March 1999

I forgot last month to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day, so I hope you had a nice one. I actually had a pretty nice Valentine's Day this year. Someone wrote to me from last month's column who lives in this area, and I met him in person yesterday (Valentine's Day--not intentional...). It's amazing how nice it is to actually talk to someone who you can...actually talk to. Isn't it? But I'm not gonna write about him, since he'll probably be reading this (Hi). You should all go read his column though (I think he wrote one this month)-- Liam.

Also, this month (I mean, March) I'm going to Austin for a gay rights march. I have not been to a gay march since 1993 for the March on Washington -- and I wasn't really aware of my queerness at that point. So that should be fun.

And now, for the more serious part of this column...

*Sigh*...where to begin? Ok. Well this is something you hear all the time, as a defense of the rights of queers, etc.: "We're just like everyone else...we're just normal people. All we want is to be accepted by society. We want to be able to marry...etc." Actually, this is probably the single most popular argument for gay rights, trumpeted by supportive straights as well as mainstream gays. I have a little problem with this argument though: I'm NOT normal, nor do I want to be. I'm NOT just like everyone else, and I have never aspired to be. And why should I? Why should you?

This argument makes being a normal queer a requirement for being accepted. It requires that you fit our society's very narrow definition of what is acceptable. It is, essentially, a conformist argument. We in the "gay community" (yeah, there's a reason I put that in quotes...the "gay community" has always been pretty deeply divided, along many lines--race, class, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation,....) like to think of ourselves as more accepting of diversity, yet, in many ways, the gay community is just as conformist as the rest of society. Mainstream gay political and media organizations are dominated by middle-class white gay men just as this country's government and media are controlled by straight, white men -- to the detriment of everyone else. We have largely accepted the limited, shallow ideas of physical attractiveness generally true in society. We have not made room for anyone, really, but the pretty white boys. We have become increasingly concerned over appearing "normal" to everyone else, and appealing to the mainstream.

I am gay. I am an atheist. I am a vegetarian. I am a socialist. I am black. I am white. When asked to stand for the pledge of allegiance, I remain seated. But, more importantly, I am a person, deserving respect for that reason. So what was the point of this? You do not have to be "NORMAL" to deserve respect. The worth of a person is not determined by the degree to which s/he conforms to our society's extraordinarily limited ideas of what is acceptable. You do not have to be a white, conservative, "straight-acting," Christian gay male to deserve acceptance. You simply have to be yourself. EVERYONE deserves a basic level of respect, regardless of their sexual, racial, gender, or religious identity. (Or any others I left out....)

So, if any of that made sense, great. Is it just me, or are the days going by really sloooooow? Anyway, that's all for this month...I'd love to hear from you, email me at Osiris999@aol.com.

David, 15, lives in the vast wasteland known as West Texas. He just got rubber bands on his braces. This does not make him happy.

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