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This Week in Sex: 10.29.99

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This Week in Sex   
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Week of October 29, 1999




They’re Here, They’re Queer, They’re Superheroes!




For the past few months, observant readers of the DC/Wildstorm comic “The Authority” have noticed something different about two of the series’ most popular superheroes, Apollo and the Midnighter. Nothing drastic, nothing overt — they just seem to care about each another a touch more than your average crime-fighting duo. Rumors swirled. Message boards buzzed. And then, last week, “The Authority” writer Warren Ellis confirmed the obvious at his own Delphi message board: Apollo and Midnighter are, “in the debased English parlance, up each other. So what?”


    

The message touched off a flood of mostly encouraging responses, including one impassioned response from a gay fan: “So what? What on earth do you mean ‘so what?’ Do you have any understanding how this will affect young gay teenagers who read your comics?” The posting continued, “Do you know how high the suicide rate is among young gay men and women? You say, ‘So what?’ I say, ‘So thank you.'” Ellis’ response: “My pleasure. And thank you for making the point.”


    

Apollo and Midnighter aren’t the first gay comic book heroes: Wildstorm’s Rainmaker is a lesbian and Marvel Comics’ gay Northstar announced his sexual orientation in the middle of combat. But Apollo and Midnighter’s growing popularity and Ellis’ subtle, “so what” depiction of their sexuality is groundbreaking. The world awaits Jerry Falwell’s response.





Dutch Treat Comes in off the Street




Lawmakers in the notoriously kinky Netherlands approved legislation last week to invite prostitution in off the streets, legalizing (and regulating) houses of ill fame for the first time since 1911, when the Calvinists shut them down. Prostitution itself, of course, never stopped being legal, but for years
women have had to rent rooms in Amsterdam’s red light district and display
themselves in picture windows. Now, the landlords who rent those rooms —
along with the owners of the country’s estimated 2,000 underground brothels
— will have to meet safety regulations, refrain from hiring minors and
illegal immigrants (some 60 percent of the country’s 25,000 prostitutes are
undocumented), and submit themselves to background checks. Proponents of
the new law say it will cut down on child prostitution and crowd out
criminals; opponents are few and far between — only the opposition
Christian Democrats came out against it.




Don’t Count Those Eggs . . .




First came the startling news that eight models were auctioning off their eggs online to infertile couples in search of a more perfect baby. Word was, eggs were going for bids as high as $150,000 — as opposed to the $5,000 standard for your typical, not-so-pretty egg donation. News outlets worldwide, including the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, picked up the story and plunged into a largely one-sided debate about the ethics — and feasibility — of buying beauty in this fashion. But now, predictably enough, comes the news that the goods offered for sale at ronsangels.com may not be legit. In fact, the whole site is just a p.r. stunt for a network of adult websites.


    

Perhaps the first clue should have been the fact that the Ron in ronsangels.com is Ron Harris, 66-year-old erotic photographer who has done work for Playboy, and who has fourteen erotic websites registered in his name. Laying out his unique qualifications for such biomedical barter in the San Francisco Chronicle, Harris explained that determining which women are beautiful and which aren’t is “what I did all my life. That’s my expertise.” And if there was still any doubt that something fishy was afoot, there was the fact that the site — which demanded a $24.95 subscription to look at more detailed photos of the delicious donors — offered no information as to the models’ IQs or health status, but did reveal cup size and marital status.


    

Humphry Knipe, webmaster for the site of erotic photographer Suze Randall, told the Washington Post, “I wish I’d thought of it. I would have grabbed myself a million hits.” Ronsangels.com drew some six million visitors in the first few days after the “story” broke.





Quotes of the Week



“Billy has a very sexy presence, but he’s not very good in bed. For one
thing, women constantly throw themselves at him, so he doesn’t have to be
any good. For another, he’s English.”




— “Pacific Blue” star Shanna Moakler on former boyfriend Billy Idol,
in Maxim magazine




“I thought it was obvious enough already. It’s not like we need to see anyone mounting anyone or redecorating battle zones together while listening to Judy Garland albums to make it plain that they’re gay. I guess superhero comics just don’t repay attempts at subtlety.”



— Comic book writer Warren Ellis, who just brought his characters Midnighter and Apollo out of the closet.




“It’s okay to say, ‘The only good fag is a dead fag,’ if you can also say,
‘I’m a passive male bottom who likes it hard and rough.'”





Michael Romanello of NationalGayLobby.org, the organization
leading a protest against AOL’s practice of censoring gay sexual expression
while tolerating anti-gay hate speech in users’ online profiles









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©1999 Dan Reines and Nerve.com, Inc.