Gilda knows what she’s talking about, Gene.
“Clowning like Hilton’s, of course, hurts the gay rights cause as much as Prejean’s subsequent behavior embarrassed straight Christians she purported to speak for.”
Don’t you just love it when straights who don’t know shit about the gay rights movement and care less get up on their hind legs and lecture us?
It was widely distributed at the 1990 New York Gay Pride March. And it’s as true today as it was then.
“I HATE STRAIGHTS I have friends. Some of them are straight. Year after year, I see my straight friends. I want to see them to see how they are doing, to add newness to our long and complicated histories, to experience some continuity. Year after year I continue to realize that the facts of my life are irrelevant to them and that I am only half listened to, that I am an appendage to the doings of the greater world, a world of power and privilege, of the laws of installation, a world of exclusion. “That’s not true”, argue my straight friends. There is but one certainty in the politics of power: those left out of it beg for inclusion while the insiders claim that they already are. Men do it to women, whites do it to blacks, and everyone does it to gays. The main dividing line, both conscious and unconscious, is procreation … and that magic word – Family. Frequently, the ones we are born into disown us when they find out who we really are, and to make matters worse, we are prevented from having our own. We are punished, insulted, cut off, and treated like seditionaries in terms of child rearing, both damned if we try and damned if we abstained. It’s as if the propagation of the species is such a fragile directive that without enforcing it as if it were an agenda, humankind would melt back into primeval ooze. I hate having to convince straight people that lesbian and gays live in a war zone, that we’re surrounded by bomb blasts only we seem hear, that our bodies and our souls are heaped high, dead from fright or bashed or raped, dying of grief or disease, stripped of our person-hood. I hate straight people who can’t listen to gay/lesbian/bi anger without saying, “Hey, all straight people aren’t like that, I’m straight too, you know.” As if their egos don’t get enough stroking or protection in this arrogant, heterosexist world. Why must we take care of them in the midst of our just anger brought on by their exclusive society?! Why add the reassurance of, “Of course, I don’t mean you, you don’t act that way.” Let them figure out for themselves whether they deserve to be included in this anger. But of course that would mean listening to our anger, which they almost never do. They deflect it, by saying “I’m not like that,” or “You’ll catch more flies with honey …” or “Focus on the negative and you will just give out more power” or “You’re not the only one in the world who’s suffering.” They say “Don’t yell at me, I’m on your side” or “I think that you are overreacting” or “BOY, YOU’RE BITTER!” They have taught us that good queers don’t get mad. They’ve taught us so well that we not only hide our anger from them, we hide it from each other. WE EVEN HIDE IT FROM OURSELVES. We hide it with substance abuse and suicide and overachieving in the hope of proving our worth. They bash us and stab us and shoot at us and bomb us in ever increasing numbers and still we freak out when angry queers carry banners or signs that say BASH BACK. For the last decade they have let us die in droves and still we thank the government for planting a tree, applaud them for likening PWAs to car accident victims who refuse to wear seat-belts. I SAY LET YOURSELF BE ANGRY. Let yourself be angry that the price of visibility is the constant threat of violence, anti- queer violence to which practically every segment of this society contributes. I say let yourself feel anger that there is no place in this country where we are safe, no place where we are not targeted for hated and attack, the self-hatred, the suicide – of the closet. The next time some straight person comes down on you for being angry, tell them that until things change, you don’t need any more evidence that the world turns at your expense. You don’t need to see only hetero couples grocery shopping on your TV… You don’t want any more baby pictures shoved in your face until you can have and keep your own. No more weddings, showers, anniversaries, please, unless they are our brothers and sisters celebrating. And tell them not to dismiss you by saying “You have rights,” “You have privileges,” “You’re over reacting,” or “You have a victim’s mentality.” Tell them “GO AWAY FROM ME until YOU can change.” Go away and try on a world without the brave, strong queers that are its backbone, that they are its guts, brains and souls. Go tell them to go away until they have spent a month walking hand in hand in public with someone of the same sex. After they survive that, then you’ll hear what they have to say about queer anger. Otherwise, tell them to shut up and listen. That you will tell them about pain, the pain of seeing friends drop dead everyday. The pain of watching your friends get clubbed by “the men in blue”, the up-holders of the law, for assembling, for speaking. Tell them to shut up and you will tell them of the pain of being in a world, and yet not a part of it, at what it like to see no positive role models, what it is like to listen to stories about girl and boyfriends, but being kept from telling your own. Tell them to shut up and listen to the pain that you feel, all of the pain that is sitting in your gut and soul. Tell them to shut up and listen, to stop talking from their place of power and prestige, to listen to what it means to be oppressed, and what it mean to be angry. Tell them to shut up and listen, to listen to how you were treated as a child, listen to the stories of rejection, tell them of your need to belong, but the realization that you never can because you are “queer”. Tell them to shut up and listen to your anger, they can not empathize with it, because they have never been there, all they can do is listen. So tell them to shut up and listen, or go away from you!”
Alas there’s no You Tube clip.
But here’s some Kurt Weill of appropriate temperament, with lyrics by Maurice Magne.