The term “post-gay" was first used by British journalist Paul Burston in 1994 to connote the willful disassociation from certain stereotypes within gay culture. The term hit home with the American audience four years later, when Out Magazine Editor in Chief James Collard recycled the phrase to assert that gays need no longer define themselves by their sexuality.
Post-gay ideology is often used to define cultural assimilation (i.e. we are all the same) and is festering in current popular culture. While the march for equality necessitates some variance of post-gay ideology, considering queerness a non-issue (“baby you have come a long way"), it has become synonymous with a kind of status quo politics. It is as if society is moving toward a genderless-neutral ideology.
It does little to advance the cause of activists engaged in the, not yet completely won, battle for LGBT rights; nor does it do anything for those who still face real issues surrounding their queerness. The old adage "be yourself or you will never know what life is," is becoming a different philosophy, or state of being, in short: "be gay, but not toooo gay.” In the last two decades we have jumped over legal and social hurdles, we are free to marry, have kids, report discrimination and hate crimes, and serve in the military.
We have certainly come a long way since Stonewall 1969.
But at what cost?
We are in the corner losing our identity; there seems to be a desire to conform, to standardize, almost to be part of a mono dimensional, opaque, homogenized world. Fifty shades of beige.
In other words, we aim to be boring like everybody else. We have become more hetero in our demeanor and the lines are blurred. Gays acting like straights. That is what it has come down to. Borrowing identities in exchange for socially progressive gains. People should be multi-faceted, diverse and complex so that our core identity can be whatever we wanted it to be.
That is the beauty of human kind. Instead we shy away from it, we repudiate it. It is a new form of repression, and this time it is self-inflicted. As the evolution continues, the divide between straight and gay will begin to fade. It is true that the labels we have carried for centuries are the product of homophobia, legal and religious intolerance with a good dose of prejudice often expressed with pejorative, insulting and contemptuous terms...but the end result of our long struggle will mean that defining oneself as gay will no longer be necessary and cease to have social relevance. As it is we have hit the pause button. The community no longer feels the need to stand out in rebellion.
Some say that in the “New Closet, love will transcend sexual orientation, alas, the price of admission will be to turn off within us those traits that are typical of our personality, that make us special, killing and hiding everything that is unique and diverse about us. Homosexuals have opted for a respectable accommodation with heterosexual society. We have been co-opted by the very forces which suppressed us. There is still so much to be done.
My problem with today’s gay world is the absence of a fighting spirit replaced with a false sense of security and a large dose of apathy. In fact, we are not gay enough to care. The last time we seriously stood up for something was in the 80’s, at the height of the AIDS crisis, thanks to ACT UP. Since then we have acted down. The normalization of gay culture has induced a longing to bring back glitz, glamour and a little of the illicitness that homosexuality has lost. Otherwise stop the parade, I want to get off.