Friday, May 18, 2007

radical shift in queer culture.

a comment by "ed" from this post on joemygod.

The whole thing makes homo culture a bit of a bore.
I fully support gay adoption and all of the advancements in gay rights - but there is a price.
All of the straight acting gays are actually pushing out the radical homo culture that fought to get them rights in the first place. With the exception of maybe - Dan Savage.
Maybe we don't need pride parades anymore. We've got Pottery Barn.
every time i see a comment like that my knee-jerk reaction is to unleash a vile barrage of expletives. probably not the most constructive response, which is why i try to breathe a little and calm down before i say something stupid.

i despise the phrase "straight acting." hate. hate. hate it. the phrase "straight acting" disparages gays and lesbians who were born in the last thirty years. our short adult lives were spent in a world where being gay is not radical. we can't remember a time when we were considered outcasts. we don't remember ronald reagan or the AIDS crisis, drag queens and camp culture, or any of those things older gays insist define our experience. a lot of us weren't even alive back then. pride parades for us are an excuse to party and to curiously ogle the people in chaps and wigs marching down christopher street; we don't associate pride with a political stance any more than we associate mardi gras with any message other than "whoo hoo! beer!" listen, it's not our fault that being gay is normal. we're not "acting straight." we simply know of no other existence.

"acting straight" for me would be to boink an individual with a penis. that's "acting straight." for my generation, we know of no other meaning of the term "acting straight." is this a problem? for the record, going to pottery barn with my fiancee and bickering over an ottoman and then going "you have horrible taste, but i still love you booboo" *kissy kissy* is REALLY REALLY GAY. in fact, i don't think i can think of anything gayer than that.

now, i'm just going to venture a guess that this "radical" queer culture arose out of society's rejection of homosexuals. to even declare yourself gay way back when was in and of itself "radical." vibrant subcultures often arise out of adversity, not fitting in, being rejected, or being relegated to the ghetto. (see harlem, punk rock, etc.)

but things have changed. and for the better. i don't fear violence. i don't fear being fired if i'm out at work (i am out). i don't fear jack-booted policemen coming to my home to arrest me for having relations with my fiancee. i don't fear being rejected by my straight friends. i don't even think about it. there never was a time in my adult life where i feared any of this.

to those who encountered violence and rejection and who fought in the first wave of gay activism, i thank you for spearheading the movement for recognition. and this has resulted in acceptance for gays and lesbians. but please don't disparage us for not having those experiences and having a different frame of reference. this is all we know after all.


kusala said...

Right on, sister!

I guess maybe there are those who fear that some people don't know where to draw the line between (A) bickering over Le Creuset colors at Williams-Sonoma with your same-sex partner and (B) voting Republican, assuming that everyone can afford a weekend home in Asbury Park, and feeling that protests against Catholic bigotry are passé in a post-radical world.

Hahn at Home said...

If I did anything at all with my girlfriend, including looking at her more than the appropriate amount of time, where I grew up, it would STILL be radical and receive an appropriate reaction-. Thankfully, I live in California, where I just live my "radical" life and no one gives a damn. Enjoyed your blog...

Indychick said...

I'm glad you feel safe, and I am even more glad you are out and proud. But you must learn history. If not for those Drag Queens at the Stonewall Inn, none of us would be brave enough to post on this for fear of having it traced. And the world is not a safe place for Gays. America is not a safe place for Gays. Matthew Shepard only died 10 years ago. Sean William Kennedy is probably still in the morgue. Homophobia is out there and if we try to blend in too much before our rights are fully and legally affirmed, we're falling into a trap. It's easier to oppress people who are unorganized or who are only trying to get along. Do some studying. Not only to honor the past, but to defend yourself in the future.

emily2 said...

dammit. computer crash. lost my five paragraph comment. so here's the roundup:

1) indychick: i learned history. and i try to educate. (my gf didn't even know about stonewall until i told her about it.) but to state i fully comprehend what queers 40 years ago experienced would be disingenuous. while i heartily thank those who came before me, i had a completely different experience. i simply came further along in the timeline, and while i thank the radical queers, i can't say i "feel" it. i just feel like any other schmuck on the street, and i don't want to feel disparaged or even "un-gay" for feeling like any other schmuck on the street. i almost feel that some queers want to drag us all back in the ghetto - when many of us younguns never experienced it as part of our identity in the first place.

2) asbury park... sounded familiar so i googled and craigslisted around.

wowee! it's in new jersey. when did asbury park start attracting gay vacationers? (uh, i don't have $5000 for a 2 month rental, but still... a gay-ish resort in new jersey? did i totally miss this?)

emily2 said...

(note: i get more stupid questions about my race than my sexual orientation. and i always have.)

conversation a month ago...

dude: where are you from?

me: cleveland.

dude: no really, where are you from?

me: oh, i guess if you want to be technical... mayfield heights, a suburb of cleveland.

dude: oh, i thought you were going to say someplace exotic.

me: well, the cuyahoga river caught on fire once, and the smells that emanate from said river are pretty, um, unusual.

girlfriend: he means where your parents are from, what your nationality is.

me: i'm american. i was born here. do i ask all of you where your parents are from? jeez.

kusala said...

Hmm, I have some problems with this statement: "if we try to blend in too much before our rights are fully and legally affirmed, we're falling into a trap"

Blend in too much??? WTF?

Glad you discovered info about Asbury. It's no Bermuda, but might be worth checking out (fairly easy NJT train ride). Don't get your hopes up too high, but it's interesting.

Now I'm curious: Why do you think people ask about your race/ethnicity/nationality so often? Is it just skin color, or what? (keep in mind I have no idea what you look like, hence the curiosity about this phenomenon)

emily2 said...

"if we try to blend in too much before our rights are fully and legally affirmed, we're falling into a trap"

whoops, missed this one too. glad you pointed this out.

the people i know *aren't trying* to blend in, yet somehow we blend in anyway. in law school i was president of my school's gay and lesbian organization. my gay friends and i were most definitely NOT in the closet. we ran educational panels, had alumni functions, and social events - just like any other organization. we fit in quite well with the community in general. after our debate with the federalist society about the solomon amendment, we had a reception in which members of GALLSA and members of the federalist society gabbed about normal, everyday things, like how crappy the kosher wine at the reception was. most of my friends in law school were straight and in their 20s. they all believe i should be able to get married, even the republican ones.

blending in was not a conscious decision. also, being out and proud and blending in is not mutually exclusive.

re: ethnicity. i threw that in there (asian descent) for a few reasons. i find that even when i am out with my girlfriend, no one really bothers about asking us about how it is to be gay, yet occasionally i get the "where are you from?" question, which i thought would be readily apparent from my lack of an accent (america, duh.) so in my experience, others tend to treat the gay thing with indifference yet, i, as an american citizen who born in the all-american crappy city of cleveland, still get questions about where i'm "really" from (usually from older people in the suburbs). it's annoying yet sort of amusing.

so, to tie it all together, as an ethnic minority in america, i know how it feels to be an "other" for a reason i can't control. i have some perspective on that. being gay, on the other hand, isn't readily apparent.