wonder: Can you build on Brokeback Mountain? Cartman on South Park famously dismissed independent movies as "gay cowboys eating pudding." I have no idea where the pudding image came from, but I'm bound to say that Brokeback Mountain could use a little more of it—by which I mean more sweat and other bodily fluids. Ang Lee's formalism is so extreme that it's often laughable, and the sex is depicted as a holy union: Gay love has never been so sacred. On the other hand, Lee treats the wives as either sexless drudges (Williams) or lacquered mannequins (Hathaway). Williams gives a fine performance (more Oscar bait) as the kind of wife who inevitably gets labeled "long-suffering," but she seems to exist only in relation to her husband, and only then to drag him down. As distant as I felt from the movie, there were people around me weeping uncontrollably at the end—gay men, some of them, and a few women who were moved by the spectacle of cowboys in tears. (This is actually something of a chick flick.) And I did find Brokeback Mountain more powerful in retrospect, when its tone and images and emotions lingered beyond all its elevated Oscar-worthiness. There were also moments in which Lee deconstructed the cowboy persona so completely that he made me wonder: Are a lot of cowboys, like, totally gay? There's certainly a lot of breaking free for the holidays: 'Tis the season to be gay—transvestite, transsexual, or prone to burst into song to express the anguish of AIDS. You'll be singing along to the soundtrack of Neil Jordan's enchanting Breakfast on Pluto (Sony Pictures Classics), which boasts the most felicitous use of wall-to-wall pop songs I've ever heard. T. Rex's "Children of the Revolution" is a special treat, and while I hoped never to hear Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey" again in this lifetime, in context it's extraordinarily winsome. The tone throughout is and improbably cheerful plaintiveness. Jordan adapted the movie with Patrick McCabe from McCabe's novel. (They also made The Butcher Boy together.) Their small-town Irish hero/heroine—as the title would suggest, a farther-out Holly Golightly—is Patrick "Kitten" Braden (Cillian Murphy). In chapters with superimposed titles he tells the story of his life, beginning with being dumped by his mother on the steps of a church, where the priest, Father Bernard (Liam Neeson), squeamishly hands him off to a brusque foster mother. She's none too happy when she finds the 10-year-old Patrick (played by Conor McEvoy) modeling her dresses: She warns him that the next time she'll make him parade through the street dressed like that, and he says, "Promise?" Subtitled birds comment wryly on this turn—an example of Jordan's playful technique, the gaiety juxtaposed against acts of shocking brutality. (The Irish Republican Army looms large in the mid-'70s.) Patrick/Kitten grows up obsessed with his absent mom, who's said to resemble Mitzi Gaynor, and flits off to London to track her down. Patrick's poverty and homelessness in the big city is the stuff of nightmares, but you never catch him brooding on it. There's a bubble around him. In truth, he seems slightly bonkers—on Pluto. And while bad people do bad things to him, others treat him kindly: Among his contacts are Brendan Gleeson's surprisingly tender drunken laborer and Stephen Rea's sad-sack, Stan Laurel-esque magician. (There's a touching, semiparodic reenactment of Jordan's The Crying Game.) Even a police investigator (Ian Hart) who roughs him up ultimately carts him to a welcoming house of ill repute to earn a "decent" living. With his unearthly face—high, razor-sharp cheekbones that frame irradiated blue eyes—Cillian Murphy makes a mysterious and transfixing object. A more down-to-earth actor would sentimentalize Breakfast on Pluto and make for an awkward fit with its peculiar mix of tones. Murphy's strangeness—his chill estrangement—makes his campy "Kitten" persona more poignant. Transvestitism is the only way that such a damaged soul can find beauty and harmony in a cold and colorless world. Felicity Huffman's face is what holds you in Duncan Tucker's delightful Transamerica (The Weinstein Company), too, but her semi-transsexual Bree (nee Stanley) Osbourne is the antithesis of a camp drag queen. A mismatched buddy road-trip picture in which the Los Angelino Bree, shortly before her final operation, discovers she's the father of a teenage son, a homeless-in-Manhattan delinquent named Toby (soulful newcomer Kevin Zegers), Transamerica skirts sitcom terrain. But Huffman has purged all extravagant artifice from her manner. She's smart enough to know that Bree would never risk calling attention to that artifice. A prim social conservative, she doesn't believe that she is artificial. Despite a brief teenage experiment with a woman (it yielded Toby), she has no doubt that her male organ was a genetic screw-up. Huffman's performance is a thrill-a-minute—and a thrill-a-motion. An actress playing a man playing a woman is a mind- as well as gender-bender, but Huffman's face is made up to look as if she's right on the male-female border, and her ladylike movements are studied, with the timing always slightly off: Before our eyes, she deconstructs a woman and then puts her back together. When, in Texas, a Native American (Graham Greene) in a cowboy hat takes Bree for a born female and admires her form, she shivers with pleasure, and I felt sad that he would ever have to know the (rather misleading) truth. Toby opines that it's weird to see an "Indian in a cowboy hat." He has a greater job of reorienting himself ahead of him: He doesn't know that this uptight woman who bailed him out of juvenile detention (posing as a Christian do-gooder) is his sperm-donor. Transamerica has a couple of melodramatic turns and the paternity revelation is delayed unconscionably. But the movie builds to a marvelously over-the-top sequence in Bree's upper-middle-class home, in which her horrified Christian mother (a hilarious Fionnula Flanagan) lavishes attention on her new grandson (who doesn't know he's her grandson); her hapless Jewish father (Burt Young!) fumbles to explain the family position on their son's transsexuality ("We love you, but we don't respect you"); her cynical, recovering-drug-addict sister (Carrie Preston) struggles to reconcile the trippy discontinuum between her brother and Bree; and Toby decides he wouldn't mind becoming Bree's lover. Farce born of sadly irreconcilable impulses: Bravo! In a rare burst of discretion, I've put off writing about Rent (Columbia), in part because I don't want to seem unsympathetic to the emotions that gave birth to Jonathan Larson's musical and its subsequent—posthumous—enshrinement in Broadway culture. I don't share the view of some critics that this souped-up La Bohème is faux bohemianism, no more authentic than a Gap ad. It's real—and, on screen, it's really cringe-worthy. Not quite Phantom of the Opera cringe-worthy, but not as much fun to blow raspberries at, either. Rent is set in 1989, when too many people had already died from AIDS and too many were about to—before the current cocktail of meds brought the virus under control (somewhat). Most of the major characters are sick, and when they open their mouths to sing—it's undistinguished Lite Rock in the promiscuously emotive style of the numbers on American Idol—they're quickly joined by other members of the large ensemble. I can see how comforting and inspiring this instant communal oneness might seem to some people, but I found it tiresomely undramatic, even saccharine. Not to mention monotonous. Chris Columbus directs fluidly (for him), but in a family-movie style that makes the musical seem even more homogenized than it probably is. It's like a ride at Disney World: the Urban AIDS-Victim Jamboree.
Big love, in stories about men, tends to be a cheat, a lost cause, or a chimera. In Brokeback Mountain—Ang Lee's moving, operatic film adaptation of Annie Proulx's story—it's exactly what the tag line for the film says: a force of nature. Herding sheep just above the tree line on a Wyoming mountain, two dirt-poor cowboys find themselves suddenly caught up in a passion for each other that they have no idea how to name, much less cope with. Neither thinks of himself as "queer." On the contrary, the mountain itself gets both the credit and the blame for the affair that over the next 20 years will endow their lives with an intermittent grandeur, even as in other ways it drags them to the ground. Is Brokeback Mountain, as it's been touted, Hollywood's first gay love story? The answer—in a very positive sense, I think—is yes to the love story, no to the gay. Make no mistake: The film is as frank in its portrayal of sex between men as in its use of old-fashioned romance movie conventions. Its stars are unabashedly glamorous. The big-eyed Jake Gyllenhaal is a far cry from Proulx's small, bucktoothed Jack Twist, just as the blond, square-jawed Heath Ledger is nothing like her Ennis Del Mar, "scruffy and a little cave-chested." Yet, even if, in their tailored jeans and ironed plaid shirts, Gyllenhaal and Ledger sometimes look more like Wrangler models than teenagers too poor to buy a new pair of boots, the film neither feels synthetic (in the manner of the abysmal Making Love) nor silly (in the manner of gay porn). On the contrary, his stars' outsize screen presence provides Lee with a means of bringing to vivid cinematic life what is in essence a paean to masculinity. And masculine the film is. Ledger's astonishing performance reveals an unsuspected vein of tenderness in a character more likely to express emotion through violence than words. His Ennis Del Mar is as monolithic as the mountainscape in which—with the same swiftness, brutality, and precision that he exhibits in shooting an elk—he fucks Jack Twist for the first time. ("Gun's goin' off," Jack grunts in response—in the story, not the movie.) Ennis' surprise at the affair—at its inconvenience as much as at its intensity—reflects a fundamental humbleness that keeps butting up against Jack's willingness to take risks. It's Jack who proposes, over and over, that they start up a ranch together, a plan Ennis counters with pragmatism (not to mention fear), even after his wife, Alma, divorces him. Instead Ennis limits the relationship to fishing and hunting trips two or three times a year. It's as if he believes they don't deserve better. As for Jack, the same cockiness that makes him dream of a "sweet life" with Ennis also leads him to pursue sex with other men, despite his own marriage—something Ennis never contemplates. In a key scene, Jack, disappointed at learning that, even after his divorce, Ennis has no intention of making a life with him, drives to a louche simulacrum of Juarez, where he picks up a hustler and disappears with him into the literal darkness of a back alley. The scene is unsettling because it presents such a stark contrast to Jack and Ennis' heady, exalted mountaintop lovemaking. For just a few seconds, we get a glimpse of the urban nightscape that was the locus of the very gay movies that might have been playing, in big cities, at the moment when the scene takes place—movies like Nighthawks and Taxi zum Klo, in which sexual profligacy is at once celebrated as a form of liberation and mourned as a pallid substitute for meaningful connection. It goes without saying that Brokeback Mountain is an entirely different kind of film. Perhaps it takes a woman to create a tale in which two men experience sex and love as a single thunderbolt, welding them together for life; certainly Proulx's story is a far cry from such canonical gay novels as Edmund White's The Farewell Symphony or Allan Hollinghurst's The Swimming Pool Library, which poeticize urban promiscuity and sexual adventuring. Proulx, by contrast, exalts coupledom by linking it to nature. Her narration, with its echoes of Western genre fiction, is knobby and elliptical, driven by an engine as unpredictable as the one that runs Jack Twist's troublesome truck, with the result that it often backs into scenes that a more conventional writer would place front and center. Though Brokeback Mountain may have the sheen of a Hollywood romance, it is anything but conventional. True, screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana have ironed out Proulx's kinks, but they haven't eliminated her eccentricities; instead, they've found a cinematic parallel in their appropriation of Hollywood conventions of masculinity. This is particularly the case in the last half of the film, which alternates scenes of quotidian domestic grief (and the rare emotional triumph) with the trips that Jack and Ennis make together into the mountains—trips during which, as they age, sex takes a back seat to bickering and what might best be described as a kind of conjugal ease. What both men want, it becomes clear, is what Ennis is afraid to let them have: the steadiness of each other's companionship. By the end, Ledger's Ennis has crow's feet, while Gyllenhaal's Jack has sprouted a prosthetic paunch and a heavy mustache. The result is a defense of gay marriage made all the more eloquent by its evasion of the banalities implied in the word "gay." Indeed, with the one exception of the scene in Juarez, nothing in Brokeback Mountain cries "gay." Neither of the heroes eschews sex with women; instead, they simply assert that they prefer sex with each other. At one point in the story, Ennis asks Jack, "This happen a other people?" and Jack answers, "It don't happen in Wyomin and if it does I don't know what they do, maybe go to Denver." Interestingly, McMurtry and Ossana leave this lone mention of possible urban refuge out of the movie, the point of which seems to be less to subvert the conventions of male bonding than to extend them. "Lover" isn't a word Ennis and Jack ever utter. Instead they call each other "friend." When they kiss, their teeth hit. Respect for some burdensome ideal of masculine struggle underlies and at the same time undercuts their ability to love each other: an idea that Ledger in particular brings home by investing his performance with the deadpan, reticent tenderness of Hollywood Western stars from the 1950s. His stoicism drives the movie, and nowhere more movingly than when he utters its signature line: "If you can't fix it you've got to stand it."Does the fact that none of the principals involved in Brokeback Mountain is openly gay have anything to do with the film's happy resistance to the stale clichés of gay cinema? Perhaps. In any case, McMurtry, Ossana, and Lee deserve as much credit for their tenacity (it took them seven years to get the movie made) as for the skill with which they've translated Proulx's spare, bleak story into a film with an epic sweep that nonetheless manages to be affectingly idiosyncratic in its portrayal of two men in love. In the end, Brokeback Mountain is less the story of a love that dares not speak its name than of one that doesn't know how to speak its name, and is somehow more eloquent for its lack of vocabulary. Ascending from plains where they lead lives of drudgery and routine humiliation, Ennis and Jack become the unwitting heroes of a story they haven't a clue how to tell. The world breaks their backs, but in this brave film, they're as iconic as the mountain.
Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe said: “ILGA-Europe is delighted about yesterday’s vote at the European Parliament adopting a resolution condemning homophobia in Europe with a significant majority of MEPs. This is a firm signal from the European Parliament, the only institution of the European Union directly elected by its citizens, that the majority of Europeans condemn and reject discrimination and intolerance based on sexual orientation. We are also pleased that separate amendments referring to the rights of same-sex partners in the EU also gained significant support. We believe it is now up to the European Commission to seriously consider this powerful mandate by the European citizens and politicians and to respond with concrete proposals to ensure sexual orientation discrimination is banned not only in employment. We urge the Commission to broaden non-discrimination protections in the areas of the provision of and access to goods and services (already provided by the Race Equality Directive but not given on the grounds of age, disability and sexual orientation) and to ensure same-sex partners enjoy their rights across the entire Union. We acknowledge and support the fact that the Commission is taking legal actions against those member states which failed to fully transpose or implement the Employment Equality Directive. We also acknowledge that the Commission is currently conducting a feasibility study on the subject of extending protections provided by the Race Equality Directive to the other grounds. This Resolution and the significant majority for it is a clear indication of the consensus for equality and is a mandate for the Commission to propose enhanced non-discrimination legislation.”
The European Parliament, – having regard to international and European human rights obligations, such as those contained in the UN conventions on human rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, – having regard to provisions of EU law on human rights, notably to the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union, as well as to Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union, – having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, which invests the Community with the power to adopt measures to combat discrimination based, inter alia, on sexual orientation, and to promote the principle of equality, – having regard to Council Directives 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin and 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, which prohibit direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, – having regard to paragraph 1 of Article 21 of the Charter of fundamental rights, which prohibits '[a]ny discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation', – having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure, A. whereas homophobia can be defined as an irrational fear of and aversion to homosexuality and to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people based on prejudice and similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and sexism, B. whereas homophobia manifests itself in the private and public spheres in different forms, such as hate speech and incitement to discrimination, ridicule and verbal, psychological and physical violence, persecution and murder, discrimination in violation of the principle of equality and unjustified and unreasonable limitations of rights, which are often hidden behind justifications based on public order, religious freedom and the right to conscientious objection, C. whereas a series of worrying events has recently taken place in a number of Member States, as widely reported by the press and NGOs, ranging from banning gay pride or equality marches to the use by leading politicians and religious leaders of inflammatory or threatening language or hate speech, failure by police to provide adequate protection or even breaking up peaceful demonstrations, violent demonstrations by homophobic groups, and the introduction of changes to constitutions explicitly to prohibit same-sex unions, D. whereas at the same time a positive, democratic and tolerant reaction has been shown in some cases by the general public, civil society and local and regional authorities that have demonstrated against homophobia, as well as by the redressing by judicial systems of the most striking and illegal forms of discrimination, E. whereas same-sex partners in some Member States do not enjoy all of the rights and protections enjoyed by married opposite sex partners and consequently suffer discrimination and disadvantage, F. whereas at the same time more countries in Europe are moving towards ensuring equal opportunities, inclusion and respect, and provide protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity, and recognition of same-sex families; G. whereas the Commission has declared its commitment to ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the EU, and has set up a group of Commissioners responsible for human rights, H. whereas not all Member States have introduced in their legal systems measures to protect the rights of LGBT people, as required by Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC, and not all Member States are fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation nor promoting equality, I. whereas further action is needed at EU and national levels to eradicate homophobia and promote a culture of freedom, tolerance and equality among citizens and in legal systems, 1. Strongly condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; 2. Calls on Member States to ensure that LGBT people are protected from homophobic hate speech and violence and ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society; 3. Urges Member States and the Commission firmly to condemn homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence, and to ensure that freedom of demonstration – guaranteed by all human rights treaties - is respected in practice; 4. Calls on the Commission to ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all sectors is prohibited by completing the anti-discrimination package based on Article 13 of the Treaty either by proposing new directives or by proposing a general framework covering all grounds of discrimination and all sectors; 5. Urges Member States and the Commission to step up the fight against homophobia through education, such as campaigns against homophobia in schools, in universities and in the media, as well as through administrative, judicial and legislative means; 6. Reiterates its position in relation to the proposal for a decision on the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All that the Commission must ensure that all forms of discrimination referred to in Article 13 of the Treaty and in Article 2 of the proposal are addressed and dealt with equally, as stated in the Parliament's position on the proposal, and reminds the Commission of its promise to monitor closely this matter and to report to Parliament; 7. Urges the Commission to ensure that all Member States have transposed and are correctly implementing Directive 2000/78/EC and to start infringement proceedings against those Member States that fail to do so; in addition, calls on the Commission to ensure that the annual report on the protection of fundamental rights in the EU includes full and comprehensive information on the incidence of homophobic hate crimes and violence in Member States; 8. Urges the Commission to come up with a proposal for a directive on protection against discrimination on the basis of all the grounds mentioned in Article 13 of the Treaty, having the same scope as Directive 2000/43/EC; 9. Urges the Commission to consider the use of criminal penalties in cases of violation of directives based on Article 13 of the Treaty; 10. Calls on all Member States to take any other action they deem appropriate in the fight against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and to promote and implement the principle of equality in their societies and legal systems; 11. Urges Member States to enact legislation to end discrimination faced by same-sex partners in the areas of inheritance, property arrangements, tenancies, pensions, tax, social security etc.; 12. Welcomes recent steps taken in several Member States to improve the position of LGBT people and resolves to organise a seminar for the exchange of good practice on 17 May 2006 (International Day against Homophobia); 13. Reiterates its request that the Commission put forward proposals guaranteeing freedom of movement for Union citizens and their family members and registered partners of either gender, as referred to in Parliament's recommendation of 14 October 2004 on the future of the area of freedom, security and justice; 14. Calls on the Member States concerned finally to accord full recognition to homosexuals as targets and victims of the Nazi regime; 15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, to the governments of the Member States and to the accession and candidate countries.
From its very beginnings, says Tim Ashley, opera has explored gender and sexuality in a way rarely matched by spoken theatre
The poet WH Auden once claimed that Tristan and Isolde, the iconic heterosexuals of 19th-century opera, were really lesbians, a remark usually dismissed as camp quippery. Few, after all, looking for a gay subtext in Wagner's masterpiece would locate it in the relationship between the central couple. Yet ironically Auden's comment is perceptive - a pointer to the complex relationship between music, gender and sexual orientation that we find in opera. Integral to Wagnerian ideology is a belief that all sense of individual identity vanishes during sexual activity. Near the climax of their love duet, Tristan and Isolde both lose their selves in the experience, each, quite literally, becoming the other, as the boundaries of gender - and with them sexual orientation - are obliterated. Wagner (who was no homophobe, despite his other prejudices) was well aware that music makes no distinctions between male and female, gay and straight. Tristan and Isolde could quite easily be lesbians after all. Gay and lesbian subtexts frequently hover beneath the surface of opera. The singer's sex may not be the same as the sex of the character he or she is playing, while cross-dressing within plots can lead to erotic mayhem. Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier opens with two sexually sated women in bed. One of them, however, is meant to be a man, the young Count Octavian, who is later pursued, disguised as a chambermaid, by the randy Baron Ochs. A man gives chase to another man, who is both disguised as and played by a woman. These ambiguities allow the composer to investigate the complex fluidity of sexuality in ways that spoken theatre rarely does. Strauss, at the start of the 20th century, made a self-conscious demand for the resumption of the traditions and sexual perspectives of a more liberal age. Octavian was modelled on Cherubino, The Marriage of Figaro's cross-dressing pageboy played by a soprano; Mozart reveals a comparable fascination with gender and sexual orientation. Don Giovanni has serial one-night stands with women, but his only close relationship is with his serving man Leporello. More than one interpreter has suggested the Don should be played as bisexual. La Clemenza di Tito, meanwhile, meditates on the relationships between love, sex and politics. "Love" is the word used throughout by the hero Sesto to describe his feelings for the Emperor Tito. What characterises his desire for Vitellia - who wants Sesto to murder Tito - is altogether something more nameless and driven. In this opera's world, unusually, it is heterosexual desire that cannot speak its name. Mozart, however, stands at the apex of a tradition of sexual openness that harks back to opera's origins. Early operas were often informed by Renaissance humanism, which drew on Platonist ideas that same-sex love afforded insights into the divine. Francesco Cavalli's La Calisto, premiered in 1651, depicts the eponymous nymph of classical mythology, who abjured the company of men, yet who had a lesbian relationship with Jupiter, who had taken on Diana's form for the purpose. Jupiter-Diana grants Calis a culminating vision of the Empyrean - the realm beyond time and space - while Cavalli allows her, and us, to hear the music of the spheres turning beneath her. Handel, in many respects Cavalli's successor, keeps his sexual tangles joyously centred on earth. Calisto's Empyrean is replaced by the multisexual jamboree of Alcina's magic garden, where Alcina's sister Morgana falls for Bradamante, a woman disguised as a man, and where Alcina herself dallies with the warrior Ruggiero. Alcina's role was written for a castrato, his voice, though barbarically created, hovering beyond gender, its sound deemed intensely sexual by men and women alike. Gluck equated the castrato voice with the divinity of music itself in Orfeo ed Euridice. Yet around the turn of the 19th century, illiberalism crept in. In Beethoven's Fidelio there is a narrowing of sexual range. Beethoven was not the only composer to write an opera based on this particular storyline, but he omitted a scene, found in rival versions, in which Leonore, disguised as a man, feigns passion for the jailer's daughter Marzelline. As the century progressed, ambiguous sexual references were slowly removed. Operatic transvestism became infrequent. In 1828, Rossini was still able to revel in the bisexual troilism of Le Comte Ory, in which the count, dressed as a nun, makes love to his pageboy, believing him to be a woman, while the pageboy makes love to the Countess Adèle, whom Ory fancies. But by the middle of the century gay subtexts became few and far between. Strauss's return to sexual ambivalence in Der Rosenkavalier was consequently revolutionary, though it also raises another, hugely important issue: the relationship between the creative imagination and individual sexuality. Strauss was straight, as were all of the composers mentioned so far with the possible exception of Handel, whose sexuality remains a subject of controversy. Their works form a remarkable acknowledgement of sexual diversity, though given that lesbianism frequently forms a part of straight male fantasy, it's not surprising many operatic depictions of sexual ambivalence centre on women. Gay opera composers, however - of whom Tchaikovsky, Poulenc and Britten are usually cited as the "big three" - constantly had to battle with homophobia. The resulting pressure meant that the sexual subtexts of their works are markedly different. Tchaikovsky's tragic sense of guilt led him to project himself vicariously into his female characters to convey the emotions he felt for men. Tatyana breaks with convention and declares her love for Eugene Onegin, only to meet with rejection. Poulenc's La Voix Humaine - in which a woman is dumped by her lover during a phone conversation - is often similarly interpreted as a reflection on the end of one of his own gay relationships. Poulenc, however, always claimed the impetus for the piece came from an episode in the life of Denise Duval, his favourite soprano, for whom the opera was written. Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, meanwhile, enjoyed a unique creative partnership as composer and interpreter-muse. Yet we should remember that their relationship ran most of its course at a time when gay sex was illegal in the UK. It is difficult to dissociate homophobic pressure from the creation of a figure that assumed an almost archetypal importance in Britten's imagination - the outsider who is in some way damaged. Britten's attitudes towards this figure fluctuate from opera to opera: Peter Grimes, the poetic visionary who is partly responsible for the deaths of his apprentices, is deemed flawed in ways that Owen Wingrave, the pacifist prepared to die for his beliefs, is not. Explicitly gay subject matter only surfaces twice in Britten's operas - in Billy Budd and Death in Venice - and in each case its outcome is both tragic and beatific. In the all-male world of Billy Budd, Claggart's passion for beautiful, stuttering Billy twists into a sadism that destroys them both, though Captain Vere also recognises in Billy a "divine image" whose shattering he is powerless to prevent. In Death in Venice, the ageing Aschenbach's love for the teenage Tadzio finally speaks its name only to be silenced in the cholera epidemic. Before he dies, however, Aschenbach, like Cavalli's Calisto, is granted a Platonistic vision of divinity in the boy's beauty. Death in Venice consequently returns to the ideology that accompanied opera's creation. That there should be a disparity in the way gay and straight composers have had to approach erotic subjects is ultimately a sad reflection on the normative proscriptions that have dogged social history and continue to do so. Yet opera also asserts a communality of experience that both contains and bypasses gender and sexual orientation. You don't, after all, have to be gay to be swept away by Billy Budd, or straight in order to be bowled over by Don Giovanni, for both works examine aspects of the human condition that are common to everyone. What we encounter, each time we enter an opera house, is an exploration of the universality of love and desire and a celebration of human sexuality and the myriad possibilities it embraces. And that is cause for celebration indeed.
(Aναδημοσίευση από την βρετανική εφημερίδα THE GUARDIAN, 23-5-2003)
H «γκέι» μουσική και οι υποθετικές αποχρώσεις της The New York Times . Πρόσφατα παρατηρείται μια γενική εκτίμηση των μουσικολόγων ότι ο Xέντελ ήταν γκέι. Παρόμοια είναι και η εκτίμηση για τον Σούμπερτ, αν και όχι τόσο γενικά αποδεκτή. Δεν αμφισβητείται, ιδιαίτερα, μέχρι στιγμής τουλάχιστον, το ότι ο Tσαϊκόφσκι ήταν γκέι, όπως και ο Mπρίτεν, ο Kόπλαν και άλλοι γνωστοί μουσικοί, συνθέτες και ερμηνευτές. Eνας δύσκολος εντοπισμός Iσως να μην ήταν γκέι με τη σύγχρονη έννοια του όρου που σημαίνει ότι η ομοφυλοφιλία τους ήταν το καθοριστικό χαρακτηριστικό της οντότητάς τους, ως άνθρωποι και ως μουσικοί. O Xέντελ π.χ. κάτω από την αμφίεση του κυκλοθυμικού ατόμου με τη μεγάλη καρδιά και τον οξύθυμο χαρακτήρα, έκρυβε μια βαθιά και επώδυνη μοναξιά. Oσον αφορά τον Σούμπερτ, οι σχέσεις του με τον κύκλο των νεαρών του φίλων, είναι αδιευκρίνηστης φύσης. Eκείνοι αναγνώριζαν στη μορφή τού κοντόχοντρου, διοπτροφόρου και ανοιχτού στις διασκεδάσεις, μέλους της παρέας τους, έναν μεγαλοφυή συνθέτη· υπήρχε όμως κάτι περισσότερο ανάμεσά τους; Mάλλον δεν θα γίνει ποτέ γνωστό, εάν ενδιαφέρει. Tο γεγονός ότι τώρα, μερικούς από αυτούς τους μύθους και τις ιστορίες που κυκλοφορούσαν μισοκαλυμμένες και ακόμα κυκλοφορούν μπορούμε να τους δεχθούμε ως αληθείς ή να τους απορρίψουμε ως αβάσιμους, οφείλεται στις προσπάθειες και στο έργο ορισμένων ακαταπόνητων ιστορικών και μουσικολόγων. Παράλληλα όμως με την έρευνα της ζωής σπουδαίων μουσικών μορφών του παρελθόντος παρατηρείται και κάτι άλλο. H προσπάθεια της απόδειξης της σεξουαλικής ιδιαιτερότητας ενός συνθέτη, μέσα από τη μουσική του δημιουργία. Kαι εδώ, καθώς γράφει ο Aντονι Tομαζίνι στους «Nιου Γιορκ Tάιμς», βρίσκεται το πρόβλημα. Πώς μια νότα, δηλώνει αντικειμενικά, τον σεξουαλικό προσανατολισμό εκείνου που την έγραψε; Πώς αυτός ο προσανατολισμός, εκφράζεται μουσικά; Kαι μάλιστα, στην «καθαρή», ενόργανη μουσική; Kαι ποιος, τέλος, είναι ο μουσικός σεξουαλισμός; Tελευταίως, εισήλθε στη συζήτηση τούτη, η Nαντίν Xαμπς, καθηγήτρια Mουσικής και γυναικείων μελετών στο Πανεπιστήμιο του Mίσιγκαν, με το βιβλίο της «H ιδιόρρυθμη (queer, που σημαίνει επίσης ομοφιλόφυλος), σύνθεση του αμερικανικού ήχου. Γκέι μοντερνιστές, αμερικανική μουσική και εθνική ταυτότητα» (έκδοση του Πανεπιστημίου της Kαλιφόρνιας). Σε τούτο, η συγγραφέας, επιχειρεί να αποδείξει ότι η θεωρούμενη ως ιδιαιτέρως αμερικανική μουσική, δηλαδή τα μεγάλα ταμπλό που τα διατρέχουν μελαγχολικοί σκοποί και λαϊκά αμερικανικά μοτίβα σε συνδυασμό με αμερικανικούς χορευτικούς ρυθμούς, είναι εφεύρημα μιας ομάδας γκέι συνθετών, με έδρα το Mανχάταν: Aαρών Kόπλαν, Bέρτζιλ Tόμσον, Πολ Mπόουλς, Nτέιβιντ Nτάιαμοντ, Mαρκ Mπλίστιν, Λέοναρντ Mπερνστάιν, Σάμιουελ Mπάρμπερ και Nεντ Pόρεμ. Tο βιβλίο θα προκαλέσει σίγουρα συζητήσεις. Aφενός σε εκείνους που θα νιώσουν ότι δικαιώνονται με τον ρόλο που γκέι συνθέτες έχουν παίξει στη δημιουργία του ιδιώματος, το οποίο θεωρείται ακόμη «αμερικανική μουσική», τόσο στις αίθουσες συναυλιών όσο και στον κινηματογράφο και στην τηλεόραση. Kαι αφετέρου, σε εκείνους που θα νιώσουν άβολα με αυτό το επιχείρημα, αντιλέγοντας ότι είναι δύσκολο, έως αδύνατο, να εντοπιστεί η γκέι αισθαντικότητα στη μουσική. H περίπτωση Mπρίτεν Tα λόγια έχουν νόημα, βεβαίως, και τα λόγια με μουσική. Aπό τα θέματα των οπερών του, «Mπίλι Mπαντ», «Θάνατος στη Bενετία», ο ακροατής μπορεί να συναγάγει ότι ο Mπέντζαμιν Mπρίτεν ήταν γκέι, μπορεί όμως να κάνει το ίδιο από την ενόργανη μουσική του, τη «Συμφωνία για τσέλο και ορχήστρα» π.χ.; Iσως αυτό που μένει τελικά από τη μουσική να είναι η συγκίνηση η αδιευκρίνιστη που προκαλεί. . (Αναδημοσίευση από την ΚΑΘΗΜΕΡΙΝΗ 7-4-05)
