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« "Oh God I'm Gay!" Podcast | Main | How do GLBT folks fit into Buddhism? »

August 12, 2008

Comments

Clayton

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

----from A RETURN TO LOVE, by Marianne Williamson

Blacklab

This was a very thoughtful article. I have really noticed the deterioration of gay male spaces over the years because of this pornification and objectification.

One man I know who is wonderful and intelligent just got trapped in sex addiction that this online stuff fed. He is a living example of the "Picture of Dorian Grey" which I believe was Oscar Wild's clever commentary on gay male life and it's pitfalls.

I becamse concerned about this online pornification and objectification when I saw the virus spreading to large urban lesbian communities. All our spaces are shrinking, we let our authors starve by spending more money at the local bar or in online porn situations than in gay bookstores.

We will be as shallow as wading pools, and that great gay and lesbian culture that so many of worked so hard to create will disappear. This is a real crisis folks!

Four Sisters Groove

Anything can become an addiction, if we let it.

Sarah

"The hardest part of the job, it often seems, is convincing LGBT people themselves of that truth."

Absolutely. Trying to persuade certain friends that they are not worthless animals defined by their bed partners has sometimes been a real struggle to deal with emotionally. General insecurity in young men added to a sense of rejection from family and society and fatalism has made for a heart-breaking mixture.

Oliver Douglas

I read this article, and I yawned. My brain is yearning for intellectual oxygen, a breath of fresh air. But alas, it is not here. It is effortless and self serving to write such expositional drivel. Maybe, instead of rehashing the trite, overused metaphors and obvious downfalls of gay online dating, one can provide solutions. Maybe, just maybe, manhunt is so popular because one connects to another on a contemporary, accessible level.

This is why I state that it is up to us to bridge the gap, to relate to gay youth and peers.

We are in dire need of a youthful, compelling, intriguing source that provides solutions in a sexy, interesting way. While I appreciate the time and effort it took to compile facts and the writer's effort to relate to his audience by divulging his own usage of manhunt, it is not enough.

We need creative, and riveting writers who speak from a pulpit that is deeply rooted in the oversexed, sarcastic, quixotic minds of our youth. This writer is knowledgeable and also humorous, contemporary, sexual, commercial.

The problem is not manhunt. The problem is the alternative. There will always be another manhunt. We, as the holders of popular mediums [web, TV, magazines], owe it to our audience to create a captivating solution.

It is up to the media to convey, in postures and attitudes, what is sexy and cool. Advertisement is warfare. How do we combat this inundation? Maybe it's possible to be sexy AND intellectual, in a cool way? *gasp*

I often wonder why advertisers and marketers don't write articles. They radically and constantly devise innovative ways keep us interested in seemingly mundane topics. This article is a small step, but is not enough.

If you agree, or disagree, hop on over to my fun fabulous soap box, www.oliverdouglasonline.com

Ciao for now,
Ollie

ned

Good article, I agree with your core points here.

And that T-shirt is very cool. Is there a version for women? :-)

Clayton

(Yeah, Ned! Just click on the t-shirt and it will take you to the t-shirt shop!)

Greg Halpen

WHOA! The comment by Ollie was a little strange. I appreciate his passion, though. I found the article to be very informative and NOT in a negative way. I think it's helpful and important to shed light on the things that are not serving humanity in a positive way. And I am not talking about the evening news either. Thank you, MyOutSpirit...

Glad I found you!

Greg
www.TheGayGuysLoveCoach.com

pennyjane

i agree greg, oliver was very disparaging and offered no fundamental solutions of his own. just the stale old thing about the media should....rah rah rah.

the solution, to me, seems to be just the opposite of oliver's perfect world. people need to come to understand that homosexuality is about love and not about sex. sex should grow out of love not the other way around. as long as homosexuals are encouraged to view themselves as sexual objects then that's how they will portray themselves.

the gay website that isn't primarily about sex is as rare as the tg website that isn't about looks. shallow stuff in the greater meaning of things. thanks to clayton for his very rare website...this is the solution.

Clayton

I think this is an important discussion, and I hope it continues! I gotta say, though, I think in some ways Ollie's on the right track!

One of my goals with MyOutSpirit is to attract more LGBT people to spiritual inquiry and practice, but I plan to use pretty traditional marketing to get there. In other words, to meet people where they ARE as opposed to coming at them from outside.

I mean, all these amazing LGBT-affirming spiritual leaders are doing this *transformational* work that nobody KNOWS about, and that is a MARKETING problem, not a spiritual problem.

Anyway, I still think we have a ways to go at figuring out what kind of online world we could create that WOULD create "a community of healthy, self-actualized MSM."

