42 years after Pierre Elliott Trudeau famously kicked the government out of the bedrooms of the nation, India has followed our lead in decriminalising homosexuality. As one of the last ten countries to have such a law — and as one of the most populous countries on the planet — this is joyous news!
Now, India gets to continue openly building the gay culture that, as we discussed here yesterday, activists like Peter Tatchell fear we're now losing in the West:
"While straight couples are deserting marriage, same-sexers are rushing to embrace it: witness the current legal fight in California for the right to marry. Are queers the new conservatives, the 21st-century suburbanites?"
Only if they want to be, Peter, and yes, sadly, that is part of what we've all been fighting for — the freedom for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and yes, straight people to decide how they want to live their lives. It's not the movement's fault if the lives they choose are boring!
I kid, of course — watching movies on my boyfriend's big-screen TV at home, I'm as bourgeois as anyone — but Yasmin Nair has some excellent commentary on why the fight for gay marriage is a big symbolic distraction.
Tatchell argues that gay culture itself is at stake but hasn't it been already? "Will & Grace" made us cute and we're generally happy to play along. Drag is rarely provocative anymore, leathermen are kind of adorable and part of me misses the days when non-threatening little me could tell someone I was gay and watch them recoil in horror (that was a fun week).
And, like I said, there's the melding going on: we've got gay hip-hop and straight drag stars, metrosexuals and gay eHarmony, fey football fans and gay-for-pay fratboys — all heading for a big bi world? All that's missing is the sex.
In an interview with Ottawa's Guerilla magazine last week, Xtra's own Marcus McCann talked about his sexy poetry and slutty worldview:
"In a column at Capital Xtra, I described myself as a "slut in a loving, non-monogamous relationship," a term that I know raised some eyebrows at the time."
With straight people? Or Xtra readers? McCann doesn't say, but our cheerful "pro-polyamory, pro-sex work, pro-BDSM, pro-casual sex, etc." activist does admit:
"I would hate for all my discussion of threesomes,
public sex, one night stands, the whole gay thing, whatever—I would
hate for that to be read as a condemnation of more straight-laced
people and how they live."
I find myself agreeing with everything McCann says but the more we activists roll around the fading distinction between "gay culture" and "straight culture," the more it seems to me that what we're really talking about is monogamy, no? In our current social framework, straight culture is about settling down with one person forever and churning out babies, while gay culture is about testing the limits with a polymorphously perverse stew of lovers, fuckbuddies and tricks — but has anything ever been that tidy?
No, I think McCann is dead on when he says:
"I hope by talking about
things like casual sex, I can get some people to feel less guilty about
what they're already doing. Because there's nothing worse than a
"What they're already doing" is the point. Almost everyone has been, is or will be promiscuous at some point and gay or straight, married or not, many people have already decided for themselves on whether they're monogamous or not. The only question now is whether to not to lie about it and it's a question that needs asking because the internet is rapidly making it moot.
But we'll have more on that tomorrow as I bring in a guest (!!) to help me do the heavy lifting…