NOVEMBER 2003

 

GUEST EDITORIAL
from the October 2003 issue of
GAY COMMUNITY NEWS

Discovering an editorial in the gay press that takes a critical look at "queer conservatism" and at the same time introduces us to features that focus on disabled queers is more than a breath of fresh air, it's a gust of wonderfully contrary-minded wind. The views expressed below come not from an American media conglomerate or radical faerie rag, but from the longest-running free gay publication, with the largest gay and lesbian readership "throughout Ireland, north and south." We are grateful to Brian Finnegan, editor of GNC, for allowing us to reprint it here, in full.

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Well, here we go with another out 'n' proud issue of the new GCN, and one that we're particularly pleased with. This time 'round we decided to do features that had some focus on the issues that disabled queers face, both on a social and sexual level. It's a beginning in addressing people in our 'community' who don't fit into the growing ideas of what 'queer' really is. All gay men are not shaved and pumped party animals who like shopping, dancing and hanging around with Bridget Jones; all lesbians are not successful business women with picture-perfect relationships and cats.

The globalisation of gay has engendered a kind of queer conservatism where we are all pressurised into adhering to certain idealistic principles. In these days of shopping, working out and fucking, it's hard to believe that being gay was once about embracing and celebrating all kinds of difference within the minority.

Images of happy-go-lucky, perfectly-presented queers in the media, enormous celebrations like EuroPride and Sydney Mardi Gras; even a night at a packed-to-the-gills Dublin gay nightclub can fool us into believing that we are not a minority anymore—that there are no people out there who regard us as sexually disabled in some way, or deviant from the norm.

The recent appearance by my deputy, Rachel and her partner, Michelle, on the Late Late Show told the real story. Despite all the positive images and mass visibility, we're still living in a country where the national TV channel will employ the rantings of ultra-right wing pundits to argue against same-sex parenthood. We still get to watch programmes where audiences applaud statements like, "God made man and woman to have children. Anything else is not right."

And in the face of such visible and vocal discrimination, what do we do? We try to pretend we're "perfect" and end up discriminating against people in our own community who don't fit into that ideal.

Don't be fooled. No matter how 'majority' you feel as a queer person, you are absolutely not. The only way to really galvanise in the face of discrimination is to be proud of who we are as queers, in all the shapes, forms and identities we take. I'm not perfect, and I sure as hell don't want to be anybody else's version of what "perfect" is. Anyone who is, or does, is living in a fool's paradise with sharks coming up the rear.

-Brian Finnegan, Editor
© 2003 Gay Community News/Used with permission