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Friday, June 20, 2008

Gimme Some Reciprocity

I just read this message from a reader regarding the new logo show that I've been promoting, "Gimme Sugar." I definitely want to share my thoughts, so take a look at it and meet me on the other side:

Hi Arlan,
I just wanted to write to you today to get some feedback from you, and possibly others, about and issue I have that has to do somewhat with a previous post on the Daily Lesbian Blog.

When I first saw the bulletin from you on my myspace that there would be a new show about lesbians on LOGO (Gimme Sugar), I was thrilled. I feel that there are not enough shows that represent us in a positive manor. But what really made me happy was that you were mostly discussing Alex, and that you started the post by saying that "bisexuals will be positively represented" in the show because of her. Since I saw the show, I whole-heartedly agree with you. I don't think there could be a better example of bisexual women. Alex is definitely a role model. She is smart and driven (not to mention beautiful). So when I finally got to see the show for the first time, I wasn't surprised, however I was disappointed. Not in Alex or your confidence in her to portray bisexual women in a positive light. What I was frustrated with was the fact that the other characters and the show itself were making her out to be this "bad guy" because of her bisexuality. During the episode, Alex goes on a date with a man. Before he arrives she is texting the other ladies, who have less than kind things to say about it. I believe one girl says "tell her I hope she chokes on his balls." That is so biggoted and completely unacceptable. This kind of prejudice continues throughout the rest of the episode and ends with the ladies at a table and everyone is fighting with Alex.

This situation happens all the time. I don't think I can be around lesbians without hearing some form of biphobia. Personally, I don't understand how as a minority group, we can be so hateful. Bisexual women are just like lesbians; we fight for the same cause as you. However, it is difficult to do so when we are discluded for the sole reason that we date men as well. Now Arlan, I feel that you have always been great when it comes to this issue. I've seen biphobic comments posted on your blog many times, and you have always defended bisexuality. I thank you for that. But it would mean a lot to me to hear what you (and maybe others) think about the episode and this issue.

Thank you so much and keep up the wonderful work that you do!

Hi there. Yes, I agree with you. Here's the video intro of Alex that this reader was referring to. This was online before the first episode aired and is what I based my "bisexuals will be well-represented..." statement on:

Alex is a good friend of mine, and I care about her a LOT. I've watched her deal with being openly bisexual in this town (l.a.) and it hasn't always been easy. The only way I can see things happening with the show, is that the girls (who are her friends in real life) said some statements joking around, and then it was later edited to look even worse. Of course they had to have the statements there to edit them to begin with, but they recorded for 2 months, and had to make a few 30 minute episodes out of each. So some things were lost in translation.

I will always stand up for the rights and respectful treatment of bisexual women. Just as I stand up for women who are lesbian, queer, not-so-straight, dont-know-what and STRAIGHT. I don't think it's right to say "ew, that's gross" when your female friend says they're going on a date with a guy. I mean, unless the guy himself is gross. Cause if he sucks or somethin, that's a whole different story. But just based on the fact that he's male? That's ridiculous, hypocritical and offensive.

I'm going to also defend the other girls. As queer women, Charlene, Robin, Davonee and Bathilda have all had to deal with bigotry from other people about their sexuality. I'm sure they've had to deal with bigotry at some point because of their race, or because of their association with a race. Or because of their clothes, their haircut, their jobs, their friends...SOMETHING. So I know they probably would hate to be thought of as prejudiced against someone else, for something that is natural to her (Alex).

I have a unique situation where I know everyone in the show, but I am able to look at it and be unbiased. I'll only give my true opinions here, and I'm going to invite all 5 of the girls to come to this post and read your comments and maybe post their own. So please be respectful, but have your say! :-)

I would love to get into a discussion with the girls of the show and everyone reading this to also delve deeper into why you think there is that bisexual hating going around. I have a few ideas...


Alex said...

thank you arlan for all of your support, and ESPECIALLY to the reader who left such a beautiful message. THANK YOU! Yes my friends and I joke around a lot. I never take anything anyone says too seriously. All I can do is live my life the way is best for me, and if people don't like it then its their problem, not mine. I just laugh about it, because if you let it affect you, your lifestyle becomes a chore, a burden if you will instead of something to embrace and be proud of. I am so glad people can relate to my story, its messages like those that make being a part of the show worth it.
keep watching everyone!
xoxox alex

bathilda from gimme sugar said...

