A lot of folks were jumping on the anti-Paris Hilton bandwagon last week, slamming her for saying “most” gay men have AIDS, among other things. The one-time grand marshall of the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade eventually apologized.
It wasn't the smartest stuff coming out of Hilton's mouth, and obviously ill-informed — most gay men lead healthy, productive lives and make solid contributions to society. But in her own flippant way, she was hitting on issues that are most definitely present in the gay world.
Interesting enough, the same day the Hilton story broke on Radaronline.com, L.A. Weekly ran a cover story titled “Gay Happiness, the New Frontier.” Hilton should read up before she gets into another conversation about gays — and her critics should take a gander, too.
The cover story takes an unblinking look at possible reasons why gay men still suffer higher rates of substance abuse, HIV infections, and mental health problems than the general public. Those things are real. They are facts.
In the controversial article, a number of experts and gay folks offer possible solutions for a healthier way of life, including taking more responsibility for personal choices.
In her private conversation that was taped and then released on the Internet, Paris Hilton had a distaste for Grindr, the online hook up/dating app. We didn't go into that topic in the article, but when we were interviewing sex addiction expert Robert Weiss for the story, he did tell us a few things, which we'll share now.
Weiss, who wrote Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Men, had mixed reviews about Grindr, saying that it was better than cruising for gay sex in parks and restrooms and possibly getting arrested for lewd behavior in public. He also thought it was a good place to simply meet people.
At the same time, Weiss said, Grindr and other online dating sites — straight and gay — can be a breeding ground for sex addiction.
“It's absolutely exacerbating sex addiction problems,” Weiss told us. “That's across the board. There's no doubt about that. It's just so much easier. There are less human inhibitions involved.”
If you take that one step further, from our point of view, that also means those online interactions can be less human, with people merely being sex objects rather than people with a mind, heart, and soul.
Weiss also told us, “Gay men don't like to talk about sexually acting out and drug addiction… We don't want other people to know about them, so we act like they don't exist.”
The numerous criticisms of Hilton had a feel of that, pointing a finger at her comments while avoiding the real issues that she very clumsily brought up.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.