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Comment Victor
20 Jun 08
 
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT “GAY MARRIAGE”

I have said it for many years (including in this site) and I say it again in view of what’s happening now in California: The insistence of our gay brothers and sisters in the USA on using the expression “marriage” is not wise and will be proven to be detrimental in the end.

What matters, are the legal goals (especially inheritance laws), which could be (and in some countries have been) accomplished much more easily without insisting on using the culturally loaded word “marriage”.

Why do we cling to a label for an institution that does not work in almost 50 % of its applications? Is it, because we want to be “like mom and dad”, including the kiss in front of city hall, the dance of honor in front of all our friends and family, the kitschy wedding cake and all?

Why are we not creative in tailoring our own traditions, festivities, life-style(s)? Isn’t that slavish imitation of bourgeois institutions and traditions proof enough of our feeling inferior as we are, of a desperate wish “to be accepted”?

We will accomplish just the opposite! Imagine two crocodiles proclaiming, they want to get “married” and to be accepted as a “normal couple”! What lower-middle-class straights feel, when they are confronted with that tactless imitation of their most romantic notion, is very similar. They are repulsed. Is it surprising, that religious Mid-Westerners, who see marriage as a religious institution, will cringe at the idea of “gay” marriage?

I am a 73 years old university professor and have openly lived in a happy relationship for exactly 36 years. All of my colleagues and students, if they were interested in my private life at all, knew about it. WE gave parties at least twice a year, were usually invited together, and if we were not seen together, our friends asked about the other. Never did I have any professional problems on account of my open gayness and relationship. This might be so partly, because university folks, and especially young ones, would consider it to be beneath their dignity to raise an eyebrow. But I am convinced, this is also so, precisely because we did NOT try to intrude into the lives of our straight friends by forcing them to “accept” anything, they did not feel comfortable with. Neither were we guilt-ridden about our private life nor did we impose it on others.

Again: Whether we call our relationships “marriage”, “civil union”, “domestic partnerships” or whatever DOES NOT MATTER! What matters, is our legal situation and that will improve faster, if we apply some tactful consideration to the sensitivity of our straight contemporaries (especially of the conservative lower middle-class).

There is also a political disadvantage to insisting on the term “Marriage”: We make it difficult (or sometimes impossible!) for basically liberal politicians like California governor Schwarzenegger or Barack Obama, who either secretly sympathize with our predicament or don’t care, but would like our votes, to support our cause, if we force them to alienate their conservative voters by supporting the notion of gay “marriage”.

The same considerations, by the way, apply to “gay parades” and similar public demonstrations. But this is another topic, which I will tackle only, if you ask me to -)
Answers
Comment rick
20 Jun 08
 

Hi there, I think the article is spot on Victor
All definitions of Marriage state as being a contract between a man and a woman
What's wrong with 'Partnership agreement'without the dreaded 'Gay'having to be included
Like you Victor I think these silly buggers are doing themselves and the rest of us a dis-service


Comment
21 Jun 08
 
Victor, I would like to read your thoughts on gay parades! I have always felt, that they hurt us more than helping us.
Carlos, Brazil

Comment
21 Jun 08
 
Victor, your thoughts are always helpful and utterly reasonable.
Of course, one question immediately arises in re-reading your article on gay relationships: Do you think, your own relationship (of 36 years!) lasted so long, because you followed your own recommendations concerning "openness", honesty, and "sharing"? I admire you and wish I would know you personally! I am a student in Montreal/Canada and have lost two lovers to other guys. - Your students (in Japan?) must have LOVED you.
Thanks so much! Gilles

Comment
21 Jun 08
 
I just read that first article of yours on gay relationships and I really would love to meet you personally and discuss it with you. Don't misunderstand me! I have a beautiful lover and would never cheat him. But you seem to be a very reasonable person, quite rare in "our circles". Where in Japan do you live?
Reuben in Osaka

Comment
21 Jun 08
 
Are you the same Victor who tried to meditate unsuccessfully? ;-)))
You seem to dislike the "lower-middle-classes" ... ;-)))))
I can understand that because that's where I come from. -
And I also know why they are anti-gay: It's because they are soooo Christian that they cannot tolerate anything that the Church will not sanction. - And why are they sooo Christian?: Because they have a psychological need to believe in SOMETHING. East of the Mediteranean they would be sooo ... you know, what.
And how can they believe in a personal, almighty, just and merciful and LOVING God in spite of what we see each day in the television-news (Burma, China, Africa etc. tsunamis, starvation, undeserved and completely random suffering of innocents) ? Because they are dumb! Because they refuse to think! Because they refuse to connect what they can see with what they chose to believe.
I know, because I am from that background. My "being different" made me see.
Cheers! Anonymus

Comment Martin Frank
21 Jun 08
 
I agree that some people mix the real, legal and social discrimination against gay, lesbian, transsexual and related minorities, and the quest for the wedding cake.

