Andrea Hildebran

Gay and Globalized

Filed By Andrea Hildebran | November 12, 2007 8:02 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: coming out of the closet, Details Magazine, international, ralph lauren, violence

Apparently the pattern of young GLBT people moving to a major US city to come out is happening on a global scale now.

At least according to Details magazine. The men’s magazine reports a migration of wealthy foreign men to the United States in search of a place to flee oppression and live openly gay lives.

A predictable stereotype of gay men with high-flying careers and fabulous Manhattan apartments gets spiced up with the hint of Latin or Mediterranean good looks and old family money.

The article basically reads like the back-story to the guys in the Ralph Lauren ads that run alongside it: wealthy, androgynous men with a vaguely haunted look in their eyes dreaming of America as they yearn to escape homophobic home countries.

This nod to homophobic laws and anti-gay violence in places like Panama or Columbia is challenged by multiple comments posted to the article from people still living, somehow, in these very places. They’re doing just fine, actually.

Casting America as the land of the free hardly seems plausible these days anyway – let’s see… the government can tap your phone, read your medical records, check on your library books, lock you up in prison without trial and, if you are gay, steal your spouse’s social security, and fire you because they “don’t like your kind.”

It’s nice to see an immediate rebuttal via the comment section to the latest version of the wealthy gay stereotype and the simplistic view of America.

Ever checked the stats on anti-gay violence in our beloved 50 states? Skyrocketing. The fashionable Park Avenue couple seeking refuge may become the latest anti-immigrant and anti-gay hate crime statistic.

Coming Out Wherever You Are

I know there may still be queer teenagers in suburban neighborhoods pining for the big, gay city life, but I just don’t think this article will interest them. They’re too involved in their gay/straight alliance and in Facebooking with hotties who actually still live in Ecuador.

The audience I am more concerned about are the folks who think ‘the gays’ are wealthy urban males, wealthy selfish hedonists whose money protects them from the indignities of discrimination.

Let’s make some room for an article on the ones who stay at home - here and abroad - and fight for a better life for everyone.

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Good points. Although I do have to say that I still hear here how great America is for the gays. Old stereotypes die hard some places.

Not that it's bad at all to be gay in France. But I also hear this stereotype about Argentina, that they're so backwards for the gays, blah blah blah. Yeah, with their nationalized civil unions, transgender characters on prime-time TV, state-sponsored anti-homophobia education, etc.

But old stereotypes die hard!

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 13, 2007 4:34 AM

Great post, Andrea!

I think one big difference between America and many other countries is the direction things are moving. Here in Ireland, for example, the direction is strongly toward the progressive. LGBT folks are protected in employment and the delivery of goods and services, some sort of civil union or marriage is just around the corner, transsexuals are on the verge of breaking through on the birth certificates struggle, and progressives in government are calling for the removal of the right of religions to discriminate. While on the national scene in America, you have Democrats--the so-called liberal party-- endorsing DODT and DOMA, gutting ENDA (after a 30 year struggle to even get it to a vote!), and the grip of reactionary religious groups is tightening to the point where the front-running Dems have to give homage to religious faith or risk being labelled “fringe.” Put that in the context of the “big brother state” you referred to, and the picture looks very scary.

But like you and Alex say, old stereotypes die hard. Although, to be fair, the acceleration toward the Right has been phenomenal in the last six years.