The back of the bus

Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

The back of the bus


When you're part of a culture, it's often hard to see beyond that culture.

I know that many of the men who visit this site think of the pre-eminence of anal penetration among gay men -- what we in The Man2Man Alliance call analism, or the dominant culture of anal penetration -- as eternal, as something which has always been and always will be.

Of course that's not true.

As little as 40 years ago, anal was denigrated among gay men.

But, it has been the dominant form of "gay sex" now for about three decades, and it's not surprising that some of you imagine it will be so forever.

I was thinking about that in relationship to the racially segregated and white supremacist society into which I was born in the late 1940s.

In that culture, "public accommodations" were separate for each race.

And on public transport, that meant that Blacks had to sit -- or stand -- in the back of the bus.

"The back of the bus" was not a metaphor -- it was a real place, and real people had to go there.

And it wasn't pleasant.

It was, because of the location of the motor, noisier than the front of the bus, grittier, and often full of fumes.

But the main thing about the back of the bus was humiliation.

Even if there were vacant seats in the front of the bus, Black people couldn't use them.

They had to walk, or, if the bus were in motion, stumble, meekly, past those seats and go to the back of the bus.

In the mid-50s, my city, which was in a border state, de-segregated some public accommodations, including buses.

Segregation persisted in the South far longer.

But in my city, by the time I was in elementary school, Black people no longer had to sit in the back of the bus.

Nevertheless, most continued to do so.

I know, because I traveled by bus in my town throughout my childhood and adolescence -- going to Hebrew school and Bar Mitzvah lessons and the public library and our local conservatory and even, eventually, high school.

And even 10 years after the law about the back of the bus had been abolished, most Black people still sat there.

It was striking to me as a child because I knew they didn't have to; yet they still did.

The reasons I think were complex.

It wasn't just habit -- though that was part of it.

Nor was it simply the unpleasantness of sitting next to an offended white person -- though that unpleasantness was real, and potentially dangerous.

The largest part of it, I believe, was that Black people had been taught, first through slavery and then through Jim Crow, to be servile.

Indeed, a major component of the ideology of both slavery and post civil war segregation, was that Africans were by nature servile, and were happiest therefore when others -- in this case white people -- told them what to do.

The beliefs of the majority culture about the minority inevitably and powerfully impact the minority culture and its citizens.

This phenomenon has been documented many times, though perhaps never more eloquently than in an essay titled "On the Necessity and Impossibility of Being a Jew," part of Holocaust survivor Jean Amery's searing memoir, At the Mind's Limits.

Born Hans Maier in Austria, Amery was a German-Jewish intellectual who fled Austria for Belgium in the late 1930s, joined the resistance against the Nazi invaders, was captured, tortured, and sent to the Auschwitz extermination camp.

In his essay, Amery describes the pervasiveness of anti-semitism in the 1930s, which was found not only in Nazi Germany, but in Communist Russia, in the various authoritarian states of Eastern Europe, such as Poland, and even the liberal democracies of France, Britain, and the United States.

That anti-semitism, which depicted Jews as ugly, mercenary, and cowardly, did not affect only non-Jews, but impacted Jews as well, who internalized much of the incessant anti-Jewish propaganda, and soon saw themselves as less deserving of survival.

And were thus easy pickings for both the Nazis and the local anti-Semites in the German-conquered countries.

Of course some Jews actively resisted the Nazis.

But most went along with the requests of their oppressors; indeed, Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who oversaw the destruction of European Jewry, testified before his execution that without the co-operation of the Jews, his job would have been far more difficult, if not impossible.

So: oppression depends, in part, upon the co-operation of the oppressed.

And the most successful oppression persuades the oppressed to internalize -- that is, take in and make their own -- the values of the oppressor.

Which without doubt many Black people did.

They came to see themselves as servile, and to act accordingly.

Indeed, in the 1930s, there were prominent Black performers -- StepN' Fetchit and Butterfly McQueen for example -- who prospered, to a degree, by presenting themselves to both white and Black audiences as servile.

But that servility went far deeper than just popular entertainment.

For example, African-American writer Richard Wright, in his autobiography Black Boy, describes how a Black elevator operator in the brutally segregated Memphis of the 1920s, would persuade his white passengers to part with a quarter in return for literally kicking him in the ass.

His livelihood depended upon his servility, and to earn extra money, he took that servility one step farther, by actually asking white people to kick him.

Thus the back of the bus, and thus the persistence of the back of the bus even after going there was no longer legally mandated.

Nowadays, the back of the bus, like Rosa Parks, has become something out of American folklore, quaint and very distant.

But there was nothing quaint about it.

It was a form of social control, enforced through violence and meant to humiliate an entire people.

What's this have to do with anal?

Anal penetration is, among sex acts, without question the back of the bus.

It's the dog's hindquarters of sex.

The grittiest, grossest, least pleasurable, least intimate, and most dangerous form of "sex."

It's an act which is intrinsically humiliating and degrading.

Yet, in our time, millions of gay and bi men have been acculturated into it, and view the practice as their inescapable lot in life.

And even when shown an alternative which is far more pleasurable and far less dangerous, they continue to persist in it.

I see that all the time on the big gay dating/hook-up sites, where men will tell me they're into Frot, but will not say so on their profiles.

Which leaves them available, implicitly, for anal.

As was Michael, the man on this board (A huge mistake) who was infected with hepatitis B through anal penetration even though he doesn't like anal.

As was Nick, another man on this board (who also posted in "A huge mistake") who was infected with HIV through anal even though he doesn't like anal either.

When that happened to Michael and Nick, they were still, mentally, sitting in the back of the bus.

In time, gay men will stop sitting there.

Anal, like the back of the bus, is a learned behavior, and it can be unlearned.

But it will take time, and effort.

As Joel said in response to Luis' luminous memoir, My true story,

i recall a post on this board [The Ultimate Defeat by Robert Loring] about anal being used as means to humiliate conquered is it that such an act of humiliation has become beloved by gay and bi sexual men across the globe...consider the amount of effort that went in to change that viewpoint...that is a 180 degree change of mind...such a change it can unhappen as it were...if a worldview can change once it can change twice...but it will take an equal or greater effort to do so...

Joel's right.

A change in behavior can be "unchanged."

But, in this case, as in most, it will take a great effort.

For it's no accident that gay men are doing anal.

It's a reflection of the oppressor's view of them, and their internalization of that view.

The oppressor believes and has been saying for more than a century that men who have sex with men are not really men, but are women.

So when Joel asks, "How is it that such an act of humiliation has become beloved by gay and bi sexual men across the globe";

the answer is through those gay and bi men accepting the oppressor's view of them, internalizing it, and putting it into practice.

It is essential to remember in that regard that behavior flows logically from belief.

Or, to put it more simply, you get what the culture says you'll get.

If the culture says that men who have sex with men are women, those men will act like women; they will act effeminate, and they'll get penetrated.

And that penetration in turn will confirm that self-image, and lead to more effeminacy and more penetration.

Effeminacy then is to gay men as servility was to African Americans.

An attribute assigned them by the majority oppressor culture, which has been internalized and made part of their minority identity.

In short, effeminacy is a lie told about gay and bi men which they've internalized and made into part of their self-identity.

Which is why some of them get so upset when it's challenged.

Nevertheless, we need to be clear that no other minority leadership has enshrined a majority lie at the center of its subculture.

The American Black leadership doesn't extol servility among Blacks.

Nor does the Jewish American leadership extol greed among Jews.

Yet the gay male leadership says we may not criticize effeminacy among gay men.


It's not an innate behavior -- it's culturally determined.

And despite what our erstwhile feminist allies may think, effeminacy is not pro-woman.

In reality, it's acutely misogynist.

As are many gay men.

In short, effeminacy is what the oppressor culture tells us to expect of men who have sex with men.

And it is therefore, what we get.

Whereas, we know historically, when the culture says that men who have sex with men are men -- indeed, are warriors -- those men will act like warriors.

They'll be masculine, they'll be courageous, they'll seek opportunities to demonstrate their valor, and they'll tend, in their relationships with other men, to be monogamous.

Because Fidelity is a reflection of respect and honor.

If you respect and honor your fellow warrior, you won't be unfaithful to him.