Ratzinger y los homosexuales Juan A. Herrero Brasas
. Las directrices que, con objeto de evitar en lo posible la ordenación sacerdotal de homosexuales, acaba de hacer públicas El Vaticano suponen un nuevo encontronazo entre la cúpula eclesiástica y el movimiento de liberación gay. En el nuevo documento vaticano, cuyo título abreviado es "Sobre los criterios de discernimiento vocacional de las personas con tendencias homosexuales", se afirma literalmente que «no se puede admitir al seminario ni al orden sacerdotal» a quienes «practican la homosexualidad», a quienes «presentan tendencias homosexuales profundamente arraigadas» y a quienes apoyan la cultura gay. Pese a su aparente contundencia, el lenguaje del documento es ambiguo. ¿Qué es eso de «practicar» la homosexualidad? ¿Cómo se práctica la homosexualidad? Para quienes creen que ser gay o lesbiana se reduce a tener relaciones sexuales con personas del mismo sexo, debe estar muy claro que en eso consiste practicar la homosexualidad. Pero tal idea responde a un ya superado reduccionismo decimonónico. Lo de las tendencias «profundas» tampoco tiene desperdicio. Si hay gays y lesbianas que tienen tendencias profundas, será -habrá que sobrentender- que otros las tienen superficiales.De estos últimos no he conocido a ninguno ni homosexual ni heterosexual.El documento hace referencia a tendencias producidas por algún problema pasajero o por una adolescencia no concluida. Pero todo eso no son ni más ni menos que nociones anticuadas. ¿Y qué decir de la prohibición de participar en formas concretas de la cultura gay? El Vaticano ha aclarado que lo que se entiende por participar en la cultura gay es ver películas gays, leer libros gays, acceder a páginas web gays y participar en manifestaciones del orgullo gay. Total, nada. ¿Qué son películas gays? ¿Y los libros gays? ¿Se refiere el Vaticano a películas y libros pornográficos gays? Si es ése el caso, ciertamente tiene una idea muy limitada de lo que es la cultura gay. En cualquier caso, ello es coherente con la presunción de que todo lo homosexual es cuestión de sexo y nada más. Pero el hecho es que la realidad gay y lésbica está dando lugar, como parte de una cultura emergente, a toda una variedad de producciones cinematográficas en que se explora la complejidad de las relaciones humanas desde la perspectiva gay, sin necesariamente centrarse en lo sexual. No sólo eso, sino que hay una serie de campos académicos que exploran la cuestión gay desde las perspectivas filosófica, antropológica, histórica, literaria y hasta teológica, además de la creación artística.Al paso que avanzan dichos estudios, en un futuro no muy lejano, un sacerdote que no sepa nada de esto será simplemente inculto y falto de preparación. En el documento se afirma que la homosexualidad «obstaculiza gravemente las relaciones con hombres y mujeres». Y a uno se le abre la boca de perplejidad. ¿Pretende eso, acaso, ser una afirmación científica? ¿Dogmática? En sentido estricto, no puede ser ni lo uno ni lo otro. Por tanto, no es más que la expresión de un prejuicio. ¿Acaso las tendencias heterosexuales profundamente enraizadas no obstaculizan gravemente, de vez en cuando, las relaciones con hombres y mujeres? Lo que subyace realmente a tal afirmación es la idea de que el gay, todo gay, es una persona sin control sobre su sexualidad. Pero basta echar un vistazo a la cantidad de producción pornográfica homosexual y heterosexual o a las estadísticas de prostitución para comprobar que, incluso teniendo en cuenta las dimensiones relativas de los dos sectores de población, la desproporción es enorme. Quizás entonces fuera motivo de preocupación también la ordenación de hombres con tendencias heterosexuales «profundamente arraigadas». El documento se basa en una serie de presunciones gratuitas y gravemente ofensivas para los hombres de orientación gay. Las autoridades eclesiásticas se han dejado llevar por una repulsión ideológica y culturalmente heredada hacia la cuestión homosexual.En última instancia, estas instrucciones son análogas a otras del pasado en que se discriminaba entre ricos y pobres para la admisión en los seminarios y órdenes religiosas. Curiosamente, dicho sea de paso, las presentes directrices no mencionan el caso de los miembros no ordenados de las órdenes religiosas. No hace falta decir que el documento deja en el aire, como por descuido, cuestiones fundamentales que se derivan de las afirmaciones que en él se hacen. Si un hombre de orientación gay no tiene control sobre sus impulsos sexuales, y por lo tanto no puede ser ordenado sacerdote, ¿habrá que entender que no tiene responsabilidad moral por sus actividades sexuales, es decir, que jamás peca en ese campo? La Iglesia no opina eso. El catecismo más bien parece sugerir que, con la ayuda de Dios, se puede ser casto y célibe. Si ése es el caso, ¿por qué no puede ser sacerdote? ¿En qué sentido obstaculiza su orientación gay sus relaciones con hombres y mujeres? También se plantean implícitamente, y se dejan igualmente sin respuesta, otras cuestiones igualmente evidentes. ¿Acaso no ha habido en la Historia de la Iglesia sacerdotes de orientación homosexual que han alcanzado la virtud heroica, la santidad? Confío en que El Vaticano no se atreva ni por lo más remoto a hacer tal afirmación. El documento, asimismo, necesariamente implica que en la actualidad hay un número indefinido de sacerdotes y obispos -quién sabe cuántos- que son incompetentes para ejercer la profesión que ejercen o, más aún, que llevan una vida inmoral dependiendo de cómo se entienda la oscura razón que esgrime El Vaticano para tal incompetencia. En consecuencia, y si es así, el documento insta también implícitamente a millares de sacerdotes y obispos a que pidan la baja inmediatamente. ¿Por qué no lo dice así de claro el documento? Si es por puras consideraciones prácticas, sólo cabe decir que esas mismas consideraciones prácticas también se pueden aplicar a otras situaciones. A Ratzinger le asusta la manifestación pública de la sexualidad gay. No ha caído en la cuenta de que es precisamente la tradicional represión, prejuicio y falta de caridad y comprensión para con el sufrimiento de los homosexuales lo que explica ahora esa explosión de expresión sexual. Y lo que se hace ahora es culpar a la víctima. ¿Qué efecto tendrán estas directrices? Poco o ninguno, a juicio de algunos eclesiásticos que se han pronunciado ya sobre la cuestión.Eso es lo que ha dicho, por ejemplo, el portavoz de la Archidiócesis de Los Angeles. El texto vaticano es lo suficientemente ambiguo como para dar lugar a una variedad de interpretaciones y, en última instancia, no es más que la especificación más minuciosa de unas directrices que fueron establecidas ya en 1961. Al parecer, el documento responde al deseo de ofrecer algún tipo de reacción oficial a dos cuestiones: los escándalos sexuales que han sacudido en los últimos años al clero, particularmente en Estados Unidos, y el germinar de una subcultura gay en algunos seminarios, también en Estados Unidos. En cuanto a lo primero, los medios de comunicación, siempre deseosos de airear los escándalos de carácter homosexual, especialmente en el clero, han generado una visión selectiva del asunto. A ello se une el problema del abuso sexual de menores en Estados Unidos, que una obsesiva prensa norteamericana ha magnificado fuera de toda proporción y que, siendo una cuestión de pedofilia, muchos han identificado erróneamente como un problema «homosexual» sin más. Al igual que en anteriores documentos preparados por Ratzinger, también en éste se llama a la compasión y se invita a no hacer discriminaciones injustas contra los homosexuales. Nótese, sin embargo, que el énfasis está en «injustas» porque la sutil implicación que tiene el uso de tal término es que hay discriminaciones justas para con los homosexuales. En 1992, en un documento titulado Observaciones sobre propuestas legislativas relativas a la discriminación de personas homosexuales, redactado por la Sagrada Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, presidida en aquel momento por Ratzinger, se afirmaba: «Hay áreas en las que no es injusta la discriminación por la orientación sexual; por ejemplo en la adopción o tutela de menores, en la contratación de maestros, entrenadores deportivos y en el reclutamiento militar». Ahora se añade el reclutamiento eclesiástico. Menuda tasa de paro para el mundo gay.
(Αναδημοσίευση από την ισπανική εφημερίδα EL MUNDO)
Algunos listillos que no quieren pasar por homófobos (¿homófobos ellos?) disfrazan su repudio al matrimonio homosexual con argumentaciones muy, pero que muy progresistas, en apariencia. Recientemente leí, firmados por dos intelectuales conocidos (hombre y mujer, respectivamente, no confundamos, no eran transexuales) la revolucionaria afirmación de que era reaccionario extender el matrimonio a las parejas homosexuales, porque el matrimonio estaba en decadencia, y si ahora empezaban a casarse los homosexuales, fortalecerían la institución. Ambos periodistas (hombre y mujer, no confundamos, no eran transexuales) estaban casados; por supuesto, matrimonio heterosexual, o sea, al uso. Pero quieren la exclusiva en ambos casos; si el matrimonio está en auge, limitado para heteros; si está en decadencia, también limitado a heteros. Vaya por Dios: después de haber sido apaleados, excluidos, burlados, vilipendiados, perseguidos, resulta que los homosexuales tienen que ser, también, la vanguardia revolucionaria de Occidente. ¿Qué más? Podríamos hacerles pagar un impuesto, por ser homosexuales y querer casarse.
Reconozco que durante muchos años, yo también estaba en contra del matrimonio homosexual; siempre sospeché del matrimonio: si había que festejarlo, firmar papeles, invitar a parientes detestables, a vecinos xenófobos y a olvidados tíos, algo malo tenía que tener.Si había que premiarlo (luna de miel, listas de boda, vacaciones) sería por algo. Por suerte, no soy de piñón fijo: sé rectificar a tiempo. El tiempo fue el advenimiento del maldito sida, una de las pestes más detestables del siglo pasado y del principio del XXI. Aprendí dolorosamente, a través de amigos y conocidos en EEUU y en Europa que la persecución a los homosexuales llegaba hasta los hospitales: si no había papeles, muchos enfermos morían solos, aislados, porque su pareja o sus amigos no tenían un certificado matrimonial que les permitiera acompañarlos. En aquella maldita época, muchos se cebaron contra los homosexuales, considerando la enfermedad como el castigo al vicio nefando. Estaban equivocados, por supuesto, pero miles y miles de enfermos murieron solos porque el amor de su vida no podía entrar a la habitación; era sólo el amor de su vida, no era ni su marido ni su esposa.
