By now you've probably seen the subject of fury and debate over at another bloggers site over a made-up ending to a scenario involving he and a rather effeminate teen with an attitude. I'll save everyone the naming of names - but it serves as interesting reading if nothing else for how heated - a "made-up" scenario made his readers. Buttons were pushed, lines were crossed. So in lieu of commenting on who said what and whose right and whose wrong (let's be honest there is validity to both sides of the story the problem is are we talking about the bigger picture subject "Violence Against Gays by Gays" or the more specific instance of writing a misunderstood joke on your own blog).
The bigger subject is compelling and is something we all (I think) wrestle with.
I don't understand why guys choose to be screaming queers, running around "Sister this, Sister that", throwing wrists around, quoting 'Steel Magnolias' - but I don't have to "understand" - I DO have to accept, though - that it is their right to behave and "express" their homosexuality as they see fit. Sure I'll chuckle to myself and hope they grow out of it - but if someone dared to lay a hand on the bleach blond coif (sp?) I would kick there ass.
"What we stand for" is not represented by what we wear and even what we quote or sing along to (in our out of drag) - it has to do with principles, morals and how we treat each other. I stand for tolerance - until it crosses lines. When some bitchy queen or princess sits at a bar and rakes every average joe or chubby boy over the coals - loudly - wanting to exact some subconcious revenge for junior high school locker room beatings and humiliations - she's crossed the line. What genius to exchange hatred for hatred. I will get right in this little faggots face and explain to them in the shortest of terms - they are out of line - work out your demons somewhere else. I have met some vicious, catty, cruel queens who I wished would be jumped in the parking lot on there way outside of the bar, I have shoved some of them down and threatened to crack their skull - this doesn't make me a better person - but a person with no tolerance for mean, heartless people.
Bravery comes in one form - the ability to meet-head-to-head with knowing conflict out of pure faith and conviction.
Shame comes in many insidious forms. Lies, Self-loathing, Betrayal, Hatred and Violence.
If we endorse "shame" - an emotion that we have let shape our everyday actions as gay men and women (read my previous pre-Thanksgiving posts about "Negotiation as Character Assasination"), then we are endorsing that people lie about who they are, betray family, friends, lovers and themselves with these lies, learn to hate themselves and others through this negotiation of character and finally lash out in violence at those around them to justify the way they have been made to feel inside.
I choose bravery.
I didn't wear dresses. But coming out at 12 and being openly gay in high school I did realize the need to look as different as I felt inside. I chose a mohawk, white hair, blue hair, Dead Kennedys and Depeche Mode, Virgin Prunes and Bronski Beat, Bauhaus and Dream Academy. I wore eyeliner and used ALOT of Aqua Net. Small children cowered and adults looked at me and shook there head - what a horrible young man I was. A juvenille delinquient. My father knocked me around, even my mother smacked me repeatedly screaming the first time she saw the mohawk. But I know now all I was attempting to do was force them to accept me for what I was on the outside - DIFFERENT - so they might learn to accept me for who I was on the inside - DIFFERENT. How funny it is to be standing at a bar and have a guy cruise me who I went to junior high and high school with - the ones who called me fag. Remind me someday to tell you the story about my asshole 9th grade gym coach hitting on me one night at a bar in my 20's. Hmmm - I'll show you a faggot. Then there were those strange girly boys with their Pete Burns or Souixsie-Souix looks who were kind to me - somehow, though our approach was different, we were fighting the same fight.
If you saw two boys standing on the corner - one cute, muscular, buzz cut, big smile wearing a t-shirt that says "FAGGOT" and one wearing a rabbit fur jacket, capri pants and high-lighted hair - are they fighting for two "different" things ?