Last Call

Gay Like Me

Getting on the right side of history can't wait.

By From the July - Aug 2012 issue

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After President Obama's gay emancipation proclamation, Newsweek’s cover photo that dubbed him “The First Gay President” amid a saintly multihued halo, and more states about to legalize gay marriage, the time seems right for me to go gay. This will shock my friends and associates, much as it has shocked me, but it’s the right choice. I’ve long sought an alternative lifestyle to my own drab metrosexual one.

It hasn’t been an easy decision, one taken lightly, and has caused many a restless night and much soulsearching. But it now seems clear that gay is the only thing to be right now; I want to be on the right side of history. Gay is the wave of the future, as cutting-edge as can be, extremely In. Gay is the new black, just as black was once the new Jewish. To seal the deal, I even love musicals and live in San Francisco.

I am usually not in the forefront of hot new social trends -- no tattoos for this lad, no Blu-ray TV, no vegan diets -- but the gay movement has so invaded, not to say overtaken, the mainstream culture that it may well be passé in a few years. So I’m a little late to get in on the ground floor, but maybe I can still leap on the fast-moving same-sex bandwagon. Until now, I’ve had to be satisfied with same-old sex (or some sex) relationships.

Originally I considered declaring myself bisexual, and for a brief period even flirted (with my other half) with going transgender, but gay seemed the safest, easiest, least complicated course. All indications are that being gay is going to make life easier for me -- until now just another boring garden-variety aging heterosexual with no clothes sense or special rights. It sounds crass, but I’d like to cash in if I can. In time, gays, like seniors, will be granted discounts at hotels and movies, with preferred seating on buses and subways, and possibly frequent flier deals and special menus for those with more refined appetites.

The mere act of coming out also has become a cottage publishing industry, and, as a freelance writer, I suspect my new identity will give me an instant wellshod foot in the door to interest a major house in my unique dramatic tale. I can’t recall a sitcom, a movie, or a book about a straight guy who becomes gay to advance his career -- like the white guy who posed as an African American in Black Like Me. It is now derigueur that any film, TV series, novel, or play include at least one gay character; the more the merrier.

The only downside I can see is that this lifestyle change will mean I may have to get married to a guy -- not my first choice. But then I’ve always thought that I needed a man around the house for the chores I can’t handle (all of them). Just as it is said that every wife needs a wife, every husband could use a handyman on the premises. And it will now allow me to casually refer to my “husband.”

Pat Buchanan recently stated that if Obama is reelected and gets to appoint a new Supreme Court justice, “gay marriage will be forced on all of America.” Should that happen, I’d like to be a little ahead of the curve. It’s not unlikely that Obama will appoint a gay Supreme Court justice, making it even more hip to be gay. The hopes of gays and lesbians were severely dashed when the unmarried Elena Kagan was forced to come out of the closet and confess that she is actually straight. Sad but true.

As I say, finally deciding to become gay is not something that has come easy to me, given my long history in the passé straight world. It’s taken me years to change my position. You might even say that I’ve -- well, evolved.

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About the Author

Gerald Nachman is the author of Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s, Raised on Radio and Right Here On Our Stage Tonight!: Ed Sullivan's America. He is currently working on a book about the great Broadway musical show-stoppers.