A partir de esa experiencia, me he convertido en una defensora del derecho de los homosexuales a contraer enlace, además de contraer el sida, igual que los heteros. Matrimonio para todos, o matrimonio para nadie, es una consigna.
La extensión de este derecho a los homosexuales no perjudica a nadie, ni pone en peligro la célula familiar; al contrario, la perpetúa, aunque bajo otras formas, y elimina una discriminación sin sentido. La homosexualidad no es una enfermedad; desde el año 1972 fue eliminada del catálogo de perturbaciones mentales de la Asociación Internacional de Psiquiatría y la lucha continua, persistente de los colectivos de gays y lesbianas ha permitido cierta visibilidad de los homosexuales y las lesbianas (parciales, bi, exclusivos, a temporadas o a tiempo completo) sin que ningún pilar de la sociedad tiemble o se derrumbe. El día en que casi todo pueda salir a la luz, sabremos, por ejemplo, que durante mucho tiempo Hollywood construyó los arquetipos de actrices y galanes del cine con homo o bisexuales (tuvieron que ocultarlo y sufrieron el tormento de sentirse raros, diferentes, excluidos de la normalidad, esa cuestión estadística. Valentino, Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson, James Dean, a veces Marlon Brando, Alec Guinness, Laurence Olivier, Dick Bogarde, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford y much@s más).
El PSOE y el presidente, Rodríguez Zapatero, se han comprometido a reformar el contrato matrimonial para que puedan optar a él también las parejas homosexuales. Optar no quiere decir que veamos una avalancha de matrimonios, aunque sería bastante divertido.Ahora bien, todos aquellos que todavía esgrimen algún tonto argumento contra este proyecto de ley, ¿han pensado las ventajas que tiene para el sistema capitalista? En primer lugar, aumentarán las alicaídas listas de bodas de El Corte Inglés y otros hipermercados.Ya me veo comprando una tostadora para Jordi y Andreu, que me han dicho que van a casarse con parafernalia y todo. Yo, que no he comprado una tostadora en la vida, ni siquiera para mí.(El pan lo compro ya tostado; ahorra migas, y a veces, hasta ahorra amigas). También hará prosperar a las agencias de viajes y a los circuitos operadores, venidos a menos desde que el terrorismo nos demostró nuestra cruel indefensión. Tengo unas amigas que ya piensan fletar el primer charter exclusivamente con matrimonios de mujeres a Nicaragua, donde, además de faltar los artículos de primera necesidad, falta también un poco de libertad gay.Si se aprueba el matrimonio homosexual, no habrá burbuja inmobiliaria, mejor dicho, la burbuja inmobiliaria continuará, porque ya me veo a los papás y a las mamás de mis mejores amigos regalándoles un pisito en El Borne de Barcelona o saliéndoles de aval para la hipoteca de Rosa y María, en Aluche. El capitalismo es así: cuando entra en crisis, siempre hay algo que lo salva. Los salvadores del capitalismo a principio del siglo XXI son los gays, que según me ha explicado un amigo mío, especialista en finanzas (hetero), gastan más dinero porque se preocupan por la belleza, por la cultura y por los vecinos: para hacerse respetar y querer siempre están cuidando al viejito de la otra puerta o sacan a pasear al perro de la ancianita solitaria del quinto.
Otro ejemplo: cuando mi vecina Neus se compra un libro (aunque sea de esas colecciones baratas, de quiosco, que nos arruinan los derechos de autor a los escritores), su marido, Jordi, suele mirarla mal y rebuzna: «Tú siempre malgastando las pelas, para qué necesitas otro libro» (en catalán, si us plau). Pero si mi amigo Francesc (gay) se compra un libro de fotografías editado por Blume, que cuesta 80 euros, su novio Luis (que entonces será su marido) le dirá: «Querido, qué idea estupenda, tú siempre preocupado por la cultura de esta familia». Las cosas, como son.
Algunas personas, de cuya buena intención no tengo por qué sospechar (o sea, sí), esgrimen el argumento (como un puñal) de que el matrimonio debe ser exclusivamente hetero porque la finalidad de ese contrato es la reproducción. Qué barbaridad, con lo que se querían mi tía María Elena y su esposo, Arturo, y nunca tuvieron hijos. Yo creo en cambio que el matrimonio es un artefacto social que sirve para una infinidad de cosas, según los usuarios. Por ejemplo, a mí, la única vez que me casé (ya dije que es una institución que me merece reservas, tanto para heteros como para homos), me sirvió para tener una nacionalidad: la española. Yo era de las revolucionarias ingenuas de los años 70 que creían que la mayoría de las instituciones se limitaban a ser papeleo, burocracia, hasta que la maldita dictadura uruguaya me retiró la nacionalidad, me quedé sola, indocumentada en Barcelona y con la policía de Franco siguiéndome la pista. Huí a Francia, donde fue dificilísimo casarme, porque los franceses (país de exilio, lo llamaban) no querían casarse por temor a las represalias de la dictadura uruguaya y del franquismo. Entonces, me casé con un español, con lo cual, obtuve la nacionalidad y aprendí a no burlarme nunca más del papeleo: toda la vida de una puede depender de tener o no tener un pasaporte vigente. (El recurso del matrimonio para salvar vidas lo había aprendido de la II Guerra Mundial, cuando muchísimos soldados norteamericanos se casaron con japonesas, italianas y alemanas, dándoles la nacionalidad norteamericana).
En el siglo XIX, el matrimonio le sirvió a cantidad de pequeñoburgueses para adquirir títulos nobiliarios, y a cantidad de nobles para obtener dinero, casándose con pequeñoburgueses.
La próxima objeción que me veo venir de los progresistas que no quieren parecer homófobos porque en el fondo lo son, es la del amor: los hetero se han podido casar toda la vida por cualquier motivo, pero seguramente, los homo tendrán que casarse solo y únicamente por amor. De modo que cuando comiencen los divorcios, que comenzarán tan pronto como los hetero (ya se produjo la primera demanda de divorcio, en Canadá), los falsos progresistas que no quieren parecer homófobos porque lo son, dirán que está visto, esto no podía durar, los matrimonios homo son un fracaso. Por supuesto: los homosexuales tienen el mismo derecho a fracasar que los hetero.
Otra ventaja muy importante del matrimonio para todos es ampliar la posibilidad de adopción. Hay demasiados niños que se mueren de hambre en el Tercer Mundo, que mueren de enfermedades curables, demasiados niños entregados a la prostitución, al tráfico de drogas, como para que alguien pueda razonablemente esgrimir la prohibición de adoptarlos a las parejas homosexuales. Y quienes consideran que si hay dos padres falta la figura femenina, y si hay dos madres falta la masculina, no se asusten: en la vida, lo que importa no es el sexo de quien da amor, sino que haya amor. Dicho de otro modo: lo importante es la función, no quién la cumple. La mayoría de los traumas que padecemos de adultos vienen de hogares heterosexuales, con padre y madre de diferente sexo, pero con violencia, conflictos, alcohol y malos tratos. Las estadísticas demuestran que la homosexualidad no es hereditaria, ni contagiosa: los homosexuales, hasta ahora, han sido casi siempre hijos o hijas de parejas hetero, y ninguna investigación ha podido determinar que los niños adoptados por parejas homo tengan esta tendencia. Tampoco se ha podido demostrar que ninguna sociedad haya sufrido alguna clase de pasmo cuando los homosexuales han salido del armario o se han constituido como pareja o matrimonio: el porcentaje de actividad homosexual no ha aumentado de manera significativa. De modo que a casarse, quienes quieran, y a ser felices, si pueden.
