Unlikely that those tabloid photos of Anderson Cooper's boyfriend Ben Maisani kissing another man in a NYC park are going to become a cultural moment, but HuffPost's Gay Voices editor Noah Michelson dreams they will launch a national discussion about healthy open relationships. Once again, it's the gay vs. queer divide. Michelson writes:
"One gay friend of mine, who has been with his partner for nearly a decade but is unable to marry him because they reside in a Midwestern state where gay marriage isn't legal, thought the photos of Maisani could make it even harder for him to wed. He questioned how mainstream America would react to Maisani's public display of affection with a man who wasn't his boyfriend and how it would do anything to 'help gay acceptance.'
"But in my fantasies, we're not gunning for gay acceptance -- especially not if the only way we're granted it is by "behaving ourselves" and struggling to fit into a heteronormative mold (which, as far as I can tell, hasn't really benefited heterosexual people very well, either). Instead, I want us to be pushing for queer liberation, which, to me, has always meant that when it comes to sex and love, we all get to do whatever we want with whomever we want as long as we're not hurting anyone..."
Michelson doesn't mention aids but the pandemic further cemented the dichotomy between the good, monogamous gay and the bad, promiscuous queer. The broader debate has lasted nearly fifty years: Are we going to get equality by saying we're the same as you or by saying it's okay to be different.