Unhappily, the wedding cake hunters want to be equal to straight couples down to the pattern on their toilet paper.

They sabotage the real advancement of sexual and other minorities and are at the forefront of gay suppression of those sexual minorities who disturb their WASP "gay" ideal.

We all pay for their "marriages" in town hall with the exclusion and stigmatization of relationships which don't fit their same same but different pattern.

Non-Western sexuality for example doesn't divide neatly into "gay" and "straight" patterns, and gay liberation in non-Western countries is very often simply propaganda for the Western gay lifestyle.

As a StickyRice reader and writer, I wonder why anybody should take to the street to fight for gay liberation in Thailand, when almost all discrimination here is social and racial discrimination. Even the "Thai-Chinese" anti-gay sentiment is only concerned with offspring, sexually, nobody could care less.

Why should male-to-male relationships need to be liberated in a country where during extreme political conflicts, heterosexual politicians with known loose mouths never use the gay card to get at their homosexual targets (because Thais think sexuality is private).

I feel that gay liberation has done us a lot of good, but it also destroyed some wonderful things (just think of naked school bathing), and is still destroying them. The Gay Liberators willingly paid and are still paying their own liberation with others' freedom to live as they like.

Comment Wabear
21 Jun 08
 
Unfortunately America has the most laws and lawyers and the most complex legal system in the world. Trying to amend thousands of city, state, and federal laws to include "domestic partners" is not feasible. "marriage" is no longer a religious term here, but a legal term. The easiest path to full equality is to allow gay marriage.

Comment
21 Jun 08
 
I am amazed and grateful for all of the spontaneous reaction to my short article. I deeply agree with all of them.
Thank you! Victor (not my real name)

Comment
22 Jun 08
 
WABEAR's comment was posted AFTER my note above.
Of course, I do NOT agree with him. He doesn't give a single good reason, why we NEED the term "marriage". And "marriage" DOES have religious connotations for many people, especially in the USA. Victor

Comment
24 Jun 08
 
"For better or worse" "Till death do us part" ... Doesn't that sound religious?!
The greatest perversion in my eyes are those couples who insist on being "married" by a priest, being unable to sever ties with an intolerant church.
Poor people! Instead of saying "Fuck yourself!" they are trying to crawl in through the back-door and get at least a semblance of the establishment blessing.
I am completely on Victor's side. Tilman/LA

Comment bg
26 Jun 08
 
I agree with you of course - just as I agree about those awful gay "pride" parades which only alienate potential supporters by promoting an extreme view of homosexuality. You certainly got some nice responses! I would like to read a piece from you about successful long-term ralationships lasting so long precisely because they tolerate - indeed embrace - "affairs" - this would provoke an interesting correspondence. But perhaps you've done that already.

Comment
26 Jun 08
 
I HAVE, dearie! The link is in my first sentence. (Besides, Reuben in Osaka referred in his response to it.) But I thank you nevertheless for your kind response.
Victor/Victoria

Comment tommy
13 Jul 08
 
Dear victor/ victoris [ by the way it was a great film your psuedo name that is ]

maybe I am a little late in making a reply , however better late than never , I have had several relationship'sin my life 3 to be exact ,the first lasted 6 years the second 4 and the third 2 years ,however a point I wish to make is that the facilities alread exist for ones other half to leave one possession's after death to each other it's called "The last will and testement" , generally guy's in long term's affair's jointly own the property they live in together as a matter of course , personally i was too young and naive in my first love affair being only 19 at the outstart and making will's at that age seemed not to thing to do ,
but as i moved into my second relationship 15 years after my first ended I did make a will leaving my lover what i considered fair , however that relationship ended and I simply altered altered my will accordingly , I see no need for any kind of legally recognised union ,
i am gay as you are all my famioly members are aware similar to your self i never flaunted my sexuality , i regarded it as a private matter ,family or friend's could either like it or lump it , I find that public union's as an un-necessary embarrasment , folk like Elton John and similar make a big fuss of it for publicity , one of my ex's did have a wedding [if tht's what they are called , i think he just made a fool of himself got maried on horse back in hunting full hunting regalia his name and picture were in the national paper's and basically made a fool out of his parent's , poor people couldn't live it down , similar to your description of the crocodile's getting married , I have strong view's on gay marche's and Parade's . I'm sure i could write as much as your self on that subject , I never saw my straight friend's marching half naked dressed as the gays do in underwear and women's clothe's . and all manner's of exposure what idiot's they are screaming and flying their gay banner's not in my name , I am gay to me Gay mean's I'm HOMOSEXUAL .I am attracted to the same sex ,i'm not attracted to a guy who want's to dress as a woman or act effeminate , or does the word gay cover transexual's and crossdresser's ,if so I'm NOT GAY ,