(Αναδημοσίευση από την ισπανική εφημερίδα EL MUNDO 10-8-2004)
06/01/2006 ILGA-Europe and IGLYO are asking young LGBT people in Europe to take part in our survey for a comprehensive report on the Social Exclusion of LGBT Youth in Europe that is planned to be presented at a hearing of the European Parliament in 2006. . The report will include case studies collected from European countries, reflecting real life experiences of European LGBT youth in relation to social exclusion. We need your contribution: send us your own report on your experiences of social exclusion. If you have or have had any of the experiences listed in the questions below, tell us about what happened in your answer. Please, tell us how these experiences affected you, how you felt, how you reacted to the given situations, what actions you have taken, and/or what actions you feel you should have taken at the time. We need your contribution: send us your own report on your experiences of social exclusion. If you have or have had any of the experiences listed in the questions below, tell us about what happened in your answer. Please, tell us how these experiences affected you, how you felt, how you reacted to the given situations, what actions you have taken, and/or what actions you feel you should have taken at the time. . QUESTIONNAIRE FOR INDIVIDUALS: 1) Have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination targeting you as an L/G/B/T person in your family? 2) Have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination targeting you as an L/G/B/T person in the close circle of your friends? 3) Have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination targeting you as an L/G/B/T person in your religious community? 4) Have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination targeting you as an L/G/B/T person in any community you belong to? 5) Have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination targeting you as an L/G/B/T person in school (from teachers, headmasters, pupils or other professionals)? 6) Have you ever found anything in the media products of your country that expressed prejudice or discriminative elements targeting LGBT people? 7) Have you ever found anything in your school curriculum that expressed prejudice or discriminative elements targeting LGBT people? 8) Have you ever experienced bullying or other forms of violence (verbal and/or physical) in school because of you being an L/G/B/T person? 9) What do you consider the most important cause of social exclusion of LGBT youth in your country? 10) Do you know of any positive developments concerning the fair treatment of young LGBT people from your own country that can – in your view – serve as a positive example for other countries? Include your age, gender, nationality, (ethnicity, and/or religious denomination, if relevant) and an assumed name we can use in the report. . QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ORGANISATIONS: Name of the organisation: Country (where it functions): I. What do you consider the most important cause(s) and most typical form(s) of social exclusion of LGBT youth in your county?) II. Has your organisation collected any (research, campaign, etc.) material on the specific problems of LGBT youth in your country? If so, please, specify exactly what kind of material you have and how it could be accessed. . Please, send us your answer(s) to the following e-mail address by January 31, 2006: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear friends, Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs has called upon a public debate over gay-marriages/partnerships. As the new Family Law is being processed at the moment and this new law declares marriage only as an institution between a man and a woman, discriminating gay couples by a) not letting them to marry; b) to get married in a country which allows same-sex marriages/partnerships. As a direct result of such law, 5 Estonian NGO's have signed a public letter to our authorities asking them to remove discriminating clause from the law and to initiate a new law for same-sex partners. We kindly ask you to support us in this very important moment of testing Estonian readiness to be a European country and show some tolerance. At this very point our sole demand is to initiate a new law for partnership and we encourage you to send in petitions, open letters etc to the following addresses/people: Mr. Jaak Aab, Minister of Social Affairs - Jaak.Aab@sm.ee
Social Democratic Party in the Parliament - email@example.com CC of all sent materials should also be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org An example of the letter:
. To Whom It May Concern Europe has gone through a long way in order to secure equal opportunities for all the members of the society and Estonia has shown its interest to be a part of such Europe. Equal opportunities means more than to have citizenship, to be protected against violence and to have a right to vote. The most humanly need is to share your life with another person and this need has given birth to an institution called marriage. The terms of such institution have changed based on the citizens needs. At this very moment app. 4-6% of Estonian society has sent a clear message of having a strong need for an institution that would define the partners' rights and obligations in same-sex families. Family, it means love, safe home, socially secured position, common values of humanity, protection of children and assets - what kind of country would not want to support such an initiative? We encourage you to actively take part in the public debate over same-sex partnership law in Estonia and support every effort for such law to be initiated. We demand you to stop ignoring the issues and problems of same-sex families and help to develop a more tolerant and equal society, an appropriate society of a member state of the EU. LGBT organizations in Europe will surely be monitoring the developments in the public debates and we are fully supporting our Estonian colleagues on their way to democracy and equal opportunities. Kindly,
. We thank you in advance for your support. This is truly a momentous period in Estonia's history and we appreciate your participation!Please feel free to spread the letter amongst your colleagues in other organizations. With all the best for 2006,Lisette Kampus email@example.com
Notes On "Camp" by Susan Sontag . Many things in the world have not been named; and many things, even if they have been named, have never been described. One of these is the sensibility -- unmistakably modern, a variant of sophistication but hardly identical with it -- that goes by the cult name of "Camp."A sensibility (as distinct from an idea) is one of the hardest things to talk about; but there are special reasons why Camp, in particular, has never been discussed. It is not a natural mode of sensibility, if there be any such. Indeed the essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration. And Camp is esoteric -- something of a private code, a badge of identity even, among small urban cliques. Apart from a lazy two-page sketch in Christopher Isherwood's novel The World in the Evening (1954), it has hardly broken into print. To talk about Camp is therefore to betray it. If the betrayal can be defended, it will be for the edification it provides, or the dignity of the conflict it resolves. For myself, I plead the goal of self-edification, and the goad of a sharp conflict in my own sensibility. I am strongly drawn to Camp, and almost as strongly offended by it. That is why I want to talk about it, and why I can. For no one who wholeheartedly shares in a given sensibility can analyze it; he can only, whatever his intention, exhibit it. To name a sensibility, to draw its contours and to recount its history, requires a deep sympathy modified by revulsion.Though I am speaking about sensibility only -- and about a sensibility that, among other things, converts the serious into the frivolous -- these are grave matters. Most people think of sensibility or taste as the realm of purely subjective preferences, those mysterious attractions, mainly sensual, that have not been brought under the sovereignty of reason. They allow that considerations of taste play a part in their reactions to people and to works of art. But this attitude is naïve. And even worse. To patronize the faculty of taste is to patronize oneself. For taste governs every free -- as opposed to rote -- human response. Nothing is more decisive. There is taste in people, visual taste, taste in emotion - and there is taste in acts, taste in morality. Intelligence, as well, is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas. (One of the facts to be reckoned with is that taste tends to develop very unevenly. It's rare that the same person has good visual taste and good taste in people and taste in ideas.)Taste has no system and no proofs. But there is something like a logic of taste: the consistent sensibility which underlies and gives rise to a certain taste. A sensibility is almost, but not quite, ineffable. Any sensibility which can be crammed into the mold of a system, or handled with the rough tools of proof, is no longer a sensibility at all. It has hardened into an idea . . . To snare a sensibility in words, especially one that is alive and powerful,1 one must be tentative and nimble. The form of jottings, rather than an essay (with its claim to a linear, consecutive argument), seemed more appropriate for getting down something of this particular fugitive sensibility. It's embarrassing to be solemn and treatise-like about Camp. One runs the risk of having, oneself, produced a very inferior piece of Camp.These notes are for Oscar Wilde."One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art."- Phrases & Philosophies for the Use of the Young
1. To start very generally: Camp is a certain mode of aestheticism. It is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon. That way, the way of Camp, is not in terms of beauty, but in terms of the degree of artifice, of stylization.
2. To emphasize style is to slight content, or to introduce an attitude which is neutral with respect to content. It goes without saying that the Camp sensibility is disengaged, depoliticized -- or at least apolitical.
3. Not only is there a Camp vision, a Camp way of looking at things. Camp is as well a quality discoverable in objects and the behavior of persons. There are "campy" movies, clothes, furniture, popular songs, novels, people, buildings. . . . This distinction is important. True, the Camp eye has the power to transform experience. But not everything can be seen as Camp. It's not all in the eye of the beholder.
4. Random examples of items which are part of the canon of Camp: Zuleika Dobson Tiffany lamps Scopitone films The Brown Derby restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in LA The Enquirer, headlines and stories Aubrey Beardsley drawings Swan Lake Bellini's operas Visconti's direction of Salome and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore certain turn-of-the-century picture postcards Schoedsack's King Kong the Cuban pop singer La Lupe Lynn Ward's novel in woodcuts, God's Man the old Flash Gordon comics women's clothes of the twenties (feather boas, fringed and beaded dresses, etc.) the novels of Ronald Firbank and Ivy Compton-Burnett stag movies seen without lust
5. Camp taste has an affinity for certain arts rather than others. Clothes, furniture, all the elements of visual décor, for instance, make up a large part of Camp. For Camp art is often decorative art, emphasizing texture, sensuous surface, and style at the expense of content. Concert music, though, because it is contentless, is rarely Camp. It offers no opportunity, say, for a contrast between silly or extravagant content and rich form. . . . Sometimes whole art forms become saturated with Camp. Classical ballet, opera, movies have seemed so for a long time. In the last two years, popular music (post rock-'n'-roll, what the French call yé yé) has been annexed. And movie criticism (like lists of "The 10 Best Bad Movies I Have Seen") is probably the greatest popularizer of Camp taste today, because most people still go to the movies in a high-spirited and unpretentious way.
6. There is a sense in which it is correct to say: "It's too good to be Camp." Or "too important," not marginal enough. (More on this later.) Thus, the personality and many of the works of Jean Cocteau are Camp, but not those of André Gide; the operas of Richard Strauss, but not those of Wagner; concoctions of Tin Pan Alley and Liverpool, but not jazz. Many examples of Camp are things which, from a "serious" point of view, are either bad art or kitsch. Not all, though. Not only is Camp not necessarily bad art, but some art which can be approached as Camp (example: the major films of Louis Feuillade) merits the most serious admiration and study."The more we study Art, the less we care for Nature."- The Decay of Lying
7. All Camp objects, and persons, contain a large element of artifice. Nothing in nature can be campy . . . Rural Camp is still man-made, and most campy objects are urban. (Yet, they often have a serenity -- or a naiveté -- which is the equivalent of pastoral. A great deal of Camp suggests Empson's phrase, "urban pastoral.")
8. Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style -- but a particular kind of style. It is the love of the exaggerated, the "off," of things-being-what-they-are-not. The best example is in Art Nouveau, the most typical and fully developed Camp style. Art Nouveau objects, typically, convert one thing into something else: the lighting fixtures in the form of flowering plants, the living room which is really a grotto. A remarkable example: the Paris Métro entrances designed by Hector Guimard in the late 1890s in the shape of cast-iron orchid stalks.
9. As a taste in persons, Camp responds particularly to the markedly attenuated and to the strongly exaggerated. The androgyne is certainly one of the great images of Camp sensibility. Examples: the swooning, slim, sinuous figures of pre-Raphaelite painting and poetry; the thin, flowing, sexless bodies in Art Nouveau prints and posters, presented in relief on lamps and ashtrays; the haunting androgynous vacancy behind the perfect beauty of Greta Garbo. Here, Camp taste draws on a mostly unacknowledged truth of taste: the most refined form of sexual attractiveness (as well as the most refined form of sexual pleasure) consists in going against the grain of one's sex. What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine. . . . Allied to the Camp taste for the androgynous is something that seems quite different but isn't: a relish for the exaggeration of sexual characteristics and personality mannerisms. For obvious reasons, the best examples that can be cited are movie stars. The corny flamboyant female-ness of Jayne Mansfield, Gina Lollobrigida, Jane Russell, Virginia Mayo; the exaggerated he-man-ness of Steve Reeves, Victor Mature. The great stylists of temperament and mannerism, like Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Tallulah Bankhead, Edwige Feuillière.
10. Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It's not a lamp, but a "lamp"; not a woman, but a "woman." To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater.
11. Camp is the triumph of the epicene style. (The convertibility of "man" and "woman," "person" and "thing.") But all style, that is, artifice, is, ultimately, epicene. Life is not stylish. Neither is nature.
12. The question isn't, "Why travesty, impersonation, theatricality?" The question is, rather, "When does travesty, impersonation, theatricality acquire the special flavor of Camp?" Why is the atmosphere of Shakespeare's comedies (As You Like It, etc.) not epicene, while that of Der Rosenkavalier is?
13. The dividing line seems to fall in the 18th century; there the origins of Camp taste are to be found (Gothic novels, Chinoiserie, caricature, artificial ruins, and so forth.) But the relation to nature was quite different then. In the 18th century, people of taste either patronized nature (Strawberry Hill) or attempted to remake it into something artificial (Versailles). They also indefatigably patronized the past. Today's Camp taste effaces nature, or else contradicts it outright. And the relation of Camp taste to the past is extremely sentimental.
