"Growing up straight in a dominantly homophobic and homosexual sport was hard for me and for them," he adds. "I remember my family defending my sexuality before I even understood what sexuality meant."
"I remember being constantly asked, ‘Oh, you’re a figure skater now? So you’re gay?’"
At 12, Larcom went to live and train as a pairs skater in Tampa, Fla. Despite being thousands of miles from home, he encountered the same stereotypes. Once, a girlfriend, a fellow skater, dumped him because her friends teased her about dating a male figure skater. Hockey players called him “fag,” “gay,” “homo” and “queer.”
"I’d be holding my skating partner’s hand [while practicing on the ice], and I’d want to go faster and stronger to prove I could beat them," Larcom says about the hockey players. "I thought, You’re playing with sticks, but I have this girl who I can lift and throw. You try to look like you’re Goliath." MORE | Timeline
This week’s cover story looks at the surprisingly challenging environment gay figure skaters face as competitors in what many consider to be the Olympics’ ‘gayest’ sport. Abigail Jones has the story.
Related: Many of the athletes selected for the 2014 Sochi Olympic delegation by President Obama are openly members of the LGBT community.
Pulitzer Prize–eligible magazine The National Enquirer broke an old but interesting story this week about Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. The ultra-wholesome image cultivated by Clark and his producers was unsurprisingly the result of behind-the-scenes pruning, as Clark would frequently conduct “witch hunts” to “purge gays from the ranks.”
After taking over Bandstand from original host Bob Horn, who had been locked up for drunk driving (and had also recently been acquitted for statutory rape), Clark built the show into a platform for himself as a host, as well as a way to introduce rock and roll to the suburbs through the medium of television. Clark has been credited with inventing modern youth culture, but also of being a cold and calculating media gangster who was backed into selling his payola shares during an investigation by the United States government in 1960.
Many of the show’s male dancers were apparently gay, but had to remain extremely secretive about it lest they be ferreted out by producers and forced to resign. Tyrannical policies like these were extremely typical for the ’50s and early ’60s, and their acceptance was so widespread that gay dancers did not even want to risk talking about it until now.
Former Bandstand regulars Frank Brancaccio and Eddie Kelly talked to the Enquirer about what really went on behind the scenes at the show. Both Brancaccio and Kelly refer to themselves as loners and misfits, who say that being on Bandstand gave them a place to feel comfortable being themselves. Well, as much themselves as Clark would allow.
Although it was hush-hush, both men estimate that a lot of the male Bandstand dancers were gay, and that the homophobic straight guys they knew were well aware of this and would hurl slurs at them as they walked around public parts of town.
Kelly, now in his seventies, talks about how producers tried to bust gay dancers at popular cruising spots: “Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square was known as a meeting place for homosexuals. If you were seen in the square, you couldn’t go on Bandstand. So most of us really stayed away.”
The rest of the story: Dick Clark and American Bandstand’s Behind-the-Scenes Anti-Gay History
Andrew Sullivan on ‘homophobia’:
I don’t like the word myself. There’s a smugness to it that doesn’t sit well with me. And it also implies that a religious or moral position against homosexuality is inherently irrational. It may be highly rational in the context of wanting to maintain a social hierarchy, or a coherent theocracy. I also think that a lot of anti-gay feeling is fear-driven, but it is also contempt-driven. Why not replace homophobia with fear and hatred of gay people. Orwell would approve, I suspect. Use shorter words when possible; avoid Latinate constructions; keep language real. So I guess I have no real problem with the AP’s decision as long as it does not lead to ignoring stories of anti-gay fear and loathing that need to be told.
The beef, in three sentences:
Tyler’s brutal, fascinating, endlessly cynical new disc, “Goblin,” is pockmarked with homophobic and misogynistic slurs and rape and murder fantasies, for which critics (read: mostly white guys) have largely given him a pass.
Tegan and Sara’s Sara Quin posted an open letter on the duo’s website condemning Tyler and asking if he’s getting away with behavior another artist wouldn’t because potential critics fear “[t]he inevitable claim that detractors are being racist, or the brush-off that not “getting it” would indicate that you’re “old” (or a [expletive])?”
Tyler quickly responded with a tweet: “If Tegan And Sara Need Some Hard [Expletive], Hit Me Up!”
Summing up the “beef” between Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator & Tegan and Sara.