Vancouver
3 min

Queer on the rocks

We queers conquer and then forget

Credit: Xtra West files

I don’t know if I’m queer anymore. It’s not that I’ve changed my mind about anything. I haven’t suddenly started lining up for shows like Puppetry of the Penis or finding Ray Romano funny. It’s just that I don’t see my life as particularly queer right now and I’ve got to tell you, this is problematic for someone writing a column for a queer paper. The idea behind this column is supposed to be my humorous take on queer life. But the more I try to write on that topic, the more I question whether or not I actually have much of a queer life anymore. And the more I start to worry.



I worry that being queer is like ice cubes. I have a freezer full of ice cubes yet very little call for them on a daily basis. But every once in a while I decide to get all classy and drink my Jack Daniels on the rocks instead of straight out of the bottle so I head on over to the ice box. Aside from the perpetual question of how the hell cat hair gets inside the freezer, I always stand there for awhile wondering if my ice cubes are still good. They’re made of water for cripes sake; what can go wrong with them?, I think.



But if you’ve ever tasted an old ice cube, you know that the answer is: plenty. You can’t just leave ice cubes in the freezer indefinitely and expect them to be fine whenever you need them. I worry that my sexuality is the same way. Oh, sure, I might still technically be queer, but I might not taste the same anymore on account of the freezer burn.



I need answers. But all I’ve got are questions. Questions like: How do we measure queer?



Is it strictly a matter of homosex? Because if being queer is about the amount of queer sex you are having then I’m like Pamela Wallin-straight at this point. Actually, I have no idea about Pamela’s proclivities. For all I know she’s a swinger of the highest order, but you get my drift. Yes, the crux of the issue is probably the sexual drought I appear to be camelling through. I worry that if I do get laid ever again I might startle my poor unsuspecting partner by hollering, “Yippee! I’m queer again!” in the middle of it.



Does queer culture have anything to do with it? Because if being queer is about your music collection, my abundance of Elton John and Rufus Wainwright CDs would seem to indicate that I’m a fag. Not terribly reassuring, but I guess it’s better than nothing.



Are there certain gay issues you have to support in order to be counted? Because if being queer is about current events, I’m in trouble. I watch stories about gay marriage on the news and, frankly, I couldn’t care less. It’s just so far removed from my reality that they might as well be stories about jogging rather than gay marriage; I have very little interest in doing either.



I realize that it is a privilege to even be questioning this. The idea of gay as passé is actually pretty audacious. When queer rights are still so far from being a given, it’s a bit premature to say the least.



I was talking to a friend recently and planning a somewhat provocative performance piece. “Oh, man, that would get our lesbian cards revoked for sure…” I said, half jokingly.



“Oh good,” she replied sarcastically. “I hate how much room that card takes up in my wallet, what with all the benefits attached to it and everything.”



Her comment made me feel a bit ashamed of myself for my participation in the weird backlash against queers by queers that seems to be surfacing as of late. Partly, it’s understandable. With capital P Pride becoming so commercialized and our queer lives growing ever more commodified and mainstream, many of us are rejecting all things gaylord. But are we throwing the baby out with the bath water when we do so? It sure seems a special kind of ungrateful to take the gains of the last 50-plus years for granted and to ignore the realities of those whose queer realities do not resemble our rosy ones. But that’s what we do, we queers; we conquer and we forget. We’re here! We’re queer! We’ve got other things to do!



I guess maybe there are things that are a hell of a lot worse than a little freezer burn. Maybe my cockiness about who I am and how lucky I am to be living this safe, boring queer life is what’s not so palatable about me these days. Maybe I’ve got a few more questions to ask myself.



*Morgan Brayton is a big fat queer.