And, PJ, I sure HOPE that MyOutSpirit.com offers a solution! Thanks for the shout-out! <3

pennyjane

hi clayton. i very much agree that "going where they are" is a very good thing. but, what isn't good is moving in with them. the trick is to get people out of those dark places where sex is all and everthing. it's the same with us. tg sites are just eat up with ads, articles and resourses for making one appear more feminine...that's the goal. appearance becomes the standard for judging everything about a person, character means nothing...and that's what is not only acceptable, but laudable behavior.

that's what i read into gay sites as well. the more you present yourself sexually the more you are heard, the more powerful your voice. you can be a complete idiot but if you are young, blond and...physically attractive, you are at the top of the heirachy. and this you cannot argue against. it's become so entrenched in the gay community that people don't even understand the possibility that something else about a person might be more important then their sexuality. that's what has to be changed before the general health of the gay community will improve. healthier bodies, minds and spirits will make us healthier people.

the same applies to the tg community. as long as people are judged first, second and last...only... on how well they present enfemme we will not move ourselves into the mainstream of a society with other values. it's a little more complicated with us, tg has become so wide a term that it can mean almost anything, and many of the things begin and end with appearance. that's what they are all about...crossdressing is a behavior, transvestism is a sexual fetish, transsexualism, or harry benjamin syndrome, is an congenital intersex condition that can be corrected. it, like homosexuality, is not about what one does but about who one is.

just as transsexuals must break free of the whole tg archipelago and sail alone, so must the homosexual people. we must hold in higher esteem those people who are homosexual then the homosexuals who are people. sex as a be all-end all is just as unhealthy in the homosexual paradigm as it is in the hetersexual world. we have to hold people in higher esteem then their mere sexuality will permit.

i know, i hear the head scrating going on already, but i hope one or two might hear. much love and hope, pj

Riverwolf

Haven’t we heard this all before? For the last couple of decades—well before Manhunt and other online networking sites—everyone complained how gays isolated themselves and only thought about sex. The writer waxes nostalgic about brick-and-mortar gay establishments as if those were devoid of any body objectification. Hello, perspective anyone?

Whether Manhunt exists or not is not the problem. People who want sex go where they can get it, and that will never change. Bars, rest stops, porn shops, online networking. That hasn’t changed and I don’t think it will.

I tend to agree with Ollie. The online sites actually provide perhaps a more personal interaction than you can get in the typical smoky, loud, crowded gay bar. Hell, we’re all blogging, don’t forget, and many people criticize blogging for being an isolating experience.

I tend to think those people who don’t like how Manhunt works are those who feel a bit out of touch with the new technology and the online environment. What goes on at Manhunt and the local bar really isn’t all that different—just the structure is.

True, us queers are more than our bodies, but that realization is something each of us must come to in our own time. We must learn it on our own. It isn’t something that can be forced on us or applied by the sexuality police. If I want others telling me how to express my sexuality, I’ll become a Christian!

pennyjane

let me help you just a little, riverwolf. as a christian i can tell you that my belief has nothing to do with telling anyone about how to express their sexuality, it's about believing in the deity of Jesus Christ. just as it isn't appropriate to paint all homosexuals as sex-crazed maniacs because some very loud ones are, it isn't fair to paint all christians as bigots just because a few loud ones are.

my personal objection to manhunt and other sex-sites has nothing to do with technology it's that they promote sexual promiscuity and i don't think that's healthy...for anyone of any persuesion. my objection is not based on any sense of morality, it's just common sense concerns about the health of my fellow beings.

i see and understand the argument against what i say, and i respect the validity of it, eventhough i disagree...i do so respectfully and without the need to denegrate anyone's sense of their higher power.

BV

An interesting distinction to make in the online vs the brick and mortar; People on line arent even really having much sex, or any kind of human interaction at all.

Guys are surfing for hours in a session looking for someone perfect enough, yet conversely interested enough to respond favorably. One of the little secrets of manhunt is that expectations are high and a lot of guys aren't even "scoring." As the author of the original article mentioned, manhunt shares much with slot machines. Guys just sit there clicking next, next, next hoping for a jackpot. Sadly the expectation of the jackpot grows with the perfect abs and large members surfed along the way.

At least in the brick and mortar setting people were talking, connecting, doing some sort of courting, even if just to get laid. Perhaps more important, they were also making real life friends going through the game as imperfect as it was.

Now we have men who aren't connecting sexually or otherwise. Meanwhile it drains the community of members. Men and community diminished and weakened. I'd go as far to say Manhunt is the new closet.

Anonymous

I'm glad you mentioned this article. There are many of us who find it difficult to quit self-destructive behavior on sites like the one explored in this article, and at many other venues: parks, bathrooms, etc. I wonder how much they are to blame.

If you want help quitting, or finding solutions, come join us. Sexual Compulsive's Anonymous has lots of meetings at the Center in NYC, and around the country each week. The Men's Retreat Labor Day Weekend at Rowe Camp and Conference Center is the beginning of the formation of an intentional community of men. Both join us in choosing the shape our lives together in ways that honor and cherish us.

pennyjane

"cherish and honor us." YES! this is what solution looks like. self-respect. valuing ourselves for the beautiful, intricate, ascetically wonderous creatures that we are in our totality.

the first question God posed to mankind in genesis 3:11..."who told you that you are naked?" when we can answer this we know the source of our shame and self-hatred. when we know where it comes from the self-destructive behaviors we heap on ourselves can become clear to us. we need not reduce ourselves to nothing more then the search for a few seconds of carnal bliss. the one who holds this out to us is not interested in our well-being, he wants us to know we are naked so we can be ashamed of what God has made and honor that which he has told us to be ashamed of. he is the source of our shame and guilt, he told us we are naked.

