Oct 11, 2013

I Foil the Kissing Bandit

When I was in sixth grade at Denkmann Elementary School, the girls were being terrorized by "The Kissing Bandit."  His real name was Dave (not the same Dave from the post Corrupting a Mean Boy).  He was a fifth grader, tall and slim with a blond crewcut.

His modus operandi was simple: he would approach a girl and grab something of hers -- a doll or purse at recess, a sandwich or apple at lunchtime -- and hold it hostage until she submitted to a kiss.  On the cheek at first, but as he became bolder, the mouth.

As the fall turned into spring, he became bolder still, and didn't didn't bother with the theft.  He just ran up, planted a kiss on the girl's mouth, and ran away.

Something had to be done about this menace!  But teachers wouldn't intervene: "Boys like to kiss girls!  It's a fact of life!"  Apparently girls had to resign themselves to a future of nonconsensual intimacies.

Dave didn't bother boys, which was a pity, since I wouldn't mind kissing a cute boy one bit. I had only gotten one real kiss before, from Greg the boy vampire, back last year.   He never tried again, and my boyfriend Bill just wanted to hug and hold hands.  

My friend Terry was particularly upset about the Kissing Bandit.

"It's not fair!" she said one day at lunch. "You should only kiss if it's true love!  My first kiss should be with the boy I'm going to marry!"  I glanced at Bill; he smiled.

So far she had managed to evade Dave's clutches, but it was just a matter of time before their lips met, and her magical first kiss was lost forever.

So we took matters into our own hands, and devised a plan to discourage the Kissing Bandit.

The former lilac bushes outside my house
One day at recess, Terry sat by herself by the big lilac bushes that lay between the schoolyard and my house, pretending to read a book.  No teacher could see her, and there were no kids around to protect her -- a perfect victim!

The lilac bushes are gone now.  I don't know what these things are.

Sure enough, after a few minutes Dave came running up.

He didn't realize that I was hiding in the bushes.

As he came close, I leaped out and blocked his way.  He stopped, confused.  I grabbed his hands so he couldn't resist, drew him close, and kissed him.  On the mouth.  Not a little peck, either -- long and deep and passionate, like in the movies.  He made "mphf!" sounds, but otherwise didn't struggle.

After a long movie-style kiss, I released Dave.  He stood there, wide-eyed, staring at me for a long time.  Then he turned and slowly walked away.

The Kissing Bandit's Reign of Terror was over!  He never kissed a girl again, that I know of.

Dave was a year younger than me, so we didn't have any classes together and never hung out.  I saw him occasionally in the hallways of Washington, but we never spoke.

But he and Bill became friends. The last time I went to Bill's house, for a Halloween party in tenth grade, he was there.  Maybe they were kissing.

I ran into Dave again around 1981 or 1982, at Black Hawk State Park.  He was buffed, in that striated way thin guys get, and he was with an equally buffed male friend. Maybe he was gay?

I wondered if my kiss made him realize that he was into guys.

I was afraid to ask.


William Inge's Picnic

William Inge's Picnic (1953) has a simple plot: a guy takes his shirt off.

It's one of those plays that kept popping up in the 1950s, when you couldn't talk about gay people openly, so you threw in as many hints as you could.

The hunky Hal shows up in a small town that's busily preparing for the annual Labor Day Picnic.  He takes off his shirt.

This is the 1950s.  You never see bare skin.






Everybody -- literally everybody -- starts lusting after him: shy Millie, aggressive Madge, schoolteacher Rosemary, her boyfriend Howard, and Hal's old college buddy Alan.  They flirt, posture, break up with their current flames.

Hal gets naked with Alan, has sex with Madge, and flirts with everyone else, but in the end he leaves, leaving everyone blinking in surprise and asking themselves "What just happened?"

In the original 1953 production, Ralph Meeker played Hal, and newcomer Paul Newman played Alan.

It was filmed in 1955 with William Holden and Stuart Whitman (top photo), in 1986 with Gregory Harrison, and in 2000 with Josh Brolin.



Other notable Hals have included William Poole (above) and Sebastian Shaw (left).  It has been transformed into a musical and an opera.
















It's a favorite of high school and college drama clubs, though sometimes they cheat by putting Hal in a t-shirt.  He has to actually take his shirt off to get the full homoerotic effect of the piggy-back ride.

Oct 10, 2013

Fall 1979: Was It a Date?



