June 11, 2011

From The Editor: Remarks, Reflections & A Response On “The New Gay”

from the editor

There is little I can say about The Grid’s recent “Dawn of the New Gay‘ that will match yesterday’s eloquent, touching, and provocative response from Elie. As a participant to the original piece, he was uniquely positioned to respond, and I felt it was very important for him to do so.  He is also, through life circumstance, uniquely positioned to comment on some of the more inherent ontological issues that proved so polemic.

We watched with amazement throughout the last two days as our online communities first were intrigued, then shocked, and soon offended and outraged. Yet, this outrage, magnificently translated into a healthy, vigorous, and intelligent dialogue about the meaning and importance of identity politics, of queer community, of internalized homophobia, and of exclusivity and inclusivity.

Often as activists and equally as writers and thinkers, we lament the apathy of our generation, the fact that not only do we not remember Stonewall, but that we might not have the courage or the concern to face such an adversity were it to be a modern reality. We are a generation of slacktivists, of only mildly and often superficially engaged people who rarely deal with the uncomfortability of challenging the status quo. Yet, only hours after Aguirre-Livingtston asserted that we were past rainbows and queer activism, – a catalyst for a rather positive firestorm – we saw people from around the world descend into twitterdom and the cyberspheres to think about, to talk about, and to respond to his claims in a manner that only illustrated the power of, the need for, and the universal and pan-national ties to, some notion of queer community and the struggle for and claim to equality.

When Elie spoke to me about his involvement with The Grid piece, it sounded profoundly in-line with The Gaily’s own mandate of spreading the “new” gay agenda. When we saw the piece of course, we realized the absolute and incredible differences between our conceptions of the “new gay”. I quickly realized that we too might need to defend just the substance or meaning of that new gay or that new gay agenda.

The “new gay agenda” – or rather, The Gaily’s new gay agenda – is surely not the gay nor the agenda of all gays, but it is one that I, and our team, feel is incredibly important in fulfilling our mandate on this site. It also couldn’t be more different than that of Aguirre-Livingston. It is similar in the sense that we are interested in defying labels, and stereotypes, but that is where the similarities end. We should not defy labels and stereotypes by denigrating those who fit, accept, or desire them.

Our “new gay” describes a culture, an attitude, and equally a projection or desire for the future. It is a culture of a variety of sexually bent people and their allies, of anti-opression, and of general positivity. We are a team of queer and straight people who work and write from (again generally although not universally) a feminist, anti-homophobic (not always obvious even in gay media), non-mysogynistic, non-transphobic perspective and attempt to proliferate the notions of anti-racism, anti-classism, and anti-violence. Tyrone and I looked around before founding the Gaily, at the vast and gaping spaces of thoughtful lgbt media in our country with the potential of being both entertaining, but not wavering on depth and intelligence; that included the voices of women (rare), trans people (even more rare, although we too haven’t achieved this goal quite yet), racialized people (other than only anecdotally), and people with diverse and unique perspectives. We looked around at the lesbian and gay magazines and sites (yes, gay and lesbian – never trans or queer, and definitely not bi) in Canada – we saw a lacuna of these voices and wanted to provide a place for them.

We are proud to be that place now, and to have been a platform for Elie to challenge and to discuss, with courage, integrity, and honesty, his involvement and his regret. We also are overwhelmed by the positivity, and the intelligence of those who responded and encouraged him on this path. That is community. That is our community. That is why we are still here, why we are strong, and why we will continue to be a presence that pushes back against the oppression of our society, however thinly veiled it may seem to be in 2011.



About the Author

|Executive Editor & Co-Founder| A mostly hippy and always hungry cultural critic, closeted pop-culture lover, and food know-it-all. Half cowgirl, half Ivy leaguer. You will find me writing on the crazy sh*t that happens on my teevee, feminism, philanthropy, religion and politics. I like singing shows, high-waisted skirts, scotch, two-stepping, and all forms of breakfast foods (sweet AND salty).


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  1. […] Read the response from The Gaily’s Executive Editor here. […]

  2. foobar

    The fact is, being gay doesn’t make you an activist. You have no right to demand that of anyone.

    The fact is, Elie didn’t read the piece, though it was offered, before he agreed to be involved. The mistake was his, not The Grid’s or Aguirre-Livingtston’s.

    The fact is, being a gay man doesn’t mean you can identify with or understand what trannsexuals or others experience.

    The fact is, being born in the late 80s pretty much means the fighting for homosexual equality here was done by the time you graduated high school. If the goal all along was to let people like Aguirre-Livingtston live as they want, you don’t get to complain when the way he wants to live doesn’t jive with your politics.

