Earle Ratcliffe

March 1998

Well, it's that time again. March. March is always a month of madness for me. First off, my birthday is on the 27th (send presents!). It will also be the first anniversary of my mother's death, March 9. She also would have turned 50 this March 30th had she lived.

A few things to talk about from last issue. I noticed in Paul Sepuya's column a trace of what seemed to be homophobia. Now, I like Paul's columns, I read them every month, and they are among my favorites, but I was disturbed by his definitions of "queer" "gay", "faggot" etc. The gay community has enough enemies (Pat Robertson and the Crisco Coalition, Rev. Fred "Godhatesfags.com" Phelps, and many many more) without having it's own members turn in on themselves. Someone once said about the so-called "femmes" "Not my type, not my style, but definitely my kind, my brothers.".

I can't imagine discriminating against another fellow queer simply because he is more feminine than I (or similarly against a lesbian who seems very masculine). That would be no different than a straight person discriminating against me for being gay. And that's wrong. To expect someone to repress (force someone into the closet, so to speak) who they are (feminine, masculine, gay, straight) is wrong. So, being gay, how can I put my own style, both lifestyle and personal style, above someone else's, as better than theirs? I can't. If a guy happens to be feminine, then great, that's who he is. I'm usually attracted to masculine men (e.g., "straight-acting"), but my one and only boyfriend to date was sort of a drama queen, and I loved him no less for it.

Now, this might seem to be a harsh criticism against Paul. It is a criticism, yes, but I can understand his point of view. When I was his age (god, I sound old!), I felt the same way. I hated (maybe not hated, but certainly felt disdain for) the feminine gay men (I called them "faggots". A little different from Paul's definition). I was also racist, sexist and yes, homophobic. Luckily, I grew out of that phase. One of life's great lessons I learned recently is that "I don't say I'm no better than anybody else, but I'll be damned if I ain't just as good" (from Oklahoma!). And that's my two cents.

Another thing happened yesterday which pissed me off. I work in a Video store, and I was about to help this one lady (I use the term loosely). She was waiting for her daughters to bring their choices to the counter, and one of the videos they picked was "Philadelphia". The mother said "You can't rent that. That's about (lowers voice here) homosexuals!. I didn't say anything (you see I like my job, and I'm not quite over the 3 month probationary period where they have to give 3 written warnings before they can fire you). What I did was leave the till, so someone else could help her (there's no helping people like that). But man, did I ever want to say something! Maybe next time... Still, it's going to be difficult when "In and Out" comes out on video (pardon the pun). That's March 10th, all across North America. Some people are going to be offended by it (I'm glad it only has a PG rating!), and those ones are going to be a bitch to deal with.

Rev. Fred Phelps. The gay antichrist. An evil man if there ever was one. He works out of Topeka, Kansas, spreading his network of hate. His slogan is "God Hates Fags" (even has a web site, www.godhatesfags.com). He sunk to a new low, when he decided to take up a new hobby. You see, he now likes to picket funerals of gay men who've dies of AIDS, with signs bearing his famous slogan. How tacky is that?

I don't know what to do to wrap this up, so I'll just end it here. Email me at <eratcliffe@kermode.net> I love email.

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