May 28, 2016

Asim Butt: Gay Pakistani Artist

Asim Butt (1978-2010) was a Pakistani artist who studied in Karachi and San Francisco.  He was interested in graffiti and interactionist pieces,.

Art that protested unfair social conditions, police brutality, and homophobic state policy, set up in public places where it would be soon removed by the authorities.

Gay in real life, he often portrayed naturalistic men in intimate poses, the intimacy substituting for beefcake's emphasis on muscle.

He was a member of the Stuckist Art Movement, which is anti-anti-art, dedicated to returning to representation rather than abstraction.

May 26, 2016

Justin Berfield's Very Special Episode

I hate it when you watch a tv program for countless episodes under the impression that a character is gay, only to find out that he was straight all along -- or, more likely, the producers noticed the gay subtext and retconned the character to "correct" him.

On Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006), about a dysfunctional family, dimwitted hunk Reese (Justin Berfield) never expressed any interest in girls for five seasons, even though nearly every male teenager in mass media, including his brother Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), is scripted as indefatigably girl-crazy. 

 He was also over-emotional and interested in cooking, two gender-transgressive traits that could easily mark him as gay.  

To make matters worse, the scripts kept dropping unmistakable hints.  
Reese says “Sorry, I’m gay” to dissuade an amorous girl.

He “courts” an attractive male classmate.

He sells "his services” to neighborhood men and then blackmails them in an amazingly blatant parody of male prostitution (he even lounges at poolside in a swimsuit like a kept boy). 

Fans began to speculate that a special “coming out” episode was planned. Then, in the Season 5 finale in May 2004, Reese is distraught over a breakup with a never-before mentioned girlfriend. “You are mistaken!” the producers seemed to squeal. “Reese was straight all along!  There are no gay teenagers!”

Justin Berfield is the subject of gay rumors in real life, too, but he adamantly refuses to make any public statements.

See also: The Top 10 Hunks of Malcolm in the Middle

May 24, 2016

Will Estes: Teen Idol

Born in 1978, Will Nipper became one of the biggest child stars of the 1990s (no, Nipper wasn't a stage name), with a starring role on The New Lassie, a retread of the 1950s dog-and-boy classic (1989-92), plus guest shots on Highway to Heaven, Murphy's Law, Baywatch, Step by Step, Full House, and Boy Meets World.

Also a few movies, such as Dutch (1991) and How to Make an American Quilt (1995). And several appearances as "himself," on The Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards, Soaptalk, Jeopardy, and ;Circus of the Stars (he was a trapeze artist).    

 As a teenager, he changed his name to Will Estes, buffed up adequately for teen idol status, and starred in several more tv series, including Kirk (1995-96), as the son of future homophobia spokesman Kirk Cameron; ;Meego (1997), as a boy who gets alien Bronson Pinchot as a nanny; and American Dreams (2002-05), as the son of a family in the turbulent 1960s.

Guest roles, some leading to lengthy story arcs, continued, on The Secret World of Alex Mac (1997-98) and Seventh Heaven (1999-2000).

No gay roles, but some buddy-bonding, especially in Blue Ridge Falls (1999), with two country boys (Will and fellow 1990s teen star Jay R. Ferguson) helping a friend who has killed his abusive father.   He is reputedly gay but closeted, which may explain the absence of gay roles or any public statements in support of gay rights.   At least he hasn't said anything opposing gay rights.    
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