Into a different closet

What happens when gay men cross the great sexuality divide and dare to go straight?

THE LATEST cinematic outgoing for Friends star Jennifer Aniston, The Object Of My Affection, casts her as a heterosexual woman falling for her male, homosexual best friend. Her love remains unrequited. She will never sleep with him, but whenever she wants to shop, he's her man.

As Hollywood has only recently brought gay co-stars out of the celluloid closet, we can hardly expect them to comprehend the prospect of a homosexual character with a happy, heterosexual ending. But how would it be if the girl did get the gay guy in the end? And not simply in the manner which someone described W Somerset Maughn's switching of sexual allegiances: "(he) has no fear of vaginal teeth - he just simply shut his eyes and thought of Capri".

In the current climate, this would be the love that dare not speak its name. If a gay man goes straight it is unclear whether it's a way of `going in' or another form of `coming out'. But it's guaranteed to incense certain gay comrades and confuse straight ones. Particularly now that the liberal male hearth has embraced gays the way it previously welcomed blacks into the fold, with all the subtlety of the Lenny Bruce joke about `how to relax your coloured friend at parties'. How would the liberal lad accommodate another minority? Who would the role model be?

There is of course, Albert Square's Tony Hills, who has slipped from the arms of Simon the stallholder into those of Theresa from the Trattoria. Randomly accessing the recent past, we find two examples from pop and poetry. There's Tom Robinson, who informed the racks of Our Price that he was "glad to be gay" when punk and protest were in the air. These days he's rumoured to have a girlfriend and a child in tow.

Stephen Spender once said that many men are uncertain of their sexuality until their late twenties. After the homosexual relationships of his youth he settled down to marriage and fatherhood.

When the series Gay Time TV featured a group of gay men who had been, or were being, straightened out by a team of over-zealous Christians, it was justifiably ridiculed. But when a gay man crosses sexuality's wide divide into the other camp, all hell breaks loose among his former peers.

The camp cries are akin to those that greeted the news that David Bowie had lost his touch when he went hetero and made Heroes.

Gay men become like Jewish mothers on hearing their son is dating a gentile. The outraged reactions are mostly shrill squeals from gay campaigners who have spent years clocking up the numbers.

The gay man going straight is viewed on a par with Dorothy Gale leaving the technicolour world of Emerald City, for the monochrome home of traditional family life. And if that seems extreme, imagine if Elton were to hand in his fancy dress and return to Renata.

Sexuality is still seen in either black or white. It's Arthur or Martha and anyone who oscillates wildly between the two can find themselves lightly ostracised by the inversion. Meanwhile, the lifestyles of transvestism and drag get the green light, and sado- masochism is allowed its accoutrements.

Whilst back at the Millennium Dome New Labour proffers a larger than life body with no sex to represent the race into the millennium. But a human without genitals is like a minister without portfolio.

Perhaps for those for whom sexuality is protean rather than fixed, Gore Vidal puts it best: "homosexual is an adjective, not a noun descriptive of a human being."

This appears to be the underlying theme of the controversial new ad for Impulse perfume. Heralded as the first to depict a gay and happy ending, the boy does get the boy, but there is a twist in the tale. The man makes eye contact with a woman, suggesting that acting on impulse, he could go either way.

The sentiment echoes that of the writer Phil Mullen, putting the case for a new, multi-sexuality in The Gay Alternative way back in 1974. "Now that we're finally learning that gay is good, we'll have to start learning that gay isn't good enough," he wrote. "Some of us will obviously be able to make more progress in this area than others."

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence