Straight in the Gay Chorus

I really wanted to like the Los Angeles Times story on being a straight guy in the LA Gay Men’s Chorus. There’s something man bites dog about the concept and–as someone who has sung in non-gay male choruses–I realize there is a fascinating story about sexuality and singing and choruses.  Or something.  And who can forget the classic Will & Grace episode where Matt Damon plays a straight guy who just wants to sing.

But the story just didn’t work for me. When I saw the picture accompanying the story, I instantly felt the older men at the center of the picture were probably a lot more interesting a story than the 24-year old straight guy who joined the chorus and the reaction of the chorus members. And there was already a straight guy in the chorus, which sort of steals the thunder of the story.

These kinds of stories can be hard to pull off.  I think back to a story last year in the Good Men Project about a straight guy who plays in a gay softball league.  That was an interesting story and felt less like an Onion spoof. Maybe it was the clearer conflict between sports and being gay.  Or the more insightful revelations about what it’s like to be perceived as gay or what the player learned from his experience.  That kind of tension/insight was missing in the LA Times story.

What do you think about these straight in a gay world stories?  Are they worthwhile?  What is the situation that would make for a great story?


3 Responses

  1. I disagree, Michael. I liked this story a lot. It gave an interesting perspective on one man’s unusual experience, without sounding pandering or condescending or simplistic or cutesy. I found it to be a well-written piece on an angle I’d otherwise never have known about.

  2. Michael, I think you’re a little to hard on the piece. It’s a story about a little thing. It would be nice if it were about a bigger thing, but it’s not.

    A few stories were written about me when I became the first black (openly black?) editor of my college paper. I didn’t have much weighty to say about it. In fact, the main quote was, in effect, this is a place where the environment has been comfortable for a number of years and a black person would be accepted as editor.

    Actually, that’s a story in and of itself. And that seems to be the simple idea that the Times story is attempting to convey. A little story, but an interesting one.

  3. Okay, maybe I was too hard on the story. I blame Matt Damon.

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