The marketplace of ideas, the ubiquity of gay culture, and what it really might mean in the larger scope of the movement.
By Scott King
I’M HARD TO SHOCK. I seen it all, and I’ve heard even worse. I’ve always thought Marilyn Manson was boring.
A few weeks ago, at the beginning of Pride month, I saw an ad for something called Pride Fries. No, this is not a Fort Lauderdale tanning contest. This is an ad campaign recently promulgated by good ol’ Micky D’s, to celebrate Pride Month and to put a rainbow flag on the back of your Super Size.
Pride? Rocking out your local McDonald’s? In, like, Alabama? Excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the dang floor.
Are we that mainstream that we can claim billions and billions served? Just do it? Is Nationwide really on our side? Apparently.
Kim Davis was ostensibly the last wave of the backlash. Her appearances in that Laura Ashley dress, standing as both martyr and poster divorcee for “traditional” marriage, was a surefire sign that we had won the culture wars and had achieved equality in every state and on the federal level. All that was left for her to do was come out of that jail cell a second time into the arms of Mrs. Mike Huckabee, with the backing soundtrack of “Eye of the Tiger.” For the next month, you couldn’t walk past a queer bar without hearing a remix of that classic ‘80s track.
I love gay people so hard. I love straight people, too.
EVEN THOUGH IT’S TRAUMATIC, and tragic, remember Orlando. After a lone-gunman misanthrope attacked the gay community in that fair city, the masses stood in line to donate blood to save gay lives. And the gays were there to distribute bottles of water to the volunteers and donors.
That was the part when I teared up for the second (or third) time. Let’s not forget that we are only about 30 years removed from the days when Ryan White was called the F word and needed a federal court order to go to school.
And as recently as 1992 (!) Pat Robertson was speaking to the Republican National Convention about how we need to take back our cities back from “the perverts and the thugs.” He meant gays and blacks. Whom would that leave?
It’s not that those sentiments are dead or verboten. Peek back in history, and you will see that the same hateful and divisive scare tactics being employed to gain support for bathroom bills, adoption laws, and religious freedom bills that would codify discrimination, were used against gay and other victims of HIV in the ‘80s, birth control and equal pay seeking women in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and black people (especially women) forever.
PAULA ABDUL WAS RIGHT, of course. We take two steps forward, and the backlash takes us two steps back.
But the one thing they can’t take from us is our ubiquity. We are in every family and every community, and people know what we fucking look like. If even McDonald’s is pushing the gay agenda, you know something must have changed in the zeitgeist.
Like the Kardashians, everyone knows about the LGBT community, even if they’re not the biggest fans, and even if they know very little about us, or claim never to have met any of us.
Personally, I’ve never seen their show, the family K. I don’t know their names, either. Still, they’re everywhere. They seem very nice on talk shows. And so articulate! And they’re just a fact of life. They’re not going away. And like them, some people really like us.
Other than having sex with beautiful, beautiful men, my favorite thing about being gay is the light that it puts in people’s eyes. When you are a happy gay person and you meet a person that is fairly groovy, and they figure out fairly quickly that you are a fun gay person, they light up. Like a damn Christmas tree.
Or, to put it more clearly, like a child’s eyes when he spies his yumny, yummy pride fries.
Mmm. Mmm. Good!