Who (still) loves Bryanboy?
Bryanboy is a kind of law to himself. On the surface he's a doll-like global hyper-camp bitchy fashion-queen with the skinniest arms in the world (and proud of it). If you look up every stereotype about effeminte homosexuality and then multiply by 100 you have Bryanboy. Despite this, or more likely because of this, his weblog is often incredibly funny, in a kind of laughing with, rather than laughing at way. And like most people whose image and life resembles a cartoon, there is occasionally the hint that there is a lot more going on beneath the surface.
Bryanboy has lots of fans, who he encourages to send in pictures of themselves holding signs that say "I love Byran boy", and he gives his all in that no-internal-censor way that makes a truly good blogger. He is a one-off and if he didn't exist, someone would have to invent him.
However, not all has been well at Bryanboy lately. Since he started publishing pictures of himself wearing real fur, there have been an influx of abusive comments at the site - about half his readers are furious, the other half defensive. I suspect that all this is starting to take its toll as rather than deciding to ignore it all, Bryanboy has posted increasingly unapologetic emails, including some vile pictures of roadkill intended to upset his detractors. It's a debate I would hate to get involved in. I wouldn't wear fur myself, but then I wear leather shoes and have a leather jacket. I've also just started eating meat again (and like it) after 15 years. So I would be in a very precarious position to criticise.
civil partnerships are allowed in the UK next month and I am getting one. Me and my fella already had a "commitment ceremony" a few years back, with friends and family invited. So we're not going to make a big deal out of it this time. It'll be a quick case of signing a few papers and grabbing a Subway sandwich - how very romantic. But despite the matter-of-factness of the day, this is a potentially huge change to our lives - official recognition of our relationship. I have had two reminders this week of how far we have come. The first involves a book called Rid England of This Plague by Rex Batten. It is a novel, based on real life events of the persecution of gay men in the 1950s. A couple have their relationship put to an extreme test when one of their friends is sent to prison for being gay. They are questioned by the police and end up in a kind of sexless relationship, frightened to touch each other they end up in prison too. It's full of little tips about being gay in the 1950s and earlier - rather than bother with KY Jelly, Bryll-creme was used as lubricant - so men would over-apply it to their hair when out cruising. It's worth reading. The other thing is this short American "Stranger Danger" film from the 50s called Boys Beware. It is incredibly campy in its own way, with lines like "What Jimmy didn't know was that Ralph was sick, a sickness of the mind known as homosexuality". The film equates homosexuality with paedophilia and was probably responsible for making the lives of hundreds of gay 50s teenagers just a little bit more miserable than they already were. Yes, we have come a long way in 50 years. Although there is still a very long way to go.