In the fine tradition of self-liberation through public confession, here”s another gay voice ready to tell the public one thing: Live with it.
Normally hidden from hetero view by innuendo and slogans like “Are you a friend of Dorothy?” (the theme of this year”s Queer Visibility Week), queer consciousness is at its zenith today with the “Kiss-in” and rally on the Diag. Finally, a chance for queers to be their fabulous selves!
First, let”s address the Fred Phelps element and get that bit of nastiness out of the way.
Thank you “Rev.” Phelps! You”ve done more for our cause than any of us homos ever could. You”re the great popularizer of queer oppression, a twisted parody of the Christian right. And you”re so flattering.
He called us a “fag dominated” university in one of the many cartoonish press releases sent to the Daily. OK, maybe for a few days a year public dialogue seriously addresses gay rights, but “fag dominated?” It sounds more like a sexual fantasy than a political movement. And what”s with his obsession with gay sex? Phelps knows more about the intricacies of penis to anus contact than even the most sex-crazed among us.
Phelps says he”s preaching the gospel. But doesn”t he know about the Diag preacher overpopulation problem on this campus? We”ve developed a habit of ignoring obnoxious Bible bangers. More noise, more banners, more slimy minions aren”t going to convert anyone. But if he somehow gets inside your head and you see the light, he”s putting his life in danger.
If one gives credence to his message that fags can”t repent, no matter how much they love “God,” what”s to stop a group of already damned souls from ripping Phelps limb from limb? It”s only one more sin on the inevitable road to the devil”s paradise. (Note: Don”t be tempted to even look in his direction he”ll sue your gender-ambiguous ass off). But this eclipses an even bigger issue.
I can”t assume that anyone on this campus would care to spend eternity with the likes of Fred Phelps. It”s like when the Spaniards conquered the New World and told the natives to repent, lest they be burned at the stake. Most of them chose death by fire rather than giving in. Your heaven? Your vengeful god? Harp playing? Enough already! Light the fire. Let”s get cookin”.
Phelps may be a joke, but the threat of the Christian right is real. Until the day when people of every sexual orientation can be confident expressing themselves freely and openly in every social, legal or cultural context, the queer battle for basic human freedoms must be waged. Until we don”t hesitate and stutter when talking about our same-sex partners until we get equal treatment under the law until we can be ourselves everywhere, we will continue to live with a double consciousness. Is it safe to be queer here? Am I going to be discriminated against?
If you”re straight, and you don”t understand what I”m talking about, turn some of your questions about queers back on yourself. Oxford”s “heterosexual questionnaire” asks:
“What do you think caused your heterosexuality? When and how did you first decide that you were heterosexual? Why do you heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into your lifestyle? Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can”t you just keep it quiet?”
See how ludicrous these questions sound, just because we live in a hetero-normative (and heterosexist) society?
Queerness is an innate, essential characteristic, determined by events and circumstances beyond any one person”s control. Someone doesn”t just “turn” gay. Live with it.
Queers hold a place of great importance in any society. We push the limits of what is too flamboyant, too out there, too sexual.
Queer or ally, join us today at noon while we celebrate the human spirit and work towards change. While the hateful bigotry of a certain Kansas preacher flows freely, let”s all smooch some of the sweetest young lips Ann Arbor has to offer. I promise not to bite unless, of course, you like that sort of thing.
Josh Wickerham”s column runs every other Friday. Give him feedback at www.michigandaily.com/forum or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.