Wednesday, September 30, 2009

FOLO: Of Sex Museums, Sisters and Cocktoberfest

With the rather swift reaction to the prior post about the horrifying "first nuptial" stunt occurring tonight as the Nevada domestic partnership law takes effect, I felt it was necessary to clarify a few things.

  1. I was not slamming the Erotic Heritage Museum, whose artistic director wrote this impassioned response in the comments of the prior post that's worth reading.
  2. I was not slamming the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, whose outrageous get-ups and good deeds I have personally often enjoyed and whose humor I totally get in the right context.
  3. I was not suggesting that anyone should have anything other than the wedding or ceremony of their choosing.

However. Per No.3, the ridiculous event slated to take place tonight is primarily a publicity stunt; the media is being beckoned to come watch as "history is made," per the release. And that makes the private choices of the couple involved a matter worthy and appropriate for broader debate especially among other gay couples who are supposedly being represented by these self-appointed models. And combining No. 1 and No. 2, both fine and dandy in their own rights, with a media event for No. 3 is so obviously a bad idea that even Q Vegas editor Cory Burgess admitted as much in a comment on my Facebook page defending it:

"Yes, we're quite aware of how the public may perceive our community, but considering no other organization in town is (to our knowledge) doing anything special to celebrate the occasion, this is better than the big day passing and nobody doing a thing."

Cory had written to clarify that Q Vegas hadn't "orchestrated" this event as I wrote but was approached to promote it. Yet they're not just promoting it, they're sort of the stars, too! As I now understand it, half of the couple at the center of this embarrassment is the magazine's associate publisher, Earl Shelton. Shelton appeared in this Review-Journal story, too, when pre-registrations for domestic partnerships were first being accepted. So this isn't a heartfelt ceremony planned out and contemplated the way normal weddings are; it's a spur-of-the-moment exercise in wish fulfillment for an advertiser at the expense of the entire community.

It's also a potential derailment of the political future of the only openly gay elected official in the state's history, State Sen. David Parks, at a time when he is considering a 2010 run for Clark County Commission. Sen. Parks has spent decades fending off the worst kind of homophobia from his opponents and he is the most significant figure responsible for the passage of any and all pro-gay legislation in Carson City over the past 12 years. That includes SB283, the domestic partnership law.

It doesn't take a political mastermind to imagine what the TV commercials and fliers in future campaigns will look like after tonight's event. It's open to the press, so anyone can come in, shoot some video of the painted-faced nuns and the sexual apparatuses on display and bank that footage to air against Parks or, say, supportive and straight Secretary of State Ross Miller or whenever Nevadans try to repeal the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage. "They wanted gay marriage," the demonic voice will intone, "but look what they did when they got domestic partnerships. Protect our children." Eeek! Don't believe they'd do that? This is running in Maine, where same-sex marriage is legal but about to be put to a vote:

See? That's how they play. Imagine that ad with some of this:

Cory defended the Erotic Heritage Museum event by saying that (a) a horrible event is better than none at all and (b) "I don't think it's much worse than any other public gay event." Which is funny because Q Vegas sponsors and in some cases orchestrates several public gay events, including this weekend's National Coming Out Day street fair, and this doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement of that effort.

But more to the point, veteran gay activist and fundraiser Lee Plotkin agreed with me entirely. He responded to Cory in the Facebook thread:

"We all know there are fun and edgy events within the gay community. But if anyone believes local non-gay media is going to focus on Earl and Richard, they're fooling themselves. If non-gay media covers the Erotic Museum event, it will minimize all the intensely hard fought battles in Carson City to attain this civil right. It will fuel the argument the gays see domestic partnership as a joke. And we may as well kiss away any legislative progress in the near future as the planned caricature will most certainly be used to paint us all with the same brush of this perhaps well intentioned, but misguided event."

Oh, and hey! I just noticed this. Guess what else begins on Oct. 1 at the Erotic Heritage Museum? Cock-tober Fest! This just keeps getting better and better!


Anonymous said...

This may be the funniest but also most important post you've ever done. Cocktoberfest! Can't make this shite up!

Anonymous said...

I would like point out that Jesse Garon, The Elvis Impersonator performing the ceremony, is himself gay and the only member of the gay community stepping forward to mark this historic event by doing what he does for a living...WEDDINGS. And, Yes he chose a specific respectable gay couple to unite for this ocassion.

laura said...

The year was 1948. The book was SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN THE HUMAN MALE by Alfred Kinsey. The preface was written by Alan Gregg of THE ROCKEFFELER FOUNDATION.

These words hold true today:

Certainly no aspect of human biology in our current civilization stands in more need of scientific knowledge and courageous humility than that of sex. The history of medicine proves that in so far as man seeks to know himself and face his whole nature, he has become free from bewildered fear, despondent shame, or arrant hypocrisy. As long as sex is dealt with in the current confusion of ignorance and sophistication, denial and indulgence, suppression and stimulation, punishment and exploitation, secrecy and display, it will be associated with a duplicity and indecency that lead neither to intellectual honesty nor human dignity.

laura said...

The ethical guidelines for the Erotic Heritage Museum are based on the belief that sexual rights are human rights.

(These will be sent by different posts as I am restricted to the amount of words per post.)

The freedom of any sexual thought, fantasy or desire.

The right to sexual entertainment, freely available in the marketplace, including sexually explicit materials dealing with the full range of sexual behavior.

The right not to be exposed to sexual material or behavior.

The right to sexual self-determination.

The right to seek out and engage in consensual sexual activity.

The right to engage in sexual acts or activities of any kind whatsoever, providing they do not involve nonconsensual acts, violence, constraint, coercion or fraud.

laura said...

(Basic Sexual Rights cont. from EHM...)

The right to be free of persecution, condemnation, discrimination, or societal intervention in private sexual behavior.

The recognition by society that every person, partnered or unpartnered, has the right to the pursuit of a satisfying consensual sociosexual life free from political, legal or religious interference and that there need to be mechanisms in society where the opportunities of sociosexual activities are available to the following: disabled persons; chronically ill persons; those incarcerated in prisons, hospitals or institutions; those disadvantaged because of age, lack of physical attractiveness, or lack of social skills; and the poor and the lonely.

The basic right of all persons who are sexually dysfunc-tional to have available nonjudgmental sexual health care.

The right to control conception.


I do hope that there will be a celebration tonight. I have received numerous calls and emails voicing the concern of tonight's events. I respect these concerns. I would hope that after reading what I have posted people will understand why I thought the Museum would be fitting for such an important event. It is up to the community as to how they wish to show their support and be a part of what that event will look like. From my understanding, it is supposed to be beautiful.

Best, Dr. Laura

Gay Tony said...

In other words, Laura, you don't give a damn about the very real problems for the gay movement that this would cause because in your utopian world, everyone should just do as they please sexually and otherwise and la-dee-dah. it don't work that way, sweetheart. your museum may be terrific, but if you actually care about the future of gay rights in Nevada, pull the plug on this thing and show yourself to be selfless and aware of the actual world we live in.

laura said...

I am very well aware of the problems of the gay movement. It is not a utopian world; however, we are all on the same team for the protection of those rights. I am glad that Steve put this out there. I am also aware that people are having issue about the Museum and not about the domestic issue itself.