On December 16, 1979, shortly after I returned from Germany, I wasn't interested in the Catholic church anymore, so I started looking for liberal Protestant churches.  Like the First United Methodist Church in downtown Rock Island.

A young, cute preacher was preaching on homelessness during the Christmas season.  Social justice!  Just what I wanted!

I nabbed him during the coffee hour after the service.  His name was Fred; he was 27 years old, a new seminary graduate, and he was working as a student intern while looking for a pulpit of his own.  I told him about my interest in finding a non-fundamentalist church, and he invited me to dinner next Friday night to "discuss theology."

I spent the next week agonizing over what I should wear, trying to think of questions to ask about Methodism, and wondering:

Was he gay?
Was it a date?

We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Davenport, Iowa, across the river (not the one in Moline where Bruce and Leanne sniped at each other).  I tried hinting around to determine if he was gay or not:

Me: Is it hard to get dates, being a minister?  People thinking you're going to judge them?
Fred: Just the opposite, really. Lots of people have a thing for ministers.
People, not men or women!



Me: Nazarenes are complete prudes.  No sex outside of marriage, no divorce -- and they're really against gays.
Fred: Methodists realize that we're fallible. I'm divorced, but that shouldn't be a problem in finding a pulpit.
Divorced!  So he was straight!  Or did he divorce when he realized that he was gay

Me: I heard something weird about that hymn, 'In the Garden': he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own.  If you didn't know it was about God, you'd think it was about two gay guys!
Fred: Yeah, you can find some crazy interpretations of those old hymns.

When the waiter brought out the check and fortune cookies, Fred said "Forget the fortune cookies.  I have dessert and coffee waiting for us at my apartment -- devil's food cake."

Straight or not, I never turned down an invitation for cake.




Fred's Apartment Building
So I followed Fred to his tiny two-room apartment in a terrible run-down building in Davenport (I know, it's dangerous, get to know the guy first).

I scanned his bookshelves for books with the word "gay" in the title, checked the pictures on his wall for beefcake.  Nothing!  We sat side-by-side on his couch, eating cake, and I still didn't know if this was a date!

"Do you want to watch tv?" Fred asked.  "I think The Rockford Files is on."

"Sure.  I love James Garner.  He's very handsome.  He should take his shirt off more often."

"Yes...he's a fine actor."

This was getting ridiculous!

I decided to make a move -- he was a minister -- the most he could do would be to grab a Bible and start screaming.  So I tried the "yawn and stretch" maneuver for putting my arm around him.

He was gay.  This was a date.

We dated for the next six months.

Fred's story continues in the summer of 1980, when we  move to Omaha together.

Oct 9, 2013

The Lost Medallion: Gay-Positive Actors in a Fundamentalist Movie

Want to know what gay-positive actors Billy Unger and Jansen Panettiere have been up to lately?  Making a mess.

Actually, though The Lost Medallion: The Adventures of Billy Stone was released in March 2013, it was filmed back in 2009, when Billy was 13 and Jansen 14.  They both look and act around 10. 

A boy and a girl on an archaeological dig in the South Pacific, Billy (Billy Unger) and Allie (Sammi Hanratty) find a medallion that sends them back in time 200 years.  By the way, finding the medallion is a long, torturous process involving a mysterious book and two native Goons (yes, that's how they're listed in the credits).




I don't know how they figure out that they're 200 years in the past, but it's obviously a primitive culture, led by the boy king Huko (Jansen Panettiere), who speaks English.

Enemies attack, destroy the village, and lead everyone off to slavery except for Huko and his bff Anui (William Corkery).









The plot progresses like Karate Kid mixed with The Lord of the Rings.  There's a Damsel in Distress scene, an elderly wise man who offers cryptic advice, and a climactic battle between Billy and gay-vague Head Evil Dude, Cobra (retired man-mountain Mark Dascascos) that results in the destruction of the Medallion.  Then, using the Medallion that was just destroyed (don't ask), the kids go back to the 20th century.

Even though it's a mess, there are two redeeming characteristics:
1. A complete lack of displayed heterosexual interest, from anybody.
2. Gay-subtext buddy-bonding between Billy and Huko.

After chugging around the film festival circuit with it for awhile, writer/director Bill Muir decided to re-frame it. He added opening and closing scenes in which a modern-day fundamentalist Christian is telling the story of the Lost Medallion to some kids, explaining that it illustrates God's love.

Wait -- what?  I didn't see any religious symbolism.

