Saturday, May 29, 2010
While I was live tonight I had an interesting thought.
While it is obvious to anyone with an IQ above 30 that I am gay, I never actually discuss it. I know little of this famous "after Ellen" crowd, nothing about these new "heroes" of the movement. I almost have a disdain for popular gay culture and unless it relates to a human rights issue, I distance myself from it. This thought originally came in to my head when someone mentioned Jane Velez Mitchell a few months ago and I had no idea who she was, but recently Rachel Maddow. Never having cruised the popular homo sites, I really had ZERO idea this woman existed. When I joined Twitter I had no idea of the person on the "suggestion" list, nada. But because of a comparison a blog commenter made, I did decide to Google her and watch her and get some idea and it has turned out that we have a ton of commonalities. Something also occurred to me.
I may have a TON of internalized homophobia or at least a serious want to fit in to a norm that so obviously does not include me. I was taken back by these young people who found it so easy to come out with all of these heroines and almost resent them in a way because I am one of the Old Gays.
Okay kids, I came out before Ellen, before Melissa, before k.d. fuckin lang. When I came out the heroine was a girl named B.J. that I met when I was 17. She was the first gay person I had ever met and things made sense. I was outed by my sister after being the second person in a city of 17 000 to come out. B.J. was the deal. She was homophobically attacked and soon I was. To be gay meant willing to die.
In a span of less than a year I went from a shy nerd to working for gay youth to nearly being killed by 4 men to wearing a tux to my prom to moving to a city of 4 million and being homeless in it. I had a few icons in my life though and a pair of them were an octogenarian couple who had been together since the early 50's. We didn't come out because of a celebrity, we came out under severe penalties. Gaybashings were rampant and we could still be psychiatrically committed because of who we were. We fought for our rights like union workers- we worked for the Old Gay. And for the most part, we won.
People are enjoying unprecedented freedoms because of people like myself and the heroes who didn't have sportscars and talk shows. They were simply the people who managed to survive before us. And most of my generation is not alive today. Almost everybody I knew died from AIDS or murder. If they were lucky, they took their own lives or overdoses on drugs.
So if I am not up on the latest gay celebrity or the latest trend, cut me some slack. If I don't include my orientation in my comedy repertoire or obsess on who is dating who, lay off for a bit. Inform me, sure. but don't demean me. I'm not a "bad homo", I'm just new to this "not having to fear for my life" thing. As I am free because of the Old Gays before me, you are because of Old Gays like me. It sounds self-absorbed, but it is the absolute truth. We lost so many heroic beings who lived, worked, loved, and died under the label of "most hated". Cemetaries wouldn't even bury many people I knew because their orientation was so offensive that they could not even be considered for consecrated ground.People lost their educations, jobs and families. Things have sure changed.
We are so happy for the next generation, but it seems so foreign. Going from "cops gang-raping dykes" to "I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It" in less than 2 decades is somewhat of an adjustment. We are elated but somewhat maladjusted. And maybe a little bit jealous. Please understand this babydykes - we have soft spots under our sneers, but it takes a little time. The new gay universe is as alien to us as Mongolia to a Texan.
The Old Gay will join your happy gay melting pot if you give us a chance.
Posted by Michel-Exildas Galipeau at 00:53