Okay I am not quite as affluent as you, Arlan but I personally don't give Alex s*** for dating Matty Matt (i know him personally as well). I've dated guys, had my share of it and I'm sure a lot of the girls on the show (minus Davonee) has dated guys. I think Alex and I are the only ones that have actually slept with any..I'm not sure about Robin. Anyway, I think that the show promotes bisexuality but also trying to explain how typical lesbians DO respond to it. There are girls that get grossed out about the idea of sleeping with guys and what not.

The show isn't and wasn't trying to portray Alex in a negative light, it was trying to reveal how Alex, being a bisexual, deals with balancing out the whole guy and girl scenario. Nobody was trying to make Alex out to be a bad guy. There is no bi-phobia by any means, I think that Arlan is right in saying that there are parts that aren't aired because the show is only 30 mins so they show the most important parts that pertain to the show. I think Alex is bi physically but emotionally I'm not sure, I think she's more dyke but hey that's just my opinion =)

Basically, I'm now babbling but no one is making her out to be a bad person, we love her! She does her thing and we do ours. Davonee is the one that made the "choke on balls" comment and she's just kidding. We are all very sarcastic with each other bt we mean well, that's why we're friends. If she was straight Davonee probably would've told her the same thing..haha..So there you go.

That's my 2 cents..and then some.

Anonymous said...

I think biphobia is very real and as a lesbian in the past I myself have made negative comments or had negative thoughts. BUT I have never ruled someone out for just there sexuality. I have dated some awesome bisexual girls! So, I recommend it ;o)

On the other hand, what I wanted to address was the show itself. I was initially really excited about the idea for this show. Especially that it featured ‘Truckstop’, which I have frequented many a time.

However, living in Los Angeles and seeing the girls from the show out and about, I'm actually kind of embarrassed. There are a lot of different types of lesbians (and bisexuals) in this city and having a show exclusively about queers in (some form of) the industry and who come off quite arrogantly in public is too bad. I’m sure that if you know these girls intimately or are already friends with them (like Arlan), they’re cool, but their public personas are not. I’ve been out in Weho on more than one occasion and a couple of these girls walk around like they are God’s gifts to the gay community. Which is really pretty comedic. When I see real celebrities out, like Clea Duvall and Kate Moennig, they are understated and casually polite. And for whatever reason these ‘Gimme Sugar’ girls have missed the homo boat.

The reason I’m saying all this is because I already know who I am and I can both identify and disagree with the show and it’s cast behavior. But there are a lot of girls and women who need positive images. This is the first “reality” show with real lesbians and bisexuals (don’t get me started on the train wreck that is Tila Tequila). I was hoping to see some down to earth chicks doing stuff that we do… but hey, the show is just starting and might be great. But the way I’ve seen the cast in public, not cool. I would recommend the ladies check themselves and acknowledge that they could be viewed as role models by some.

sidenote: Arlan is sweet and very real in public - a positive role model!

Charlene from Gimme Sugar said...

Hi Arlan! Thank you for posting this, and thank you to everyone that watches and supports the show. I know that the show has gotten some negative feedback from viewers. I think what viewers have to know is that A LOT of footage was left on the cutting room floor, and like all other reality shows, the final result is in the editing, and people see and take things at face value.

There's a certain focus on the show that people have to remember. Other than the show being about friends in the LA lesbian scene starting their own night, it's about our friendships and how we all deal with each other and how we all just put ourselves out there with no hesitations or judgments. People get to see a taste of who we are. What is portrayed is who we are when we're out and when we're around close friends. In no way do we make Alex out to be the bad guy. We all love Alex, and she's one of my best friends. I love the girl to death and her bisexuality is not an issue, the same way that us being lesbian is not an issue. We know who we are and we show that. We're not battling our sexuality, we are just living and putting ourselves out there in our rawest form. Joking around and being sarcastic is something we all do day to day. I understand completely how things may be taken to offense to others and how they may be taken the wrong way. Fact of the matter is is that we all joke around with each other and don't take things too seriously. Even if Alex were joining the circus, we'd have some comment to say, but we're just joking around as friends do with EVERYTHING, whether it be from our friends making comments on people we're dating, things we do in bed, things we eat, making comments about friends, random people, our family, our pets..... and OURSELVES. We're all very comfortable with who we are and we put it out there.

