You’ve all heard about the latest Jamaican dancehall artist debacle, the cancelled Elephant Man appearance at government-operated Downsview Park over Thanksgiving weekend.
I’d describe my feeling as the latest round of “us” versus “them” unfolded like this: Motherfuckercocksucker.
Here we go again, I thought, another menu of righteously livid press releases, stories in Xtra, angry conversations among friends over drinks and outrage at Conservative minister Diane whatever-her-name-is for not even responding to our protests.
It’s all as predictable as Michael Jackson costumes this Halloween.
Elephant Man was foiled, we won. The score is pretty good actually; we get a gold star for keeping the pressure on those who come to Canada to sing in Jamaican patois of raping lesbians and lighting faggots afire.
But didn’t you have a feeling, like I did, of being so over the fighting and pushing, pushing, pushing against it all?
It’s been, what, a year since this matter last reared its ugly head?
In my own disgust I’ve tried everything I can think of to help. I’ve written angry words in this paper, convinced Proud FM programmers that “Montego Bay” is not only a bad choice of song on the same day Gareth Henry is on my show with heartbreaking tales of gay friends murdered there, but a bad choice period.
I gave a club owner who booked a homophobic dancehall act the hardest time I know how, live on air, my usual hosty graciousness eclipsed by my fury. I joined all of you who took time to email and phone club owners, promoters and Diane, the Conservative lady who ignores us.
I did everything I could think of but a girl gets fed up. My motherfuckercocksucker feeling reminded me of when I was a teen and my dad was dying of cancer. He was hauled off to hospital again and again, poor man. Just when you thought he was getting better, he would take a turn for the worse. I felt guilty for feeling what I felt: Another fucking round of this drama, when will it ever end?
So now, with a purely selfish desire for a better state of mind, I’ve reached a surprising new conclusion about Elephant Man and the other homophobic dancehallers. I’ve taken my thoughts further on this than I thought they could go, and in the doing I’ve succeeded in losing that awful motherfuckercocksucker feeling.
If you feel particularly passionately about this issue, you may not like my new conclusion. Then again, if you feel particularly passionately, maybe you will.
My new conclusion — and I mean it from a place of sincerity — goes like this: I appreciate Elephant Man.
I appreciate him and the whole lot of queer haters out there, numbered as they are in the millions. I realize the hatred that runs so deep in them pushes forward the very definition of queer power. Know what I mean? Without them, without the contrast of something to upset us, rile us, infuriate us, move us and push us into action from a place of inspiration, our movement would be still.
To see so clearly in the likes of Elephant Man what we don’t want, we can envision exactly what we do want.
Look at the way we’ve come together as a community following the murder of Chris Skinner. Look at the 1,000-strong candlelight vigil, inspired by the horrid death-by-SUV of one of us.
I appreciate you deeply, Mr Elephant Man. It’s people like you who take queers like me to a new platform from which to desire more for ourselves.
It doesn’t mean this is over between us, it’s just that by thinking of this issue from this new space I am able to carry on more comfortably than before, appreciating the magnitude of the evolution you inspire for all involved.
In your hate, you speed us closer and closer, faster and faster to the respect that people like me want and so richly deserve.