I remember going into some progressive march in the early 1980s (forget the cause, but nuclear disarmament is a good guess) and one small group of gay rights activists (more of a fringe type than mainstream) had as their rallying cry “We’re here/we’re queer/get used to it!”. Recall being struck by their militancy, that they were proud, out there, not ashamed. Besides the sing-song nature of the cri di coeur what stood out was the use of the word “queer”. When I was growing up (am 53) to call a guy “A queer” was a pejorative, negative, insulting thing. It was not as common as the epithet “fag” but it did have usage in the school yard, locker rooms, change rooms where boys tease and insult one another. Fast forward decades and now it is being used as part of a reclamation project. The word “dyke” seems to be having this trajectory I believe. And the entire ‘pink triangle’ symbol is being reclaimed (sadly though it is falling into neglect in favour of the generic rainbow flag lately). While I intellectually understand how-why these words are being recaptured, reframed, for me, “queer” still hits me in a negative, jarring way. I no longer feel that I am living in 2013 but am carried back to say 1973. I was not picked on (thankfully!).
There was not one single boy (or girl for that matter) that was out of the closet in grade or high school, and not even remotely close. I was in schools in a big city not Podunkville, or a rural-small town backwoods place either. Suffice to say I never came across the word, idea or concept of being bisexual growing up. The only memory of that was some picture of David Bowie in the mid 1970s dressed in his best glam rock outfit with a picture of his wife (Angie?) looking similarly freakish and the piece stated how he was bi. That was obviously not remotely appealing to say the least as you can imagine! Talk about bi invisibility, lack of role models, and awareness. Sheesh.
Usually I would insert some picture of the person I am blogging about, but I do not want to shorten my life (or yours sweet reader of post) by putting up a picture of Bowie in his prime. Not sure why he has renounced being bi now, when in certain circles it is cool, trendy, fashionable and it is used as a marketing ploy. Well Bowie was often a contrarian, ahead of his time, and such. If he does not want us, then we sure as hell do not want him, I can tell you that much. One day I will write about the sexual identity- politics and of David Bowie. It is a wonderful little snapshot of the fluidity of culture and our sexuality.
Threw in the bi wolf like image just because it was fun, playful and neat. Enjoy! I often referred to my 9 lb Yorkshire terrier as a little wolf. Maybe one day I will write something about his name (Abbey), how I chose it and how over the years people often thought it was a she and not a he.
The “Keep Calm” series I like. Am very much into self acceptance these days, if you cannot tell. It is so queer that all the major religious faiths, plus ethical systems have some “golden rule” within it, or a variant upon the do unto others theme. Why why WHY is it so hard to love-accept ourselves (somewhere on that continuum, spectrum). And if you cannot do that, good luck loving others! The corollary I truly believe is that when you hate others, you start off by hating yourself. More than ever these days I believe that negative ego inflation (the ginormous amount of self loathing, self hatred) is simply the ego playing the same game as when it is out of control in megalomania. Given the poor mental health of too many LGBT/ queer youth this is not a frivolous issue.
Off to see the movie “Blue is the warmest colour” today, which did so well at the Cannes film festival. Report to follow at some point on that. Blogging over the holidays is unknown so stay tuned! Since coming out I have had many times when I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning exclaiming “I don’t deserve to be so happy” which is something quite wonderful for someone who has been a curmudgeon for too long. But I also remember the line in the flick “Unforgiven” when William Muny, ‘killer of women and children’ out of Missouri (Clint Eastwood) is about to shoot “Little Bill” (Gene Hackman) and he barks “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”Be honest with yourself there are so many things in life we do not deserve, the good and the bad. Keep reviewing the scene in the film “Monster” (true story of the serial killer Eileen Wuornos) when Bruce Dern says to Charlize Theron (who is quite unrecognizable) “we never had a chance”. As in, there were so many things that happened to us when we were young, that were foisted, thrust upon us, that shaped, formed us against our will and now as adults we have to somehow struggle to make lemonade with all the lemons given to us. We are all fighting a great battle my friend.,
We all have something pal. For me, since coming out in August it has felt like the ancient “Jubilee Year” when the debts were forgiven and there was a chance to start anew. Begin afresh with possibility and potential. Merry Christmas to all, especially the born again atheists and militant Buddhists.