Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Monday, October 30, 2006

    The summer is over. The winter is coming and for those who are still single, the GRIND to have someone to compensate for those lonely, bitter, frigid nights is upon you. Don't act like you don’t care … don't lie to your friends and say, "I am perfectly fine being single!" as you’re wading through the thousands of profiles on Adam4Adam.com, or at the club with your bionic eye focused on a potential date. Let's keep it real ... we all want a connection from the biggest whore to the most boring prude. During the summer it's easy to ignore that “stupid ache”, but when all is calm, your mind can't help but wander....

    Anyone who remembers my Halloween and the Hunt post knows there's a shady timeline that determines if you're with or without a partner over the holidays. You might be in romantic fantasy bliss for the season or sitting alone, laying in your bed with a glass of straight vodka, listening to Nina Simone and watching The Color Purple ... reciting every line like you wrote the script **wink to Frederick Smith**. Just for a quick recap here is the simplified version:

    If you're still dateless by Halloween ... YOU WILL BE SINGLE FOR THANKSGIVING. There’s usually a five-day or so grace period, but it's basically a wrap by the first week of November.

    If you're still dateless with NO potentials by the end of Thanksgiving weekend it’s a WRAP for CHRISTMAS and NEW YEARS!

    If you didn't get that connection by New Years (considering the five-day grace period) anything after that is a last minute hot-whore-tramp date and you will be SINGLE for Valentine's Day.

    HOWEVER, let's take this a bit further. When you're dating ... what to look out for? What is out there? And speaking specifically to the black gay male community (the straights who are reading this will have to reinterpret for themselves like the gays have to do everyday!) many people feel there are so many "issues" in our community that prevents us from having a healthy relationship. I completely disagree ... we are all capable of having a healthy relationship, however, I do think it's worth examining the categories we consciously or unconsciously fall into. Please keep in mind most of these categories are due to a socially oppresive society - nonetheless, we all must take accountability. Some of us are one of these, a few of these, or pieces of some here and there:

    THE TRAGIC HOMOSEXUAL

    You know the type ... always complaining about how all gay men are fucked-up, all gay men cheat and it is virtually impossible for two men to have a long-lasting connection.
    Not surprisingly, he attracts the types he complains about -- everyone he meets cheats, lies and deceives him. He is in the constant "woe is me" syndrome not because he is the victim, but because HE is ALL of thethings that he doesn't like about gay men. He has cheated more times than he has been faithful, he lies so much that he believes his own reenactments and never takes blame for his own choices -- but blames his actions and everyone else's actions on the state of EVERY black gay man in the USA. He is the Tragic Homosexual and does not even think for one minute the reason why he meets such vile men is because he is attracting what he is.

    THE DL CHRISTIAN

    He is "DL", but as obviously gay as his church queen girlfriends, who are in the choir and all having sex with each other. They admittedly feel they are going to burn in a fiery depths of a Christian, or an Islamic hell, yet getting their guts banged out on regular basis and having the most decadent sexual happenings that makes even the biggest whores say:
    “Well, damn -- maybe I need to go to church if I can get this much sex!” They believe being gay is only “temporary” and one day they will wake up with an unforgettable, juicy pussy on their mind. This mindset is understandable when you are in your early 20’s and going through "gay puberty" (trying to get over the hate you feel for yourself) -- but when you're knocking on thirty’s door, dating men for years, managed to have sex with a few women, which somehow allows this man to violently clench onto his last remains of heterosexuality, AND still not straight -- THIS is not temporary. These men are often times misogynistic, minimizing women to baby making machines. They make statements like, "If this gay thing doesn’t work out then I’ll just get with a woman, get married and have some kids.” As if the DL Christian men are going to step outside of a gay club and find some coochie waiting for them with legs spread open and saying: “Splash up in me and let me make you some babies because you couldn't find a man!” These are the saddest types of black gay men because no matter how many times they get their dick sucked and don't suck, no matter how many times they are a top and claim they never bottom, no matter how many times they pray to their God ... they will ALWAYS be gay. They will live and die as GAY.

    THE DL THUG

    The DL Thug foolishly believes they are one up on everyone else because they've mastered the art of looking like a bad BET video. They are from 20 to 50 with hats cocked to the side, baggy/saggy clothes and a hood lingo that is embarrassingly inauthentic. They have no clue they are in "hood" drag –- at least a drag queen knows they are playing role, BUT The DL Thug believes this is him. He doesn’t realize his whole demeanor is a learned behavior -- the DL Thug thinks all of his problems would be solved if he could JUST be heterosexual. He constantly gives examples on how straight relationships work out and somehow relates them to himself. Periodically he manages to splash up in some girl but never converts.
    Inside, the DL Thug is painfully lonely and shamed; he remedies his loneliness with decadent sex that makes up for all of the ways he hates himself.