14. A pocket history of Camp might, of course, begin farther back -- with the mannerist artists like Pontormo, Rosso, and Caravaggio, or the extraordinarily theatrical painting of Georges de La Tour, or Euphuism (Lyly, etc.) in literature. Still, the soundest starting point seems to be the late 17th and early 18th century, because of that period's extraordinary feeling for artifice, for surface, for symmetry; its taste for the picturesque and the thrilling, its elegant conventions for representing instant feeling and the total presence of character -- the epigram and the rhymed couplet (in words), the flourish (in gesture and in music). The late 17th and early 18th century is the great period of Camp: Pope, Congreve, Walpole, etc, but not Swift; les précieux in France; the rococo churches of Munich; Pergolesi. Somewhat later: much of Mozart. But in the 19th century, what had been distributed throughout all of high culture now becomes a special taste; it takes on overtones of the acute, the esoteric, the perverse. Confining the story to England alone, we see Camp continuing wanly through 19th century aestheticism (Bume-Jones, Pater, Ruskin, Tennyson), emerging full-blown with the Art Nouveau movement in the visual and decorative arts, and finding its conscious ideologists in such "wits" as Wilde and Firbank.
15. Of course, to say all these things are Camp is not to argue they are simply that. A full analysis of Art Nouveau, for instance, would scarcely equate it with Camp. But such an analysis cannot ignore what in Art Nouveau allows it to be experienced as Camp. Art Nouveau is full of "content," even of a political-moral sort; it was a revolutionary movement in the arts, spurred on by a Utopian vision (somewhere between William Morris and the Bauhaus group) of an organic politics and taste. Yet there is also a feature of the Art Nouveau objects which suggests a disengaged, unserious, "aesthete's" vision. This tells us something important about Art Nouveau -- and about what the lens of Camp, which blocks out content, is.
16. Thus, the Camp sensibility is one that is alive to a double sense in which some things can be taken. But this is not the familiar split-level construction of a literal meaning, on the one hand, and a symbolic meaning, on the other. It is the difference, rather, between the thing as meaning something, anything, and the thing as pure artifice.
17. This comes out clearly in the vulgar use of the word Camp as a verb, "to camp," something that people do. To camp is a mode of seduction -- one which employs flamboyant mannerisms susceptible of a double interpretation; gestures full of duplicity, with a witty meaning for cognoscenti and another, more impersonal, for outsiders. Equally and by extension, when the word becomes a noun, when a person or a thing is "a camp," a duplicity is involved. Behind the "straight" public sense in which something can be taken, one has found a private zany experience of the thing."To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up."- An Ideal Husband
18. One must distinguish between naïve and deliberate Camp. Pure Camp is always naive. Camp which knows itself to be Camp ("camping") is usually less satisfying.
19. The pure examples of Camp are unintentional; they are dead serious. The Art Nouveau craftsman who makes a lamp with a snake coiled around it is not kidding, nor is he trying to be charming. He is saying, in all earnestness: Voilà! the Orient! Genuine Camp -- for instance, the numbers devised for the Warner Brothers musicals of the early thirties (42nd Street; The Golddiggers of 1933; ... of 1935; ... of 1937; etc.) by Busby Berkeley -- does not mean to be funny. Camping -- say, the plays of Noel Coward -- does. It seems unlikely that much of the traditional opera repertoire could be such satisfying Camp if the melodramatic absurdities of most opera plots had not been taken seriously by their composers. One doesn't need to know the artist's private intentions. The work tells all. (Compare a typical 19th century opera with Samuel Barber's Vanessa, a piece of manufactured, calculated Camp, and the difference is clear.)20. Probably, intending to be campy is always harmful. The perfection of Trouble in Paradise and The Maltese Falcon, among the greatest Camp movies ever made, comes from the effortless smooth way in which tone is maintained. This is not so with such famous would-be Camp films of the fifties as All About Eve and Beat the Devil. These more recent movies have their fine moments, but the first is so slick and the second so hysterical; they want so badly to be campy that they're continually losing the beat. . . . Perhaps, though, it is not so much a question of the unintended effect versus the conscious intention, as of the delicate relation between parody and self-parody in Camp. The films of Hitchcock are a showcase for this problem. When self-parody lacks ebullience but instead reveals (even sporadically) a contempt for one's themes and one's materials - as in To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, North by Northwest -- the results are forced and heavy-handed, rarely Camp. Successful Camp -- a movie like Carné's Drôle de Drame; the film performances of Mae West and Edward Everett Horton; portions of the Goon Show -- even when it reveals self-parody, reeks of self-love.
21. So, again, Camp rests on innocence. That means Camp discloses innocence, but also, when it can, corrupts it. Objects, being objects, don't change when they are singled out by the Camp vision. Persons, however, respond to their audiences. Persons begin "camping": Mae West, Bea Lillie, La Lupe, Tallulah Bankhead in Lifeboat, Bette Davis in All About Eve. (Persons can even be induced to camp without their knowing it. Consider the way Fellini got Anita Ekberg to parody herself in La Dolce Vita.)
22. Considered a little less strictly, Camp is either completely naive or else wholly conscious (when one plays at being campy). An example of the latter: Wilde's epigrams themselves."It's absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious."- Lady Windemere's Fan
23. In naïve, or pure, Camp, the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails. Of course, not all seriousness that fails can be redeemed as Camp. Only that which has the proper mixture of the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naïve.
24. When something is just bad (rather than Camp), it's often because it is too mediocre in its ambition. The artist hasn't attempted to do anything really outlandish. ("It's too much," "It's too fantastic," "It's not to be believed," are standard phrases of Camp enthusiasm.)
25. The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance. Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers. Camp is the paintings of Carlo Crivelli, with their real jewels and trompe-l'oeil insects and cracks in the masonry. Camp is the outrageous aestheticism of Steinberg's six American movies with Dietrich, all six, but especially the last, The Devil Is a Woman. . . . In Camp there is often something démesuré in the quality of the ambition, not only in the style of the work itself. Gaudí's lurid and beautiful buildings in Barcelona are Camp not only because of their style but because they reveal -- most notably in the Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia -- the ambition on the part of one man to do what it takes a generation, a whole culture to accomplish.
26. Camp is art that proposes itself seriously, but cannot be taken altogether seriously because it is "too much." Titus Andronicus and Strange Interlude are almost Camp, or could be played as Camp. The public manner and rhetoric of de Gaulle, often, are pure Camp.
27. A work can come close to Camp, but not make it, because it succeeds. Eisenstein's films are seldom Camp because, despite all exaggeration, they do succeed (dramatically) without surplus. If they were a little more "off," they could be great Camp - particularly Ivan the Terrible I & II. The same for Blake's drawings and paintings, weird and mannered as they are. They aren't Camp; though Art Nouveau, influenced by Blake, is.What is extravagant in an inconsistent or an unpassionate way is not Camp. Neither can anything be Camp that does not seem to spring from an irrepressible, a virtually uncontrolled sensibility. Without passion, one gets pseudo-Camp -- what is merely decorative, safe, in a word, chic. On the barren edge of Camp lie a number of attractive things: the sleek fantasies of Dali, the haute couture preciosity of Albicocco's The Girl with the Golden Eyes. But the two things - Camp and preciosity - must not be confused.
28. Again, Camp is the attempt to do something extraordinary. But extraordinary in the sense, often, of being special, glamorous. (The curved line, the extravagant gesture.) Not extraordinary merely in the sense of effort. Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not items are rarely campy. These items, either natural oddities (the two-headed rooster, the eggplant in the shape of a cross) or else the products of immense labor (the man who walked from here to China on his hands, the woman who engraved the New Testament on the head of a pin), lack the visual reward - the glamour, the theatricality - that marks off certain extravagances as Camp.
29. The reason a movie like On the Beach, books like Winesburg, Ohio and For Whom the Bell Tolls are bad to the point of being laughable, but not bad to the point of being enjoyable, is that they are too dogged and pretentious. They lack fantasy. There is Camp in such bad movies as The Prodigal and Samson and Delilah, the series of Italian color spectacles featuring the super-hero Maciste, numerous Japanese science fiction films (Rodan, The Mysterians, The H-Man) because, in their relative unpretentiousness and vulgarity, they are more extreme and irresponsible in their fantasy - and therefore touching and quite enjoyable.
30. Of course, the canon of Camp can change. Time has a great deal to do with it. Time may enhance what seems simply dogged or lacking in fantasy now because we are too close to it, because it resembles too closely our own everyday fantasies, the fantastic nature of which we don't perceive. We are better able to enjoy a fantasy as fantasy when it is not our own.
31. This is why so many of the objects prized by Camp taste are old-fashioned, out-of-date, démodé. It's not a love of the old as such. It's simply that the process of aging or deterioration provides the necessary detachment -- or arouses a necessary sympathy. When the theme is important, and contemporary, the failure of a work of art may make us indignant. Time can change that. Time liberates the work of art from moral relevance, delivering it over to the Camp sensibility. . . . Another effect: time contracts the sphere of banality. (Banality is, strictly speaking, always a category of the contemporary.) What was banal can, with the passage of time, become fantastic. Many people who listen with delight to the style of Rudy Vallee revived by the English pop group, The Temperance Seven, would have been driven up the wall by Rudy Vallee in his heyday.Thus, things are campy, not when they become old - but when we become less involved in them, and can enjoy, instead of be frustrated by, the failure of the attempt. But the effect of time is unpredictable. Maybe Method acting (James Dean, Rod Steiger, Warren Beatty) will seem as Camp some day as Ruby Keeler's does now - or as Sarah Bernhardt's does, in the films she made at the end of her career. And maybe not.
32. Camp is the glorification of "character." The statement is of no importance - except, of course, to the person (Loie Fuller, Gaudí, Cecil B. De Mille, Crivelli, de Gaulle, etc.) who makes it. What the Camp eye appreciates is the unity, the force of the person. In every move the aging Martha Graham makes she's being Martha Graham, etc., etc. . . . This is clear in the case of the great serious idol of Camp taste, Greta Garbo. Garbo's incompetence (at the least, lack of depth) as an actress enhances her beauty. She's always herself.
33. What Camp taste responds to is "instant character" (this is, of course, very 18th century); and, conversely, what it is not stirred by is the sense of the development of character. Character is understood as a state of continual incandescence - a person being one, very intense thing. This attitude toward character is a key element of the theatricalization of experience embodied in the Camp sensibility. And it helps account for the fact that opera and ballet are experienced as such rich treasures of Camp, for neither of these forms can easily do justice to the complexity of human nature. Wherever there is development of character, Camp is reduced. Among operas, for example, La Traviata (which has some small development of character) is less campy than Il Trovatore (which has none)."Life is too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it."- Vera, or The Nihilists
34. Camp taste turns its back on the good-bad axis of ordinary aesthetic judgment. Camp doesn't reverse things. It doesn't argue that the good is bad, or the bad is good. What it does is to offer for art (and life) a different -- a supplementary -- set of standards.
