for this month's
tasteless crip humor, don't miss the very bottom of the page . .
Vu All Over Again . . . Again
Sometimes I worry when I see the
same topics appearing and reappearing in BENT.
Is the focus of this webzine so
small that we're going to exhaust the range of possible subjects?
I usually regain my editorial
equilibrium pretty fast when I realize the truth: The twin crip/gay
subject is a limited one, true, but it offers as many variations,
as many ways of telling one another the truth, as there are talented
and vocal gimps. And we seem to be in no danger of exhausting our
supply of those, as this issue proves once again.
I won't try to catalogue every
premise or idea you'll find here, but I will single out a few for
comment. Power, control, personal autonomythese seem perennially
fascinating to BENT's readers and writers. What's obvious to some
of us is the way we cripfaggots can use (or be prevented from using)
sex to win back part of the control we lose through disability.
Thanks to a combination of disability-induced personal hangups and
social stereotyping and bias, most of us don't find sexual expression
an easy matter, however.
In his aptly titled "The Taste
of Power," T. J. Trainer describes in explicit detail the simple
practice he employs to make himself feel in control. "Empowered,"
I guess we've learned to say. After reading his account of what
he does and how he does it, you may feel impelled to cheer him on
or you may be tempted to lecture him about self-destructive behavior.
You won't be indifferent. Oh, and by the way, I understand from
a reliable friend of TJ's that the details in "Power" are probably
not exaggerated, or at least not very much.
Another way to feel sexually powerful
is to heighten your own sense of desirability by surrendering control
instead of assuming it. "Becoming Daddy's Boy" is J. Douglas George's
finely nuanced (and sizzling) true story of how a crip who never
had luck cruising learned to play some erotic games that not only
surprised him but gave him a new vision of himself.
Convincing others that we, too,
are sexual beings is one way to battle the stereotypes that stand
in the way of sex and personal power. By combining art and politics,
Belinda Mason-Lovering's work proclaims the erotic vitality of people
the world is reluctant to see as people who fuck. BENT is proud
to present three images from her groundbreaking new photo essay,
It's true that this issue has
gone to the dogs. Bob Feinstein, one of BENT's favorite contributors,
would never want to do without his faithful guide dog Harley, but
in "Hearing is Believing," Bob describes a technique that most of
us sighted readers will be ignorant of, one that augments Harley's
skills and gives Bob a firmer grip on his environment. But it's
a skill that's not without controversy. Control again, autonomy.
Ruby is our second canine star
this time around. She reminds us that the reasons you might want
a Task Dog aren't so simple. There's your personality and the dog's
personality and all the stuff that occurs somewhere between the
two of you. "Puppy-Whipped" is R.C. Hampton's tale (sorry about
that) of how bunny piss led to canine bliss. In telling us about
his dog, he tells us a lot about himself. Listen up: Independence,
autonomy, squeaky toys (you'll never look at 'em the same way again).
Max Verga is here to talk about
coming out. Eleanor Lisney writes about French medicine and Texas
curb cuts. It's all here and it all makes sense.
So the next time I start to worry
that BENT might run out of ideas, don't just stand there slack-jawedsmack
me with that squeaky toy.
has been a bilateral amputee since the age of six as the result
of multiple birth defects. His writing has appeared in The New York
Times, Stagebill, and other publications. He lives in San Francisco.
© 2001 BENT
It's CALLAHAN time . . .