“Male Sex Workers in Society” edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott— Looking at Men in the Profession of Sex

Male sex work Male sex work male sex work2

Minichiello, Victor and John Scott, editors. “Male Sex Work and Society”, Harrington Park, 2014.

Looking at Men in the Profession of Sex

Amos Lassen

This is the first volume to look at male sex work from different perspectives and disciplines from social studies to the humanities. Of late, this has been become quite an interesting field of study. Male sex work was, at one time, conflated (great word) with homosexuality and while women in the sex trade have been studied, by and large, men have not. It is certainly not news that men do work in the sex industry and have done so in the historical past. At one time, male prostitution was considered to be a deviancy and a pathological illness of some form. We now know that this is not true. It also seems that in the past we have ignored such aspects of the sex trade such as the taking care of female clients (where the man is referred to as a gigolo) or the escorting service and both of these have become quite popular of late and are not being paid attention too. There are the areas of literature and film where men work in the sexual aspects.

It is the goal of this volume to make the way we view male sex workers clearer and the sex trade here is taken as commerce. We also look at the men themselves. The contributors included here explore the field from both historical and cross-cultural points of view. The areas included here include public health, sociology, psychology, social services, history, filmography, economics, mental health, criminal justice, geography, and migration studies, as well as others. The editors introduce the selections and help us to understand the data, the implications and the conclusions that we are reached by the various researchers and writers.

The research alone is staggering and the findings are comprehensive and it seems to me, at least, that this is the authority on the subject. It is a deep and intense look at male prostitution from every possible angle. I need to emphasize that this not a book to be read for pleasure—it is a very serious study. The researchers go back into history and look at the present to give us the most complete study possible.

It also deals with the way that society looks at male sex workers throughout history. I understand that the writers used all of the research material that was available but there is still material out there I believe since no one has really accessed it before. I am sure that with time and because this book has broken ground that there will be more coming.

 I learned here that male sex workers are not a particularly good subject for scientific research and this has to do with the various stages of sexuality.  Some men lie about their line of work so as not to find disapproval. Yet there is good money to be made and some feel that this gives legitimacy to their work.

As complete as this volume is, it could cover everything especially in countries with different laws and traditions. To do puts both the researcher and the subject in danger. Of course, it is important to take know of the technology of today’s world that has made sex work so much easier.

I am sure that as we move forward there will be more studies but for an introduction the book fills the need and wonderfully so.

 

News from the Kinsey Sicks

“LITTLE GAY BOY CHRIST IS DEAD”— Changing Forever

litttle gay boy is dead

“Little Gay Boy, ChrisT is Dead”

Changing Forever

Amos Lassen

 In this short film by Antony Hickling and Amaury Grisel we meet Jean Christophe (Gaetan Vettier) who lives with his mother (Amanda Dawson), an English prostitute in Paris. He dreams of becoming a model. Over the course of a day, JC endures a series of abusive encounters that will change him forever. He goes from innocence to experience as he and his dreams are destroyed by those around him.

This is a sexually in-your-face short film that deals with degradation and the emotions surrounding it. Jean-Christophe finds himself in a downward spiral of humiliation. On the Paris metro (subway), he’s subjected to the homophobic abuse of a fellow passenger, then he is urinated on by his employer, before ending up in a sexual sling in a darkroom somewhere in the backstreets of Pigalle, a far cry from the sacred purity of the Sacré-Cœur. There are also scenes in which he’s forced to fend off the incestuous advances of his English prostitute of an obese mother, subject being whipped by a dominatrix, and he is duped into stripping naked by a so-called fashion photographer.

little oneThe film juxtaposes S&M imagery with religious symbolism. This is an odd film and it’s never quite clear how much Jean-Christophe desires these degrading experiences (and if he does, why), or if he’s simply being subjected to many of them. 

“GO GO BOY INTERRUPTED”:Episode 1— Off the Dancefloor

“Go-Go Boy Interrupted”— Episode 1  

Off the Dancefloor 

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The show follows 29-year-old Danny, whose been a go-go boy for years, living a life of casual drug use and drunken blackouts. However 29 is old for dancing on the stage in a twink-focussed club and after he throws up while on the job, he may have to look for a new career.

The film is loosely based on creator/star Jim Fowlie’s own life. “The concept for Go-Go Boy Interrupted was born from my time as a go-go dancer while I pursued my BFA in Acting from USC (both experiences were major letdowns in terms of “real world skills”). But I was fascinated with the Go-Go scene: the larger than life drag queens to the out of control 19-year-old party boys, there was so much comedy potential.”

The series started as a live sketch show at the Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles, and is now making it online – and keep an eye out for Drew Droege as a great drag queen. The first episode is now available watch it below), with a new ep. due out each Tuesday.

“Assault with a Deadly Lie” (Nick Hoffman #8) by Lev Raphael— Hoffman’s Back

assault

Raphael, Lev. “Assault with a Deadly Lie”, (Nick Hoffman #8), University of Wisconsin Press, 2014.

