Monday, February 18, 2013

Queer

This is true.

I was two months shy of 18 when the Supreme Court did its thing in Lawrence v. Texas.

June the twenty-sixth, 2003. Boom! – and just like that, gay was legal. Just like that, we were criminals no more.

And I remember it was a Thursday, and when the story broke, it was a big deal here in Houston. This was because the case had started out right here in town before going all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. I got onto a city bus and I headed down to City Hall, where a whole lot of gay people had gathered out back to celebrate.

We had taken down the Empire. Gay was legal. We were criminals no more.

There were lots and lots of gay people down at City Hall that day. More than I had ever seen before. There were gay men and lesbian women and transgender people and assorted freaks of all shapes and sizes. And they were celebrating as only gay people can celebrate, and they all seemed to know one another. They all acted like friends act.

I did not have any friends there, or at least not until Nick ran up and high-fived me. I had not previously even realized that Nick was gay.

From the Houston rally, June 2003.
“We did it!”  Nick shouted. “We did it, Katy!”

I remember thinking “We?”  I could not recall participating in the oral arguments before the Court. I was fairly confident I had neglected to write and submit an amicus brief. I did not think I had done anything.

I did not mention this to Nick, because we were celebrating and being fabulous behind City Hall because “we” had won. John Lawrence – the “Lawrence” in “Lawrence v. Texas” – he was there, too, and so was Tyron Garner, the man Lawrence had been caught sodomizing that started all this mess.

Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Garner stood at the front of the crowd, behind a microphone. They spoke to us, and they seemed timid when they spoke even though everyone was calling them heroes.

As Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Garner struggled through their speeches, they were surrounded on all sides by Houston’s professional queers. The professional queers were the ones up front. The ones in the suits. The professional queers were the lawyers and the politicians and the activists who were famous... for being gay. Their entire identities revolved around their being attracted to people of the same gender. They were Mitchell Katine and Ray Hill. John Nechman and Sue Lovell and Jack Velinski and Phyllis Frye.

This was their (our?) day. Gay was legal.

---------------------------------

Now it has been nearly ten years since that day. I have lived all of my adult life in a country where the government will not arrest consenting adults for the kind of sex we have in the privacy of our own bedrooms.

This seems to be as it should be.

I heard Nick died of some AIDS-related thing a few years back. Maybe 2009. Honestly, though, I never saw him again after City Hall.

And Tyron Garner died in 2006 and then John Lawrence, he died in 2011.

The professional queers, well, they are still around. Their public identities still revolve around who they are attracted to, and they still act like they are the Jedi getting hunted down by the Empire at the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

Of course, there are always enough conservative Christianists around saying stupid things or refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple to keep the professional queers in business.

But they seem kind of pitiful to me. Out of date. Not like heroes. Not like anyone I have a bond of commonality with.

Maybe I can’t appreciate what older generations of gay people went through.

Maybe I am ungrateful.

Or maybe I just refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. 

35 comments:

  1. It's kind of like how Jesse Jackson's words carried more weight in the 60's than they do today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was actually thinking about Jesse Jackson when I wrote this!

      But yeah... Look at the difference between Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama. Jesse Jackson is a black politician whereas Barack Obama is a politician who happens to be black.

      Delete
  2. I was living in San Antonio when that ruling was handed down. I remember being at work and thinking that was pretty awesome news. I also remember my bosses all being really pissed off about it, which made me even happier about the ruling.

    Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Jay! It was big news that day...

      Justice Scalia was pretty pissed off about it, too. In his dissent, he compares sodomy to "flagpole sitting(?) which sort of makes me think he might be having problems with the logistics of homosexuality...

      Delete
  3. little burn out on this gay stuff. however... this story is just beginning

    There is no doubt in my mind that some people are born gay (I have raised a bunch of kids)

    You have the right to be gay and enjoy sex in your bedroom... that's just weird stuff from our lawmakers

    root problem was the 100 year old eugenics laws which were against anyone deemed to be a "sexual pervert"

    Whats Next, one could ask?
    Internet vigilantism is on the rise. So far, digital avengers have more or less limited their activities to shaming and exposing pedophiles, con men and giant douchebags. However, one can easily see a future where the moral-minded folks dish their harsh citizen justice out on anyone who steps outside the tight parameters of their idea of acceptable behavior.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so over the gay discussion that I could scream.

