Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Angry Assimilationalists

Happy at the end of that rainbow?
Well it's begun, the "post-gay" era.  We can stop being "gay" and go back to "homosexual".  In popular culture we will begin to disappear and become whitewashed like African-American characters in a network sit-com.  Those characteristics of language, dress, culture will be looked down upon by our assimilated brothers and sisters as "gay ghetto".   We will all strive to be what everyone places as the ideal: the "Midwestern Standard Heterosexual English Speaking White Male" which according to MSNBC is rapidly becoming an endangered species.
Finger snapping, calling buddies "gurl" or "girlfriend" will be a no-no.  Assimilated gays will argue for assimilation and say "we're free now" so lets act like boring straight white people. In sit-coms we'll root for the outrageous gay who is set against a "Carleton Banks" like character who shows us the "right" way to behave. Our assimilated gay culture will look down on gay men who hold on to gay touchstones, mannerisms and culture.  They'll say things like, they'd be more accepted if they'd just stop acting "gay".  "I mean we're free now, throw away all that gayness."
Really, would a straight guy paint this?
While there is nothing inherently better about "gay" culture per se, there beautiful things that grow from human oppression.  Gays, like other oppressed groups have created a sensibility that help them deal with being treated as "less than".  Fashion, music, design and art pull from the pain of isolation and create a "better world" for those of us who can't or don't want compete in a hyper-masculine world.  This fusion and blending of gender roles allow for new exciting trends in popular culture that may be unimaginable if not for a gay sensibility. It would be a pity to see all that just thrown aside for the privilege of being "one of the boys".
We are rapidly approaching a post-gay era and the culture is changing around us and we are adapting to the new changes.  From younger gays who have grown up in a more tolerant society question the need for things like Gay Pride Parades and organizations that cater to gays and lesbians.  The constant refrain is "we're just people, like everyone else. I don't want to be defined by who I have sex with. I'm just me, not just gay."  It's a sweet sentiment.  This rush to dismantle a movement that has had such success in an incredibly short amount of time is a bit strange and self-defeating.
This whole "I've got mine" attitude, apart from being selfish, assumes you actually have what you want. Also assumes that homophobic attitudes would not resurface, that while a large population is in favor of gay rights and significant minority is not.  Ask any black man if racism has gone away, look at incarceration rates for blacks in America and ask yourself if there is still racism.  
Inside the (formerly) gay community hostility towards "gay acting" will increase. Already you see a demand for "masculine" men.  #masc4masc is the refrain on dating and hook-up sites, so to be desirable you must be athletic, beer drinking and know about sports.  Gay men will be held to the same strictures as straight ones. The gay exploration of what "manhood" really is, as to what masculine really is would probably stop.   Understanding that "manhood" and "masculinity" are just distantly connected.
I am excited and depressed about the coming changes. At last I won't worry about things like inheritance, taxes, benefits that are given exclusively to heterosexual couples.  Yet, I don't want to give up the need to feel outrageous, fabulous or different.  I AM different, my sexuality colors the way I see men, women, beauty, and life.  To say I'm just a person is say I'm a fabulous GAY person is just so much more fun.