Well, it’s July first. Pride month and the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising are behind us. I was too distracted with the manuscript for my new book to pay much attention, other than my enjoyment of a few feel-good stories on Facebook, and noticing how Judy Garland was constantly popping up on my You Tube home page. Atlantic magazine online ran an interesting series of articles and essays last week, which I read with pleasure until the last one, which made me, as they say, throw up in my mouth. Just a little.
The piece was written by a gentleman by the name of James Kirchick, a “visiting fellow at The Brookings Institute,” essentially one of those cocooned academics who base their opinions on numbers and conservative cant. He opined that gay folks had achieved all the rights they needed and it was time to take our pride flags, go home, and enjoy our victory. His writing style and barely concealed impatience with those still fighting for equality reminded me much of Andrew Sullivan, another right-wing gay man I’d dearly love to slap silly. Mr. Sullivan has been on my shit list since the time I saw him on television after the passage of the Trump Tax Jackpot for the 1%, waving his hand in dismissal, saying we ungrateful peons in the flyover states had nothing to bitch about because the economy had recovered. Yeah, you pompous twit? I thought at the time. Until you pay my bills on my income and have the guts to actually set foot in a red state you need to go on Ebay and buy a fucking clue.
I will grant Mr. Kirchick a few things. Yes, LGBT folks have come a long, long way since the summer of 1969. We have achieved some rights and some acceptance. However, to say the fight is over seems to me the same kind of logic as leaving the theater ten minutes before the end of the movie because you’ve seen enough.
Mr. Kirchick’s obvious embrace of the current administration is appalling and incredibly disingenuous considering the massive rollbacks on LGBT rights and protections in the past two and a half years. He also wiped the orange makeup off his mouth — acquired through his fervent Trump ass-kissing — to shake his head in amusement at Mike Pence, rendering him as nothing more than a figure of fun. Well, that he is, but he is controlled by some very dangerous people. I can only assume Mr. Kirchick was holed up in some comfy wood-paneled library in the spring of 2015, engrossed in statistics of some sort. This Hoosier remembers well the smiles of triumph on the faces of Pence and his religious hatchet squad when he signed RFRA behind closed doors.
Oh, and to rub additional salt in the wounds of those of us with our homosexual boots firmly in the muddy trenches, he wrote that since the majority of gay folks live in the states where they are, for the most part, considered first class citizens, there was no longer a need to fight. That made me so angry I’ve decided to share a story I’ve pretty much kept to myself the past seven months, my termination from a job I excelled at for almost five years.
One sunny morning last November I was fired for saying the word “masturbate.” I said it in conversation with a coworker I’d been close to for almost five years. We’d teased and poked fun at each other. We had assured each other the filter was off in our encounters. She never bothered to tell me the M Word was off limits. I was fired an hour and half later, and suddenly walking to my car with a cardboard box of my possessions.
My lawyer told me to consult an employment lawyer, a nice guy who told me I was screwed because: 1) This is Indiana; 2) I’m gay; 3) This is a Right To Work state; 4) I have the misfortune of living in NORTHEAST Indiana, a rabidly conservative and backwards place.
The fallout from that experience has been pervasive and destructive, to say the least. I can only imagine what Mr. Kirchick (or Mr. toffee-nosed Sullivan for that matter) would say in regards to my experience. Probably something from the Corporate Gaslight manual: “You should be grateful because this is a positive opportunity for growth.” I’m 57 fucking years old. The only growth I seem to acquire these days is all in my gut.
I will never understand the logic of gay conservatives, gay republicans, or gay stooges for The Orange Outhouse, ablaze with dedicated fire for those sly slicksters who wish to thank them for their devotion with their destruction. Mr. Kirchick’s piece is another example of a conservative leading me, blindfolded, over a cliff. I don’t buy it, buster, and frankly I am still insulted and outraged that you even expect me to swallow your shit.
So, Mr. Kirchick, allow me to put this in the language of those of us in the wilderness of the flyover states: “Fuck you, dude.” Until you get your three hundred dollar shoes dirty with red state dirt, you just keep snorting your statistical bath salts, and please do keep your revelations to yourself. We red state second class citizens aren’t done, and we don’t need your help.
Oh, and Mr. Kirchick, congratulations on being added to one of my special lists along with Mr. Sullivan, Milo Yiannopoulos, the Log Cabin Republicans, a former boyfriend of mine, and that jackass gay fetus-freak Republican running to unseat my current city councilman. May you all be on the first cattle car in route to the American Auschwitz organized and operated by your heroes. Oh, and by the way, if I am in that same cattle car, trust me, you won’t make it there alive.
SAVE THE COUNTRY THE SUGAR SHOPPE 1969 I wanted to end this on a positive note with something uplifting from the summer of ’69. This is one of the many covers of the Laura Nyro song, and one of the many non-hits of Laura Nyro covers. Still, it may be white people candy music, but it has a nice arrangement and production, and it doesn’t mess with Laura’s message. Listen, enjoy, and keep fighting!