Hoffman’s Back

Amos Lassen

It seems like it has been a long time since I have read one of Lev Raphael’s Nick Hoffman mystery and I am so glad he is back. Hoffman is by career a professor and quite a good one that but after a terrible experience with the local police, his college town changed completely. Someone is out to get rid of Hoffman and it does not seem that his life will ever be “normal” again. He and his partner/lover Stefan Borowski have been receiving threats that get bolder and bolder and that lead to a confrontation.

Raphael has set this in academia and the plot deals with the themes of slander, harassment, police brutality, and stalking and personal safety. It looks at how chaos turns a world upside down and inside out. We have been taught to believe that the police are here for our protection and safety so we really do not know how to react when the opposite is true—when the police turn on us and our world comes apart as a result of shocking and unfounded accusations.

This is quite a dark book that puts Hoffman in danger in the very place where danger does not usually happen—small town Americana—a college town, no less.

I cannot remember being scared when reading a book but this book scared me. What happened here could happen to anyone. It began when twelve men wearing ski masks made their way into Hoffman’s home that he shares with his partner, Stefan. The two men are pulled from what they thought was the security of their home as the other men took it over for a while. We learn that those who invaded the home were members of the police force acting on a tip from an anonymous person who maintained that Nick and Stefan were holding a hostage.

Of course there was no hostage or any other side of foul play yet the police take Stefan in for questioning. It took a neighbor, a defense attorney to intervene and get Stefan back home but she (the attorney) warns them that they are being targeted and there may be more trouble on its way…and indeed there was. Nick and Stefan are thrown into a situation in which they do not know how to fight back when they have no idea who their accuser is nor do they have any idea of how to defend themselves against an entire police force.

The dean at Nick’s college was sure that they must have done something to cause the police to act as they did and he requests that Nick and Stefan go somewhere in order to reduce the embarrassment of the school. They do not agree to this nor do they heed what he wants and the two men soon find that they are living as if they are under siege. They receive threatening phone calls are harassment on the street from other residents of the town. Their house is not only under surveillance but it is also bugged and they know that there is more to come. Nick does not take any of this lightly and he is determined to get to the bottom of all of this and find out who is responsible and why.

 Up to this point, Nick and Stefan had been enjoying good lives together—Nick became a full professor in the department of English, American Studies, and Rhetoric and the administrator of a well-endowed speakers program. Stefan has written a best-selling memoir. Vanessa Liberati a defense attorney takes charge of the situation but there is the mystery of who could hate these two men so much that they shared false information with the police?

It has been about six years since we had a new Nick Hoffman mystery and it feels so good to have him home again. I am not going to say anymore about the plot so now you just have to go get a copy and enjoy every word as you find yourself wrapped up in the story while at the same time being afraid to look up to see if is a policeman in your home.

 

“TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE”— Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws During the Winter Olympics

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“To Russia With Love”

 Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws During the Winter Olympics

Amos Lassen

“To Russia with Love” looks at the impact of Russia’s anti-gay laws as the world’s media converges on Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. LGBT athletes and activists had to decide whether to risk their own safety  by speaking out against Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Cameras follow the experience of  Johnny Weir, the outspoken figure skater and commentator who caused controversy before the Olympics for seeming to refuse to speak out against what was happening in Russia (while simultaneously preparing to make this doc), tennis legend and official US Olympic delegate Billie Jean King, as well as several openly gay Olympic hopefuls and Russian LGBT activity.

The doc premieres in the US at 8pm on Wednesday October 29th, 2014 on EPIX.

“DICK: THE DOCUMENTARY”— Man’s Best Friend

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“Dick: The Documentary”

Man’s Best Friend

Amos Lassen

“Dick: The Documentary” shows us that men have  complicates relationship with their penises, but this is not something we see in movies. This film changes that and we see guys getting naked and talking about their wieners and the difficulties and joys that they bring them. While this is not necessarily a LGBT film it certainly has a focus for our community.

 ‘In August 2008, filmmaker Brian Fender used Craigslist to invite strangers into his living room to strip down and reveal themselves physically and emotionally through personal stories about their relationship to their penises. Fender interviewed a vast cross-section of naked men about their prized appendage: from monks to transsexuals to ex-marines to designers, ranging in age from 21 to 80. Hoping to demystify, illuminate, and even celebrate this “member” in our society, this DIY documentary is a candid exploration of what it means to have a dick. Mr. Fender described the film: “it’s touching, it’s funny, it’s honest … an honest depiction of what it means from first perceptions all the way to the loss of function that men experience … I thought that they were incredibly thoughtful.” After finishing the first round of edits, the film played at selected festivals and for special screenings before being released as an Internet Premier Presentation.’

