photo: Alan Bauer
Times are bleak for many and I certainly understand that words won't pay the mortgage or the doctor bill but I see so many of you that are giving up hope and feel like I should say something. I know that many of you weren't lucky enough to have been born gay like I was so I'll just have to let you know what gay people know about hope.
First off Hope is not something that somebody else does for you or gives you and it isn't something that they can take away. Not your president, not your parents, sure as hell not you banker or credit card company. Hope is about who you are. What do gay people know about hope being who you are? It starts like this. When you grow up gay you are always being told that everything about you is bad, everything you want is evil. School is hell, parents are unreliable (if they knew the real you they would kick you out of the house) you are a faggot or a dyke, a pussy, a cocksucker. All around you every message you hear tells you what you are, but at some point you start to question. What the hell do these people know? Why should they get to decide who I am? Why did I decide to let them be the keeper of my hope? You learn. You learn not to trust these unreliable voices. You learn that they can be wrong. You learn that the president can be wrong. Maybe you loved Jimmy Carter as a kid, maybe you saw a president that you admired for his concern about the poor and downtrodden of the world decide not to intervine in the fight for gay rights. You learned that presidents can be well meaning but wrong. You learned that you could hope for the president to do the right thing but you couldn't hope that he would make you okay. Because either you are okay or you are not okay. There is no paper that the president can sign to make you think you're okay if you don't and nothing he puts on paper is going to take that belief in yourself away from you either.
Hope is not conditioned on circumstance. (The Secret Way of the Drag Queen) Drag queens are fierce. Drag queens take what they are and make themselves what they want to be. A little duct tape, a little padding et voila a man becomes a woman. There was no prototype Glamazon Warrior until one day some crazy ass drag queen woke up and said "I am going to be a Glamazon Warrior."
"You can't be a Glamazon Warrior!" she was told.
"The hell I can't!"
"Well what in the hell is a Glamazon Warrior then?"
"A Glamazon Warrior is one fabulous bitch! She will make love until you can't make love no more. She will fight like a demon if anyone tries to keep her down. Women want to be her and men want to be with her. She is a fabulous warrior princess who will rock your world and fuck you up that's what a Glamazon Warrior is."
"I wanna be a Glamazon Warrior!"
"Well then honey you got to learn to kick ass in high heals."
One advantage of being forced outside the mainstream is that you don't have to succumb to their ideals of what is and isn't acceptable. Drag queens are about as far from the mainstream as you can get and they and they alone decide their ideals. They are neither content to sit alone in some shallow side pool or conform to fit in to the conventional norm. They cover their little canoe in glitter and paddle right out into the middle of the river and have a good time, damn what anyone else thinks. Of course it would be ridiculous to give up your belongings and slink off into the night but you might ask yourself if you are wearing the dress or if the dress is wearing you. Is holding onto that house the best choice for your famiily financially? Is it providing you comfort and shelter and a sense of security or is it a burden that you are maintaining to keep your ego intact? Is that car a necessity or are you just too ashamed to have to sell it and get a cheaper one? A drag queen will tell you that a bra doesn't make the woman it's what you stuff into the bra that does the trick(rice is cheap and plentiful). You can't get so wrapped up in what you think you have to be (or the rest of the world tells you you have to be) that you can't be who you are. And if who you are is a six foot tall man with another three feet of wig and ten inches of heels then tape down that weenie, pad those hips, stuff that bra and put on your best dress and go tell the rest of the world that they can kiss your Glamazon Ass.
And that's just a little bit of what gays know about hope. I promise you we were saying "Oh yes we can." long before this presidency and we'll be saying it long after, as long as the rest of the world says we can't. That's hope and that's a promise.