Bill Muir graduated from the ultra-homophobic Moody Bible Institute, and has spent twenty years working for the ultra-homophobic Youth for Christ.  I wonder how he would feel if he knew that his movie had two gay-positive actors and a big ole gay subtext.

Somebody tell him, please?



Jackson Guthy: Teen Idol with Lots of Male Friends


When a performer poses in such intimate same-sex pairs over and over, one has to wonder if he's gay in real life.  Or conclude that he is.

Jackson Guthy (the one who isn't grabbing himself) is a singer/songwriter who got his start singing on The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2011, at the age of 15.

After that he toured with the Disney boy band Big Time Rush and the gay-positive One Direction.    His debut album, Launch, is due out later this year.




Here he poses shirtless with another buddy, their matching Union Jack underwear showing.

His songs, all about lost love, are a mixed bag, some heterosexist, some not.

  "Bad Boy" is immensely heterosexist, yelling "Girl! Girl! Girl!" every five seconds.

 "Everything You Do" is about breaking up with a girl.

"Roll" omits pronouns: "You're so hot I can't even seen."




"Brothers and Sisters" seems to be deliberately inclusive:

This is for my brothers and sisters
All the trouble makers
Who are trying to get back at me

Well, were you dating a brother or a sister?  Or any of these guys?

Check out his official website here.  He calls his fans the Jackpack.


Cody Christian: Pretty Little Liars

You probably know Cody Allen Christian from the drama Pretty Little Liars: he plays Mike Montgomery, younger brother of head liar Aria, who has not yet displayed any heterosexual interest.  Many fans think that he is gay, but it's probably just a tease; the writers just haven't gotten around to scripting any girl-craziness for him yet.

But Cody has been in a surprising number of gay-friendly projects.

1. The short film The Corndog of Tolerance (2006), an "ode for accepting people for who and what they are" which made the rounds of the LGBT film festivals.  You can see it on Vimeo.






2. Xander Tucker in the series Back to You (2007), who appears to be a bully but actually has a secret.

3. Kill the Irishman (2011), about the rise of an Irish-American mafioso.  As the young Danny Greene, Cody has a gay-subtext buddy-bond with the young Billy McComber (Dante Wildern).  The gay-subtext continues, by the way, when the characters grow up.

He has also made the rounds of Disney/Nickelodeon, appearing on Lab Rats, Austin & Ally (where he's #10 on my list of Ross Lynch's Top Hunks), and Supah Ninjas.  





No word on whether he is gay in real life, but he doesn't appear to hang out with Jake T. Austin, so probably not.




Oct 8, 2013

Spring 1979: My Friend's Teenage Brother: Definitely Straight?

Guy on the right looks like Jake
Shortly after my 18th birthday in 1978, my friend Mary, a member of the bookstore gang and big Andre Norton fan, told me that she suspected her kid brother of being gay.  She invited me to visit her home  for spring break in March 1979, shortly after I revealed my boss's "trouser snake,"  to "check." I had not yet met any gay people, so I eagerly agreed.

Mary's family -- blustering Archie Bunker father, mousy devout-Catholic mother, hippie older brother (away visiting his girlfriend), and possibly-gay kid brother Jake, lived in one of the dull, faceless suburbs of Chicago, in a small two-story house surrounded by thousands of other small two-story houses.

Her father needed the car to drive to work, and there were no buses in the suburbs. Mary’s friend drove us to the Mall and for pizza, and one day we all drove to Axehead Lake.  Otherwise we were stuck in the house  for five days and six nights.







Mary's actual house

Mary’s "kid brother" Jake was sixteen, only two years younger than me, slim, lightly tanned, with short blond hair.  He had a naturally tight, hard physique that would, with a little weight training, develop into something spectacular.

When I asked in private,  he told me that he had a girlfriend, a cheerleader with very large breasts. Her name was Tessa, or maybe Tina, and she lived in Aurora, or maybe Naperville (the details changed from day to day). Of course they  had sex, frequently and enthusiastically, whenever she came to town to cheer for her team.

Today I would find this story suspect, but in 1979 I took it as proof positive of heterosexual identity.





Boys playing with dolls

At night, we shared a room. We stripped down to our briefs and lay atop mussed sheets on single beds, separated only by a nightstand.