Indeed, infidelity betrays the very heart of the warrior ethos.

Which is loyalty -- faithfulness -- unto death.

That's what gives the warrior bond its power.

The warrior's knowledge that his fellow warrior will lay down his life for him.

How many gay men, on the other hand, would die for one of the guys they "trick" with?


The word "trick" originated with female prostitues, who used it to describe their customers.

And no prostitute would willingly die for customer.

It's business.

She wants to get her money, as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Promiscuity among the analists is also, as Mart Finn has pointed out, transactional -- that is, it has a commercial and consumerist aspect, even if no money changes hands.

Of course, in the age of AIDS and hepatitis, there are prostitutes and gay men who, because they "tricked" -- had casual sex with a stranger -- are dying.


Death was not part of the deal.

Which is why the fact of dying from AIDS is not viewed as noble.

A person with AIDS may bear his suffering with such steadfast resolve that he achieves a certain nobility.

But that's not the same as a man who falls on a grenade or leads the charge into battle, knowing he will be killed.

It should be understood in that regard what barebackers are after isn't death, but sex.

They've looked at the odds, and decided that even if they're infected, chances are anti-virals will keep them alive till there's a cure.

So they consciously pursue an act of humiliation and degradation, an act dictated by the oppressor culture, knowing that it could at some far-off and very distant point, lead to death, but most certainly not intending to die.

In short, there's nothing heroic about barebacking.

It's just another act of cowardly self-oppression, of gay men going meekly to the back of the bus and letting events take their course.

And continuing to go there over and over again, even though their standing in the larger culture has improved: in many states gays have civil rights protections; in more than a few they have domestic partnership rights; gay marriage is being discussed and debated; few nongay people today believe anti-gay violence is justified; and gays are frequently portrayed more or less positively in popular culture.

Nevertheless, the key oppressor myth about gay and other men who have sex with men -- that they are a sort of pseudo-woman -- remains in effect, and most powerfully among gay men themselves.

That's why they're still trooping voluntarily to the back of the bus.

Because they don't see themselves as deserving better.

In talking with these men, we have to say, unabashedly, that they can do better and they deserve better.

That they need not sit in the back of the bus any longer.

That they can and should rather assume their rightful place, beside their fellow men.

Because that's what they are: men.

And their place is with other men.

Their brothers and fellow warriors, who celebrate the bond between loving men as men, phallically and faithfully.

Phallus, Fidelity, Masculinity:

The components of Heroic Love.

Heroic Love is what awaits those who are willing to fight their way free of oppression, and reclaim both their masculinity and their manhood.

Greg Milliken

Re: The back of the bus


I just wanted to look briefly at this quote:

"i recall a post on this board ["The Ultimate Defeat" by Robert Loring] about anal being used as means to humiliate conquered is it that such an act of humiliation has become beloved by gay and bi sexual men across the globe...consider the amount of effort that went in to change that viewpoint...that is a 180 degree change of mind...such a change it can unhappen as it were...if a worldview can change once it can change twice...but it will take an equal or greater effort to do so..."

Gay men use symbols of humiliation frequently to describe themselves. The pink triangle is a prominant sign of gay pride, yet it was the same symbol used by Hitler to identify and murder gay- and lesbian-identified men and women during his reign. The term "homosexual" was used originally to describe a mental illness among men.

Then there are other terms we use which obfuscate their meanings. Bisexual, for example, with the latin root "bi" meaning two. The literal interpretation would be someone who has sex with men AND women simultaneously. Why not use the term "unisexual," which describes environments which accomodate one OR the other sex? The very term bisexual recommends promiscuous behavior.

Or even the term "gay," which can be used interchangeably to describe men or women. There is an implied gender-interchange involved in that. Men and women can both be gay. The catch is that you can't use the word "lesbian" to describe a man who loves other men. In fact, "heterosexuals" that spend lots of time around "gay" men sometimes call themselves "lesbians." So really it's part of a grand design where men are confused with women and women with men and straight with gay and all in all doesn't make much sense.

Then there are symbols the "gay" community has borrowed from other people, such as the HRC logo and the rainbow. A rainbow represents diversity, not homosexuality. The Human Rights campaign also doesn't explicitly represent homosexuals.

