The last week on social media has been fun. It’s been rainbows and everyone being super excited about marriage equality. Though marriage equality doesn’t fix the myriad of other issues that queer people face from both outside and within our own community, it’s a positive step in the right direction.
But, it hasn’t been all rainbows. There’s been backlash. The backlash was inevitable. Rain makes rainbows and rainbows lead to shit-storms in two key ways:
• ‘Shit-storm’ is the cute name I’ve given to ‘douching in preparation for gay anal sex’
• Straight people have gone insane on the internet.
Option number one is an article for a different time, so let’s talk option number two. It was inevitable that some straight people were going to find a way to make marriage equality all about them. Since same-sex marriage was legalised (and subsequently blocked in a variety of ways and states in the U.S), a lot of heteros have taken to social media to talk about their feelings. So, if you’re a straight person reading this and we haven’t met before, let me introduce myself.
I’m Anthony Nocera. I’m twenty-one years old and I’m from Adelaide, South Australia. I’m gay. And I don’t give a fuck about your opinion or your feelings about this. Here’s why:
1. Straight Pride is Never Going to Happen, Stop Trying to Make It Happen:
Since everyone’s social media profile has become a rainbow flag, and everyone is having conversations about how great equality is (or this bastardised version of equality, at least), it’s been taken as hostility by straight people who’ve responded by posting memes about ‘Straight Pride’. Here’s one that was posted by a few people:
Yeah, no. Stop it, breeders. Stop.
Queer people use pride as a means of activism because they’ve spent most of history being told that their very existence is wrong, sinful and illegitimate. The people telling them all of these things have been straight people, leading to shame being imprinted upon the queer identity and queer expression.
Contrastingly, straight people have always been legitimate; they’ve never been seen as anything but human. In short, pride in heterosexuality isn’t subversive, important or interesting. It’s the norm. It’s something that you’ve always had and something queer people have had to fight, often to the death, for. Advertising your straight pride is like tap-dancing in front of people in wheelchairs, or talking about how good vision is to a blind person. We know what we’re missing out on. We didn’t ask. And, to be frank, it’s a fucking dick move.
Queerness, by definition, defies categorisation and - funnily enough - definition. What underpins queer theory isn’t the stability afforded to heterosexuality or heteronormativity, but rather a subversion of these ideas. Queer people have spent their whole lives in the spaces in-between traditional society, in its cracks and shadows. What marriage equality does is recognise that the spaces queer people (or those who want to marry a same-sex partner, at least) exist in are real and legitimate spaces occupied by real and legitimate people who have real and legitimate feelings. We celebrate pride, because being proud of your queerness is something we’re told not to be.
No one is telling you not to be straight, so just be quiet.
2. Your Rainbow Profile Picture Means Nothing
Literally nothing. What do you want? A cookie for being a mildly decent person and turning the ‘saturation’ bar all the way up to 100 on Photoshop?
Where were you in high school when half of us were getting beaten half to death and getting told we had disorders? Where were you a week ago when another trans kid killed themself?
3. Attack of The Gays
I’m a frequent sufferer of an ‘Attack of the Gays’, tbh. It’s what happens whenever Cher comes on in the club. What happens is that I’m perfectly fine, and then the first few bars of ‘Believe’ come on and I just start uncontrollably fisting everything in sight.
But the rhetoric that acts as the foundation for a lot of the arguments against marriage equality and, for that matter, a lot of the legislation that would afford a variety of queer people basic rights, is the idea that we’re ‘taking over’. It’s the idea that queer people want what straight people have; that we’re taking over schools and brainwashing the children - that we’re somehow polluting the straight, traditional, way of doing things. It’s a ridiculous angle to take, not least because it’s so outrageously obnoxious. Straight people have been fucking up the world since literally forever; queer people really don’t want what you’ve got. You can keep it. We can do a perfectly good job of building it for ourselves.
This idea of an ‘attack’ is also reflected in the idea that by focussing on same-sex marriage and queer issues, we’re ignoring the ‘bigger issues’ like, for example, Australia’s treatment of Indigenous people. The problem with that is that recognising queer people as valid and respecting Australian Indigenous people aren’t mutually exclusive things. We can address both as important issues. They’re not detracting from each other. If you’re that much of a bad person that you can’t care about more than one cause at a time, you’re the problem. Not queer people.
(You’re also legit a douche, fyi)
4. ‘The Battle Is Over’
Katy Perry posted an Instagram photo of herself with her ‘sassy gay friends’ that was captioned with the phrase, ‘the battle is over’. It’s something that I’ve kept hearing over and over again throughout all of this. The problem is, the battle isn’t over.
Too often, marriage equality is seen as the peak that the queer community is working towards. But queer people encompass more than just monogamous gay men and women. To be clear, marriage equality is the base by which real progress can be built upon.
What marriage equality represents is the state recognising queer expressions of love, and same-sex relationships as legitimate and real. It’s not a psychological disorder, it’s not an abnormality or anomaly. Sexual attraction between two people of the same-sex is legitimate and human, and the unions between monogamous same-sex couples that wish to spend their lives together are now, also, equal and legitimate. That’s what these laws represent. That’s pretty basic.
There are heaps of other structural inequalities that exist: transgender people are discriminated against in various ways by our medical and legal systems and are at a high risk of abuse and homelessness. In many countries, intersex people are seen as deformed and have their genitals changed at birth or early in their life so as to reflect traditional gender norms, leading to severe dysphoria as they grow up. In a lot of places, it’s still illegal to be queer at all and being openly queer can often lead to a limiting of employment prospects, access to housing and education whilst also greatly increasing the risk of every-day discrimination.
To continue the building metaphor (as much as the idea of manual labour makes my limp wrists burst into a frenzy of frightened jazz-hands), we’ve just laid the foundations for progress. We’ve got to build the house now… and you know how picky we fags are when it comes to interiors… It’s gonna take a while.
And for the last time, we’re not sassy. Two things that need to die are the idea of gay people being ‘sassy’ and Katy Perry’s career.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The American ruling is a great thing and a huge step forward. I was, and am, ecstatic about it. It’s a victory. But it’s my victory as a queer person. So, straight people, heteros, breeders… whatever you’d like me to call you. Please. Shut the fuck up, because we don’t care.
You’re barred from this conversation. A lot like I’m still barred from the institution of marriage.
How does it feel?