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July 2014

Nighttime in the Middle East: Wall-to-Wall, Horny Young Men

Middleeasternmen2With women in many parts of the Arab World largely barred from venturing outside once the sun goes down (and they're not very welcome in the light of day either), the streets at night are teeming with men.  And, believe me, they aren't spending all of their time studying the Koran, talking politics or plotting ways to cause mayhem in the West.  With the vast majority of them young, unmarried and horny, thoughts of sex are likely never far from their mind.  Since women aren't around to satisfy their carnal desires, what recourse do they have?   


Women.in.burkasConsidering how virulently homophobic Muslim society is, it's comical that their religious leaders (or local chapter of the Taliban) have created an environment, similar to prison, in which homosexual sex is one of the only viable options available for single men seeking "release."  Similar to "Don't ask, don't tell," furtive gay sex goes on behind closed doors (the Muslim "DL"), but come daylight and homosexuality is condemned.  And woe to anyone who's openly gay in the light of day - that is an abomination met with severe punishment, even death.  (Note to Western gays: Muslim men on their knees with their butts in the air during the daytime are praying.)


Assuming the "receptive" position, five times a day.


Larry.craig Ted.haggard However, a similar dysfunctional dynamic holds sway here in the good ol' USA with the Religious Right.  The more vehemently some of them condemn homosexuality, chances are it's a smokescreen to hide their true nature and clandestine same-sex assignations.  (Larry Craig and Ted Haggard, left, are two shining examples).  Or, perhaps they're just angry that others are living the life they desire.  And, oh, do they love to talk about homosexual sex (hello, Rick Santorum!)  400 years after it was written by Shakespeare, the famous line from Hamlet still rings very true in both the Middle East and the West:  "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."



Unusual Circumstances Behind the Deaths of Some Noteworthy Gay Personalities

CemeteryAs I was doing research for an upcoming post about noteworthy LGBT persons from the past, I collected information on the circumstances of their deaths.  And although nearly two-thirds died from AIDS, heart attacks, pneumonia, strokes or various cancers, there were some other causes of death that stood out because they were out of the ordinary.  Here they are, arranged in chronological order:



  • We begin with perhaps the most gruesome death, that of England's Edward II.  Supposedly, a red-hot poker was thrust up his rectum while he was imprisoned in 1327, scalding his internal organs.  However, scholars now believe this story was made-up and that Edward, in fact, may not have been murdered at all.  Read the story behind it here.  




  • Jean-Baptiste-Lully succumbed to gangrene at the age of 54 after the composer and conductor struck his foot with his long conducting staff during a performance in 1687.
  • Famed composer Franz Schubert died in 1828 from mercury poisoning, a result of mercury being administered to treat tertiary syphilis.  He was 31.
  • Hart Crane, poet and heir to the Life Savers candy fortune, was 32 when he jumped from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico after an evening of drinking (and being roughed up by a crew member he made advances on).  His body was never recovered.  In 2012 James Franco played Crane in the movie The Broken Tower.




  • Spanish poet/dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca, just 38, was executed in the opening weeks of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 by Nationalist Guards led by General Francisco Franco.




  • Writer Virginia Woolf filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones, walked into the River Ouse near her home in England, and drowned herself.  Her body wasn't recovered for three weeks.  She was 59.




  • James Dean was just 24 years old when he was killed in a car crash a month before his movie Rebel Without a Cause was released in the autumn of 1955.
  • Dag Hammarskjold had been the second Secretary General of the UN for eight years when he was killed in a plane crash in 1961 at the age of 56.
  • Marc Blitzstein, renowned composer/lyricist/librettist, was murdered in 1964 by three sailors he picked up in a bar while on a winter vacation in Martinique.  He was 58.




  • Poet and writer Frank O'Hara died from injuries sustained after being run over by a dune buggy on the beach in Cherry Grove on Fire Island during the summer of 1966.  He was 40 years old.




  • Neal Cassady, who ran with the crowd of the Beat Generation's Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, died from hypothermia in 1968 after wandering away from a wedding party in just a t-shirt and jeans on a cold and rainy January night in Mexico.
  • In November 1978 Harvey Milk was murdered in City Hall along with the mayor of San Francisco by a disgruntled former member of the Board of Supervisors.  At his murder trial the defense team used the infamous "Twinkies defense", saying his addiction to junk food produced mood swings.
  • The story is that Tennessee Williams' fatal 1983 heart attack, at the age of 71, was caused by choking after he inhaled the cap from a bottle of poppers he had opened with his teeth.  However, like Cass Elliott's ham sandwich, this has been disputed.
  • Andy Warhol died in 1987 in a New York hospital from a cardiac arrthymia while recovering from successful gallbladder surgery.  Ironically, it had been an effort to get Warhol to schedule this surgery since he was afraid of doctors and hospitals.  He was 58.




  • Rumors were that 70-year-old Malcolm Forbes didn't die from a heart attack in 1990, but rather by doctor-assisted suicide after being diagnosed with HIV.




  • Gianni Versace was shot to death in July 1997 by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in front of his South Beach mansion as he was walking back from a coffee shop with the morning paper (and $1,200 in his pocket).  He was 50.




  • Mychal Judge, a Franciscan friar who served as chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, was struck and killed by falling debris on the morning of 9-11.  His was the first certified fatality from the attack.




  • Winner of a silver medal in boxing for Canada at the 1992 Olympics, Mark Leduc's cause of death is listed as "heatstroke" after he collapsed in a sauna in a Toronto hotel in 2009.  He was 47.











How Did Gymnasts Danell Leyva & Louis Smith Escape My Attention?

Danell.leyva4I blame it on Tom Daley.  Since I write about gay pop culture and LGBT history l figure I have a pretty good awareness of who the gay personalities are in our midst.  So I was startled to discover that a hot, accomplished US gymnast who I was unfamiliar with was openly gay - and had been for a number of years!  I made this discovery while searching Google Images for two Asian gymnasts whose names I needed because I had featured them a recent post about armpits.  As I scrolled through the pics I kept coming across a really hot gymnast whose name was Danell Leyva.  Wanting to learn more about him I went to his Wikipedia entry where I discovered that not only was he one of the USA's most skilled gymnasts (on the parallel bars), but he's openly gay.  I believe he escaped my attention because during the 2012 Olympics I was so enraptured with British diver Tom Daley that I paid no attention to the gymnastics competition.


It's all his fault.



Louis.smith.gymnastThen, just as I was regaining my composure, I came across photos of an equally hot gymnast who I was also unfamiliar with, this one from the UK.  His name was Louis Smith; he's three years older than Leyva (25 v 22) and three inches taller (5'10" v 5'7").  He's the product of a Jamaican father and English mother (Leyva is Cuban).  Apparently not gay (or just hasn't come out yet?), he's ingratiated himself with the gay press by doing sexy photo shoots).  Besides medaling at the Beijing and London Olympics (on the pommel horse) he was 2012 champion of Strictly Come Dancing, the UK's version of Dancing with the Stars.  A few years ago, rather than his stylish coif, had a simple buzz cut.  No matter, he's hot either way - or any way.


Anyway, better late than never.  As I sat down to choose photos to include here I thought to myself that it might easier to just provide a link to Google Images rather than agonizing over which of the hundreds of tantalizing pics should be selected.  However, martyr that I am, I hunkered down and made the tough choices.  And here are my selections ...