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"Gay" Just Isn't Cutting It

Wonder why we're still discriminated against...why the simple act of two people in love sends rightwing politicians into fits of rage and melts the spines of supposedly liberal presidents and representatives...why all the money queers have sent to "gay rights" groups hasn't really changed our society's obsessive, relentless homophobia?

Well, it's a long road, our "community leaders" say...the rightwing has more money than us...the opposition is bigoted, but smart...we hurt ourselves by being too flamboyant sometimes....blah, blah, blah. You know, maybe it's really our own screwed-up institutions and "leaders" who are hurting us. Ever think maybe we should take some responsibility here?

Oh, I know..."there he goes - he's just blaming the victims." Throw that out right away....I'm a queer - I've been the victim of homophobia - I've gotten threats for being "too" out in the wrong places - I've done the "gay rights" thing. That's not what I'm talking about. What I'm saying is just take a look at us! Look at the "alternative" culture most queers worship. Pick up The Advocate or Out or your local gay rag. What do you see there? It's like part People, part GQ, part airline travel mag, and a touch of USA Today. And make sure you count the people of color, both in the stories and especially in the ads...don't worry, even if you can't count, it probably won't be hard.

Next, go to a gay bar. Do you honestly see that many people there who are anywhere close to wanting to challenge society's rules and assumptions? Look at the guys there...half of them look like a Gap endorsement and most of the others look like they're trying to prove that they can look as macho/sexist as any Bubba. And look at how we separate ourselves by gender in social settings like that.

People...what are we doing? What do we hope to accomplish by assimilating the values of the very groups that hate us? How can we ever challenge society's prejudice when we ourselves adopt the same kind of prejudices within our own community? Gay/les society has yet to challenge racism, for example. If you are white and don't think that has anything to do with homophobia, then you are an idiot - a blind, obstructionist, self-obsessed bigot. The exclusionary patriarchal power associated with racism has everything to do with the exclusionary patriarchal power embodied in homophobia. If you care, then educate yourself about racism and prepare yourself to spend the rest of your life fighting it within yourself because that's what it will take to begin to understand it's power. And if you can begin to understand why I say that, then you can begin to understand how homophobia is just another facet of white hetero male patriarchy. Then you can understand what we must change in society to end our hangups over gender and sex.

How can we ever challenge society's desire to separate and disrespect us when we do the same thing to people within what we call our community? Case in point - our political "leaders" have been trying to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the U.S. Congress these past few years. That's fine, but what were they thinking when they intentionally left transgendered people out of it? That it's ok with them to discriminate against the trans community? Is that equality? What they were doing is playing the same old Washington, D.C., game that the bigots play - Let's Make A Deal: these people aren't important....our power and influence and buddies and dollars are. This move got them a few more sponsors for that legislation (they knew it wouldn't get enough to pass it), more sponsors translates into a hollow "victory" that they can tout in their appeals for more dollars. And some of those dollars went to Bob Dole, by the way, in the last election because, well, that's the way you play the insider game in Washington. Morals, values, and principles aren't as important as money and the illusory power of being invited to all the right political parties. These same people uttered hardly a peep when Clinton trashed us by endorsing the Defense of Marriage Act because Clinton invites them to the White House once a year and appoints a handful of their friends to meaningless bureaucratic jobs. Those invitations and cushy jobs are then translated into nice photo-ops that get dutifully and uncritically passed on in what passes for gay/les "news"papers and magazines. That means more dollars for the so-called leaders of our community. It's a joke.

You don't have to buy it. You can reject the status quo. You can educate yourself about the interconnectedness of things like homophobia, racism, and classism. You can refuse to become a gay clone. You can be out all the way by refusing to be nice about it - when you see homophobia, challenge it. If you're worried about losing your job if you let them know you're queer, then you're dead...they have you, bought and paid for. You're as much as admitting that you are just a helpless, lifeless pawn. You don't want to shove it in their faces, you say? Oh, you mean the way that heteros do it constantly by holding hands in public, by talking about their dates at work/school, by putting their spouses' pictures on their desks, by talking day in and day out about their relationships/marriages, by bringing their girlfriends/boyfriends/spouses to office social events? If you are willing to accept that you can't do the same, then you have sold out your dignity....they bought your approval of a bigoted society for a few pieces of silver. How sad.

I'm not gay by the way. I refuse that label cause I'm sick of what it's come to mean. I'll accept queer because to me queer means that I have control over who I am. I can love whoever I want without regard to gender, race, or class. And I will. And if that means that I can't fit into conformist gay society, well, I really don't care - if I was straight, I wouldn't be joining the Country Club either, so I guess it's the same kind of thing.


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