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14 September 2002

You may have seen it in all the news lately. Billy and Chuck are getting married.

That would be the champion tag team wrestlers, who plan to go through a commitment ceremony on Tuesday. They've even enlisted the help of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to make sure they get it right.

There are a few interesting things about the approaching nuptials. First, Billy and Chuck aren't really gay and (one assumes) aren't really in love with each other--it's all a publicity stunt.

But the second interesting thing is the audience reaction to the whole thing. From a newspaper report...

Billy and Chuck have spent the current WWE season overtly flirting with one another - delighting the audience and taunting their opponents with their blooming togetherness....

Delighting audiences? An openly supposedly gay couple? Delighting wrestling audiences?

It's hard to know if the audience loves them back or cringes at the sight of them; perhaps both. The Billy-Chuck story monkeywrenches much of what people presume to know about middle America, homophobia, showbiz and machismo....

audiences have, mirabile dictu, been as supportive as they know how to be of the team they call the Ambiguously Gay Duo - although Billy and Chuck are frequently met with posters carried by female fans who have crushes on them and wish to "convert" them....

"This is the most mature way wrestling has ever handled a gay storyline, which isn't saying much at all," Keller [the promoter who is the brains behind this idea] said yesterday. "But what I've noticed that's different this time is that the crowds have been surprisingly tolerant of the Billy and Chuck angle. It wasn't so long ago that you would go to a wrestling event and be sitting next to kids who were encouraged to chant, 'faggot, faggot, faggot.' This time the audience responds to the gay, or effeminate, characters in a fun way, instead of as a way to express hate."

Can it be that there are pockets in this country where people are willing to accept a gay couple for what they are--a couple of people who happen to love each other?

There may never have been a better time in the history of this country's struggle with the whole issue of homosexuality for Steve and Jimmy to be premiering their new play, which I am going to LA to see again this weekend.

It's a basically a simple story, told in very funny and at times quite poignant, dialog (much of which has been rewritten since I saw it in Laguna a few weeks ago). It's just the story of two people who grew up in very different worlds (Steve, the son of a Baptist minister, who wanted to grow up to be just like his father, and Jimmy, who was raised Catholic, entered the seminary, and wanted to be the first American pope), who came to accept their sexual orientation, eventually met each other, fell in love and have been living a gay marriage for the past 17 years, a fact that flies in the face of all those who say that homosexuals are incapable of deep love and are simply sex-crazed, going from partner to partner with little to no emotional involvement or commitment.

It will be interesting to watch The Big Voice as it smooths out the rough edges and prepares for its October opening at the Zephyr theatre in Los Angeles. Steve and Jimmy could be America's first gay comedy duo--the Burns and Allen of West Hollywood; the gay Lunts.

What's terrific about this play is that nobody lays on the "gay" thing with a trowel. They are two people in love, who just happen to be gay. There are no great messages here, no sensationalistic sex scenes, no "agenda" (for want of a better word) other than just to tell their story, and to make you laugh and cry with them in the telling.

When the curtain falls (figuratively--there is no real curtain), and they hug each other in elation because the show has gone so well, it's not the made-for-stage phony act of Billy and Chuck, it's the real thing--two guys who love each other, who have committed themselves to each other for far longer than an awful lot of straight marriages, and who thoroughly enjoy working together and the interaction with the audience as well.

Maybe, with the tolerance that red neck audiences are giving to Chuck and Billy, it's the dawn of a new era and Steve & Jimmy will be in the right place at the right time.

I sure hope so.

Quote of the Day

My own belief is that there is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror.

~ W. Somerset Maugham

Picture of the Day

Jim&Steve.JPG (39080 bytes)

now THAT's the real McCoy!




One Year Ago
It's a New World--and I Hate It!
Yesterday morning I sat there for hours, tears streaming down my face, just from the pain of everyone, the futility of it all, and what this world is coming to.

Two Years Ago
The Grand Tour
We did the "memorials to the dead Sykes kids," saw all the high points, like my dentist’s office, the supermarket where I shop, Walt’s office, most of the places where I’ve worked, and topped off the tour with a visit to Ned so Peggy could meet the pugs. We also spent some time at Office Max and stopped in a coffee shop for coffee and a cookie.

(and to think she flew 9,127 miles for that!)

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