So honestly, there is only one place you can turn to for a positive image of men who love other men. This website represents it. Cockrub warriors and frot men are both positive and empowering phrases used to describe men who love other men. The phrase "Cockrub warrior" emphasizes the warrior ethos of masculinity and fidelity to which all men should aspire. The phrase "frot man" emphasizes the fact that they are men who practice their natural sexual inclinations in a way that doesn't rob both of their masculinity. It also emphasizes that they are men, just like any other men, and that they have the same desires as other men. No other ways of describing men who have sex with men are as positive or healthy as the ones found here.

Greg Milliken

Bill G

Re: The back of the bus


Nicely put Greg!

Bill G

Bill Weintraub

Re: The back of the bus


Thank you Bill G and Greg.

In Heroic Homosex: The Greeks, I wrote

Twenty years ago a guy named David Winnie Hayes said, in a letter to the NYC gay paper that my late lover then edited, "The Sacred Band of Thebes was not known for casseroles and folded napkins nor did the priests of Apollo create a leper colony of sexually transmitted diseases... It is difficult to know at this time what it might mean to be gay. We have been bent out of shape by centuries of persecution and our true profile is only beginning to re-emerge. This process is one of the great adventures of our time and we are all invited to participate in it -- to be responsible to it and to each other."

I have no idea who David Winnie Hayes was, but that's a great statement.

It came at the very start of the AIDS epidemic, when gay and anal were far less tightly identified than they are now.

So although David said, "It is difficult to know at this time what it might mean to be gay"; we can easily re-phrase that in this way:

"It is difficult to know at this time what it might mean to be a Man who Loves Men."

Because, as he said, we've been "bent out of shape by centuries of persecution and our true profile is only beginning to re-emerge."

Twenty years later, I think we've made a very good start, an excellent start, at finding that true profile here on Heroic Homosex and in The Man2Man Alliance.

As Greg said, the words and symbols chosen by Men who Love Men (MLM) to describe themselves in the past have often been terms coined or used by oppressors: gay, queer, homosexual, the pink triangle.

Frot Man, Cockrub Warrior, Cock Warrior, Frot Warrior -- these are all terms we've coined here in the Alliance as men, proud, strong, and united Men who Love Men.

And that's new.

The oppressor no longer defines us.

We define ourselves.

The gay male mainstream doesn't get it.

Larry Kramer doesn't get it.

He thinks we've betrayed the revolution.


Those who continue to underwrite anal and promiscuity -- and effeminacy -- are those who've betrayed the promise of Gay Liberation.

We by contrast have taken the next logical step.

We have defined and re-defined ourselves.

We're no longer gay and bi men.

We're Frot Men.

Cockrub Warriors.

Cock Warriors.

Frot Warriors.

Add a reply to this discussion

Back to Personal Stories


Warriors Speak is presented by The Man2Man Alliance, an organization of men into Frot

To learn more about Frot, ck out What's Hot About Frot

Or visit our FAQs page.

Warriors Speak Home

Cockrub Warriors Site Guide

The Man2Man Alliance

Heroic Homosex

Frot Men


Frot Club

Personal Stories

| What's Hot About Frot | Hyacinthine Love | THE FIGHT | Kevin! | Cockrub Warriors of Mars | The Avenger | Antagony | TUFF GUYZ | Musings of a BGM into Frot | Warriors Speak | Ask Sensei Patrick | Warrior Fiction | Frot: The Next Sexual Revolution |
| Heroes Site Guide | Toward a New Concept of M2M | What Sex Is |In Search of an Heroic Friend | Masculinity and Spirit |
| Jocks and Cocks | Gilgamesh | The Greeks | Hoplites! | The Warrior Bond | Nude Combat | Phallic, Masculine, Heroic | Reading |
| Heroic Homosex Home | Cockrub Warriors Home | Heroes Home | Story of Bill and Brett Home | Frot Club Home |
| Definitions | FAQs | Join Us | Contact Us | Tell Your Story |

© All material on this site Copyright 2001 - 2010 by Bill Weintraub. All rights reserved.