Just after midnight on Saturday, my last night in Chicago, I awoke to a door slamming, footsteps, and a furious discussion between two voices, then three, then four. I surmised that Mary’s older brother (I don't remember his name) had come home unexpectedly after a fight with my girlfriend. Not willing to be kicked out of my bed, I kept my eyes tightly shut and pretended to be asleep. After awhile I heard footsteps, a whispered conversation with Jake, and then scuffling and bed-creaking. When I dared open my eyes, a big, thickly-muscled jock in white underwear lay in the opposite bed, cradling Jake in his arms. Both were facing me, asleep or pretending to be. Their legs were intertwined.

“Jake,” I murmured. “Move over here.  More room."

A moment later Jake was under the covers, his head against my chest.  Then our legs intertwined. After awhile there were mouths and hands, and a murmured “Don’t wake up my brother."

At some point during the night, Jake returned to his brother's arms.

After an egg-and-bacon casserole, roasted potatoes, and rolls with orange marmalade, our friend Rich and his girlfriend picked us up for the three-hour trip back to Rock Island.

In the car, I announced that Jake was definitely straight.  He even had a girlfriend.

The Catbird Seat: Strong Women, Gay Men

I hated a lot of the stories that teachers foisted on us in school. They were always heterosexist, and usually depressing, dreary, and boring.  One of my least favorites was James Thurber's "The Catbird Seat."














You know James Thurber (1894-1961) -- the mid-20th century writer who made a career of pointing out the humorous foibles of men as they pursued women, or women as they pursued men, heterosexual desire to the max: "The Male Animal," "My World and Welcome to It," "Is Sex Necessary?", etc., etc.

"The Catbird Seat" (1942) is about mild-mannered, gay-vague Mr. Martin, who is not interested in women and therefore reprehensible.

He clashes horns with brash, braying Mrs. Ulgine Barrows, who comes to work in his office and starts dating the boss.  She loves incomprehensible catch phrases derived from baseball, like "Are you sitting in the catbird seat?"

She's really annoying, and about to take over the business, so Mr. Martin decides to kill her.  But his plans don't work out as expected.

So its basically a conflict of wills between two people who are outcasts in 1942 society, a strong woman and a "weak" (read: gay) man.

Strong women and "weak" (read: gay) men were savagely lampooned during the 1940s.  On the Burns and Allen radio program, Mel Blanc played a mild-mannered, nebbish postman who dreamed of killing his overbearing wife.  But "The Catbird Seat" is notable for its utter misogyny and intense heterosexism.


It's a very short story, but still, it's been filmed twice.

1. In a 1948 episode of Actor's Studio, starring Broadway actor Hiram Sherman, who often played gay-vague roles.

2. In the 1959 movie The Battle of the Sexes, with Peter Sellers (34 years old, but wearing old-man makeup), which frames the conflict as a modern American vs. old-school British.


Spring 1979: the Male Witch

When I was a freshman at Augustana College, I knew a lot of guys who liked guys only at night, and spent their days arm-in-arm with women.  But I had never met a real, actual gay person, unless you count the Fairy on the double date at the Hawaiian Lounge and the waiter whose soul I tried to win at Olivet.  There was a gay bar downtown, but I was too young to go to it. There were no gay organizations, no gay-themed movies playing at the Cineplex, no gay books in the college or public library.

But surely I couldn't be alone in all of Rock Island!  I did extensive research, interrogating my friends, making discrete inquiries of knowledgeable college seniors, asking around at the radio station, and eventually got a few names.
1. A middle-school teacher who was discovered, fired, and moved away.
2. The manager of a flower shop who was discovered, fired, and moved away.
3, Peter, who attended Augustana for a few years, but was discovered and expelled.

Only Peter was still in town!

"Be careful!" My informant cautioned.  "He's not only a homo, he's a witch."  He went on to describe demons conjured with a Ouija board, pins stuck into voodoo dolls, Tarot cards, crystal balls, potions, incantations, nude rituals in the moonlight.

My Nazarene sensors went off.  Occult -- Evil! Evil! Evil!  Maybe the preacher was right -- maybe gays were all Satanic.

Nonsense!  I chided myself for my irrational fear.  Peter was the only gay person in Rock Island, and I was going to meet him, witch or not! In February 1979, near Valentine's Day, I called, said I wanted to interview him for my radio program, and got an invitation to visit.  He lived with his parents in small, normal-looking house near Longview Park.


 He was nothing like what I expected -- and nothing like this photo -- taller than me, very hairy, and quite chubby, what we would someday call a Bear. He had long blond hair and a blond beard that somehow made me think of Santa Claus.

We sat in his living room -- which looked perfectly normal -- and chatted about Augustana for a few minutes.  Then suddenly he said "Let's get naked!"

