Like coming out for example. Coming out is hard. First you have to realize you’re attracted to persons of the same gender, then you have to tell your friends, then your family.
It’s hard to tell Aunt Cecilia and Uncle Ramir you’re a homo. Maybe it’s not so hard to tell your brother, but it’s hard to tell your mother. If you have a Jewish mother like I do, it can be really hard.
I still remember her reaction like it was yesterday.
“Oh my god,” she shrieked, before clutching her heart and falling to the floor in a faux faint, with more melodrama than Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand put together.
“This will kill your father,” my mother declared, as she sunk to the lavender linoleum tile.
Contrary to my mother’s prediction the news did not, in fact, kill my father —it barely made a dent, though he had a theory.
He brought up the topic of my mother’s aunt —my great Aunt Sarah, who lived alone, a woman who may or may not have been queer but who undoubtedly never married. “I think you get it from your mother’s side,” my father decided, before closing the matter.
Coming out is hard.
Asking a person out on a first date is hard. You have to find someone you’re attracted to, get their number, email address or facebook page.
You have to think of a great first date, like inviting them out for dinner, knowing the right wine to order and remembering to pick up the cheque. Or taking a romantic walk on the seawall, but first staking out the best trails and packing a picnic. Or inviting them over, serving your favourite snacks and at the end of the night not even making any moves, leaving both of you in a state of raw, exquisite, excruciating desire, with the beautiful possibility of meeting up again soon and requiting your “love.”
Asking someone on a first date is hard.
Moving in with your lover is hard. The moment is right (if you’re a lesbian it might be on your second date). You spend just about every night together anyway. Why not just move in together?
Inevitably one of you will be neater than the other. You might find out your lover watches reality shows when you thought they were reading poetry. For the whole time you were dating you might not have had any idea your beloved had the entire collection of Celine Dion CDs and a subscription to the National Post. Your darling might not have mentioned that he/she’s on Prozac and doesn’t have much of a sex drive.
Moving in with your lover is hard.
Performing your first show as a drag king is hard. First you have to find just the right outfit. Maybe it’s a Frank Sinatra suit. Maybe it’s rap singer baggy jeans that hang below your butt. Maybe it’s upper-class chic or working-class tough.
You gotta find just the right packing dick, that sits in your pants at just the right angle to be noticeable yet tasteful. For facial hair you have to buy spirit gum, the glue actors use to attach a fake mustache.
If you want to be authentic, you’ll probably cut off bits of your own hair for sideburns, a goatee or five o’ clock shadow. You have to pick music, practice ’til you have a fabulous routine and perform publicly.
Becoming a drag king is hard.
Realizing you are transgendered is one of the hardest things of all. As weird as the straight world gets when faced with man-man love or lesbian lust, they are even tighter when it comes to gender fluidity. Transitioning is really hard.
You have to live as the other gender. You have to convince your doctor to prescribe the hormones that will save your life. You have to come out all over again to your friends, your work, your family and hope like hell not too many of these people will abandon you when you are most vulnerable.
It’s going to cost you a lot of money. Your body is going to go through a lot of changes. As will your life. Transitioning is hard.
Voting, on the other hand, is not hard. And yet so few people voted in the recent federal election that I almost reacted the same way my mother did when I came out.
“Oh my god!” I shrieked when I heard the news. Then I clutched my heart, pretended to faint, and wondered if it would kill my father.
As queers, we, more than anyone, need to vote.
In 2006 when Harper gained a minority government for the first time, he tried to get rid of gay marriage. In the months leading up the this election, he slashed arts funding by $45 million, tried to legislate a law that would censor Canadian films at the whim of the heritage minister and you can just imagine what that would mean to the queer community’s ability to express our lives on film. If Harper and his conservatives had won a majority we’d all be clutching our hearts and fainting.
Voting is not hard. Your polling station is right in your neighbourhood. Your boss is required by law to give you time off to vote, giving you the perfect excuse to show up late or leave early. You go inside, mark an x beside the candidate of your choice, pop your ballot into the box and leave.
Some things are hard. Voting is easy. Next weekend we go to the polls on Nov 15 to elect the next mayor. In May we vote for our new premier. Do my mother (and me) a favour, and vote. Please?