Comment
21 Jul 08
 
Thank you for your very interesting thoughts, Tommy.
There is only one thing: Gay lovers have to pay horrendous amounts of inheritance tax or gift tax, when one of them dies, much more than straight couples! A testament does not help.
And I heard of cases, where a gay partner was not allowed to sit at his lover's bedside and comfort him, after his lover had a terrible accident and was unable to make his wishes clear to the (hostile) family. The latter does not happen very often, I am sure, but it should also be avoided by laws.
Otherwise, I completely agree with you. Love, Victor

Comment Diethelm
26 Jul 08
 
Victor, what are your thoughts on "assisted suicide"? I am German, and in my country there is a lot of discussion right now in the media. Since you seem to be an "independent thinker", I REALLY WOULD LIKE to know, what you think about this topic. - And I am not talking about terminal cases that will die anyhow in a few weeks, but rather about that old and lonely woman in Germany (forgot her name) who was so horrified of the idea of spending her last years in an "old people's home" that she asked the politician Kusch ( a kind of German version of Dr. Kevorkian) to help her to die ... which he did.

Comment
26 Jul 08
 
Victor thank you for your reply ,I just re read my though's above ,so sorry about my spelling error's , but i wrote with speed ,
I live in the UK ,I can state without any reasonable doubt that inheritance tax or Gift Tax's stay's at one set rate regardless as to who a legacy or part legacy is left to ,[up to certain set limit's].

I was actually the sole benerficiary of my old long time Gay friend's estate , I had no problem's , and it was a complicted estate .
I note what you say about relative's , they do appear out of the wood work , But so could the gold digging opportunist ex lover's appear with a claim ,
it's incredible to even imagine a Bonafide accepted partner being denied to sit at the bed side of his dying lover .
this is why I stress " Make a will " ,it's no good waiting until that terrible accident has occurred and then fighting for right's , WE are after said and done only human and vunerable to all kinds of sudden happening's ,
it's a matter of common sense to make a will ,

what's the use even contenplating trying to make one after say a stroke or massive heart attack .
can understand the close family view's hostile or other wise protecting what they can especially if they think they have half a chance of getting something for nothing ,if there is a house or large amount of money at stake ,thats human nature , Victor I worker for 6 years in a funeral home in my town , the things I heard said in the back of the LImo or from the Chapel of rest about I'm having this or That would prick up your ear's
thank you Victor





Comment
27 Jul 08
 
Diethelm, this topic does not really belong into this magazine (and it does not at all fit to the style of Suzy's light-hearted travelogs). It is only relevant in two ways: 1. Many of us die alone (like that poor old woman in Germany) and 2. Roger Kusch, whom I see (together with Dr. Kevorkian) as a pioneer, is an avowed homosexual.
Let me be short: The wide-spread aversion against assisted suicide is - just like the aversion against "homosexual marriage" - founded in the Christian roots of our culture. The old Greeks as well as the old Japanese didn't find anything wrong with it. They respected the right of the individual to determine the mode of his/her exitus. Since - in spite of many attempts - I have never been able to believe in a PERSONAL, almighty, just, and loving God, I feel it is only humane to help anyone who wishes to "retire" to do so, provided that person is not being PUSHED by anyone (greedy relatives etc.).
But to be fair: It seems to be only consistent for "true believers" (and I envy them!) to deny individuals the right to die at their own choosing, since "what GOD has given, can only be taken by HIM/HER" etc.
And if you ask me, WHY I cannot believe in a PERSONAL GOD, I would have to refer you to the fifths comment (from above), with which I fully agree. In the "good old days" (they must have been terrible!), before people could easily inform themselves about what is going on in this cruel world of ours through the media, people could be forgiven for simply not seeing the all-pervading, random and cruel injustices to be observed everywhere. (Actually, I do not need television to be aware of it: I just have to look under the bridges, where the "homeless" live ... and ask myself: Why them? Why not me?!)
But NOW, the unfathomable capacity of the "true believers" to look the other way cannot be explained other than by their strong psychological need to believe in something that relieves their fear of death and its uncertainty be it on the expense of rational thinking and observation. Cheers! Victor

