SFGN’s Joey Amato’s article “Have I Become Too Gay?” in issue 4 was cheeky, clever, funny and very 2010.
In his column, Joey is looking for the perfect balance of gay and straight, for a way to combine both worlds. He is afraid he is going to forget there are other cultures outside our own if all he does is engage in gay related activities.
That’s his quandary.
How times have changed.
While I spent more than half of my life in the closet he gets to be out and proud for the rest of his, and he is barely 30. I cherish my gay life, and yet he sounds as if he might already be bored with his.
In a way it is great he feels that way. Maybe he takes everything for granted, bless him, but I must warn him—we are not out of the starting gate yet. Not by a long shot .
In fact, my problem with today’s gay world is the lack of outrage. The lack of a fighting spirit; the apathy. In fact, we are not gay enough to care. The last time we 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 only huge advance for queers over the last 25 years has been cultural visibility.
Whereas once TV shows wouldn’t even mention homosexuality, now almost all feature, or have featured, a gay character or two if not a full queer cast.
We have a few openly gay politicians, lesbian celebrities, pride festivals, a TV channel, porno galore, internet sites, sponsors, news coverage and of course people who still hate us.
We have our own flag, newspapers, bars, and ghettos, Cher and a Community Church. Even an openly gay bishop.
On the downside: the number of out gay team sports stars is a chilling zero like the number of Republican senators supporting gay marriage.
Public acceptance of our lot has progressed, albeit slowly. Two steps forward, one step back. The biggest disappointment remains the lack of legal acceptance and reform. Straights continue to be privileged over queers in everything from partnership rights to membership in the armed forces.
The only things we have in common for sure are that we both pay taxes and then die. But wait, even that is not right. We can’t claim the same exemptions straight couples do. We may not even be able to visit our lovers on our death beds in some city’s hospitals.
How can we overcome our status as second class citizens and secure legal rights? We have no real organization that stands up and fights for our liberation. Yes, liberation. We have organizations that host parties to honor million dollar celebrities. There is a difference between feeling good and fighting a just cause.
My personal conclusion is that homosexuals are failing because homosexuals have opted for a respectable accommodation with heterosexual society. We have been co-opted by the very forces which suppress us. Gays and Lesbians want to get married, they want to have children, they want to be absorbed, and they want to mirror their breeders’ counterparts. We are “Disney-fying” ourselves. And then what?
The legal system has been written by and for the straight majority, and anything we are able to obtain will result in equality on hetero terms. We need to renegotiate sexual values and laws or eventual “equality” will always involve straights dictating the terms.
Gays are too complacent. We should be up in arms demanding comprehensive laws to protect all sections of society- with no exceptions. Our agenda should be setting the pace of social change by demanding a ban on all forms of discrimination and a true and enforced crack down on hate crimes. The time has come for our own Tea Party instead of another T-Dance.
Maybe I’m a bit envious of Joey. At his age I did not have the luxury of even conceptualizing his dilemma, but he should not worry about wanting to take part and share the hetero culture in order to be “less gay”.
He will probably one day find out that the straight world won’t let him forget he is not always invited to the table as an equal or full partner. Some would love to see you back in the closet. So, be fabulous and be yourself. Don’t conform; change the world. Don’t wait up for a membership card into straight society. It may never come, and you probably should not want it.