Who Gets to Advertise
BENT's personals section. When we initiated it five years ago I
announced that we would not publish the first listings until we
had received at least a dozen. Brave words. I reneged in the face
of reality: I think we opened the section with five. Today our listings
include sixty-seven guys in search of friendship, partnership and
no doubt, a few steamy things in between.
Who gets to advertise
here? Like BENT itself, DirectDiscourse is meant primarily for gay
men with disabilities. Our current listing does include a few nondisabled
men, however. I had not given this much thought until I received
the following e-mail from a reader:
I take exception to the able
bodied-advertiser who claims he's looking for "amputee men
that can appreciate being admired." When
I first fell in love with an amp, I had never heard the term "devotee"
before and I didn't find the disability anything more than an
interesting facet of his personal history. After years and much
discussion later, I still find the devotee world inexplicable
and often very creepy. Why do you let guys like that advertise?
We let "guys
like that" advertise because I am wary of being paternalistic.
I give BENT's readers credit for being a bunch of unusually intelligent
guys (why else would they be reading BENT?!), guys who know what's
best for them. Furthermore, what criteria would I use if I wanted
to censor ads? Prohibiting all so-called devotees from advertising
would be censoring with a very blunt instrument.
I do appreciate the
writer's sentiments, however, and I will always reserve the right
to edit personals or decline to print an ad should I think the content
I would like to know
what readers think.