    THE NARCISSIST

    This man is typically attractive, goes to the gym more than he goes to work and focused on his appearance rather than his stale personality. He thinks EVERYONE wants him ... the first thing he will tell you after a long day is how many people tried to hit on him - male, female, elderly,transsexual, etc. "This girl in the elevator was really staring at me -- I know she wanted me to fuck her," "Everybody in the club was looking at me," "I think your best friend was looking at my dick," "Your neighbor bumped into me and tried to feel my ass," the comments are endless. The narcissist does not realize that most people are not lusting for him -- but he is so focused on who could possibly be lusting for him because he needs constant validation from others about his appearance. Even the ones who are starring could be looking for an entirely different reason than the Narcissist assumes. When it comes to gay men he is convinced everyone wants to have sex with him and makes comments like, "
    I can't be around too many gay men because all they want to do is fuck." In actuality it's not that people think he is so beautiful, being attractive is relative, it's that HE is the one who wants to fuck everyone, therefore, people preceive him as an easy fuck ... fuckable but not conversational.

    THE QUEEN LOOKING FOR A KING

    She's a fuckin' lady. He's looking for a strong man with an amazing job, big dick and an aggressive personality to make him feel safe and protected. However, he is NONE of these things -- he is the striking opposite of what he wants.
    He is trying to emulate male-female relationships, which aren't even working for the straights! He expects for his man to always pay for dinner, always hold him in bed and always make the first move. Characters like Noah and Alex from Noah's Arc have inspired him to believe, "This can really happen! I can find a man that will treat me the way all of my straight girlfriends want to be treated!" Often times this boy is lazy, shiftless and his femme drag is as inauthentic as the DL Thug's hood drag. He is one wig away from a drag queen and doesn't want a gay male relationship -- he wants a straight relationship in his boy body.

    THE LOW SELF-ESTEEM GOOD MAN

    This man thinks he’s too fat, too skinny, too old (only over 25!), too short, too tall, too dark, too light and too much of everything. Telling this person, “You look good tonight!” Will only end up in, “I gained five pounds.” He loses all self-confidence when walking into a gay club comparing himself to every muscular man feeling as if, “I could never get someone like that.” He’s jealous of other people who he thinks are more attractive than him, eventually isolating himself in a cocoon of, “Nobody wants me.” Therefore, he lowers he standards so low that he ends up with manipulative, evil men who smell and prey on his insecurities. Despite all of the creative and sometimes unique ways this man hates himself he would actually be a great boyfriend … he lives alone, has a career (not just a job!), sense of humor, intelligent – but ignores all of these attractive aspects and focuses on what he feels will keep him alone and unhappy forever.

    THE AFFECTION WHORE

    The Affection Whore doesn’t have sex with every man he meets, but he shares a bed, kisses, hugs, reveals his whole life story -- in a matter of days. He thinks any man who has sex immediately is a tramp, however, he doesn’t realize every time he gives away a piece of himself with intimacy – even if he doesn’t have sex – he is still feeling empty … empty in more ways than the promiscuous man because at least the slut does not expect anything in return. The Affection Whore feels he is doing everything right by waiting before he has sex and investing ALL of his time in a man he met less than a week ago. He quickly dives into romantic fantasy land after date one, seeing their whole life playing out ... living together, joint accounts, traveling and of course adopting children! At the end of the day no one can live up to a fantasy and once the Affection Whore realizes this guy is not what he expected ... he goes to the next guy and unknowingly has the same experience. All the while he says, “I am not having sex with every guy I meet like everyone else! Why can’t I meet someone?” He doesn’t realize there is no formula to make a relationship work because if there were we would all be in relationships.
    He is simply patching up his own toxic issues ... maybe it has to deal with love he didn't get as a child ... maybe a relationship that broke his heart and he never moved on ... maybe he doesn't love himself.

    Happy Hunting!





    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 24 comments

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    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    The New Jersey Supreme Court issued it's ruling on Lewis v. Harris, which is the same-sex marriage case by seven gay and lesbian couples. In a 4-3 ruling same sex marriage is LEGAL IN NEW JERSEY. This is the first state since Massachusetts in 2004 to legalize same sex marriage.

