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A Fortnight’s Raucous Roundup

BY ED SIKOV | It’s been a slow news cycle here at Media Circus, where we count news cycles as the two-week periods between issues of Gay City News, not the usual overly speedy 24-hour time frame favored by the mainstream media. So we’re going to do a roundup of all the snippets that caught our eye lately rather than focus on one or two major news stories. We’re calling the first one:

“Homophobic Pig Cheats on Wife, Faces Impeachment, Resigns.” Those of us who take pleasure in the exposure of gross hypocrisy have probably been following the case of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, known for his staunch opposition to same-sex marriage and for his adultery.

“I have always believed in the Biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman,” Bentley piously declared after the Supreme Court ruled that we were entitled to the same rights as everybody else.

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Ah, but nobody asked him at the time about his belief in the Ten Commandments, with its strict injunction against coveting thy neighbor’s ass. In this case, the ass appears to have belonged to his aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, a big-boned tart who broke up the governor’s marriage. Here’s what Rachel Maddow had to say about Bentley last year when the story broke: “He has been a crusading family values politician who has campaigned on the superior morality of his own marriage, his own family, and his own family values, and how he’s going to save Alabama from other people’s terrible, immoral family choices because his values and his family are superior.”

Impeachment proceedings were to have begun this week, but the governor struck a plea deal and ignominiously resigned.

The story comes to us via NewNowNext.com, a most entertaining website aimed at perverts like me –– and, presumably, you and the New York Times. Just so we’re not accused of focusing only on the moral crimes of the homophobic pig community, our next piece is called “Piggy Gay Mayor Allegedly Paid Boys for Sex.”

According to the accounts of three different men, the openly gay mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, had a habit in the 1980s of picking up street kids and — as NewNowNext puts it — having “his way with them.” (This locution always calls to mind the Burger King jingle, “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us… have it your way.”)

Preying on homeless teenagers is just plain disgusting; Murray denies the accusations, of course.

“‘These allegations, dating back to a period of more than 30 years, are simply not true,’ he said, adding that the suit would not deter him from seeking reelection,” NewNowNext reports.

Who cares how old the stories are? Only one of the accusers has chosen to remain anonymous; the other two, Lloyd Anderson and Jeff Simpson, tell remarkably similar stories about their alleged encounters with Murray, and they see no need to shield their identities.

“You don’t do no dirt to nobody and think you’re going to get away with it, you know,” one of the men told the Seattle Times, adding one too many negatives to his comment, just to confuse us.

The remarkable Vice media empire just keeps growing and getting better. Now there are 14 different Vice “channels,” including Vice Sports, Munchies, and Motherboard — which runs stories on tech and science issues — like, for instance, “Why Your City Smells Like Jizz and Vomit Every Spring.” Answer: foul smelling trees in bloom. An example: “The Callery pear smells like straight-up semen… So many people have called it the ‘semen tree’ that it warranted an entry in Urban Dictionary, aptly defined as the odor of ‘used sex rags.’”

I love Vice.

On one Vice channel, Broadly, is a terrific but disturbing story about the difficulties faced by the large but still harassed LGBTQ community in India. It’s not exactly illegal to be gay on the subcontinent; you just can’t act on it. A law dating from colonial times, thrown out in 2009, but then reinstated by the nation’s high court in 2013 threatens up to 10 years in jail for anyone who engages in “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” a myth kept alive by bigots who remain deliberately unaware that about 1,500 species have exhibited homosexual tendencies. Specifically, oral and anal sex are no-nos. Thus are Indians discouraged from enjoying two of the most fun activities known to humankind.

There are no gay bars per se in India’s major cities, but a lot of straight bars regularly hold gay nights. And the Internet is rife with resources; websites such as Gay Bombay, Salvation, and Gaysie Family provide information and camaraderie to India’s obviously-not-in-hiding LBGTQ community. Dating and hookup apps such as Grinder and Gaydar also serve as ways to announce gay events to people, but as in, say, Russia, users run the risk of meeting not a sex partner but a blackmailer or worse. Violently worse.

The article’s author, Jeena Sharma, tells the harrowing story of a 22-year-old woman named Akanksha, who met someone she thought was a new friend on a dating site only to find out that she was actually a family “friend” threatening to extort money to keep her from informing Akanksha’s family.

“‘We Exist’: Inside India’s Secretive Gay Nightlife Scene” is an excellent piece.

Ending our little roundup of what’s been in the media lately is a heartwarming justice-is-served piece from Queerty we’re calling “What Goes Around Comes In Their Asses, or Hunky Hunkies Soon to Become Bodybuilders’ Bitches.” Seems that two rather good-looking Hungarian men who ran a sex slave ring in Miami and New York were recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for their crime. They and a third man, who got off easy with only an 11-year sentence, lured unwitting young Hungarian men to this country with the promise of free flights to the U.S., visas, and legal escort work they were told would earn them $3,500 to $5,000 a month. Instead, they got sex slavery.

The young men were forced to perform sex acts with each other on webcams or with “clients” from 18 to 24 hours a day. They were given little food and no money for their work; the pimps, meanwhile, made up to $40,000 a year.

As Queerty’s Graham Gremore put it, “The abuse continued for years until the victims were moved from New York to Miami, where neighbors of the house they were being held captive in grew suspicious of the never-ending parade of luxury vehicles constantly parked in the home’s driveway, along with a sign advertising $5 car washes on the home’s front door. Police determined the car wash business as a front.”

It obviously took outstanding police work to come to that conclusion.


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