A “COLORFUL” Taste of Queer News This Week
I themed this week – I choose to highlight “colors” in queer news. Keep this in mind as you read the following few stories:
Hailing all sex-loving fashionistas! Lady Gaga is teaming up with designer Jeremy Scott to create a line of fashionable rubbers for your, ummm…, you know! But I have to ask myself, what’s the angle here? Lady Gaga is a promoter of the bizarrely normal world; is there a real appeal to create something fashionable during an act which most of us would call anything but fashionable? My gut feeling is that these will be a hit, however, are they reaching those that may need to use condoms most? The condoms are selling at $5.99 for a 3-pack but I think it’s safe to say that great sex happens more than 3 times. Do you then have to pick and choose when to use the neon green, zebra-print rubber to impress your partner? If Gaga and Scott are trying to reach a greater public by promoting safe-sex, albeit by using bright bells and whistles, are they really hitting the mark? Should the “haves” of society now have bedazzled condoms, too?
While we’re on the topic of fashion and bright colors, rabble.ca has an interesting podcast which reports on a story of the 2010 Olympic Game preparations in Vancouver. I know that I enjoy the 5, brightly-colored rings that represent the games, but it seems that in terms of diversity, that is about all we’re going to get from our alleged friendly, neighboring country to the north. Rabble.ca is stating that there was a pressure to keep up a “certain image” at the games, and that all other “messy” signs were stamped out of project planning. Issues like poverty and addiction were purposely hidden from the public’s eye during the Games. However, as Gary Kinsman, co-author of “The Canadian War on Queers” and professor at Laurentian University states, this is not a new phenomena: at the 1976 Montreal Games, similar efforts were coordinated to clean-up the streets, which included the “queer people” at the time. So what are we supposed to understand from this story? Is it acceptable to put one’s “best foot forward” for the sake of keeping the tradition at the Games? Aren’t the Olympics supposed to showcase a diverse and wide array of people, origins, faiths, etc.? What happened and why exactly did we have to shove the queers under the rug? What negative image was the world going to walk-away with if Canada actually let the queers be?
And lastly on the colors theme, I have a few colorful words for North Carolina State Senator Jim Forrester (R-Gaston.) Queers United is reporting that the state senator has refused to meet with a specific subset of his constituent group – the local chapter of the LGBT advocacy group, Parents and Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG). Now you might think that this is okay because state senators are busy people, but his motivations for not meeting with PFLAG will be the focus of this story. Forrester has notoriously been dubbed a homophobe and a racist with comments like, “Slick city lawyers and homosexual lobbies andAfrican American lobbies are running Raleigh.” In response to the invitation from PFLAG, Forrester is reported to have said, “I doubt I will go to the meeting, but I appreciate the invitation anyhow…I don’t think it would be a constructive meeting. I think it would just increase animosity toward me, and I don’t want that”(Pam’s Houseblend). What animosity could you be talking about, Senator Forrester? It must be difficult to feel “animosity;” and it’s a good thing you’re saying this to the LGBT community, because allegedly they’ve felt a lot of it, from YOU! How dare this representative reject the invitation to meet with PFLAG; his job is to represent the views, ideas, and thoughts of his constituents, whether they are LGBT, black, or not. If this behavior keeps up, Senator Forrester, those angst-ridden PFLAGers might just vote you out of a seat here pretty soon, and nothing screams animosity like a racist, homophobic, jobless North Carolinian!
So what are the great takeaways here?
The queer community can now practice fashionable, safe-sex, while combating Olympic Game stigmas, and giving the finger to Senator Forrester’s remarks? Not quite. It’s important to frame each of these stories in your own personal life. These stories seemed pertinent to me for a few reasons:
1. Safe sex is IMPORTANT! And so is individuality. It’s great that an iconic figure (iconic?), rather, popular? whatever; Lady Gaga is in your face and she’s got your attention. Hopefully we’re paying attention this time! Find a helmet and strap it on!
2. It is crucial to be prudent in understanding the history of events and rituals, even when it comes to the Olympic Games. At the same time, we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater. For as many critiques that will pop up because of this story, there are also stories of strength and power that should get just as much attention. People make mistakes! Some are forgivable, and others we just have to work to fix overtime. Become empowered and don’t let history repeat itself!
3. People in the South are nuts. No, I’m kidding. We’ve allegedly come “so far” in overcoming injustices, but that does not allow for an excuse! Everyone should be upset with Senator Forrester’s comment, for whatever reason that they want. Take the comment as a personal attack, on your “whiteness,” your “femininity,” your “love of hockey,” whatever. If you don’t feel insulted yet, imagine you’re the one that’s being picked on in the playground. Why wait around to find a hero to kick the bully? BE the hero! Shake your fist, bite your thumb, blog! This is only as acceptable as you allow it.
BE PROUD OF YOUR COLORS, KIDS!