God clothed us in beauty, such beauty as is His own image. this is the true us, this is who we are, who He created. the adversary wants us awash in shame...he wants us to constantly try to clothe ourselves in his robes, the illusory fabrics of rot and decay. God made us beautiful and unashamed. God made us of love and worship. by God we need no clothing to not be naked, we are beautiful in His eyes. and we can be beautiful to one another when first we love and then we express our love with tender compassion and respect for the wonder we each are.

may God bless us all with His love and all His hope. pj

Clayton

PJ's comments reminded me of this great book, WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED? by John Jacob Raub... Now I'll have to pick it up again! Maybe I can get a review up on MyOutSpirit.com (in my non-existent spare time)!

pennyjane

hi clayton. it's nice to know the bells started ringing for someone else when he heard that question posed. it went right over my head the first half dozen or so times i read it, but just last week it stopped me in my tracks. the profundity inherient in answering that question is stunning.

i will look forward to hearing mr raub's perspective. thanks for the referral. much love and hope, pj

michael

One of the problems is that there aren’t many sites online to help guys meet in a healthy and positive way. So many sites are focused on the hookup, which is fine if that’s what you are looking for. However it is difficult to obtain more substantial relationships with people from these sites simply because of the idea behind them. That is why I created www.getsteady.com Which I hope will be a platform for the single LGBT community to come and meet others who are looking for more. This is a true dating site. There is a dress code and we verify all members photos to cut down on misrepresentation. To celebrate it’s launch the first 1,000 members get 3 months free. I hope you will share this will all your single friends who are frustrated with the current options on where or how to meet someone. I am confident they will see there difference. This was my mission to be a catalyst for positive change. I hope the site helps change the landscape of what it really means to be gay. Some of us need to get back in touch with what we really want out of life and I hope getsteady helps.

Michael

www.getsteady.com

Sexy Boyz

I like what your saying. But I like Gay Porn! More power to Gay Pride. I'll be sure to tell my boyz to check out your blog..

Jay

Sites like Manhunt have their place in gay society but it should not be a site by which all gay men are identified as. I dare say that there's a huge section of the gay population that does not have a profile on any social sites whatsoever.

Phillipe

I agree completely with the article.
Please, put more of these types of themes.

Kiesha

Good article! I couldn't agree more about how online cruising changes gay social life and that this should be issues of utmost and real concern.

Rangdrol (CJ Plourde)

Wow, I wish I had seen this article when it originally came out.

I must say that when I worked at ManHunt I found myself thinking that I couldn't have picked a worse place to work. And that, unfortunately, was not what I had wanted.

Manhunt had a great "Vision", but it was very superficial. When confronted with homophobic taunts and bullying by "straight" co-workers and unhealthy workplace issues, the administration failed to take the necessary actions, and after a few meetings I gave my two-week notice.

I found it particularly interesting that they had the right wall colors, the right imported Afghan rugs, and one of the most beautiful Tibetan thangkhas I had ever seen in my life, but at the very heart of the organization, the "culture" was immature and impoverished.

Just a few weeks before I left I discovered that one of the owners was feeding a horrible drug addiction, and then I understood why Manhunt was the way it was. In fact, I was surprised that it had done so well.

If a business, gay or straight, is unhealthy at the core, then that disease spreads. So long as people continue to make money, little else seems to matter, in such situations.

I can only hope that Manhunt has worked hard to confront the very real problems it had, internally, and that they are treating their co-workers with real dignity, and not just writing good camp.

Jake Obeck

I think Manhunt has ruined the essence of gay self-expression. They are encouraging more people to switch from genuine real-life interaction to the exploitation of their vulnerability.

ZetaMRA

I have allot of aggreements with this article, I've tried dating sites (of both variety, I am Pansexual) but I noticed something after a while: There was a huge chasm of disconnect, there was no familiarity and thus no empathy or really any genuine trust and every attempt to achieve such seemed contrived and manipulative, it wasn't organic like the sort of thing that developes from years growing up together in close proximity..

Speaking of which, I think this article does make an error in promoting the "values" of Urbanity when really such is no different than the sort of industrialization being promoted by such sites.

I see online dating as really just a natural implication of the metropolis, the naturaly dwelling of thieves and whores, and not an antecedent as is being published in this article (seemingly for damage control purposes).

I am a country boy at heart, though I live in a city my instincts are primarily familial and rural. Manhunt, it would seem, is only to Urbanity what Urbanity is to Rural communitarianism, it is a consequence of atomism and cultural deracination. It is only following the trend of what came before with the advent of the "cosmopolis".

I think both Urban living and Internet dating are one and the same, I see them as expressions of perdition and bestiality.

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