“There’s no brown in the rainbow.” Really, Bitch?
I’m not impressed with the thinking on this latest hubbub from our deeply soul-searching, inclusive community. Our resisting community. Our big-picture community, our brothers and sisters in arms. We’re really just so full of shit. Yes we are.
The irony is breathtaking. Adding brown and black stripes to the flag gives LGBTQ People of Color (POC) special treatment, you say? Folks, these people have been receiving “special treatment” of all the worst kinds for way too long. If you think it breaks from tradition, that’s great – and you would be correct. But these are traditions that need breaking from. Whatever argument anyone has in their back pocket that goes against that idea isn’t worth hearing. Put that in your vapor device and smoke it.
It’s also indicative of how we’ve come up short. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the whole impetus for using the rainbow as a prideful symbol is its conceptual inclusiveness. Technically, it already represents all colors, all stripes. The fact that we need to change it in order to more literally include people shows that they’re feeling left out, and that’s on us. Kudos to Philadelphia for taking the lead.
But the hair across my ass regarding the inclusiveness issue is a fair bit more tangled. We’re so busy giving lip service to diversity and shaming those of us that aren’t actively rallying alongside, we’ve all but ignored the hypocrisy going on among us, right in our own sexual arena. Let us not forget that, while the issues have grown quite complicated over the years, at the very core of all this debate is a group of people striving to be okay with their sexuality – something they’ve (we’ve) said over and over again is inherent to our being, our natural (not nurtured) disposition. It’s about sex. Sexual preference. It’s about that before it’s about any of these other things that have become hot button issues for activists. And if we’re not okay with the sexuality portion? We’re not okay with any of it. So many of us – too many of us – need to go back to square one.
We seem to have little sexual respect for anything other than the masculine ideal. So, while we’re busy preaching to one another about making sure everyone feels included, we’re also ignoring men that don’t bother putting on masculine airs for sexual attention. I’m not going to suggest that it’s no longer okay to like whatever it is you like, but feeling attracted to masculine men doesn’t really qualify as a preference – it’s near-universal. Specifying it in a profile online (or anywhere other than the voice of your interior headspace) makes the sexual playing field about as hospitable as the high school cafeteria. Do any of us care to go back there? I didn’t think so.
By nurturing this ideal as we have, we’ve given rise to a large group of gays that keep their homo-ness under wraps. And we’ve rewarded them by making sure they have very active sex lives. There’s nothing remotely courageous about living this way. You’re not really out on a limb if you’re busy curtailing your homosexual tells. Quite the contrary, you’re closer to the closet. Which isn’t to say that we’re all naturally flaming and great Paul Lynde impersonators, but those of that are have been made to feel less desirable. It’s actually pretty gross. These people have fallen prey to rigid gender-policing in the world of app-based- hookups where we all feel perfectly justified typing things that we’d never utter to one another’s faces. Beneath the seemingly innocent surface of “preferring masculine guys” lurks all sorts of awful… you’re basically saying that you prefer that ambiguous sort of gayness with the edges sanded down, the kind you can take home to a gun toting, confederate flag waving Archie Bunker without getting his dander up. Inclusive? Fuck off. The level of ostracism we inflict on one another is absurd. It’s no wonder we struggle to be taken seriously.
Plus, y’know, that super gay dude – the uber-flaming one that you can see and hear a mile away? He might be the one guy that hauls off and fucks you
like the little bitch you really are the way you’ve always desired. You’ll never know until you try it, and you’ll never try it so long as you keep shaming gay men for being their authentic selves… which is probably the most masculine trait I can think of. Being comfortable with who and what you are is sexy. It’s a less obvious sexiness, but nobody should be doing all the work for you anyway.
I’m reminded of a straight guy I used to work with at a restaurant in the 1990’s with whom I shared much dark humor. I would sometimes affectionately lean onto his shoulder and he would respond by singing, to the tune of The Lettermen’s classic, “Get your gay head off my shouuulllderrrr, or I’ll put a burning cross on your lawwwn.” He also used to say to me, as if he were making some sort of medical pronouncement, “You are a very, VERY gay man.” On the surface it may have seemed like some kind of insult, but actually, it was complimentary. It was a tribute to my lack of compromise, my lack of interest in being anything other than what I am. We worked so hard, there wasn’t time for me to worry about how I looked and sounded to people. The double modifier made his proclamation all the more hilarious. Years later, when I saw him sing in a musical production, I left a note for him to let him know I’d been there and signed it, “A very VERY gay man.”
The above scenario seems to depict a certain level of comfort; enough comfort to joke around about sexuality, about masculine and feminine… even to joke around about hate crimes which, in the shocking, surreal world of South Park and Family Guy, can successfully be transformed into dark humor. I never questioned this man’s sexuality, either. We were both comfortable with who we were.
In contrast, I recently had a conversation with another straight man I know who’s so lacking in self awareness, he didn’t even realize his homophobia was sticking out. And this is someone whose sexuality I have questioned.
“I’ve spent a lot of time around gay people the last couple years,” he told me, puffing away on his vapor device. “And I’m starting to realize what works for me about it and what doesn’t.” In between puffs, he went on to articulate his really deep thoughts about how he actually hates things like “drag and cabaret.” In other words, he doesn’t like the aspects of homosexual culture that flamboyantly bend gender. How terribly insightful and unexpected. He may as well have said, “I don’t mind gay people as long as they don’t act particularly gay.” Curiously, I hadn’t even asked – I ran into him, and this was his useful tidbit for the day.
And yet, many of us hang out with people like this. We’ve made it okay. We refuse to accept that we’re not going to be friends with everyone, liked by everyone… and that we’re not going to be attractive to everyone, either. Because for every guy out there seeking a ‘masculine acting’ (acting is the key word) sexual partner is another one pretending to be something he’s not in the name of getting laid.
To me, it’s all interrelated: the fact that we now converge just about anywhere vs. the need for specifically LGBTQ spaces; the push towards marriage, adoption, and corporate success vs. the more individualistic urban freakshow; the way we reward toxic masculinity vs. the lack of sexual appreciation for flamboyance. And rather than talk about it, we’d sooner argue over adding a couple additional colors to our rainbow flag – it creates a smokescreen.
It’s not a rainbow anymore, you say? No. No, it definitely is not.