Monday, June 26, 2006

We’re Here! We’re Queer! Get Used to It?

The atmosphere was merry as I walked along 7th Ave yesterday with my brother who was back from Indiana for the summer. Now a vegan and unable to chow down on the customary college kid cuisine (burger n’ fries, pizza, et al), he required more humane, meatless fare. So we chose Gobo, a vegetarian joint right smack in the middle of all the gay festivities.

We left the serene confines of the West Village restaurant for the raucous street atmosphere, and immediately I was annoyed. This was not at all like me as I normally enjoy a good party. In fact, six years earlier I had marched in PrideFest
2000 along side the God’s Love We Deliver float. My sister had been volunteering for the AIDS relief organization and I gladly joined in, pleased that I could simultaneously let loose and support a worth while organization’s efforts.

But this year’s queens were getting on my damned nerves. Ironic as it may be, they just seemed so contrived. Was I getting fag fatigue? Or worse still, becoming a republican?!!! No, no my progressive credentials were still intact. Something else was amiss. It was the fags themselves that were wrong.

All that gender-bended sashaying may once upon a time have been a revolutionary challenge to mainstream sexuality and gender roles. But when straight men willingly allow five men’s queer eyes
to give them the once over on cable TV, when a primetime sitcom about a gay-straight couple who shack up and play married tops the ratings year after year, and when those three annoying little words “you go girl” refuse to evaporate from the national lexicon, you know that gay culture is in no fear of disappearing.

Co-opted by the corporate powers-that-be for mainstream consumption, gayness has been thoroughly diluted and is loosing its edge. The empire has struck back folks and unlike Luke, many of those gay boys are joining their fathers. Plagued by the same bugaboos of the 60s feminist movement, racism and classism, the gay rights movement fell prey to the Faustian bargain
of mainstream acceptance: a place at the table in exchange for adopting the values of America’s patriarchal, supremacist majority.

Mainstreamed gay culture is extremely elitist and subtly racist. The popularity of the show Will & Grace can no doubt be attributed to their fantastic Manhattan living. Could you imagine TV viewers being as interested in Billy Bob & Grace, the story of a closeted middle American high school drop out who shacks up with his pregnant teenaged friend as cover for his “alternative” lifestyle? And how about the “Fab Five”? African Americans have consistently been at the forefront
of cutting edged fashion in the US. Yet, how is it possible to have five gay male leads on a show about fashion tips and not one be black? The coding is all there – to be gay and fabulous one must not be black, or poor (hell not even middle class!). So much for that famed Stonewall "rebellion against the powers-that-be.

And the propaganda is clearly working, as evidenced in the instructive documentary Flag Wars
about the gay-driven gentrification of the working class black community of Columbus, Ohio. In one memorable scene a wealthy white realtor, Nina Masseria, rails on camera in a drunken fit about the local blacks’ unworthiness to own property. In real life, it appears that this dike’s racism isn’t so subtle (Oh Oscar Wilde, you genius you). This same situation has replicated itself in other formally black neighborhoods like Boston’s South End, where now in an ironic twist gays are being priced out by even more upwardly mobile (mostly white) breeders. Faustian bargain, indeed.

In short, gays have ARRIVED and all the tactics they put into place to get themselves here now seem unnecessary, passé even. We know you’re here, and we’ve gotten used to it. Now what?

Technorati Tags: - - - -

Enter your email:

Powered by FeedBlitz

No comments: