Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Carrey to Letterman: “It is Ok to Be Gay”

Jim Carrey won’t play into homophobia.

On the Late Show last Friday, Letterman asked Carrey about playing gay. Carrey is unwilling to crack jokes at the expense of gay folks, however.

Asked Dave: “And, in terms of a leading man, a heterosexual playing a homosexual, do homosexuals say ‘well, that shouldn’t have been a homosexual’ or do you worry about your image as a heterosexual leading man playing a homosexual?”

Replied Carrey: “Boy, we haven’t grown at all, have we? We haven’t grown at all…. We’re still children in the schoolyard. Honestly. No offense Dave, for god’s sakes, have you ever seen a gay man? Are there gay people in Indiana? Is it ok to be gay there, is what I’m asking. There’s not a policy against gay people there or here?”

It’s heartening to see a major Hollywood actor acting as an ally and standing up for mainstream acceptance of gays and lesbians. All before breaking into a rendition of A-ha’s classic, “Take on Me.”

Filed under: film, gay rights, homophobia, television, , , , ,

Gaga-Inspired Activists for DADT

The other day Lady Gaga asked her fans to reach out to their senator to ask them to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Seemed like a small gesture; in the clip above, a pair of college students respond to Gaga’s call to arms. The allies call their local Colorado congressman–and then get the rest of their dormmates to call, too.

Encouraging to see young people as allies: active, open-minded, willing to give a damn.

Filed under: gay rights, military, , , , , ,

Jane Lynch Thanks Wife at Emmys



Her first words at winning the Emmy: “Outlandish!”

Who else but Jane Lynch, fabulous actor and polyester track suit-wearing character that she is, thanks her wife at the Emmys?

One more of my favorite clips from Glee, in which Sue Sylvester discusses the “sneaky gays”:

Filed under: comedy, television, , , , ,

Why “The Kids are All Right” is So Good

1.) Julianne Moore. 2.) An airtight, carefully constructed script. And 3.) the simple fact of representation–an ordinary family that happens to be headed by two women–on the big screen.

A couple friends, my partner, and I joined a sold-out theatre last night for Lisa Chodolenko’s The Kids are All Right. Man, has this movie been gathering momentum (and not in the kitschy NOM way). The Kids are All Right raked in more than a million dollars over the two weeks it’s been in theaters. In Cambridge, where we saw the movie, it was playing on two screens, both sold out. I haven’t been to a theater that crowded since the release of Brokeback Mountain.

There’s obvious parallels between the two movies. Both movies have a gay couple as the focus; both movies boast major movie stars. And though they may seem like indie flicks, The Kids are All Right and Brokeback Mountain manage to also reach for mainstream ambition.

But must mainstream also mean playing into tired old tropes? Stereotypes about lesbians seem particularly jarring in this film by and about gay women (e.g. watching gay porn, over-processing their emotions, transforming from a lesbian to a straight woman by the right man). Though there may be some truth in these stereotypes, portraying them without also questioning them provides fodder for uncritical audiences. When Moore’s character, a lesbian who has two teenage children with her lover, suddenly throws herself at a man, you can’t help but let out a little groan. Why couldn’t she fall for another woman? Why does it seem like all it takes to “cure” the character of her gayness is a handsome man?

Still, for its faults, The Kids are All Right struck a chord for me and my friends. Everyone in the theater, in fact, seemed to laugh (or cringe) as the movie hit all the right notes–comparing marriage to a Russian novel, watching the college-bound daughter awkwardly seduce her crush. Chodolenko takes what’s ordinary in urban gay life (and which many of us take for granter) and uses it to frame her story of an ordinary American family. Good stuff.

Go support this little film that could.

Filed under: film, gay life, humor, , , , , , , , , ,

Stonewall for Beginners

There’s a Tagalog proverb that goes, “Kung hindi mo alam kung saan ka nanggaling, hindi mo alam kung saan ka makakarating.”

Translation?

“If you do not know where you come from, you do not know where you’re going.”

The first time I heard this, I thought, “What a ridiculous saying.” But the more I considered it, the more I realized the wisdom. Know your roots, the saying seems to imply. Remember that knowledge is power.

I learned of the incredible, spontaneous–viscerally and physically defiant–Stonewall riots nearly two decades ago, after I first came out. The coming out process is, of course, for many of us such an arduous, painful process that the history of all those who came before us is clouded by self-interest. How can a collective movement matter much when you’re struggling to your individual identity?

Once the door is opened, however, it’s important to recognize the past. That’s the best part of the Filipino proverb: How can you move forward, if you never look back?

The Stonewall Riots–and its defiant men and women–initiated a revolution. Pre-1969, homosexuality was illegal; the American Psychiatry Association categorized homosexuality as a mental disorder. The list of social injustices burdening lesbians and gay men were endless.

I’m excited to support the new documentary “Stonewall Uprising.” It contains black-and-white historical footage and interviews with the now-senior citizens who defied police, social scientists, and the political establishment; as one participant says, “It was the Rosa Parks moment.”

Filed under: gay rights, history, , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
February 2017
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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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