By no stretch of the imagination can I be considered political, nor would I ever be thought of as someone who could speak for any group. For most of my life I’ve confined my work and my attention to being a pornographer, a gay pornographer. It’s a wonderful profession and in making porn I’ve met the best people you can imagine.
Because gay pornography is so often misunderstood and attacked from the outside, I rarely voice any criticism of others who do what I do. As gay pornographers, we necessarily heed the advice Ben Franklin gave to his fellow revolutionaries: “We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” Mutual support—even if given only tacitly in silence—is of paramount importance among gay pornographers.
But this week I was appalled by the unthinking rhetoric being voiced by another pornographer. And this time I feel the need to separate myself in every way from his opinions. Michael Lucas in a recent interview singled out and blamed the muslims of the world for the horrific massacre in Orlando. He said that Islam “vomits on gay people.” In doing so he was attempting to place the blame for Orlando on one particular religion, on one people.
This is nonsense and it is dangerous nonsense.
Throughout history, every religion and every political group has in its own way wreaked horrors, torture, death on homosexuals. In the days following Orlando, I read over and over again of Fundamentalist Christians who were disappointed that a greater number of “sodomites” hadn’t died. A Christian man, loaded with guns, was arrested on the way to a gay event in LA. And yes, Islamic fundamentalists despise us and want us all dead. But it isn’t Christianity or Islam that spouts such ugly stupidity or perpetrates such mindless violence. It is the blindness of provincial and acculturated hatred that does so, hatred that is taught by ignorant parents to their helpless offspring regardless of the name they give to their god/s.
Soon after the Orlando horror, queer American Imam Daayiee Abdullah said in an interview that “Culture supersedes religion and dictates how religion and religious laws are imposed.” Our deepest responsibility as queer people is to the development of an enlightened and educated populace—a secular and empowered culture—for whom Christian, Islamic, Republican, UKIP (there are plenty of candidates) prejudice is seen for what it is: sectarian, reactionary, dangerous and socially damaging for everyone.
A homophobic, self-loathing and sociopathic man with an insanely powerful gun killed the young men and women in Orlando. As is always the case with small, frightened and crazy people, he tried to justify his act by tying it to something larger than himself. In this case it was Islam. In other instances, it’s been Christianity or “decency” or the need to protect children or racial purity or cultural purity or “a return to greatness”…it’s endless, the list of pathetic and useless rationales and lies.
Why did these men and women die? This question is asked over and over, and the danger of an oversimplified reaction like that of Mr. Lucas is that it will feed into the overheated right-wing American agenda, an agenda that’s already awfully close to a fascism based in the hatred of a single group. If you’ve been living under a rock or in a cave for the last 200 years, let me inform you that this is a group looking for any excuse to hate and blame and bomb and destroy. Statements about Islam “vomiting on gays” were avidly picked up by the right-wing Breitbart News and presented with obvious approval.
If you were able to ask the forty-nine humans who died if they would feel avenged by the election of Trump, how would they have answered? If you told them their deaths were being used as fodder for unreasoning Islamophobia, would they be pleased?
Gay people are the most extraordinary people the world has seen. We are, in my honest opinion, an astonishing phenomenon given by a remorseful nature to a bleak and forlorn planet. We make the world better. We give birth to art, to dance, to laughter and theater and music. We are passionate about every aspect of human life—fashion, sports, the architecture of our homes, the arrangement and furnishing of our rooms, the design and enjoyment of uncountable gardens. We have taken the straightforward act of heterosexual reproduction and made of it the most exquisite and eloquent language of pleasure and identity the world has ever seen. In a world of hopelessness, fear, rapacity and rage we are the great hope for humankind. Let’s face it: we are the only real hope.
We don’t know who the coming new generation of queers will be or where they’ll be born. But many will be born to Muslim parents and to fundamentalist Christian parents and to orthodox Jewish families, Sikh families, North Korean families and on and on. They are being born now, they are growing up now—today—and they must not find themselves shunned by the very people they most need.
The evil that is against us is simple to describe: it’s the ignorance and isolation that breeds rage against the unknown. And it is the cowardly lawmakers who allow and enable guns to be put in the hands of that rage. As gay pornographers—nothing more, nothing less—we have the simple and enviable mandate to present to the world as accurately and eloquently as possible what gay men love doing with each other, in graphic detail. Our job is to show the world how perfectly beautiful and powerful male sex is. Believe it or not, it’s a tough job and requires a life commitment. I would ask that my peers cut out the sectarian political soapboxing and get back to doing the real work.
This world needs every fuck we’ve got.