Ordinary Lifestyles: Popular Media, Consumption and Taste

By David Bell; Joanne Hollows | Go to book overview

10 Holidays of a lifestyle
Representations of pleasure in gay and
lesbian holiday promotions

Gregory Woods


The mobile homosexual

In their gay and lesbian travel guide to Europe, Lindsy Van Gelder and Pamela Robin Brandt send their American readers forth into Europe under a proud banner of gay transcultural identification. Their introduction closes with a rhapsodic passage:

Long before 1992 [the date of the British reissue of this guide],
gay Europeans were sharing a culture, which is your culture, too.
Walk into a gay bar or center in any country [in Europe], and you
stand a good chance of walking out with new friends who've
been moved by Walt Whitman, Natalie Barney, Harvey Fierstein,
David Leavitt, Edmund White, Alison Bechdel, Armistead
Maupin, Keith Haring, and Rita Mae Brown, as well as Cocteau,
Gide, Wilde, Woolf, Isherwood, Garcia Lorca, Sappho, Rosa
Bonheur, Marguerite Yourcenar, Gerard Reve, Anna Blaman,
Magnus Hirschfeld, Jimmie Sommerville, and Tom of Finland;
who march in Gay Pride parades at the end of June (but who are
inspired as well by Paris in the teens, Berlin in the twenties, and
Greece in the fifth century).

(Van Gelder and Brandt 1992: xv-xvi)

Notwithstanding the American predominance in this supposedly cosmopolitan list, it is hard to imagine a clearer statement of the myth of gay and lesbian universalis™. The idea that not only do homosexually inclined people recognize each other wherever they go, but that they even, also, consume the same cultural products and adopt the same political strategies, may be preposterous, but it is a surprisingly widely and firmly held belief. It raises the possibility, or the dream, of international fellowship on common ground.

Not only that, but in recent years gayness itself has been mythologized – and not only by gays – as being intrinsically cosmopolitan.1 As Dereka Rushbrook puts it, in a discussion of many western cities' use of their gay populations as a tool for urban

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