Tag Archives: movies


Grease John Travolta Modern Gay Movies

I can’t recall the first time that I watched the 1978 film Grease but I do know that when I look back on my childhood, “You’re the one that I want” is the song playing over my montage of memories. When I was 10-years-old I dressed up like Danny Zuko for a 6-month period and forced all family members, neighbours and school friends to watch me re-inact every moment and song from the 255 minute long movie.  I was totally infatuated by John Travolta and swore that when I grew up I would be exactly like him, in every way. Although I didn’t grow up to be a singer or an actor, it turns out that John Travolta and I have other things in common….

This week Grease The Musical opened in Sydney and I was thrilled to have been invited to the premiere. Starring the very handsome, Rob Mills as Danny Zuko and uber talented Gretel Scarlett as Sandy, the show was a sing-a-long spectacular. I had to remind myself that people weren’t there to hear my rendition of “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee” but thankfully there were moments when audience participation was encouraged.  Although die-hard fans might be aware of the inconstancies between the movie and the musical, overall the show was a fun and entertaining night out.

For ticket info click here.

Rob Mills Modern Gay GreaseModern Gay Grease Musical Sydney Sandy Grease Shirtless Boys Modern Gay Musical Sydney

Images by Jeff Busby

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Marlon Brando Gay

If you’ve become somewhat jaded like me with modern male celebrities then history is the best place to turn for some enduring examples of true sex symbols. You can keep your Pitts, Efrons and Clooney’s but please leave me with my Brando. Often described as “rock ‘n roll, before anyone knew what rock ‘n roll was”, Marlon Brando earned a bad boy reputation for his public antics. But it was his work in films such as A Streetcar named Desire, The Wild One and later on in his career The Godfather, that cemented Brando as a cultural icon.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska on April 3, 1924, Marlon Brando’s popularity endured for over 60 years. What’s most exciting for The Modern Gay was Brando’s openness about his homosexual experiences, stating in an interview in 1976, “Homosexuality is so much in fashion it no longer makes news. Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences and I am not ashamed. I have never paid much attention to what people think about me. But if there is someone who is convinced that Jack Nicholson and I are lovers, may they continue to do so. I find it amusing.”  Over 30 years later I have yet to hear another famous male actor speak so openly about their sexuality let alone about their gay experiences. Brando also supposedly had an affair with James Dean.

Marlon Brando Gay Shirtless

Marlon Brando Gay

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Like most gay boys, I went through a period of prolonged confusion during adolescence. I would hook up with girls and try be one of the boys but neither felt right. What troubled me the most was that I didn’t fit perfectly within the gay stereotypes by which I was measuring my own sexuality. Constantly I would debate back and forth as to whether or not I was actually gay. My process went something like this:

I love acting which means I’m gay but Brad Pitt is an actor and he’s not gay.

I play right-mid on the school soccer team and I’m on the swim team which means I’m straight. Gay guys don’t like sports.

I think about other boys on the swim team which means I’m gay but everyone has feelings about the same sex at one point in their lives. Right?

I like fashion but I don’t wear tight shirts or short shorts.

At the time the only gay men that I had access to were those on television; the men of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, Stanford from “Sex and the City” and that hairy guy who won the first season of Survivor. But I couldn’t relate to any of these men. There was nobody to look up to. I had no gay role models.

In the ’90s the limited gay characters that were portrayed in movies and television always seemed to fit similar molds; the flamboyant and fabulous gay, the bitchy gay, the promiscuous gay, the confused gay or the gay dying from AIDS. There were no positive examples of well rounded, happy gays who just got on with their lives. I never wanted to be like of any of these men nor could I relate to any of them which made my process of self acceptance that little bit more difficult. Beyond the movies there were no gay figures in pop music, business, politics or sport (other than Ian Roberts) or at least none that were actively discussing their sexuality.

Now is the time for the positive gay role model. I believe it is the duty of my generation to show the next generation of young men, struggling with their sexuality, how to be well rounded gay men in the modern world. I am grateful for the generations of men who came before me who fought for gay rights but the next fight wont be political or social but personal. It will be an internal fight. We will need to ask ourselves “now that I have rights, now that the stigma around homosexuality has been somewhat lifted, what does it mean to me to be a gay man?”.

We need as many role models as possible to lead this fight so that young gay boys have positive examples of homosexuality, men from whom they can learn so that eventually there will be less and less boys struggling with their sexuality.

Who are gay men that you look up to?

Photo Credit: Judgment Day by Troy Dunham & Jeff Eason

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