    This is a triumphant victory for anyone who is against discrimination ... whether you are black, white, Latino, poor, Jewish, woman, foreigner, etc. You cannot say it is wrong to have other forms of discrimination but it is okay to discriminate against LGBT people. I hope this ruling will not be overturned, but at this moment legalized same sex marriage in New Jersey is a victory.

    There is a little catch with this legalization of gay marriage, "The court gave New Jersey politicians 180 days to rewrite marriage laws either in favor of same-sex marriage or creating civil unions." Therefore, lawmakers must decide whether to honor gay marriages or just civil unions. Click here for the full story.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 3:45 PM :: 8 comments

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    Friday, October 13, 2006

    Michael Sandy Dies: Rally at City Hall Monday

    I love how people think the days of gay bashing are over. I love how people think in New York City people no longer get gay bashed. I love how many black LGBT people think, "I can never get gay bashed -- I'm from the hood." Michael Sandy, who was recently gay bashed in New York City has recently died. Please join black LGBT organizations, LGBT bloggers and supporters at City Hall this Monday, October 16th for a rally and press conference at 5pm. Your presence is demanded -- please spread the word.

    Pasted below are the details from Keith Boykin's site:

    BREAKING NEWS -- Michael Sandy, the 29-year-old black gay man who was attacked in a gay bashing incident last Sunday, has died. Sandy reportedly died around noon today after the family decided to remove the life support respirator that had kept him alive. That information has been confirmed by sources close to his family. Police are reportedly considering whether to elevate the charges against the suspects as a result of Sandy's death.

    Black LGBT organizers and activists vowed to hold a rally on Monday to demand an end to hate violence in the city and to hold city leaders accountable. The rally is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. on Monday at New York City Hall. The rally is being sponsored by People of Color In Crisis, the New York State Black Gay Network, Gay Men of African Descent, the New York City Anti-Violence Project and the National Black Justice Coalition.

    My heart goes out to Michael Sandy's family. This didn't have to happen. But sadly, we live in a world where hate violence is still too common. Now it's time to do something about it.

    How many more black gays and lesbians have to be beaten, killed or attack in New York before we rise up and do something about it? After Kevin Aviance, Rashawn Brazell, Dwan Prince and Sakia Gunn, we have a responsibility to speak out on their behalf.

    It's time for black political leaders and civil rights leaders and the larger black community to be involved. If Michael Sandy were not gay, this case would have outraged most of Black New York. But because he is gay, almost no one seems to be talking about it.

    It's also time for the city to be engaged in stopping these hate crimes. We need the police to be proactive in protecting us. That's why the move by one local politician to close down the park at sunset is understandable but misguided. That effort is fueled by the same homophobia that denigrates gay men as sexual predators.

    And it's time for the mayor and the city officials to deal with the structural problems that encourage homophobia, racism and hate violence in our communities. It's not enough for the mayor to show up and give a speech at a press conference. It's time to show some real leadership.

    And finally, it's way past time for the black LGBT community to be engaged. Our friends and lovers, brothers and sisters, neighbors and colleagues are dying in the streets. What are we going to do about it? What will we do to keep each other safe from harm? What will we do to change the climate of homophobia in our families, our homes, our churches, and our work places? It's time for black gays and lesbians to stand up and be counted too.

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 5:51 PM :: 4 comments

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    Tuesday, October 03, 2006


    music: "Alright" by Janet Jackson

    Mother Jamiee Balenciaga’s success in the ballroom scene is similar to Teena Marie’s success in R&B/soul (yeah, I know – odd analogy, but some of my readers are still trying to understand ballroom culture!). Jaimee is a minority in the scene being a lesbian; however, she has served, conquered and annihilated her category, which is Women’s Face. In ballroom it is challenging for lesbians and straight women to receive respect, especially the type of respect and admiration Jamiee has managed to gain. She has been walking balls since 1996 and is officially a “legend” in the ballroom community. No other woman has been an ongoing fixture in the world of ballroom for the past ten years like Jamiee Balenciaga. She is not your stereotypical woman, who is simply around gay men as a spectacle, or a form of entertainment – the ballroom scene is her second family and she is just as dedicated to ballroom culture as the other beautiful women I have interviewed. Nonetheless, it was not an easy journey to gain respect in a subculture that is male dominated. Now Jaimee is the Mother of the House of Balenciaga, she has won more trophies than any other female in ballroom and is the first woman to win Mother of the year. In a candid interview with Mother Aga she lets it out on the transformations of the ballroom scene, what it means to be “legendary” and current women who are walking her category.

    Men are attracted to the scene because they feel like there are other gay men who are possible like them. There are very few lesbians in ballroom – so what attracted you to it?
    Jaimee: Well, I started walking balls the end of ‘96 to ‘97. I knew nothing about it and my ex-lover brought me into the ballroom scene. All of my friends were butch queens and that’s what I got involved in. It was actually a form of extracurricular activity, it was enjoyable. I liked the fashion, the runway … everything to me was just exciting and then when I started walking I guess the attention of it all attracted me to the ballroom scene. At heart I am a little bit of a butch queen myself. (laughs)

    Was it hard to get respect in the scene being a lesbian?
    Jaimee: Definitely it was hard; it took a long time to get respect. When I first came in people didn’t even know my name, it took a long time for people to even learn my name. They were calling me “Vanessa” when I first came out – I remember when Eric Bazaar at a few balls called me Vanessa. When I was in the House of Jourdan I was made mother with somebody else being told that women wouldn’t get any respect in the ballroom scene. Yeah, it took a long time and it was hard …

    You are legendary for “Women’s Face” -- explains what it means to be legendary.
    Jaimee: To me it means that you conquered your category, people look up to you and respect you for that category. I’ve been walking approximately ten maybe plus years now -- a lot of the time I hadn’t walked against a lot of people, but when I did I won. So, people look up to you when you’re legendary, and I know I look up to a lot of legends and icons to this day.

    Some people in the scene feel like there are people becoming legends too soon – what’s your take on that?
    Jaimee: I do feel a lot of people are becoming legendary too quick but then again this generation that has come into the ballroom scene is different then it was when I started. There’s more people walking, there’s more balls, there’s wasn’t that many balls back then. Now there’s a ball every weekend so there’s more opportunity to make yourself legendary. If somebody is willing to travel they’ll probably become legendary quicker because they are willing to go to Atlanta, Chicago, Virginia – you know, places where we didn’t really go as much like ten years ago.

    Do you think it is a good thing that the ballroom scene has grown all over the country?
    Jaimee: Yes and no – I think people who deserve it for their category it gives them … I guess that title but some people let it go to their head. A lot of younger kids that come into the ballroom scene now, they don’t know their history – that makes me upset too. I’m all for “teach me something new,” I try to learn my history, where everything came from as far as categories, who started it and a lot of those younger kids now don’t know that.

    If someone wants to get in the ballroom scene what do you think are some important historical aspects they should know?
    Jaimee: Well, I totally think anyone who comes into the scene should definitely watch Paris Is Burning and learn about the people that started the ballroom scene. Especially your category – if you’re going to enter into a category you should know who started your category, or at least who has been reigning for the past ten years, what the battles were – I think everybody should definitely know their history on their category.

    Do you think the scene is easier on women then it was ten years ago when you first started?
    Jaimee: Wow … well, I think they are a lot easier on women now. I don’t want to say there is too much of a difference, but for me … as far as my category, I feel the women back then fit the category more. The way they put “face” out there you were suppose to have structure, teeth, eyes and skin – now if a girl is cute they are like, “Okay let her slide by because she’s a woman.” I think the butch queens kind of just pass over the women and the butch categories. If it was a femme queen – they would get chopped. Since it is a woman it’s like, “Okay let them slide through because there are only about four of them in here.”

    Are you a hardcore judge when your category comes up?
    Jaimee: Yes, I am! (laughs) Like I said I look for skin, teeth, structure and eyes – there have been women that come up there as who just swing their hair around and think that’s face because they can sell it.

    I’ve taken some women to balls and they were a little offended by some of the language like, “bitch,” “cunt,” “pussy” – I know you aren’t offended by that, but what has been your impression when you’ve taken women to balls who aren’t in the scene?
    Jaimee: I’ve taken some of my straight girl friends to balls as well and they actually kiki and laugh about it. It never really offended them because it’s never been in the context like you’re a bitch – it’s like, “Work bitch!” They’ve never taken it seriously to the point where they are offended. I could see why women might possibly get offended, but it depends on the way it’s used and the times it’s used. It has never offended me or any of my girlfriends that I’ve taken to balls.

    The ballroom scene can be very addictive. As a Mother of House what advice do you give when you see someone losing themselves in the scene?
    Jaimee: I know from experience that first of all -- it is only a ball – it’s supposed to be an extracurricular activity. Therefore, I don’t feel any type of work or home life should come after the balls. You shouldn’t miss a day of work because you’re trying to go to a ball. I don’t see anybody just taking off work, or if they plan to go to work the next day and they call out for work – I don’t see that, I don’t use – at all! These balls do not pay your bills, some categories are for cash, but it is just cash for that moment. You can get fired from your job for missing a day of work, it’s not that serious.