I hadn't said anything about being gay!  "Um...I'm not...I didn't come here for sex," I stammered.

"No, no, I didn't mean that -- frankly, you're not my type -- I just like being skyclad. Close to Mother Earth."

So we took off our clothes, and Peter told me about paganism: a religion of the Earth, older than Christianity, attuned to the spiritual dimension, and not oppressed by a lot of "thou shalt nots": "an it harm no one, do what ye wilt."

"Sounds like paganism is ok with gays."

"Not really.  Most of the rituals are boy-girl-boy-girl.  But I'm working to change all that.  There's a group out in California, the Radical Fairies, that's trying to bring gay liberation to the Craft."

"Do you know any gay people in Rock Island?"

"A couple.  Mostly they move out to California.  It gets a little lonely."  He paused.  "How about a skyclad hug?"

I nodded.

I was enveloped in a warm, hairy bear hug.  It was not erotic, though we groped a bit.  It was like we were connecting on the spiritual plane.  Suddenly, without understanding why, I started to cry.

"I'm going to perform a spell for you," Peter said.  "It will help you find what you're looking for."  He chanted something about the God and the Goddess and blew on a small pink crystal, which he pressed to my forehead.  I left with the pink crystal and a book, Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, which I still have.

The spell worked.  Less than a month later, my friend Mary invited me to visit her family for spring break, and try to determine if her teenage brother was gay.  And  before I graduated from Augustana, I met a number of gay people: a student preacher, a professor with handcuffs, an ex-priest with a pushy mom, a bookstore manager, a hermit, and a little-person postal worker.


During the 1980s, Peter was a guiding force behind the Radical Faeries, and instrumental in opening the pagan movement to LGBT persons.  Nenamed Sparky T. Rabbit, he became a nationally recognized writer, singer, chanter, storyteller, pagan activist, gay activist, fairy, and bear.  You can buy a copy of his album, Lunacy, on his facebook page.

He died on July 9, 2014.






Oct 7, 2013

10 Most Homophobic Beatles Songs

Well, not really homophobic -- the Beatles never acknowledged the existence of LGBT persons in their songs or in any public statements.  But some of their songs go overboard with the "girl! girl! girl!" rhetoric, promoting the heterosexist mandate that same-sex relationships are invalid, that men's lives begin and end in the arms of Some Girl.

1. "I Saw Her Standing There" (1963)
Actually, anything from their teen idol period, prior to 1966, is likely to be infused with "girl! girl! girl!".  That's what teen idols of the early 1960s sang about, just like boy bands today.


2. "Norwegian Wood" (1965)
Once I had a girl, or should I say, she once had me?  They have sex.  And we all know what "Norwegian wood" means.

3. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" (1965).
Many people think that this song has to do with gay people forced to "hide," maybe a reference to manager Brian Epstein, who was gay.  But "she" is definitely gone, leaving "him" feeling depressed and beset-upon.

And even if you can find gay people submerged among the "boy loses girl!", hiding your love away is the antithesis of gay liberation.


4. "Ticket to Ride" (1965)
More "boy loses girl!"  The girl driving me mad is leaving, and I'm really, really depressed.

5. "She Said, She Said" (1966)
A conversation between male and female lovers about the loss of innocence.  Sexual innocence, probably: "When I was a boy, everything was alright," but now "I know what it's like to be dead."  But it's too much of a stretch to find him mourning the loss of his elemental homoerotic connection with men.



6. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (1967)
You travel through a psychedelic dream landscape, looking for the "girl with kaleidoscope eyes," but every time you think you've found her, she's gone. Sounds like the quest for the Eternal Feminine.

7. "Back in the USSR" (1968)
Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out, they leave the West behind.
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout, and Georgia girls are always on my mind!

8. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Do" (1968)
Desmond and Molly meet, fall in love, get a house and kids, etc., etc., etc. Heterosexist mandate once again. Yawn.  Besides, it was the theme song for the decidedly depressing 1980s "comedy," Life Goes On.






9. "She Came In through the Bathroom Window (1968).
Female dancer with an aristocratic background falls for a police officer, so he quits his job, etc., etc., etc. Yawn.

10. "For You Blue" (1970).
A reprise of their boy-band songs from the beginning of their career: because you're sweet and lovely, girl, I love you.  Wraps things up nicely in an endless loop of desire, fulfillment, and loss, all of the "boy-girl" variety.

But not to worry: lots of Beatles songs are gay-positive, too.  Check out my list:

See also: Beatles Penises.

