As I was making my way through an omelet on a Sunday morning not long ago, the conversation with my mother wondered through updates on family, movies, hobbies and Orange is the New Black, an original series produced by Netflix about a woman whose life is turned upside down after being sent to jail for a crime she committed years ago.
I had binge–viewed the series about a month ago and was sharing how well done I thought it was – if not for what I considered excessive (but well portrayed) lesbian drama.
Then my mom asked the same question we’ve been asking around Out Front for a very long time: does the gay community want to be the same as everybody else, or do they want to be different?
My mother, bless her, added, because there certainly are some who are very different.
She was no doubt alluding to my favorite drag queens, leather daddies and go-go boys the media have historically given prime placement to on their front pages and newscasts after Pride.
Through the course of breakfast and then errands, I took my mother on a crash course of Gay History 101. We started with the Mattachine Society – a lose network of early activists in search of privacy for gay men and women, mostly on the East Coast – through the liberation at Stonewall, to the retreat and later full push through the AIDS epidemic to today’s fight for marriage equality.
At each milepost I attempted to explain how the intersection of our personal and political needs and those of the greater society met to form gay culture.
I guess I could have told her to wait for Jeffery Steen’s cover story cover story on Page 18 of this issue – but I couldn’t deny her quality mother–son bonding time.
When this cover story was first discussed nearly a year ago, and as we got closer to publishing it, I was convinced we would find to be true what so many gay thinkers have proclaimed: gay culture is dead.
I’ve certainly been guilty of running my mouth uttering as much: The double whammy of greater acceptance in heteronormative culture and mobile technology have crumbled the walls around the once necessary self–segregated safe places the gay community built for itself. The same places where our culture was birthed and fostered for four decades.
For culture to live, it must be shared. And, I reasoned, if it’s not being shared in these places, it will die.
But I’m happy to report gay culture is a live and well. Not only is it still being shared, and in new ways, but it’s also evolving, as all cultures must.
To see how our culture is being shared you have to look no further than this year’s Cinema Q Film Fest at the SieFilm Center. Not only were there more movies than ever before, but the films were perhaps the deepest dive into the complex identities of LGBT people I’ve seen on the silver screen.
Gone are the movies like Circuit that suggest all gay men die at 30 and Go Fish that suggest all lesbians are fueled by coffee, wine and potlucks in their search to make love more complicated than it is.
In their place are films like Pit Stop that explore what happens when men break up and must carry on, and Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf, a satire piece about a woman who must find love for herself.
To see how our culture is evolving you have to look no further than The GLBT Community Center’s new resource group of LGBT parents. Colorado gay families are trailblazing mostly unexplored territory to learn and create new cultural norms on how to be parents – our way. Not just for the next generation of gay men and women, but for those up and down the Rocky Mountain region.
Am I still afraid there might come a day when expressions like “gurl,” and “Mary,” will go the way of “gee-golly” and “skipper” – yes.
But I’m more excited about the new possibilities of a 21st Century LGBT Community that is that reflective and a part of the times and not stuck in the Stone(wall) age.