    The fact is, if you preach tolerance and acceptance, you have to tolerate and accept too.

    • foobar

      Clearly mislead? He was told to read the article and, if he agreed with it, to show up for the photoshoot. He didn’t read it. That was his choice. He mislead Aguirre-Livingston by showing up. Backing away from it now does not implicate Aguirre-Livingston (no, that isn’t me) or the paper of misleading him. He should be apologizing for not doing the bare minimum of homework before agreeing to endorse it – to use your example, it’s like he agreed to be interviewed in an article about pie, but didn’t bother to ask what Baby-Punching Quarterly magazine is all about.

      It doesn’t matter what spirit he thought the article was in, he projected his own expectations on it (pro-feminist, anti-classist, et cetera et cetera) rather than read it before making his choice.

      • Elie

        I’m not sure where you’ve received your information but the offer to read the article was never presented to me and I’ve been told by several other guys featured that they were also never asked to read it either. Though I’ve been told by one of them that he had a clear idea as to what the piece would sound like because he’s close friends with Paul, i can assure you that most of us relied on the misleading pitch we received via email to give us an idea as to what we were getting ourselves into. Furthermore, I was personally informed by the acquaintance who asked me to participate in this piece in the first place that it would sound similar to an article I previously wrote for The Gaily about issues I have with the gay village. This gave me confidence that I was participating in something in line with my belief system. That being said, I’ve stated time and time again that I take full responsibility for not doing my due diligence and asking to read the piece prior to agreeing to pose for the pictures. Regardless, I refuse the notion that I should remain quite and not voice my dissent simply because I foolishly agreed to something without doing my homework. I made a mistake and I admit it but I have every right to express my regret and the extent of which Paul’s article offended me.

  3. Bstewart23

    “The fact is, if you preach tolerance and acceptance, you have to tolerate and accept too.”

    Yeah, that part? Not so much. Tolerating intolerance only perpetuates it.

    Thanks for publishing Elie’s terrific response, Erika.

    • foobar

      If there had been anything intolerant about the article you would have a point. The reaction to Dawn of a New Gay shows the LGBTQ community at large has become monolithic and calcified, with no room for dissenting opinions or individuality.

      • Jason


        The guy (you?) is entitled to his opinion, but people (well, at least me) spoke up when he (you?) claims to speak for a whole generation (and part of this was in the gee whiz way the Grid packaged it) and when he/you makes all sorts of incorrect generalizations. I, like a bunch of others, have an opinion too. There is no single, monolithic gay community (and there never has been) — I’m responding because I disagree. If anything, this has shown that dissenting opinions and individuality abound. This is something a lot of people want to talk about — how can that be a bad thing?

        Someone defending Paul (and his right to voice his personal opinion without criticism) in a reply to a comment on The Grid said, essentially, people who aren’t gay men in their early 20s and living in Toronto have no business
        having feelings or an opinion about the piece. Enough said.

  4. Bbz

    Being born in the late 80s absolutely did NOT mean my fight for equality was over. I’m a transplant to the city of Toronto from northern Ontario. A place where we have none of the queer resources and social outposts the original author so quickly dismissed. His high school experience wasn’t even typical to most glbt people I know. And he has every right to live his life how he wants. The problem is that he now wants to make the assertion that our entire generation thinks exactly as he does, and that’s entirely bullheaded and lacking merit. The article represents everything in rich, entitled white-people land that makes my eyes roll, and represents none of the great things I see and experience every day. And that’s unfortunate, particularly since now that’s being put out across the city that it is meant to represent me and mine and how I think and feel.

  5. Wow, those are some pretty fascinating facts. You should totally go to Red Deer and tell the terrified kids hiding in the closet that their peers, friends, family, schools and churches aren’t all that serious about hating gay folks.

    Think how relieved they’ll be when you inform them that it’s totally safe to risk their homes, relationships, education and lives by revealing their orientation. I just know they’ll be so grateful that you have proclaimed the struggle for gay rights to be over… hurrah!

    That is, if they live through it. But hey, gay “hipsters” (that word gives me such a giggle) in a city like Toronto surely know everything about the rest of this massive country, so it just must be so.


  6. […] their way through a shit ton of ideological bullshit so that our G-string dancing is possible. With the recent debate over The Grid’s Dawn of the New Gay and the ensuing discussion over Pride, this post is somewhat […]

  7. […] in Montreal’s Mile End Montreal — 21 June 2011 Hey did you hear recently that the homos don’t need the village anymore because we are post-gay? Well, maybe we don’t need to stick to the village entirely, but by […]

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