    What kind of house mother are you?
    Jaimee: From what I’m told and I feel the same as well, I’m very maternal. A lot of people say when they first meet me I come across shady and unapproachable, but when you get to know me I’m really soft – you can come to me for anything. If you have problems with your family, problems with your lover – my door is pretty much open all the time.

    Some women have this awful stereotype the transgender women just want to “be them.” Being a biologically born woman what was your reaction when you were first around femme queens?
    Jaimee: When I first came out I was actually in awe of everything -– it was a lot to take in. I had seen drag queens before but never transgender women. It was like a culture shock for me so the first year I just sat on the sidelines like, wow – then I got close to a lot of the femme queens. I was never shady and felt like they wanted to be like me -- actually I don’t get along with too many women so I gravitated more toward femme queens and I became close friends with a lot of femme queens.

    You didn’t click with the lesbian community?
    Jaimee: It was never that I didn’t click with the lesbian community it was just that I had more butch queen friends. I was closer to the butch queens; I hung out with the butch queens so I never really extended myself to the lesbian community. My mother calls me a “fag hag” – old school terminology. All my closest friends are butch queens and you’ll see me more at a butch queen club than a female club, you know it’s weird – but it’s the way it is.

    Who do you look up to or admire in the scene?
    Jaimee: There’s a lot … I guess different time periods I’ve looked up to different people. I defiantly looked up to my first mother, which is Alyssa. Also, Ayanna – she’s my gay mother now. Octavia, Carmen – a lot of the face femme queens that I’ve watched tapes and seen how far they’ve come and their transformation. I also look up to Elaina Jourdan who is the first woman to be legendary for women’s face.

    Are there any females right now that you like for your category?
    Jaimee: NO … No, with the exception of the girls in my house, I don’t see none of the women out right now. The only person who actually made my head spin was TK Prada at the POCC Ball and recently this Milan girl that just walked the Icon Ball, she won – she really made me know it. There’s another TK and I actually see her too – as far as other women I don’t really use … no. I hope that doesn’t seem shady.

    Hey, you are keeping it real – that’s how you feel.
    Jaimee: Yeah, but I try to keep it real without being shady. (laughs)

    This might be a hard question but you’ve been in the scene for over ten years so I wanted to try this on you – the ballroom scene is so creative and I’ve seen some amazing things at balls. What’s one of the hottest productions you’ve ever seen at ball?
    Jaimee: Wow … you put one on me there! (laughs) I know a lot of the Jourdans “runway as a house” really impressed me. It’s so funny because my friends and I just got finished watching the Legends Ball from ’97 where the Xtravaganzas came out of a shower for “face as a house” – that was hot. Another thing that has stuck in my head for a long time was when the girls had walked femme queen performance and they came down from the balcony – I think that was at the YMCA in Brooklyn.

    What is life like for you outside of the scene?
    Jaimee: I do graphic design, I also model – I do a lot commercial model work. Also, trying to break into acting as well.

    How has the ballroom scene helped your professional career?
    Jaimee: As far as modeling and acting it has given me a lot of confidence. A lot of people say they can’t believe I had low self-esteem, but I did. The ballroom scene boosted that up – especially when you start out your really have to make these people know it. You have to put yourself out there, you’re vulnerable – you’re going in front of these people who are judging you on how you look. That boosted my confidence.

    What about the ballroom scene has changed now that it’s all over the internet and basically nationwide?
    Jaimee: A lot has changed. It’s about politics and favoritism right now. I feel if you do not put yourself out there … I don’t want to say kiss people’s ass, but to a certain extent it’s like … you can’t win. A lot of houses lost their sense of family. The whole point to me when I came into the scene was this is supposed to be a second family. When you go through it with your own family this is supposed to be your comfort zone. People have lost that, people house hop too much and it’s just for the name – it’s not even for that sense of comfort … the battles too, people don’t walk like they used to. You’ll see a lot of the older girls out, but it’s nice once in awhile to see an older girl come out and walk to show these young kids what it’s really all about, or to make them want to come out stronger the next time. A lot of the older people they just come to the ball, they judge or they just stand around and read the girls – and it’s like, okay get out there, walk and show some of these new kids that are coming out where you came from and what they can be.

    You can also check out Mother Aga at http://myspace.com/jaimeepaige!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 1:43 AM :: 5 comments

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