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September 7, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Guest editorial

The year in queer has been a healthy one at Victoria, if I do say so myself. UniQ Victoria was host to the UniQ Aotearoa Conference, a weekend from which we didn’t escape without a little controversy. The Queer Mentoring Programme has finally begun. Pride week’s looking to be a hoot. We’ve had a bunch of other fabulous events. Elsewhere, Outtakes was fabulous. The Transgender Inquiry is kicking ass and taking names. The Defence of Provocation has got some attention, not really for the right reasons, but whatever. OutThere was closed down which sucks, but I guess merchant bankers turned politician, in their infinite knowledge of the queer community’s needs, work in mysterious ways and it’ll all just work out in the end. Turns out Lady Gaga has a dick, and all of this is great. Great great great.

But seriously, folks, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re already queer. I don’t want to tell you about what’s happened and what’s going on, I’ll leave that to the rest of the magazine. Instead I’d like to briefly address a phenomenon far more insidious than outright homophobia. It’s called complacency, and it’s what happens when we stop questioning things. Example: Otago Polytechnic Student Association Co-President Meegan Cloughley was caught singing a similar version of the tune ‘I’m not racist but…’ when she said in an interview with Gyro Magazine:

“…[S]ome people define their life through their sexuality so that every person around them has to know that they’re gay or that they’re a lesbian or whatever. In a sense it is a weapon, to shake up society.”

Complacency is one thing, and being oblivious is another, but I couldn’t agree more. You know, in a good way. Why is shaking up society such a bad thing? Surely a society that feels ‘shaken’ by the very insinuation that I take boys to bed is one that needs to change. Harden the fuck up, society. Of course queer people are not just the sexual minorities that institutionalised heterosexism has made them out to be. Sure we can all be flight attendants, Christians, pro wrestlers, brunettes or whatever, and still queer, but until queer people are seen as just those things and aren’t treated differently for being who we are, maybe we won’t have so much to talk about. In the words of Margaret Cho, “If I didn’t go there, it’s like I was never there in the first place.” Tell me not to go there? I bought a house there.

I am one of the most stuck up people I know (in case I still needed to put this editorial in some kind of context). Some people are born like this (Scorpios), but for me it’s an affectation. I’m not really a black-and-white kind of guy, I just tend to gravitate to one extreme because I’m selfish and attention-seeking. But unfortunately (for you), my sense of sprezzatura doesn’t go so far as to deny me the pleasure of ever being a victim, because I choose to acknowledge the door being slammed in my face when I see it. Some might call me a crybaby, and boohoo to them! I don’t have ‘gay’ stamped on my forehead as such, nor have I ever been a drag queen. Nor do I let any one part of queer culture decide who I am. Instead, I choose to synthesise. Like queers the world over and since a time well before my own, I take from society all the benefits it can give and replace the culture with my own. I’ll have marriage, without the bullshit. I’ll have feminism, without the backlash. If I want children, I’ll just buy one. Oh, to be queer and convert the world. I love being queer, I wouldn’t ask for anything else.

But still, society isn’t going to look out for queer interests for queers. It’s true that groups like UniQ and the Queer Rights Officer are there to ideally work themselves in to redundancy, but let’s keep it real, folks. Rallying for change doesn’t always literally mean rallying. I’m too suave to be radical. We can all do things for the queer community by simply getting to know one another, realising that people have different needs and doing more than merely tolerating those who the rest of the status quo-loving, knuckle-dragging populists would rather see under rug swept.

But if that’s you, fine. Be ignorant of sexual politics. I hope you find comfort in your post-gay, straight-acting, DTE, N/S, discreet, vers/top, ‘I just happen to be gay’ hovel of existence that mainstream New Zealand wants you to live in. But most importantly, have a sense of humour. Because when you can’t acknowledge the person you genuinely love the same as everyone else, can’t adopt the children you so dearly want to smack, or get called ‘faggot’ by a stranger, you’d better be laughing on the inside, if self-preservation is your thing, of course.

Go forth and be fabulous.


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