Fall 1978: Telling People, Aaron Freaks Out

After I figured it out in the summer of 1978, shortly after graduating from Rocky High, I didn't engage in a lot of "Hey Mom, guess what?"  conversations.  That summer I told:

1. My brother Ken.

His response was more nonchalant than I expected.  "Brilliant deduction, Sherlock!  Did you figure that out on your own, or did your boyfriend help you?"

Not bad for a Johnny Nazarene. He even started telling me about movies and musical groups that I might like: Meatballs, The Village People.

2. My best friend, Darry.

His response was less nonchalant. "One of these days you're going to come to your senses and regret this decision!  But when you do, don't call me.  I don't want anyone thinking I'm a Homo."

But we were best friends from seventh grade! What happened?

And in the fall, 3. Aaron, by that time a freshman at the University of Maryland.  Long-distance phone calls were rare back then, so I sent him a two-page, handwritten letter, talking about inconsequential things.  And, in between, I told him in an unsigned, typewritten statement -- that way nobody could prove that I wrote it.

I thought that being gay was illegal, so it was best not to put it in writing.

He didn't respond at all.

But he was my go-to guy for all things gay!  What happened?


I ran into him at Rocky High's 10-year reunion.  He apologized for cutting off contact, and explained: "It was such a shock, someone who was a good friend.  It's like it wasn't just a political matter anymore.  I freaked out."  Then he told me that he had been with his partner for three years.

After that, I adopted a policy of "Figure it out for yourself!"  It's not hard: what gender do I look at?  What pictures are on my bedroom wall?  What gender do I date?  Who do I mention on the telephone?

It works pretty well.  I rarely hear "Isn't that girl hot!" or "Do you have a wife?", at least not from people who have known me for more than five minutes.

Oct 6, 2013

10 Gayest Beatles Songs

One of the first gay cartoons I saw, by Donolan, featured two lesbians discussing whether they came out before or after the Beatles' White Album.

Between 1963 and 1970, the Beatles recorded over 400 songs and changed the world.  They belong to everyone in every generation, of course, but they have a special significance to the gay people who were struggling for liberation in the Stonewall era.   Their songs about unity, friendship, and resistance played in the background as gay people formed organizations, printed newsletters, opened community centers, and marched on the streets.

This is my list of the "gayest" Beatles songs, those that eliminate heterosexism and speak most directly to the gay experience, roughly in chronological order.



1. "Can't Buy Me Love" (1964)
I'll buy you a diamond ring, my friend, if it makes you feel alright
I'll get you anything, my friend, if it makes you feel alright.
Notice that it's "friend," not "girlfriend."  A love song that omitted "girl! girl! girl!" was a revelation in 1964.

2. "Help" (1965)
When I was younger (so much younger than today), I tried to be self-sufficient, but now I realize that I need help, emotional connections, community.  No more acting as if I'm alone in the universe.  Time to start a gay subculture.

3. "Nowhere Man" (1965)
He's as blind as he can be, just sees what he wants to see.  Isn't that the heterosexist condition?  Trying to avoid thinking about same-sex desire, or explaining it as something else, trying to maintain the heterosexist status quo of wife, kids, house, job.  It ends in desolation.  But you can escape: "the world is at your command."



4. "Eleanor Rigby" (1966)
She picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been.  Meanwhile Father McKenzie writes the words to a sermon that no one will hear.  Some people can't, or won't, embark on the heterosexist trajectory.  They are left out in the cold.

5. "Yellow Submarine" (1966)
With all my friends on board.

6. "With a Little Help from My Friends" (1967).
"My friends" may be psychedelic drugs, or maybe they're hippies, the members of the youth counterculture who led the way to liberation, and I need them to get by.






7. "Strawberry Fields (1968).
"I think, I know, I mean a yes, but it's all wrong.  That is, I think I disagree."
We know that "nothing is real," the mind-control chants of "what girl do you like?  what girl?  what girl?" lead nowhere, but they subtly take hold.

8. "All You Need Is Love" (1968).
You learn to play the game (of heterosexism), but in the end all you need is love.

9. "The Long and Winding Road" (1970)
It's been a long and winding road, but it leads me to your door.





10. "Let it Be" (1970)
When you get discouraged at the work of fighting heterosexist oppression, just remember the words of Mother Mary: there will be an answer, let it be.

Next: my list of the 10 Most Homophobic Beatles Songs.

See also: Beatles Penises.