Comment
28 Jul 08
 
Anonymous July 26th: In Japan, gay partners will be charged a gift-tax for anything passed on by the deceased partner (e.g. for 20 000 US$ 10%, for 40 000 US$ 20%, and for 100 000 US$ 50%) while straight marriage-partners are not burdened with an inheritance tax up to US$ 500 000 . In the USA, the situation varies in each state. Victor

Comment
8 Aug 08
 
I do not have a very outspoken view on gay marriage, but I do know one thing: if two people want to get married, why not let them marry? Be it bourgeouis, be it kitschy, be it uncreative, be it whatever you may call it: if they want to get married, let them get married.
Frankly speaking: I find Victors piece, in its superior and self-assured tone, more bourgeouis than gay marriage.

The best way to view gay marriage might be a personal way: it is something personal between two men or two women. It has nothing to do with politics, or religion, or bourgeousie, or if it does: it is nobody`s business but the wedders` (is that a word in English?).

I cannot quite follow the argument that it does more damage than good. Is there any proof of this? I don`t think so. People will not turn anti-gay as a result of gay marriage. Pro gays will stay pro gays, anti gays will stay anti gays, they don`t need gay marriage for that. Political disadvantage? How? Why? Where?

I have another problem with Victors article: is the consideration to the sensitivity of our straight contamporaries, civilians or politicians, not exactly the same thing that he is acting so much against: the desperate wish to be accepted? I say this because he tells us his personal story also, which, to me, is a story of wonderful fitting in his environment. It is almost a story of a married couple, only a little different.

Lastly, I do not understand the relation between gay marriage and gay parades or similar public demonstrations. If you cannot see gay parades as a creating our own festivity, I do not know what is.

These are some passing thoughts on Victors article, by a 45 year old gay male, not married, not because he does not believe in gay marriage (because personally I don`t), but because he grew up knowing he could not get married, and never has developed a taste for marrying.

Again: a personal approach to gay marriage is much more fruitful, I believe, than a political one.





Comment
10 Aug 08
 
In order to save space, I number the paragraphs of the article above (1 through 8) and answer them, one by one:
1. Anonymus does not seem to understand, that it is only the LABEL against which I am, as my own story shows.
2. Fuzzy thinking: What does “self-assured” etc. have to do with “bourgeois”? The former is an attitude, the latter “style”, the former a psychological category, the latter a social one.
3. Everything we do (on a large scale, like fighting for the social acceptance of “gay marriage”) has a political aspect and political consequences. (Really 45 years old? …)
4. Of course there is proof of this (and that’s why I wrote this piece in the first place): In California, “gay marriage” was first accepted, then a nation-wide motion was introduced by several other states to outlaw it (nationwide!). If this is not a political reaction, I don’t know what is! This motion makes it more difficult for liberal politicians to support gay partnerships, because their many of their potential (lower-middle class) voters have become “allergic” to the whole idea.
5. This paragraph is very fuzzy in its wording and therefore hard to answer to. One thing seems to be clear: Anonymus doesn’t understand the reason for my mentioning my own experience. I hope, others did: I never hid ANYTHING from my straight contemporaries and colleges, but I also did NOT PUSH it on them! That is, why I never had a problem. For the simple-minded: I LIVED a “gay relationship”, but I did not call it “marriage”.
6. This paragraph shows, that Anonymus is not only simple-minded, but also insensitive: Imagine a “decent” (a criterium of style, not of morals!), young man, who is wrestling to come to terms with his sexual identity, run (possibly with his family or straight friends) into a “gay parade” with shameless and exhibitionist queens, who have nothing to loose “doing their thing” ... Horror! (Does admitting that I am gay mean that I will be taken as one of THEM?! I would rather KILL myself rather than admitting to those who love me and believe in me, that I am like THIS …) You call these parades “creative”?
7. This paragraph is unclear again (probably because of the mix-up of label and fact).
8. See 3 and 4 above.
Victor

Comment Diethelm
11 Aug 08
 
Victor, I am 100% with you! I was (long ago) one of those "decent, young men" you described so well. And I was terribly confused!
I have another question which does not really belong into this forum: What do you think about gay movies (like "Boys in the Band" or "Brockback Mountain", not sure of the spelling)? Do they help or harm us?

