I've been away from my position as in-house curmudgeon among Oasis columnists for several months now, and it's entirely my fault. My deepest apologies, I fell off the wagon, but I'm back to announce my triumphant return, or at least my return, to the pages of this venerable publication.
I bring with me, from the deepest void of obscurity, a topic that is unpopular, controversial, and often avoided. This surfaced in my mind yesterday when my friend (who I have called BabyBug) wanted me to come along with her to a open house at ACCKWA, which is the Aids Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, and Area. ACCKWA has recently moved to new, more glamorous digs in a more highly trafficked part of town, and I guess they wanted to show it off. How nice for them, I thought.
Now, perhaps, like me, you can't be bothered to go to such things most of the time. I'm all for the support-group-offering atmosphere of such places for those who need them. I, however, can't stand the ghastly pall that hangs around these establishments. It's just not a fun place to be, no matter who you are.
I didn't want to go to the Open house with BabyBug, and I said so. "Why not?" she asked. "Because I won't like it and there will be Fags there." I said.
Gasp, you say? How could an upstanding, cosmopolitan, educated, and thoroughly tolerant person such as myself possibly say such a hurtful thing? Wait a minute, you're gay yourself! What would drive you to these barbaric words? These are all things I imagine are running through your head, gentle reader, but read on, all will be explained.
BabyBug was not at all happy with me for saying such a thing in her presence. I was sheepish, not really because I was taking back what I had said, but at the prospect that there were quite possibly people in the room who didn't know I was gay, and now would think I was just another intolerant, foul-mouthed, close-minded *shudder* Straight person. (What a creepy sensation)
So, you ask, what was the motivation behind my politically incorrect words? Here is where my groundshaking confession comes in:
I don't like most gay people.
There, I said it. I'm glad I said it, and it's true. There are few things I hate more than the so-called "Gay Community." This stalwart of social engineering, I feel, has been responsible for as much intolerance as it claims to prevent. This, too, will be explained.
Even the most cursory examination of mass gay culture has revealed it in my mind to be nothing more than an elaborate, networked, group therapy session. The Gay Community appears to me to be a strange mix of sex and self-pity, blended together in a strange cocktail of social neuroses. The centre of pillowbiting culture, in this city at least, seems to revolve around a nerve centre called Club Renaissance, a run-down and shady place just like every other dance club in the city.
You know exactly what it's like, because it's exactly like every other gay establishment in every other city everywhere. The kind of place where there's enough hair gel in the building to drown a human being.
However, the topic of this column is not unsavory cruising spots, and I've been drawn away from the central theme: Hypocrisy.
BabyBug has commented before on her discomfort in gay circles because she has determined herself to be a lesbian, but is currently going out with a guy, who I don't need to name because he never comes up again. She felt several times to be treated like a bit of a turncoat, someone who had deserted the cause because she wasn't conforming to the GLBT image, which try as we might, still comes back to the old reliable refuge of bitterness and persecution.
She felt a bit of an outcast because she was immersed at that time in Heterosexuality, and still is. I've often felt the same, not because I dabble in straightness, but because I just don't get along with a lot of the gay people I meet. I'm not interested in the same things, I'm not fey, and don't find dance music to be the be-all and end-all of fine culture, I can't stand support groups, and I don't feel persecuted.
And there is where it all comes to a head. Gay culture, from my standpoint at least, always returns to the familiar old themes of bitterness, persecution, and victimhood. Perhaps it's that I've never really been discriminated against, at least not on terms of sexual orientation, because I pass for straight. Did for years, still do. But the thing I find so distasteful is the constant mantra of them-and-us, we feel we're owed something for centuries of ridicule and abuse at the hands of the majority, and the pervasive atmosphere of self-pity that seeps like a bad smell from every gay event I've ever seen or been at.
And here the hypocrisy comes in. Because I participate in very few gay events, because I feel ill at ease in the whiny environment that creates, I'm shut out of them. I'm not saying that people are hostile, or they question me closely about my sexual orientation to make sure I'm part of the club, but it's just that I'm invisible. "Let's be open, let's be diverse, let's be proud, but you have to be one of us" is the message I get. They just have nothing to do with me. It's not a conscious "shunning," or a conspiracy, just numbness, like I'm a blind spot on the Gaydar.
"Aha!" you cry, gentle reader, "I've caught you in the act of self-pity yourself! Who's the hypocrite now?" Perhaps It sounds like self pity on my part, bemoaning the fact that "my own kind" just don't want to play with me, like some children's story with an outcast hero. I don't think it is self-pity. It's not as if I'm lacking for friends, or things to do. It's just that all my friends, with very few exceptions, are straight. They just have more fun, without the need to project an image, or overcome social barriers, or prove themselves to the world.
And I wish the Gay Community would feel the same way. Stonewall was 30 freaking years ago, people. The revolution has been and gone. The only reason people still carry on with the "we're here, we're queer, get used to it" attitude is self-doubt and fear. It's much more exciting being rebels, having something to prove. But, even with the radical religious right going apoplectic over the wholesale breakdown of morality, and the fact that Trent Lott, Jerry Falwell and Michael Coren are, unfortunately, still alive, there is very little to get worked up over anymore.
The recent outburst of Jerry Falwell denouncing Tinky Winky the Teletubby as Gay because he carries a purse has demonstrated clearly that these people are out of their feeble minds. The big fights have already been won, and we're coasting to the finish, and someday, the Gay Community is going to have to accept that it's no longer a fringe group. God forbid, Homosexuality is well on the way to becoming mainstream.
Does that mean losing a collective identity, or becoming boring, like our unfortunate heterosexual friends and neighbors? I think not. I think it will mean that the gay community can then really become the diverse population it claims to be, when it ceases to exist and accepts that it's just part of the world, like everybody else.
I hope I didn't gratuitously offend, and actually provoked some serious thought. I know I'm going to get mail for this column, but do yourself, and me, a favor, and only write if you have something constructive or interesting to say. I've gotten enough mail in the past telling me little else than that I'm a jaded and piteous figure who is lashing out at a harsh and insensitive world. I've heard the psychobabble before, so please spare me. I'm quite happy with myself as a person, despite the image I've carefully cultivated in these pages. If you have some meaty comments, I welcome them, whatever your view. If you're writing to tell me nothing else but to lighten up, I won't be writing back. I haven't got the time. As Bertrand Russell said so well, "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubt." So, in the interest of being wise, feel free to write and try to change my mind.
Until next time, say what you mean and mean what you say, and don't be afraid to offend. (This small, self-important message is meant to inspire, I accept no responsibility for any legal costs, bodily harm, or verbal harassment you may incur for taking me seriously.)