I received a fair bit of blowback over my post on Tony Curtis yesterday from some readers who thought I was being disrespectful for mentioning a personal anecdote about a homeless man who verbally accosted me several times in the late 90’s by following me through Grand Central Station continually screaming about having had anal sex with the famed actor. The negative reaction to my post along with the other tragic news of the day got me to thinking about the issue of gay shame. Why should it be considered disrespectful to state that a man was known in several parts of NYC to proudly broadcast the news of his supposed sexual encounter with Tony Curtis? Why should that be considered disrespectful and a source of shame? Gay sex is not shameful, it's beautiful. But why do we as gay people, continue to not only tolerate, but actually add to the homophobic cycle of attaching issues of shame to homosexual sex? Not only is this self-destructive but we actually perpetuate this vicious trend onto the next generation as well. Maybe if we broke the cycle of shame and started standing up to those who degrade us, we wouldn’t have so many of our gay youth killing themselves rather than face the forced shame of being gay.
As for Mr. Curtis, his past statements make his own views pretty clear. There was no shame in his game. “I was 22 when I arrived in Hollywood in 1948. I had more action than Mount Vesuvius – men, women, animals! I loved it too. I participated where I wanted to and didn’t where I didn’t. I’ve always been open about it.” Mr. Curtis was quoted to say. Maybe we could all learn a lesson from him and let go of our self-perpetuating shame issues and not only be more open and honest with ourselves and others but to truly have pride in who we are and where we’ve come from.