Right. It wasn’t a big part of your identity.
I was never politicized by being gay. I missed the whole AIDS thing because I was too young, so that didn’t politicize me either. I was lost in writing for many decades, the 80s, the 90s, and a little bit into the 2000s. It wasn’t really until 2005 when I gave an interview to The New York Times that I officially came out. I didn’t think it was a big thing, it was part of a conversation where I said I dedicated Lunar Parkto my dead boyfriend, Michael Kaplan. So, I always felt gay culture was a ghetto growing up. I didn’t want what gay men were kind of forced into—into a neighborhood, into a gay club—it was never attractive to me.
How do you feel about gay culture today?
Terrible. The writer Tennessee Williams once said, the worst thing that could have happened to gay men was Stonewall, because pre-Stonewall, pre-politicization of gay life, it was kind of a glorious free-for-all that was a secret, a vast secret society of men always managing to find ways to fuck and meet each other. Once it became this kind of miserable, political thing, being a gay person meant that you were automatically ten things. For a generation of men, that’s when the fun went out of the room. There was also a danger, a taboo element, a mystique thing about it that I miss. I miss the idea of the gay artist as a radical trailblazer, that has been flattened out in our culture. We won’t have a Tennessee Williams, or Robert Mapplethorpe—there was a kind of intensity from a gay artist that was forced upon him by society, by these circumstances.
“The movement begins invisibly and suddenly something is radical—but is anyone’s Instagram radical? Is anyone’s Twitter radical? Even porn is kind of this corporate thing.”
The German filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim says the gay community missed a chance to implement an alternative lifestyle regarding sexuality and relationships, apart from the guidelines of society. He argues that gays adapted to what was already in place—monogamy, marriage, family—and didn’t emancipate, but just fit in.
I mean, is it so great that Neil Patrick Harris is our spokesperson? That the kind, good, asexual gay is the person who we are promoting to be our voice? In the last ten years, I look to gay pornstars as being the most radical element of gay life, especially those who are very easy with it and have their own production companies. I’m much more interested in them than in that mini-series When We Rise by Dustin Lance Black about gay rights and the struggle for freedom for gays. I have zero tolerance for that kind of art and that kind of thinking. So with everything else, political correctness has ruined it for everybody. There is still a gay underground of men with sex parties, it’s not as if that completely evaporated, it’s just that it melded into the rest of the world, it became like Las Vegas, like globalization. It’s been commodified.
What is your opinion on the journalist Milo Yiannopoulos?
Milo Yiannopoulos is a perfect example, the gay provocateur from Breitbart. Fantastic, I thought he was great. The gay world needs all kinds of voices, I don’t just want the nice gay boys at the GLAAD Awards defining me. I know a solid majority of gay men who are slobs, who are fat, who are not into this idealized masculinity, or little fae gay boy stuff that’s being promoted in the culture. I know a solid majority of gay dudes who are not politically correct, they think gay life is terrible, and they have a way of expressing themselves that would not be allowable in so many ways in the culture. That is why I thought Milo Yiannopoulos was great—it was a different kind of viewpoint. He was proudly gay, talked about sex a lot, kind of filthily, and was very smart, and yet the straight world destroyed him. I think he’ll find a way to come back.
What do you think about the increase of radical groups on both sides of the political spectrum in the US, movements like the alt-left and the alt-right?
I tend to think that there is, on both sides, the alt-right and the alt-left, a passion that is missing from the middle, from the mainstream. There does seem to be a fire and an anarchic attitude, a playfulness, a mischief. The mischief stems from both sides wanting to tear down the status quo. They believe the establishment is a lie, the media is a lie, Hollywood is a lie, Clinton is a lie, Obama is a lie, Trump is a lie. They hate the rules by which they are being fed information. There was a fascinating piece in The New Yorker a couple weeks ago about how young alt-right journalists, I’m talking about in college—20, 21-year-old guys—have now been invited into the White House press corps. Never would that have happened under someone like Obama, who was very by the book, there were rules to how you were presidential, there were rules to how you dealt with a press conference. That’s gone with Trump, that is just not part of the game anymore. I think it frightens a lot of people, it horrifies my boyfriend who believes in logic, that there is a truth in the logic of things. Then there are people who think that truth is manufactured, fake, built by fake people. But, truth makes my boyfriend feel safe, and he doesn’t feel safe with the way Trump won the election—Trump, who destroyed the rules. He lit them on fire and they burned down. That terrified people.