      It comes up in conversation and I just say, "Yeah, but I don't want to talk about it." Then I look ashamed or closeted, neither of which I am.

      Genius Katy, though: "Lesbians in My Soup" was a hilarious blog name until it pigeonholed me as a gay blog.

      Delete
  4. I get this. I always feel out of place in any group to which I should belong. Environmentalists? Take a bath and shave your legs, please. Feminists? A little strident, no? Wouldn't a nice dirty joke loosen things up around here? Party Democrats? You guys are too clean-cut and well-established for me. Can someone pay my ticket to this fundraising brunch? I've finally concluded it's me. I like people in theory and, sitting in my office chair, I will advocate for their rights (over Facebook) as well. Just keep me away from any place where I have to smell their smarmy flesh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha... That seems exactly right to me, tara.

      I mean, I think I'm glad those folks are THERE, doing what they do. I guess.

      I just don't want to meet them or be around them. It is horribly disappointing to meet the people you dreamed about being as a kid.

      Delete
  5. Is it because the professional gays get so used to being professional that they end up seeming like opportunistic, attention seekers? It becomes less about crusading for a worthy cause and more like another chance to stand in front of cameras and get a societal pat-on-the-head. I have more respect for the crusaders when they stand behind an ideal and you don't know their name. That's why I like the ACLU, Amnesty International, et. al. Because the people in those organizations aren't looking for the glory themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. What you said.

      The people who need to find an outrage against their demographic every week in order to stay in business and keep their name out there.

      Delete
  6. With any luck the whole "identity politics" thing is running out of steam.

    There is still a lot of fucked up shit in human society, and somebody really should do something about it. But we need to find ways that are less smugly sanctimonious, and that rely less on those "professionals".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I finished writing this post and thought, "This could have been an inspiring post. Why the hell did I decide to call out local gay heroes by name?"

      It is what it is. I dislike the professional queers, and I said it.

      Delete
    2. I am in favor of naming names. Even though it pisses people off it is actually much more constructive than taking the weaselly way out by making vague insinuations against persons unnamed.

      Delete
    3. I might be too nice on this blog.

      The internet loves angry people saying rude things!

      I'm just a happy person, though. Being rude is exhausting.

      Delete
  7. I think it's because you're living in the future. Well, one possible future. Where we're all just people. Some of them are jackasses and some of them are not, and it doesn't have anything to do with their sexual preferences. Associating with specific people just because they're gay will seem like a dumb way of grouping people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rupert... Why the hell would I want to be defined by who I am attracted to, you know?

      Delete
  8. the sayer of the truthFebruary 19, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Katy, just another interesting point it would be nice to know your opinion on, ALL (literally 100%) of the gayness in the world has to be derived from nature by definition (a chromosonal imbalance at the moment of conception), not nurture, choice, or personal preference, after all who in their right mind would 'choose' or 'prefer' to be gay in a murderously homo-phobic world ! ! !. 'Choosing' or 'prefering' heterosexuality (if indeed it was about personal choice or preference, which it isn`t anyway as i said earlier) would ALWAYS make your life so much easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why gay people are gay.

      I think it makes perfect sense as a choice, though. Look at a woman. Now look at a guy. I mean, c'mon! Which would YOU choose? Me too.

      Delete
  9. the sayer of the truthFebruary 19, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Yes Katy but you didn`t seem to address that specific and very important point that i made about nobody in their right mind 'choosing' to be gay in a homo-phobic world, i wanted your opinion on that specific point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Things are lot better for gay people now.

      But yes, traditionally, it would have been counter-intuitive to choose a life that would get you disowned by your family, fired from your job, beaten up by your neighbors, and damned by your church.