What I find funny is that with all the negative comments and what not and people saying that this person is this and that and how dare her this and that. People have been throwing out names and judging us without knowing us. Everyone thinks that we're all so dramatic and judgmental and all we care about is drama this and drama that...... Think to yourselves and see that you're doing the same exact thing to us as you believe we're doing to each other on the show.

Look... we bitch, we complain, we're dramatic, we say stupid shit and we make up words and we make comments and we joke around, we cry, we laugh, etc.... We're girls and that's all we can be. This is who we are when we're around our close friends. Inhibitions are out the door and so is our grammar. We let it all go. We're out and about and away from the stresses of our daily lives and work. Around the people we're comfortable with, we let it all go, and at the end of the day, we laugh and we love and we're friends. Other than the normalcy of being a girl in her 20s, what you don't see is that we are all strong, confident, smart, humorous, nurturing, caring, loving, generous women. I do believe you will see that come to light in future episodes, but please, to everyone that doesn't know us, know that we know this is NOT how all LA lesbians are, that's not the point we're trying to make. We're women who happen to love women and we all come from different backgrounds, we happen to live in LA, and we're not representing anyone but ourselves. We want to show everyone that we're not afraid to put ourselves out there and be just who we are. The fact that there's even any shows out there that focus on the gay/lesbian lifestyle is huge! There's not enough out there, and if we keep bashing and bashing on shows like this and the L World and etc, then we're never gonna get to show the world that we live life just like everyone else and that we don't see lines of color or sexuality.

We need to represent ourselves and support our LGBT community. This is just a stepping stone. People.... we FINALLY have GAY programming. That in itself is huge. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. There's no right or wrong answer. I have my own opinions about everything. Nobody ever sees anything eye to eye and that's just how life is. What it ultimately comes down to is RESPECT and SUPPORT. If we can't respect and support our community and all the ventures that they're trying to push forward, then we're showing the world exactly what they think.

Stand up and open your eyes and open your arms and plant your feet. We're gay and we're here to stay.

Much love to you all!

Anonymous said...

"I'm not a bigot, some of my best friends are..."

I appreciate that this program has several women taking on a business venture, hanging with friends, and having the desire for the world to watch it. Best of luck to you all.

But please don't imply that critiquing your show is somehow not supporting the GLBTQ community. People commenting on your show are watching Logo. They are part of the GLBTQ community or friends of it. We are a united community, but we have different tastes.

I find it unfortunate that your show has perpetuated the stereotype of how lesbians react to bisexual women. Several of you have posted that she is your friend, you tease each other, and she takes what you say lightly. Really, not that different from others teasing a gay friend that he's a f****t, or a black friend that she's a n****r. As long as they are cool with it, it's fine, right?

I would never expect a TV personality to be a role model if she didn't wish to be. But it would be refreshing, and perhaps even inspiring, if a lesbian responded with "Have a great time on your date!" rather than the choke on his balls comment, when a bisexual women dates a man. Just a friend supporting a friend, her orientation a non-issue. That would be true respect and support for our community.

Dani said...

Oh, Arlan, I don't know... I've had some very negative encounters, if you will, with bisexuals. I don't necessarily hate ON them but I admit I do make some out of line comments once and a while. Just to be clear though, I'm not hating on that person, its more of a reaction to the results I've had.

Whenever things with me and an ex went sour, they always ran back to a boy. Now, that may just be the girls I've been with. It might just be the environment or I dunno, anything... that's just always how its been.

I agree that the issue of bisexuality in the gay world is somewhat taboo and looked down upon. And that its... I just have so many thoughts in my head about this that its so hard to get them all out. It might be due to where I live (Alaska) but I have yet to find a decent bisexual. Yes, yes it does sound like a personal problem, I know. I may sound like an ass but its hard for me to trust them... and not just me, most of the lesbians I know just don't bother with them. I've been part of a discussion group (I just kinda walked in on it) with lesbians making pacts not to date bisexuals.

This is just such a controversial topic. Ack.

Dana said...

nothing controversial about it Dani. It's your own bigotry that's controversial. You have a few bad experiences with a small number of people and you judge a whole community. I haven't always had the best experiences with lesbians. Should I hate on all of them now? Judging an entire community by the actions of a few is bigotry, plain and simple. That's YOUR personal problem, and no one else's.