35. Ordinarily we value a work of art because of the seriousness and dignity of what it achieves. We value it because it succeeds - in being what it is and, presumably, in fulfilling the intention that lies behind it. We assume a proper, that is to say, straightforward relation between intention and performance. By such standards, we appraise The Iliad, Aristophanes' plays, The Art of the Fugue, Middlemarch, the paintings of Rembrandt, Chartres, the poetry of Donne, The Divine Comedy, Beethoven's quartets, and - among people - Socrates, Jesus, St. Francis, Napoleon, Savonarola. In short, the pantheon of high culture: truth, beauty, and seriousness.
36. But there are other creative sensibilities besides the seriousness (both tragic and comic) of high culture and of the high style of evaluating people. And one cheats oneself, as a human being, if one has respect only for the style of high culture, whatever else one may do or feel on the sly.For instance, there is the kind of seriousness whose trademark is anguish, cruelty, derangement. Here we do accept a disparity between intention and result. I am speaking, obviously, of a style of personal existence as well as of a style in art; but the examples had best come from art. Think of Bosch, Sade, Rimbaud, Jarry, Kafka, Artaud, think of most of the important works of art of the 20th century, that is, art whose goal is not that of creating harmonies but of overstraining the medium and introducing more and more violent, and unresolvable, subject-matter. This sensibility also insists on the principle that an oeuvre in the old sense (again, in art, but also in life) is not possible. Only "fragments" are possible. . . . Clearly, different standards apply here than to traditional high culture. Something is good not because it is achieved, but because another kind of truth about the human situation, another experience of what it is to be human - in short, another valid sensibility -- is being revealed.And third among the great creative sensibilities is Camp: the sensibility of failed seriousness, of the theatricalization of experience. Camp refuses both the harmonies of traditional seriousness, and the risks of fully identifying with extreme states of feeling.
37. The first sensibility, that of high culture, is basically moralistic. The second sensibility, that of extreme states of feeling, represented in much contemporary "avant-garde" art, gains power by a tension between moral and aesthetic passion. The third, Camp, is wholly aesthetic.
38. Camp is the consistently aesthetic experience of the world. It incarnates a victory of "style" over "content," "aesthetics" over "morality," of irony over tragedy.
39. Camp and tragedy are antitheses. There is seriousness in Camp (seriousness in the degree of the artist's involvement) and, often, pathos. The excruciating is also one of the tonalities of Camp; it is the quality of excruciation in much of Henry James (for instance, The Europeans, The Awkward Age, The Wings of the Dove) that is responsible for the large element of Camp in his writings. But there is never, never tragedy.
40. Style is everything. Genet's ideas, for instance, are very Camp. Genet's statement that "the only criterion of an act is its elegance"2 is virtually interchangeable, as a statement, with Wilde's "in matters of great importance, the vital element is not sincerity, but style." But what counts, finally, is the style in which ideas are held. The ideas about morality and politics in, say, Lady Windemere's Fan and in Major Barbara are Camp, but not just because of the nature of the ideas themselves. It is those ideas, held in a special playful way. The Camp ideas in Our Lady of the Flowers are maintained too grimly, and the writing itself is too successfully elevated and serious, for Genet's books to be Camp.
41. The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious. More precisely, Camp involves a new, more complex relation to "the serious." One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious.
42. One is drawn to Camp when one realizes that "sincerity" is not enough. Sincerity can be simple philistinism, intellectual narrowness.
43. The traditional means for going beyond straight seriousness - irony, satire - seem feeble today, inadequate to the culturally oversaturated medium in which contemporary sensibility is schooled. Camp introduces a new standard: artifice as an ideal, theatricality.
44. Camp proposes a comic vision of the world. But not a bitter or polemical comedy. If tragedy is an experience of hyperinvolvement, comedy is an experience of underinvolvement, of detachment."I adore simple pleasures, they are the last refuge of the complex."- A Woman of No Importance
45. Detachment is the prerogative of an elite; and as the dandy is the 19th century's surrogate for the aristocrat in matters of culture, so Camp is the modern dandyism. Camp is the answer to the problem: how to be a dandy in the age of mass culture.
46. The dandy was overbred. His posture was disdain, or else ennui. He sought rare sensations, undefiled by mass appreciation. (Models: Des Esseintes in Huysmans' À Rebours, Marius the Epicurean, Valéry's Monsieur Teste.) He was dedicated to "good taste."The connoisseur of Camp has found more ingenious pleasures. Not in Latin poetry and rare wines and velvet jackets, but in the coarsest, commonest pleasures, in the arts of the masses. Mere use does not defile the objects of his pleasure, since he learns to possess them in a rare way. Camp -- Dandyism in the age of mass culture -- makes no distinction between the unique object and the mass-produced object. Camp taste transcends the nausea of the replica.
47. Wilde himself is a transitional figure. The man who, when he first came to London, sported a velvet beret, lace shirts, velveteen knee-breeches and black silk stockings, could never depart too far in his life from the pleasures of the old-style dandy; this conservatism is reflected in The Picture of Dorian Gray. But many of his attitudes suggest something more modern. It was Wilde who formulated an important element of the Camp sensibility -- the equivalence of all objects -- when he announced his intention of "living up" to his blue-and-white china, or declared that a doorknob could be as admirable as a painting. When he proclaimed the importance of the necktie, the boutonniere, the chair, Wilde was anticipating the democratic esprit of Camp.
48. The old-style dandy hated vulgarity. The new-style dandy, the lover of Camp, appreciates vulgarity. Where the dandy would be continually offended or bored, the connoisseur of Camp is continually amused, delighted. The dandy held a perfumed handkerchief to his nostrils and was liable to swoon; the connoisseur of Camp sniffs the stink and prides himself on his strong nerves.
49. It is a feat, of course. A feat goaded on, in the last analysis, by the threat of boredom. The relation between boredom and Camp taste cannot be overestimated. Camp taste is by its nature possible only in affluent societies, in societies or circles capable of experiencing the psychopathology of affluence."What is abnormal in Life stands in normal relations to Art. It is the only thing in Life that stands in normal relations to Art."- A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated
50. Aristocracy is a position vis-à-vis culture (as well as vis-à-vis power), and the history of Camp taste is part of the history of snob taste. But since no authentic aristocrats in the old sense exist today to sponsor special tastes, who is the bearer of this taste? Answer: an improvised self-elected class, mainly homosexuals, who constitute themselves as aristocrats of taste.
51. The peculiar relation between Camp taste and homosexuality has to be explained. While it's not true that Camp taste is homosexual taste, there is no doubt a peculiar affinity and overlap. Not all liberals are Jews, but Jews have shown a peculiar affinity for liberal and reformist causes. So, not all homosexuals have Camp taste. But homosexuals, by and large, constitute the vanguard -- and the most articulate audience -- of Camp. (The analogy is not frivolously chosen. Jews and homosexuals are the outstanding creative minorities in contemporary urban culture. Creative, that is, in the truest sense: they are creators of sensibilities. The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony.)
52. The reason for the flourishing of the aristocratic posture among homosexuals also seems to parallel the Jewish case. For every sensibility is self-serving to the group that promotes it. Jewish liberalism is a gesture of self-legitimization. So is Camp taste, which definitely has something propagandistic about it. Needless to say, the propaganda operates in exactly the opposite direction. The Jews pinned their hopes for integrating into modern society on promoting the moral sense. Homosexuals have pinned their integration into society on promoting the aesthetic sense. Camp is a solvent of morality. It neutralizes moral indignation, sponsors playfulness.
53. Nevertheless, even though homosexuals have been its vanguard, Camp taste is much more than homosexual taste. Obviously, its metaphor of life as theater is peculiarly suited as a justification and projection of a certain aspect of the situation of homosexuals. (The Camp insistence on not being "serious," on playing, also connects with the homosexual's desire to remain youthful.) Yet one feels that if homosexuals hadn't more or less invented Camp, someone else would. For the aristocratic posture with relation to culture cannot die, though it may persist only in increasingly arbitrary and ingenious ways. Camp is (to repeat) the relation to style in a time in which the adoption of style -- as such -- has become altogether questionable. (In the modem era, each new style, unless frankly anachronistic, has come on the scene as an anti-style.)"One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing."- In conversation
54. The experiences of Camp are based on the great discovery that the sensibility of high culture has no monopoly upon refinement. Camp asserts that good taste is not simply good taste; that there exists, indeed, a good taste of bad taste. (Genet talks about this in Our Lady of the Flowers.) The discovery of the good taste of bad taste can be very liberating. The man who insists on high and serious pleasures is depriving himself of pleasure; he continually restricts what he can enjoy; in the constant exercise of his good taste he will eventually price himself out of the market, so to speak. Here Camp taste supervenes upon good taste as a daring and witty hedonism. It makes the man of good taste cheerful, where before he ran the risk of being chronically frustrated. It is good for the digestion.
55. Camp taste is, above all, a mode of enjoyment, of appreciation - not judgment. Camp is generous. It wants to enjoy. It only seems like malice, cynicism. (Or, if it is cynicism, it's not a ruthless but a sweet cynicism.) Camp taste doesn't propose that it is in bad taste to be serious; it doesn't sneer at someone who succeeds in being seriously dramatic. What it does is to find the success in certain passionate failures.
56. Camp taste is a kind of love, love for human nature. It relishes, rather than judges, the little triumphs and awkward intensities of "character." . . . Camp taste identifies with what it is enjoying. People who share this sensibility are not laughing at the thing they label as "a camp," they're enjoying it. Camp is a tender feeling.(Here, one may compare Camp with much of Pop Art, which -- when it is not just Camp -- embodies an attitude that is related, but still very different. Pop Art is more flat and more dry, more serious, more detached, ultimately nihilistic.)
57. Camp taste nourishes itself on the love that has gone into certain objects and personal styles. The absence of this love is the reason why such kitsch items as Peyton Place (the book) and the Tishman Building aren't Camp.
58. The ultimate Camp statement: it's good because it's awful . . . Of course, one can't always say that. Only under certain conditions, those which I've tried to sketch in these notes.
1 The sensibility of an era is not only its most decisive, but also its most perishable, aspect. One may capture the ideas (intellectual history) and the behavior (social history) of an epoch without ever touching upon the sensibility or taste which informed those ideas, that behavior. Rare are those historical studies -- like Huizinga on the late Middle Ages, Febvre on 16th century France -- which do tell us something about the sensibility of the period.
2 Sartre's gloss on this in Saint Genet is: "Elegance is the quality of conduct which transforms the greatest amount of being into appearing."