Queer Nation was a backlash gay movement that didn’t want a place at the diversity mosaic melting pot table, they wanted to kick the table over. It was more aggressive than other gay groups of the time, which took a “same as you, just happen to be gay” approach.
The major activity of Queer Nation was outing famous people who were anti-gay in public but gay in private. Not just major Republicans, either; but Hollywood Celebrities.
Part of the urgency at the time was AIDS, which seems strange to look back now at the government and health agency inaction and red tape delays while citizens died. Of course, being gays were not “good” citizens – so it’s not really surprising that many people thought that AIDs was a manufactured illness to eliminate societies’ undesirables.
Which, given that the euthanasia programs of the 1950’s into the 1970’s in Canada and the US of sterilizing “undesirables” in mental institutions and other facilities; didn’t seem that far a stretch. Especially when you consider that the Brits allowed Coventry to be bombed and likely the US allowed Pearl Harbour to be bombed to advance or protect a government agenda. Protecting the secret of radar for the first and to sway public sentiment to get into WWII for the latter.
Aside: Wow, I suddenly understand why there’s so many 9/11 Truthers. They are just expending the pattern. But, why go into an elaborate conspiracy when plain covering your ass and incompetence is the simpler and more elegant explanation for events.
But, back to outing. At first glance, those politicians (link to brain rewards post) who condemn gays publically, propose and support unconstitutional laws to discriminate against gays but who are gay in private – deserve to be exposed, outed and removed from office.
These self loathing closet cases are betraying everyone – publically, they are betraying their fellow gays and privately, they are betraying the voters who are anti-gay and voted for that politician.
In the 80’s, this seemed more than fair to me – but then, to liberal thinkers, being consistent in word and deed is important. (religious thinkers tend towards you’re supposed to fail to live up to the word so you can repent – and it’s the quality of your humble repentance that’s important.”
But now, older and less of a black vs white thinker, I see that perhaps I
But more than politicians, it was celebrities who were outed. Probably because they were less discrete in their sexcapades than more opinion sensitive politicians – so there was a larger pool of people to do the outing – and the public is largely apathetic to politicians so it may be that their sex partners had no idea that they were a public figure – so, it’s a sad commentary that the public knows more and worse cares more about what celebrities are doing than the public figures who have input into legislation which affects us all.
The idea behind celebrity outing was to create the appearance that being gay was okay – to provide role models for gay teens, since they are more prone to suicide than straight teens. Back then to my mind, celebrities were less desirable targets. After all, reluctant role models aren’t anything to emulate.
It also seemed less fair to punish a celebrity with career loss than the politician, since the politicians used their careers to cause harm to real people. But celebrities were escapism, not public policy.
However, most people aren’t really aware of what public policy is and they live their lives indifferently because when you have a strong sense of how the world should be, you tend to perceive it is that way – and cruelly punish anyone who challenges that perception. (Like not allowing them to share in rights – it’s why people who say, gays aren’t banned from marriage, they can marry an opposite gender person like everyone else is so infuriating, since it’s a demand to conform without regard to the gay reality that we aren’t going to live hypocritically and cause harm to those people we’d be lying to by marrying them)
So now, older and more a grey thinker – it may well be that closeted celebrities do cause more harm than lying politicians.
What’s funny is that we expect politicians to lie, but somehow actors who play other people are somehow revealing a truth. It’s funny because it’s true – we use fiction to understand our non-fiction world.
Entertainment, where we think that we escape reality, actually reinforces the reality of whatever the public norms of the day are; it’s not an escape. Entertainment stories, no matter how much greyness they appear to include, is black and white thinking. Which is comforting to us, since everything is clear and simple, even if it’s not easy. Heck, we don’t like anything easy.
If you watch cartoons from earlier decades, the blatant racism is overwhelming to current sensibilities – but wasn’t anything to raise an eyebrow in the 30’s. The newest edition of Huckleberry Finn isn’t even going to have the n-word appear – which alters the cultural context of the book – a whitewashing. But we don’t do any good or anyone favours by pretending that the discrimination wasn’t real or wasn’t as bad.
You have to wonder who’s sensibilities are being catered to – the group who was discriminated against, or the discriminators. By ignoring the elephant in the room, you leave yourself no room to deal with anything else.
Entertainments that reinforce public norms (aka stereotypes) play a huge role in shaping what that black and white world that we think we live in. So, when you don’t see gay characters in movies, TV and books – or the ones you see play a limited role – often a cautionary tale where the character dies because they can’t be “normal” or who find something or someone who facilitates them re-joining the normal herd – often as a result of their lover’s death – it’s easy to think that either there aren’t gay people because they get normal or die; so when you encounter a gay person who’s a person who’s gay – it challenges that black and white world view that entertainment tells us we live in – it causes the anger, resentment and hatred that drives the anti-gay sentiment – which in turn, reinforces what entertainment has told us the world is like.