Fender recently told the Huffington Post, ‘I found that the men who participated were very thoughtful. I didn’t get any sexist thugs, which I was kind of disappointed about. I assume that men who are more conservative and judge sexual expression beyond the heterosexual paradigm — and would probably call these men, myself included, a pervert — would, I imagine, have less healthy sexual attitudes and feel threatened by the questions this film asks. But as educated as my subjects were, many of them told me that this was the first time they had said these things out loud and that they found it cathartic. I had also wanted to talk about using your dick as a weapon, but I got the feeling from these men that they weren’t sexually aggressive. The one thing that is funny is that there isn’t a glimmer of consensus about the dick. The opinions are as varied as the penises themselves.’

“The Dilly: A Secret History of Piccadilly Rent Boys” by Jeremy Reed— Male Prostitution in London

the dilly

Reed, Jeremy. “The Dilly: A Secret History of Piccadilly Rent Boys”, Peter Owen, 2014.

Male Prostitution in London

Amos Lassen

“The Dilly” is the first book that gives a comprehensive examination of male prostitution at London’s Piccadilly Circus from the nineteenth century to the present day. Piccadilly sits on the fringes of Soho and  has long been London’s principal location for the illicit sale of sex. Jeremy Reed explores the history of rent boys from Oscar Wilde’s notorious attraction to the place to the painter Francis Bacon’s taste for rough trade. This study  includes tales of Soho’s clandestine gay clubs from the days when homosexuality was illegal, of those who are inexorably drawn to the area; it looks at the development of the secret slang known as Polari or Palare, and at the Dilly’s influence on pop stars from the Rolling Stones to Morrissey. The author further examines the careers of a number of former male prostitutes who worked the infamous ‘Meat Rack’ and shows what drew them to risk their lives. There is also a chapter recording the author’s friendship with Francis Bacon and closes with an account of the fall of the Dilly trade when male escorts are booked online and this took the place of the boys hanging out on the neon-lit railings.

Jeremy Reed re-creates of the occupation of London’s tourist centre by lawless Dilly boys and he brings a pioneering piece of countercultural history to life through his own personal engagement. He had once worked as a rent boy in the early 1970s. He also has a strong sense of place and writes with colorful imagery and poetic flair.

“Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe since 1945″ edited by Jennifer V. Evans and Matt Cook— Urban Subcultures

queer cities

Evans, Jennifer V. and Matt Cook, editors. “Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe since 1945″, Bloomsbury, 2014.

Urban Subcultures

Amos Lassen

  “Queer Cities, Queer Cultures” looks at the formation and make-up of urban subcultures and situates them against the stories we typically tell about Europe and its watershed moments in the post 1945 period. The editors and the contributors look at the iconic events of 1945, 1968 and 1989 that influenced the social and sexual climate of the decades to follow, raising questions about the form and structure of the 1960s sexual revolution, and forcing us to think about how we define sexual liberalization — and where, how and on whose terms it occurs.

The contributions come from an international team of authors who explore the role of America in shaping particular forms of subculture; the significance of changes in legal codes; differing modes of queer consumption and displays of community; the difficult fit of queer (as opposed to gay and lesbian) politics in liberal democracies; the importance of mobility and immigration in modulating queer urban life; the challenge of AIDS; and the arrival of the internet.



By exploring the queer histories of cities from Istanbul to Helsinki and Moscow to Madrid, this volume makes a significant contribution to our understanding of urban history, European history and the history of gender and sexuality. 
Below is the table of contents as it appears in the book:

Table Of Contents

Introduction Matt Cook (Birkbeck, University of London, UK) & Jennifer Evans (Carleton University, Canada)

Pasts


1. The Queer Margins of Spanish Cities, 1939–2010 Richard Cleminson (University of Leeds, UK), Rosa Maria Medina Doménech (University of Granada, Spain) & Isabel Vélez (independent scholar)

2. Capital Stories: Local Lives in Queer London Matt Cook

3. The Queer Road to Frisind: Copenhagen 1945-2012 Peter Edelberg (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

4. Harmless Kisses and Infinite Loops: Making Space for Queer Place in 21st Century Berlin Jennifer Evans

5. From Stalinist Pariahs to Subjects of ‘Managed Democracy': Queers in Moscow 1945 to the Present Dan Healey (University of Oxford, UK)

6. Queer Amsterdam 1945-2010 Gert Hekma (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

7. Ljubljana: The Tales from the Queer Margins of the City Roman Kuhar (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

8. Mapping/ Unmapping: The Making of Queer Athens Dimitris Papanikolaou (Oxford University, UK)

9. Istanbul: Queer Desires between Muslim Tradition and Global Pop Ralph Poole (Salzburg University, Austria)

10. Queering Budapest Judit Takács (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

11. Two Cities of Helsinki? One Liberally Gay and One Practically Queer? Antu Sorainen (Academy of Finland)

12. Paris: ‘Resting on its Laurels’? Florence Tamagne (University of Lille, France)

Closing Reflections


13. ‘Gays Who Cannot Properly be Gay’. Queer Muslims in the Neoliberal European City Fatima El-Tayeb (University of California, San Diego)

14. Seeing Like a Queer City Tom Boellstorff (University of California, Irvine)