I apologize for the super late reply. It’s been a hell of a month for me and there was a lot to unpack in that piece. And I have complicated feelings about it as a whole, with a slight lean towards agreeing.
I will say that there has always been something about Pete that has rubbed me the wrong way and I couldn’t quite place my finger on it until reading this piece. Pete does seem very calculated. Every decision he has made in his life seems to be focus grouped. The writer is definitely on to something there and I’d like to elaborate with my own observations.
There are some gay people who react to being pushed to the margins of society by pushing hard right back. This is where you get gay culture such as drag and camp, ways of expression that are mean to highlight the ridiculousness of mainstream culture.
Pete is the type of gay who reacts the opposite way. Instead of pushing back against the society he has raced head on to be accepted by it. He so badly wants to be liked by the straights. He goes out of his way to not be “that kind of gay”.
And what bothers me the most is that he seems to look down on gay culture. It’s fine if he doesn’t like Drag Race. I understand if it’s not for him. But he can’t even seem to acknowledge the positive impact that show has had in the gay community. People call Pete the gay Obama, but even Obama had more of an appreciation fo African American art than Pete does for LGBT art.
My largest complaint towards the piece is that the writer seems to assume there’s a universal gay experience. There are a lot of share similarities that most gay have gone through, sure. But I’m not sure if our experience is universal enough to make such broad generalizations such as Pete being an undeveloped human being for not spending a large part of his life single. Yes, some gay men find that having a lengthy period of sexual freedom can be very cathartic. Some aren’t meant for that life and settle down as soon as they can. It’s lazy for the writer to make such a statement.
But if the big question is whether this piece is homophobic... I’m gonna ultimately say no, but a lot of that has to do with context. If a straight person was writing this piece I would feel a lot ickier about some of the conclusions he came to.
The piece is flawed but I’m overall I’m glad to see a queer writer who is willing to openly question whether we can even call Pete one of our own. It’s a discussion worth having.