By Ryan Keating-Lambert
I’m extremely grateful for my friends at armarolla literary journal who recently published an abridged version of my short horror screenplay Sirens featuring the stunning photography of Prague-based photographer Richard Hodonicky and Slovak dancer and performance artist Martin Talaga, who has believed in this project from day one – thank you. The new issue of the journal is dedicated to musings of love and features the work of talented writers from all over the world. The published screenplay is just a snippet of what I’ve been working on for the last year and is based around a Grindr date that brings to light the very real issue of body-shaming.
Body shaming is certainly not a new thing in the straight world, especially among women who have been objectified since the beginning of time, but I do feel that it’s an issue that’s almost never spoken about in the gay world, and one that I feel deserves WAY MORE coverage in the media, not to mention awareness among the wider LGBTQIA+ community.
Personally, some of the things that have been said to me over social media, dating apps and even in person have been horrible over the years, and although I tried not to let them get to me, they did. Seeking advice I approached close friends to discuss how it had affected them and was shocked to discover that many had endured the same or even more, but rarely brought up the topic, as if it were almost taboo – leading to new insecurities (and trust me, being a minority group in 2020, we have enough of them already), trauma, feelings of unworthiness and rejection, violence, exhaustion, heart failure, and even suicide.
We devour each other whole with apps like Grindr and Instagram, spit out the bones, and move on to the next person.
How did we get to this point? Has it become an unwritten law within the gay community to continually maintain an air of perfection? Has it always been there through magazine culture and now it’s just more revealed because of the internet? And why do we treat each other like utter garbage? Don’t we have enough issues trying to find our place in a world that’s already overwhelmingly straight?
But the worst thing is, that I’ve been guilty of this behaviour as well. I don’t think there’s a single one of you who can say that they haven’t done the same at one point – that you’ve never rejected someone or put them down based solely on whether or not they have a six pack, a nice chest, good biceps, toned calves, or a chiseled jawline – whether they’re a tasty twink or a dominant daddy – the list goes on.
So, fuck your standards. I’m tired of them, and I can’t stand them any longer, which is why I wrote this screenplay, which is why I want to make this film – I want to hold a mirror up to the gay world. If this issue is as close to you as it is to me, or if you’re a fan of my work here on Movie Barf and want to support in some way (everything I write has always been for free and in my own time) please consider ordering a copy of the new armarolla issue with Sirens and work by many MANY other talented writers.
Photos: Richard Hodonicky