Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fear of a Queer Cousin

As the world continues to fall apart, I have taken a quick breather, a stint, with my partner showing the San Francisco Bay Area her cousin,  my cousin-in-law, Cindy. Now before I lay out the problem, I must say that Cindy is a sweet, open-hearted person. She just happens to share some of the same old prejudices of the rest of society. Coming from a university town in New England gives her a lot of experience dealing with queer folks, especially lesbians of every stripe. In spite of her immersion, she worries about issues like her hair length, afraid she might be mistaken for a disciple from our side.

We all attended a party for an LGBT organization in which I volunteer. No problem, Cindy was eager to go. At the gathering she socialized quite a bit. When she held forth in small groups she was certain to mention an ex-boyfriend within the first 60 seconds of the conversation. Many heterosexuals feel a need to do this. I start my watch when speaking to married women. Almost unfailingly within two minutes, hubby has reared his slightly balding head. It's a strange phenomenon, perhaps intricately linked to the hyper-sexualization of the queer, or maybe just plain out-and-out fear of being subjected to the kinds of prejudice and discrimination to which we have become accustomed. In this specific circumstance I  think that Cindy was a bit concerned that someone would come on to her. As a long-time dyke this fear both annoys and amazes me. I want to shake the folks who display it and ask,"Do you know how hard it is to actually pick up another woman?" The push-me, pull-you dance of lesbian dating is a courtship more nuanced and stylized than the mating dance of the flamingo.

Life for queers is definitely improving, although sometimes it feels like two steps forward, one step back. In my early days of political activity, when a heterosexual person dared to defend the rights of a non-heterosexual one, he or she would invariably begin the sentence with the phrase, I'm straight but...

I would have liked to respond, " I don't give a flying crap about your straight butt," there is a greater moral imperative here!