Best gay possible
I was thinking I would ask our resident drag expert, Maddie, to talk about Panti Bliss, the fab Irish drag queen who a few years back called homophobes on their bullshit, but Maddie is on vacation. She's in some undisclosed location surrounded by pool boys and getting an overall tan, so it's gonna be me writing about Panti.
And why, would you wonder, am I bringing this up now? It's been years since she gave her talk about homophobia and the neat Orwellian trick straight homophobes tried to play on her by declaring that SHE was being homophobic when she called THEM homophobes. Yep. The straights were lecturing Panti about who could decide what was homophobic or not and who was supposed to feel offended by it. Pretty much what this administration is doing to people right now.
It may be worth remembering her speech, that has many, many on point observations, such as:
"Have you ever been on a crowded train with your gay friend and a small part of you is cringing because he is being SO gay and you find yourself trying to compensate by butching up or nudging the conversation onto "straighter" territory? This is you who have spent 35 years trying to be the best gay possible and yet still a small part of you is embarrassed by his gayness.
And I hate myself for that. And that feels oppressive."
Think about it. Have you tried to be the best gay possible but that little bit of internalized homophobia has gotten on the way? Have you ever checked yourself at a pedestrian crossing? No? You're fortunate.
But why don't you hear the whole speech, that Panti gave after a performance in the Abbey Theater in Dublin. I've posted it here, with a nice soundtrack that the Pet Shop Boys created just for her.
Think about the gay people who check themselves while standing at a pedestrian crossing, those who read the opinions of nice neighboring housewives who consider them intrinsically disordered, those who are oppressed in their own countries. Think about how entities, like our government tell us that we should not complain because we're not thrown off buildings while they take away our rights.
And I'll leave you with this, which encapsulates probably how many of us feel:
"I do, it is true, believe that almost all of you are probably homophobes. But I'm a homophobe. It would be incredible if we weren't. To grow up in a society that is overwhelmingly homophobic and to escape unscathed would be miraculous. So I don't hate you because you are homophobic. I actually admire you. I admire you because most of you are only a bit homophobic. Which all things considered is pretty good going.
But I do sometimes hate myself. I hate myself because I fucking check myself while standing at pedestrian crossings. And sometimes I hate you for doing that to me."