Whatever happened to gay rage?
Remember the bar brawl brashness of Stonewall? Police cars toppled and lit on fire after Toronto’s bathhouse raids? When younger homosexuals get nostalgic for the heady days of gay lib, they oughtn’t yearn so much for the unfettered drug-taking and unprotected sex. They should long to be mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. I still maintain that if you lift the lid off any queer, you’ll find a cauldron full of seething rage hidden inside. Left unchecked, it will simmer endlessly as a soup of self-loathing, or reduce to a thick stew of bitterness.
And yet there’s been just the faintest seepage of rage in response to the gay marriage debate, despite plenty to merit a response. Besides Bishop Henry, highlights include sanctimonious columnist Barbara Kay on CBC Newsworld, telling stunned lesbian guests Rachel Giese and Maggie Cassella that gay parents are selfish and shouldn’t put children through the stigma and cruelty they’ll face. I distinctly recall from my youth, a nice Catholic lady saying exactly the same thing about interracial parents. Bigotry dressed up as childcare.
Kay’s son Jonathan, a National Post editor, floated an idea that gay men shouldn’t be allowed to wed because our promiscuity and disease would destabilize our households. Besides the fact that promiscuity and disease aren’t disqualifiers for heterosexuals, isn’t the denial of rights to a whole group based on the behaviour of some the essence of stereotyping and discrimination?
At least the Kays are responding publicly. There’s nary a peep from the gay and lesbian community. Months after Stephen Harper called gay rights a threat to multiculturalism, he hasn’t received so much as a cream pie in the face, let alone the stinging slap he so richly deserves.
Harper is coaching new immigrants to import bigotries. He says new Canadians should expect to practise their religions without interference from the state, but the Liberals want them to check their politically incorrect cultures at the border. By his logic, various sects should expect to sell their daughters, stone gay men to death and throw widows onto their husbands’ funeral pyres. Someone should send Harper a T-shirt: My Canada Includes Female Genital Mutilation.
So why the eerie silence amongst Canada’s queer communities? I have several theories:
We’re smug. We fancy ourselves rather sophisticated. We smirk at the rantings of superstitious religious folks. Their quaint fears of homosexuality are laughable and do not warrant our response, we say to ourselves as we huddle in our urban ghettoes, protected from the harsh hinterland winds.
We’re overconfident. We think this marriage thing is in the bag. Best to lie low until it becomes law.
We’re posing. Marriage is a dignified, respectable institution. If we want to convince Canadians we deserve it, best to appear composed and refined at all times.
We don’t care about same-sex marriage. We’ve supported it on principle, or out of obligation or solidarity, or because our enemies don’t want us to have it. But somehow, few of us are inspired to get into battle gear over it.
We’re selfish. We know there’s something important going on, but we’re really busy, and that new toaster needs polishing.