Friday, June 12, 2009

Way beyond the norm...

I'm not the biggest fan of the HRC. At least here in New York. The national organization is mostly just concerned with the issues of wealthy gays who already have a lot and want more. It is a bit too corporate and plastic, sort of a collective attempt at best-little-boy-in-the-world ("If I'm smart/pretty/talented/happy/rich enough, then they will like me!"). On a local level, I feel like they are more relevant. Their ubiquity is reassuring and that there is any kind of gay political organization comforts me when I'm back in Alabama.

So mostly I just ignore them. Then I readTowleroad this morning and see this quote from a NYT article on the upcoming "Bruno" film:

We strongly feel that Sacha Baron Cohen and Universal Pictures have a responsibility to remind the viewing public right there in the theater that this is intended to expose homophobia,” said Brad Luna, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign.

Whatever. Telling an artist to explain his intentions and tell the audience how to feel is gross. Either it does what he intends or it doesn't. I'll give the HRC a little slack (even thought that statement is beyond the pale stupid) because it appears to just be a statement given for the article, but reading the comments following Towleroad's post got me a little riled up. One commenter started off with, "...he's also perpetuating a stereotype that goes far beyond the norm." This gets right at the heart of what irritates me about the HRC and so much of the marriage focused activism: the idea that we are supposed to be normal. I'm all for the message that gay people are people, too; that we are fully human and have dreams and aspirations and complex emotional lives. We aren't just cartoons or sex monsters. But at the same time, I'm not normal and don't want to be. I think the desperate attempt to telegraph that we are normal too is corrosive, both to us and to the society in general. Being on the outer fringes is a gift that we shouldn't be so quick to give up. Society doesn't need us being just one more group of functional automatons. Instead, we serve society better in shaking up the precious order and making people feel a little less like they are the only strange or absurd characters out there. Our great gift isn't that we can be just like everyone else but rather that we remind of the complexity and complication of the human condition. We can't be just like everyone else. And we shouldn't have to be. This isn't just a song that we should be singing to ourselves: you (all of you) can't be just like everyone else and you shouldn't have to be. That we are all different and that there is such a mix is beautiful, not a weakness. Perpetuating a stereotype that goes far beyond the norm is exactly what more of us should be doing. Fuck the norm. It isn't the straight-acting gays running around Washington trying to be what they think the bigots would rather we be who are advancing the rights of gay people; the drag queens with their heels and the nelly kids coming out in middle school are a thousand times braver and more progressive.

Bruno is going to be ridiculous. It is supposed to be.

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