Another January weekend ends, and with it so does the Centaur MC's annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend. Congratulations to Joe Birdwell, Mr. MAL 2014. While everything seemed to go by the numbers, meeting -- if not exceeding -- expectations, I did see one sour note. A fellow on Facebook posted a message on Metro Weekly's MAL-related profile of the Highwaymen TNT leather club.
"Why do gay people have to be so weird? Making your sexual proclivities a lifestyle is just odd. Can't they do all that fundraising without us imagining them naked wearing chaps and a harness?"
What seemed lost on the guy was that while he was insulting "gay people" for apparent weirdness, his profile pic featured him wearing a multi-colored, feather headdress. Of course, I couldn't help but point that out.
"It's called mardi gras fucktard!! And I didn't ask for your reply. So fuck, kiss my ass, and die."
Obviously, my new Facebook pal doesn't find any similarity between MAL and letting the good times roll. That he labeled himself as gay on Facebook, I'm not surprised. After all, the LGBT community is often held to a different standard, by insiders and outsiders alike. My "fucktard" friend's perspective is hardly different than the one I, thankfully, hear less and less at LGBT Pride festivals. You know, the one about, "How can that guy think it's okay to wear a thong?" Or, "Why would those motorcycle lesbians dare to parade around with duct-tape pasties?"
This guy's gay claim is suspect, as he also claimed to be a therapist working with children. If that's true, I do hope he's not calling them "fucktards" and suggesting suicide.
When it comes to members of the tribe, I say show some respect. It's the fringe that pushed us forward. Even if Frank Kameny always chose to don a tie for his public demos, he had no trouble shaking things up.
For those on the outside, if you find gay people weird, what on earth do you think of your own hetero flavor?
Take gay cruises, for example. "Sodom on the sea" is the reputation. My only experience is one each, RSVP and Atlantis. One featured a "dick deck," meaning at night the deck lights were left off in one far-removed outdoor area and there was some activity going on among the stacked chaise-lounge. On the other, there was no quasi-public sex space. Still, I figured that what happened on the gay charter cruises was more salacious than any straight charter. Oh, how wrong I was.
While, in my experience, the boats of gay boys get a little welcome lecture along the lines of, "We don't let Uncle Fred and Aunt Ethel get frisky outside their cabins," I doubt the pre-departure lecture is quite the same on the "swingers" cruises. I only learned of these charters when planning a quick cruise for my mom's 82nd birthday. While we pull back into Tampa on Monday, our ship will depart that same evening on a chartered voyage offering "the same great play rooms, improved Dungeon facilities, our signature clothing-optional pool and the erotic, party atmosphere you will only find on a Couples Cruise."
Leave it to the straight folks to up the stakes. And good for them. I'm not knocking Sam and Sally Straight for booking a sex cruise. I'd certainly be a pompous dick to label them "weird." Sex is great and people should be free to explore their own sexuality as they see fit, whether in a dungeon, shipboard playspace, not at all or anywhere in between, as long as it's sane and consensual. The only thing weird is that anyone would think this is still up for debate.
Will O'Bryan is Metro Weekly's managing editor. Email him at wobryan@MetroWeekly.com. Follow him on Twitter @wobryan.