Legislation is easier to undo and challenge than public norms. The laws of the land are the reality that we live in, they are clear but complicated, interdependent on each other and have a hierarchy of authority. At the top is the Charter or Constitution that explain the basic premises of society – while legislation and other levels of law making have to fit within that larger framework of fairness.
There is no footnote in the highest legislation which says that people from identifiable groups are not included in the rights that all citizens are entitled to because they are citizens.
Yet, under the framework of individual and collective rights where everyone is equal under the law – yet, before 1900’s, “everyone” didn’t include the slaves or aboriginal people at all and only nominally included white women.
White women demanded equality as represented by being able to vote, but it was still well into the 1970’s that what women could wear to schools was out of their control, same for obtaining bank loans without a male co-signer.
Black Americans stepped up to demand equality and the rarer and less public lynching have morphed into hate crimes.
Which explains a lot about why so many black activists hate gays and lesbians being covered by that “hate crime” umbrella. It’s hard to be a victim class when other groups are victims too – it makes being a victim more the norm and any one of is less a special case.
What it takes to increase tolerance and acceptance is that people in the majority know members of the minority – to see them as people. This is fairly easy to accomplish in cities, which tend to be where minorities live – and harder in rural areas, which are more demographically homogenous.
Worse for minorities like gays and athiests, because we look like anyone else – and so, unlike an ethnic or other visible minority, those of us who are in invisible groups have to actually come out and tell people that we’re gay and/or atheist.
So, let’s start by outting ourselves and make it easier for people in public positions to be out and encourage more self-outing.
Coming out atheist and a lesbian.
Life is a process of coming out and defining yourself whenever your identity doesn’t include whatever your family or culture’s assumed norms are.
Coming out is a process by which you acknowledge your difference to yourself, then to the people who matter to you so they can share your life and ultimately to society itself.
Sometimes the coming out is small – a person who chooses a different religion or different way to live than their family – i.e. – not marry and have a child or marry and not have a child – heck, even being a vegetarian would require outing yourself in order to be accommodated by other people.
Which is what the essence of coming out is – it’s just something you do when you require accommodation and inclusion by others or under the law.
It is the people who cannot be honest with themselves about themselves who tend to turn their self loathing onto others – which explains gay bashers – as they tend to be deep closet or latent gay and why so many rethuglicans who advocate anti-gay laws get caught cheating on their wives with younger men.
They turn their self loathing onto others by enacting laws that they think will enforce conformity – they follow the rules because they think following rules will save them from themselves, but when you make up rules to enforce your compliance – as the line in Jurassic Park says, “nature finds a way” – and so they arrogantly march to their doom and exposure – which serves the purpose of being the point at which you can now demonstrate your dedication to the impossible religious rules and be submissive, since you are further internalizing the abusive relationship that is religion.
Which is largely why AA is a waste of time and is illegally supported by taxpayers, since it is religion in the same way that Intelligent Design is religion tarted up in science language, so AA is a religion tarted up in psychological treatment terms, which, because it started in the 1930s and has been around for a long time, has become an accepted conventional treatment – but, it works no better than a person determined to stop their addiction with no support and is at best, a change of addiction from substance to meetings – and it largely doesn’t work, because there is no accepting personal responsibility for actions when you assert you are not what’s in control. Giving away your power for self control to vague higher powers is the essence of religion – and to truly end addictions, you must take back the control and responsibility for same – because addiction is the removal of control to something else and by going to AA, you are just giving your control to something else and that doesn’t fix addiction, it is addiction.
It strikes that the religious mindset is the opposite of sado-masochism/bondage and discipline (SMBD).
In SMBD there’s a top and a bottom and the top can do anything within an agreed scene to the bottom until the bottom says the safe word – so the top appears to have all the control – save the most important one – the power to end the scene.
Whereas, the psychological version of SMBD is religion – and how it works is that you are abused under the rules until you say the safeword – atheism.
And the abuse of religion is everything that is natural to you is deemed sinful, just to ensure that you maintain low enough self esteem to not use the safeword to escape. The group thinks that in order to keep you from using the safeword they must characterized athiests in society as immoral, deviant, perverts – the same way that all groups whom religions don’t like are characterized – because shunning is how religion keeps people in the fold.
When you are shunned, you are excluded from the social defaults – this is why rethuglicans have to pass laws against their personal natures to ensure that they will be punished when they get caught – so it keeps them in fear of being caught – but they become overwhelmed with knowing they are frauds and so essentially orchestrate being caught so they can either have a self-fulfilling prophesy and make their worst fear come to pass or they are re-affirming their place in the religious group by admitting their sin and being submissive or contrite – and this is the masochist pay off for not using the safe word.