Comment
11 Aug 08
 
Wow, the first here to answer Victor in a not positive way, and look what a thrashing he is given.......
Bravo, Victor.

same anonymous as above.

Comment
11 Aug 08
 
Anonymus:
YOU startet it. (If you are really only 45 years old, you will not remember the very successful off-Broadway-production of "When Queens Collide". I wrote the "thrashing" with a smile in my ugly face ;-)
Love! Victoria

Comment
11 Aug 08
 
Diethelm:
I must admit I haven’t seen many of those movies. (I assume you are talking about films with gay central characters like the two you mentioned.)
As far as I remember “Boys in the Band” was a well-made movie, but POLITICALLY extremely harmful, because it showed almost only neurotic and disturbed characters. (Can you imagine that same “decent, young man” watching this movie with his family or straight friends?!) Even though many of us ARE neurotic (for good reasons) it seems to me to be important that straight society is confronted with gays that are usually unnoticeable: Well adjusted, socially productive and successful men and women, in functioning relationships or living alone.
I remember seeing a British film long ago, which I thought was excellent: “Bloody Sunday”. And “Broke back-Mountain” (also not sure of the spelling ;-) was not only well-made, but also showed two lovable characters that even a “super-straight” audience could not dislike. As to the camp “drag-queen” films, they have the same effect like “gay parades”: If they are funny, they amuse US, but they scare and disorient straight audiences.
Victor


Comment Diethelm
27 Aug 08
 
Victor, may I ask you a very personal question?
Since you told us honestly your age and you seem to be such a reasonable person, I would LOVE to know, how you deal with the problem of aging? I have to confess, I am scared to death of becoming old, since I have worked for a month as a volunteer in a home for the aged here in Germany last Xmas.
Again, this topic doesn't really fit in here, besides that it is well known that gays are especially afraid of becoming old, especially in Western countries, where old people are treated like “air” in gay bars and saunas.
If you do not feel like answering, just ignore my question and forgive me for bothering you.


Comment Vittorio, the ageless
27 Aug 08
 
How I deal with the problem of aging? - Poorly! I HATE getting old, and I think, those people saying “Each age has its beauties” are fooling themselves. WHAT beauties?! I can only think of two: You don’t have to get up each morning and go to work; and you have a little more money, if you don’t have children to take care of. Otherwise, it is ONE slope DOWN, especially health-wise and socially (because you don’t attract so many people any longer).
And that old people become “wise” is also a myth. Some become more “experienced”, which is not the same. But many become childish and outright selfish.
In my case, aging is especially painful, because I am an almost pure personification of the so-called “aesthetic” personality-type (many of US are … ) for whom youth, beauty, vitality, sex-appeal etc. are prime values. (I need constantly “eye-candies” for stimulation. - Money is only useful in order to keep my distance from people I do not like … ;-)
And there is one more thing: The later years run away much faster than the earlier ones and you start wondering how many you have left … and what happens afterwards. – In that respect, the “true believers” have a great advantage. But you have no choice in that too (you can’t turn yourself into a “true believer”).
And the worst thing is to become dependant on others in the end; if you are lucky enough to have a partner … to become a burden to him/her. – In that respect, this topic connects to that of “assisted suicide”, which we discussed before. I would feel much better about my remaining years, if the choice when to exit were mine and mine only!
Sorry to be so gloomy this time. CARPE DIEM !
And: I wonder, what you will ask me next … ;-) In my youth in Germany, they had a column in my newspaper: “Fragen Sie Frau Irene” ;-)


Comment
30 Aug 08
 
Victor, you are great! I like your honesty and - strange as it may sound - it helps me. I guess, the best we can do is to try and live our life to the fullest and hope that by the time we have to say Goodbye we shall have a choice to decide when and how. And by then it may not be so difficult, because we "have been there and have done it all".
Thank you so much! Diethelm

Comment Victor
7 Nov 08
 
PS. I wish, it were not so, but my prediction in this discussion came true: For the states of California and Florida the right to enter into a "gay marriage" has been revoked. We owe that to the boundless stupidity and lack of psychological sensitivity of our gay brothers and sisters in those states. Now, I wonder what the legal status of those couples already entered into "gay marriage" is going to be.

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