Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I'm coming into Manhattan this Friday to see "Gypsy" with Patti Lupone at a special holiday matinee. It's required in order to keep up my standing in the gay union (One Jules Styne musical PLUS a Gay Diva = 1,000 BONUS QUEER POINTS).
After copping my ticket (great seat, too. Aisle seat, 5th row Mezz -- the ideal seat for any musical, especially at the St. James Theater) I realized that I was going to be in town "for the evening" and that I could either a) see another show (big $) OR b) see the movie "Milk" which opens tomorrow in "selected cities" (translation = "cities with humongous gay and/or ultra-liberal populations, many of whom are either in show biz or they know people who are), namely Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
Being the sort of guy I am (on a budget), I decided to see "Milk." Then I decided to invite some other gay people I know who are also in recovery. I called my friend "M" first and blurted out my plan. "Oh", he said, "I'd LOVE to go." Well, that was easy. Then he added, "Who was Milk?"
WHO WAS MILK???!!!! I was horrified. Appalled. Scandalized. Don't they teach these kids ANYTHING these days? They don't know where Zimbabwe is and they never heard of Harvey Milk. Tsk. Tsk.
Granted, "M" was exactly 1 year old when Harvey and George Moscone were assassinated, thus, sadly, launching Dianne Feinstein's political career on the national stage with her tearful announcement on nationwide TV of the deaths of the Mayor and city Supervisor. He was unaware, too, of Dan White and the ridiculous "Twinkie Defense." Or the fact that White, after a few years in prison, was set free, only to off himself a short time later.
I jettisoned plans to invite anyone else and determined that "M" was going to be my gay good deed of the month. I was going to educate this lad, whether he wanted it or not.
Seriously, though, we shouldn't be too surprised that Prop 8 passed in California, given the lousy job my generation has done of keeping the gay lib flame alive AND of passing along gay history to the next generation of gay, lesbian and transgendered youth.
But it was so easy to give up. The "Uncle Moms" among us made it easy to surrender, with their soothing talk of "making nice with the straights" and "it'll come... in time.... just give it time." It was about assuaging the feelings of straight people ... and denying and subjugating our own. It was about making straight people "comfortable" with having us around.
BULLFRIGGINSHIT. We should've been out there marching and demonstrating and making straight people VERY uncomfortable all along. But then AIDS came along and some of us actually bought into the RRR (radical religulous right - or Rockin' Ronnie Reagan)'s assertions that we were being "punished" for our previously hedonistic lifestyle, when, in fact, AIDS had been around for a hundred years, was primarily transmitted via heterosexual intercourse in Africa and was no more "our fault" than the sun, the moon or the stars. That, coupled with the Uncle Mom's pleadings to "play nice" proved to be too much for the handful of radicals who remained.
By the time the 80's were over, the few radical faeries left got involved in either ACT-UP or Queer Nation, both of which groups eventually succumbed to political infighting and subsequent fracturing.
Maybe it's radical time again. I feel emboldened, even at the ripe old age of 60, to once again take to the streets (this time without the aid of "marshals" and "permits" and "police escorts") to make the point that:
I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!
Screw the establishment.
Oh, and marriage is just the tip of my iceberg. Full, unfettered, equal protection and rights under the law, is what I want. And when do I want it? 1972.
I think Harvey would've approved.
p.s. I got tickets to see the revival of "West Side Story" this coming March, too. I'm in Show-Queen Heaven right now.