      Delete
    2. had to share - http://assets5.pinimg.com/upload/325174035564977924_te9sSyqm_c.jpg

      Delete
    3. Haha... That about sums up many folks' understanding of God and eternity, yeah.

      Delete
  10. With props to Twain (for the quote about membership in a club, and all), there're always good reasons to be an activist.

    Of course, this is coming from Moi, the guy who's always said that he's suspicious of people who always have an axe to grind - but hey; the flip side is that sometimes axes have to be ground.

    They take off the heads of those-in-charge far better that way.

    As to that place outside of Portland what wouldn't bake a cake for two gay folk? It's important to remember something about my hometown of Portland: There's Portland, and Everywhere Else.

    Portland is divided by a river (the Willamette; that's pronounced Will-AA-Met; not Will-Uh-Met) - on the west side are reasonable folks; on the east side are two camps; the close-in Eastsiders are mainly creatives (although there's an enclave in the northwest part of town called 'The Pearl'); these are the folks who Fred and Carrie spoof on "Portlandia".

    Further east, you have a large wasteland comprised of redneck housing, monster trucks, Confederate flags and (eventually) the towns of Gresham and Troutdale (yes; there's a town named Troutdale); this is where that bakery is located. This part of Eastside is where Westsiders go to collect the rent. Collectively, they could rename the whole area 'Hooterville', and it wouldn't be a misnomer.

    Important you know that. Important everyone knows that....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad activists are there. I just can't stand them.

      It's not easy for me to admit that. I grew up listening to Pacifica Radio here in town and wondering what the interesting activists and thinkers on that station were like in real life.

      I've met them now. They are insufferable.

      Someday, I have to get up there and check out the Pacific Northwest. I've never heard anything negative about it.

      Delete
  11. the sayer of the truthFebruary 20, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Er...a chromosonal imbalance at the moment of conception...hint...hint...thats all it is you know ! ! !.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are people born gay or straight? Much of the current media sources assume the question is a solved scientific problem with all the evidence pointing toward a biological (probably genetic) basis for a homosexual orientation.

      There is a common belief among liberals that people are born either gay or straight. Conservatives tend to believe that sexual orientation is actually sexual preference, which is chosen by the individual.

      http://www.jasonlove.com/cartoons/00476-daily-cartoons-opposite-sex.gif

      Delete
    2. I'm gay, and there's VERY few topics I find less compelling than the speculation as to how I got here.

      Delete
  12. Then why didn`t you specifically address the last comment left by "The Sayer Of The Truth" ?. Hes obviously trying to educate you Katy but you seem to be intermittently shunning him for some reason.

    ReplyDelete
  13. the sneering (homo-phobic) snobFebruary 21, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    Elton John must be destroyed because he is British and a faggot.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It kind of makes me think of the whole marijuana thing. One day our grandchildren are going to laugh at the idea that there was once a time when marijuana was illegal. And being gay was illegal. And so was interracial marriage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, bank robbery.

      I am from the future and probably should not have given that one away. SPOILER ALERT!

      Delete
  15. And adults having sex with children Katy, that will soon be accepted and normalised as well, why do you always seem to have difficulties accepting that one specific key aspect of the future Katy ?, its going to be such an important part of the future Katy, if you`re not able to deal with that over the next 20 or 30 years you`re going to end up totally lost, and thats something i dont want to see happen to the great Katy Anders.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have asked you to cease your advocacy of pedophilia on this page.

      I have in fact demanded it.

      I have given you several chances to redeem yourself and abide by the 3 rules I have set for you regarding this site.

      They are:

      1. Absolutely no advocacy of child abuse.
      2. No verbal insults of other commenters.
      3. Posting of a reasonable number of comments.

      You have violated all three of these rules this weekend.

      I am sorry that you were unable or unwilling to abide by these rules. There is nothing more I can do.

      You are absolutely NOT welcome here under any of your aliases.

      Delete
    2. It's ridiculous, Cal! It feels like a complete failure on my part that i have to even think about casting someone out. I tried really hard to not do that.

      Delete

Hey you! Why not leave a comment to tell me what you think of what I wrote?