In April the NY Times ran a story questioning whether Judy Garland was still a gay icon. The discussion/ debate has continued at various web-sites, from The Village Voice, Vice magazine to Huffington Post. What follows is my (slightly edited) response to a post at Confessions of a Boy Toy, Oscar Raymundo’s blog. It is, to some degree, a continuation of this post from last year. The idea that queer folk should ‘just go into hiding’ so that ‘nearly-straight’ folk can ‘win our rights’ continues to be popular with many people; see the comments on this Joe.My.God blog post.
It is understandable that a culture (or properly, collection of cultures) oppressed by “the mainstream” felt that unity was essential in the fight for rights. Being united in the fight does not have to mean losing our uniqueness; a far-too common occurrence in resistance movements.
True queer culture has always been a small percentage of all non-straight people. What has happened is that instead of people seeing we queers as the only non-heteros, the world is discovering that there are some number of non-straight folk who are quite close to “normal” outside of who they love. The real shock is why everyone (straight or not) is surprised by this.
It has been decades since “mass media” started to show just how naive is the belief that most people are almost identical. I am not quite old enough (born in 1958) to know how many people watching “Leave It To Beaver” really thought that was how the rest of the population lived, how many saw it as an idealized goal to strive for, and how many people saw it as the fictional world it probably was. Certainly by the time of “Happy Days” many people knew better.
Now it is up to us to recognize and truly celebrate diversity. The time has come for LGBT et al to stop fighting over what is the proper term or who is/ isn’t a real member of the community. I don’t want to get married (I see it as an archaic symbol of patriarchy) but that doesn’t mean I don’t support the fight for those who do. Just as we aren’t demanding heteros embark on a same-sex marriage, so too I expect other non-straights to join me in supporting the fight of transgendered for equality (without necessarily being trans oneself) as well as my right to live in whatever combination/ permutation of “relationships” that all participating adults agree to; even if you are quite happy living in a monogamous relationship.
© Copyright 2012 by Brian D Gryphon
Exciting, well thought out response! Thanks for your insight.