The fundie believers have to use a lot of energy to maintain their beliefs, both as apologists for their beliefs and self torture to justify their beliefs.
Which is no wonder then, why they are so angry and hate-filled towards athiests, gays and lesbians and everyone else who is living opening and honestly within themselves, their families and the larger society.
But, that they are hate-driven is not consistent with their preferred self image and so they come up with ridiculous things like love the sinner and hate the sin – as if anything that defines identity is at all separate from the person.
But, that is just how disconnected from themselves they are – and in some ways, I could feel pity for them, if they weren’t so hellbent on making me illegal and a target of hate crimes.
Which, if they were really sure that there was a hell, they would not feel the compulsion to make sure that people who are different than their preferred conformity suffered in life now.
I guess it is true that misery loves company, they are suffering extremely and so think everyone else should. But, suffering is optional when you have a safeword.
Which is what makes the line between physical pain and pleasure so delicious and at a certain intensity, have no difference to the central nervous system.
In a way, I guess an orgasm is little more than a psychological epiphany, but, the orgasm is a lot funner when it’s shared and why blogging can be considered intellectual masturbation – it’s sharing the epiphanies.
So, it’s not that confirmation bias is a bad thing, we’re all addicted to that A-ha! moment of release – stroking ourselves is stroking our ego.So there is a certain amount of truth that masturbating will make you go blind, because we literally stop seeing information that is contrary to our beliefs.
I started telling people I was an atheist at 12, so yes it would have been a coming out, but but since people put very little wieght on what kids say about their future selves, it didn’t feel like coming out – I had initiated going to church sort of – a few years earlier – a southern baptist church opened up near my school and they sent a guy to get the kids to come with offers of prizes to those who brought the most other kids.
I only went because it was southern and I wanted to experience the type of church Elvis would have when he was a lad – and boy was I not disappointed – the preacher used a microphone and he jumped and hollered and wiggled very dramatically all over the place – I was in thrall of the energy – I don’t even remember what was said – but when I showed my mom the little comic book they had given us of the Adam and Eve story, she got upset since it showed them turning into black people after they sinned.
So, she went to all the churches for a few weeks and finally took me and my sister to the Knox Presbyterian church since she thought I was interested. It was certainly different, quiet, calm, staid – and we went for a while largely because we liked the people and this was the religion that my Mom had been raised in, but there was no holy roller stuff, there was no theatrics, even in performance.
One year, we had a junior choir, the minister’s 2 grandsons and me and my sister – and we’d sing and then onto the next agenda item – only one evening Christmas mass, after we sang, did a visitor start to clap, hesitate and begin to stop clapping, when other regular folks hesitatingly started to clap did it then build to actual applause.
Hmmm, that makes sense why then I have this ethic that there’s no need to comment or compliment on a job well done when it’s expected and routine.
In fact, I tend to mistrust that response as being overly solicitous – which, I suppose is a lot better than the hang-ups people usually get from church.
But while I enjoyed going – because of the people, the sense of community and ritual appealed to me – the stories always felt remote and not relevant and once I started learning history, the stories made no sense.
Fortunately for me, the lessons that I learned 5 days a week in school carried more authority, reality and relevance to my mind than the ones I heard once a week in church – and when I asked the Sunday school teacher to reconcile the world history with the bible stories – and she was unable to understand why that should be done never mind begin to do it, made me start to feel that there was less and less truth in what church was telling us.
The final connection was broken after my Dad’s mom died and I remember spending a lot of time pleading with god to not take her away, I even stayed up all night and at 6:10 am the phone rang – I knew she was gone and that all my pleading was for nothing and what good was a god who didn’t answer your most heartfelt prayers?
At 12, I was already intellectually done with god and now the emotional connection was damaged, although, it was anger at first, until I realized that you can’t be angry at a thing that doesn’t exist, since things that don’t exist have no power to affect and effect anything.
Death is a part of life, life can’t occur without death and whatever happens to us is entirely natural – which is why if there is anything after death, then it too will be entirely natural and not at all impacted by what we did or didn’t do with our genitals or beliefs or our lives.
And, if there is something after this life, then let’s deal with it then – and not act as if life now is a dress rehearsal, because it’s not – we can either do things in this life or we can prepare for the next, which is only meaningful if there is a next life.
So, enjoy now, have meaning now, be good in the here and now, when we know it can matter. It’s important to choose life, but choose your own life, and leave others to manage their lives.
I let go of god in my early teens and despite all the efforts to be dragged and pulled back into that closet, I never did.
I came out in my early twenties as a lesbian – and sadly after university, which, looking back, really would have been the place to come out, since university was pretty much a veritable buffet of women.
So, no wonder then that religious fundies want to keep women from being educated and limit what and how that education is done.