Still in Hotel in Madrid but Must Comment on Jan Moir Affair

Thursday 22nd October 2009 (afternoon)

 I’m bursting to tell you about this hotel. It’s called the Villa Real. It means Royal Villa. I like the way the Spanish word for Royal is Real. The Madrid Ritz can be seen from its windows. There’s acres to cover. As well as the antics of the 85-year-old Gay Mother abroad…

 But yesterday I finally managed to read the piece in the Mail by Jan Moir about Stephen Gately’s death, which has caused such outrage. I had thought perhaps reports of its horror had been exaggerated. But no, it is beyond belief, unsurpassed in ignorance, innuendo, smugness and nastiness. There is barely a veneer of politeness, let alone respect for a man dead and not even buried, whose death, at the time the piece was written, was unexplained. This woman might as well as have crawled into a public lavatory and scrawled on the wall: ‘Gays is a load of slags. Kill them.’

 Her emission is smeared with moralistic jargon: ‘dark appetites’, ‘private vices.’ Gately’s Civil Partner, at the time of his death, was in another room with a mysterious Bulgarian young man (but not one of Anthony Mottram’s kitchens – see glossary). Moir therefore thinks it reasonable to sneer at the ‘happy-ever-after myth of Civil Partnerships.’ Later she clearly implies that heterosexual marriage is a model of propriety and fidelity that gays cannot live up to.

 Of course, since this drivel was vented (I refuse to call it writing), it has been established that Stephen Gately died of natural causes.

 Should we take any notice? Moir’s effort has been widely condemned. Furious comments have been pouring in. It’s the Daily Mail. What do you expect?

 I rather think we should. Anthony Mottram and I were talking about this at the weekend. We didn’t agree.  No-one would dispute that there is vastly more tolerance and equality than there was twenty years ago when Moir-type tabloid smears, according to Alan Bennett, accelerated and even caused Russell Harty’s death. All the same, gays are said to be ‘accepted’ and ‘tolerated.’ Nobody talks about ‘accepting’ or ‘tolerating’ straights. How deep and how far does this tolerance go? I’ve always thought the premise of Alan Hollinghurst’s brilliant novel, The Line of Beauty, even though set in the 80s, telling: in the end the gays will be blamed, heterosexuals will retreat into hypocrisy, only too glad to direct attention away from their own shortcomings. Beyond the middle-class, metropolitan world of the Poor Little Rich Gays, hate-crime against gays is substantially up. Only last month, Ian Baynham was murdered in Trafalgar Square, not exactly a dimly-lit back-alley, the victim of homophobia.

 Difference is ultimately a threat. There is more than a grain of truth in what Jan Moir says. Gay men are more likely to have ‘threesomes’ with their long-term partner and a new gorgeousness; more likely to be involved with several people in different ways at once; more likely to indulge in slagarama of various kinds in the afternoon, more likely to get hurt, more likely to be subject to violent fits of jealousy having declared themselves above jealousy, more likely to go in for a bit of revenge fucking.

 So what! Gay men of my age have been wrestling with these challenges for years. Long-term gay relationships don’t seem to work, at least as far as sex is concerned. I can only speak of what I have observed over time. But instead, there develops an amiable baggy companionship; sex and romance are sought elsewhere. Anthony Mottram and I are an example, sort of, because sex, as far as I can recall, has never been a feature. But we have the intimacy of equals; he has his kitchens (see glossary), at present Vladimir from the Ukraine. The current question is: Will our relationship continue if he forms a Civil Partnership with a kitchen?

 I don’t mind the kitchens, but I’m not having them married.

 Is it fair on the kitchen?

 But why is all this sleazy? Why is it ‘vice’? Explain, Jan Moir? Maybe it is dysfunctional but can hets really claim to be any better? Monogamy may suit some but not, evidence would suggest, very many. So why not celebrate the gay way of relationships? It’s new, it’s honest, it’s real. Let’s hope straights can learn from it.

Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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