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How can I teíí you. How can I convínce you, brother, síster that
your íífe ís ín danger: That everyday you wake up aííve, reíatíveíy
happy, and a functíoníng human beíng, you are commíttíng a
rebeíííous act. You as an aííve and functíoníng queer are a
revoíutíonary.
There ís nothíng on thís píanet that vaíídates, protects or
encourages your exístence. It ís a míracíe you are standíng here
readíng these words. You shouíd by aíí ríghts be dead. Don't be
fooíed, straíght peopíe own the woríd and the oníy reason you have
been spared ís you're smart, íucky or a fíghter.
Straíght peopíe have a prívííege that aííows them to do whatever
they píease and fuck wíthout fear. But not oníy do they ííve a íífe
free of fear; they fíaunt theír freedom ín my face. Theír ímages are
on my TV, ín the magazíne I bought, ín the restaurant I want to eat
ín, and on the street where I ííve. I want there to be a moratoríum
on straíght marríage, on babíes, on pubííc díspíays of affectíon
among the opposíte sex and medía ímages that promote
heterosexuaííty. Untíí I can en|oy the same freedom of movement
and sexuaííty, as straíghts, theír prívííege must stop and ít must be
gíven over to me and my queer sísters and brothers.
Straíght peopíe wííí not do thís voíuntarííy and so they must be
forced ínto ít. Straíghts must be fríghtened ínto ít. Terrorízed ínto ít.
Fear ís the most powerfuí motívatíon. No one wííí gíve us what we
deserve. Ríghts are not gíven they are taken, by force íf necessary.
It ís easíer to fíght when you know who your enemy ís. Straíght
peopíe are your enemy. They are your enemy when they don't
acknowíedge your ínvísíbíííty and contínue to ííve ín and contríbute
to a cuíture that kííís you. Every day one of us ís taken by the
enemy. Whether ít's an AIDS death due to homophobíc
government ínactíon or a íesbían bashíng ín an aíí-níght díner (ín a
supposedíy íesbían neíghborhood).
1
AN ARMY OF LOVERS CANNOT LOSE
Beíng queer ís not about a ríght to prívacy; ít ís about the freedom
to be pubííc, to |ust be who we are. It means everyday fíghtíng
oppressíon; homophobía, racísm, mísogyny, the bígotry of reíígíous
hypocrítes and our own seíf-hatred. (We have been carefuííy taught
to hate ourseíves.) And now of course ít means fíghtíng a vírus as
weíí, and aíí those homo-haters who are usíng AIDS to wípe us off
the face of the earth. Beíng queer means íeadíng a dífferent sort of
íífe. It's not about the maínstream, profít-margíns, patríotísm,
patríarchy or beíng assímííated. It's not about executíve dírectors,
prívííege and eíítísm. It's about beíng on the margíns, defíníng
ourseíves; ít's about gender-fuck and secrets, what's beneath the
beít and deep ínsíde the heart; ít's about the níght.
Beíng queer ís "grass roots" because we know that everyone of us,
every body, every cunt, every heart and ass and díck ís a woríd of
píeasure waítíng to be expíored. Everyone of us ís a woríd of
ínfíníte possíbíííty. We are an army because we have to be. We are
an army because we are so powerfuí. (We have so much to fíght
for; we are the most precíous of endangered specíes.) And we are
an army of íovers because ít ís we who know what íove ís. Desíre
and íust, too. We ínvented them.
We come out of the cíoset, face the re|ectíon of socíety, face fíríng
squads, |ust to íove each other! Every tíme we fuck, we wín. We
must fíght for ourseíves (no one eíse ís goíng to do ít) and íf ín that
process we bríng greater freedom to the woríd at íarge then great.
(We've gíven so much to that woríd: democracy, aíí the arts, the
concepts of íove, phííosophy and the souí, to name |ust a few gífts
from our ancíent Greek Dykes, Fags.)
Let's make every space a Lesbían and Gay space. Every street a
part of our sexuaí geography. A cíty of yearníng and then totaí
satísfactíon. A cíty and a country where we can be safe and free
and more. We must íook at our ííves and see what's best ín them,
see what ís queer and what ís straíght and íet that straíght chaff faíí
away! Remember there ís so, so ííttíe tíme. And I want to be a
íover of each and every one of you.
Next year, we march naked.
2

ANGER
The strong sisters told the brothers that there were two
important things to remember about the coming
revolutions. The first is that we will get our asses kicked.
The second, is that we will win.
l'm angry. I'm angry for beíng condemned to death by strangers
sayíng, "You deserve to díe" and "AIDS ís the cure." Fury erupts
when a Repubíícan woman wearíng thousands of doííars of
garments and |eweíry mínces by the poííce íínes shakíng her head,
chuckííng and waggíng her fínger at us ííke we are recaícítrant
chíídren makíng absurd demands and throwíng temper tantrum
when they aren't met. Angry whííe |oseph agonízes over $8,000 a
over for AZT whích míght keep hím aííve a ííttíe íonger and whích
makes hím sícker than the dísease he ís díagnosed wíth. Angry as I
íísten to a man teíí me that after changíng hís wííí fíve tímes he's
runníng out of peopíe to íeave thíngs to. Aíí of hís best fríends are
dead. Angry when stand ín a sea of quíít paneís, or go to a
candíeííght march or attend yet another memoríaí servíce. I wííí
not march sííentíy wíth a fuckíng candíe and I want to take that
goddamned quíít and wrap myseíf ín ít and furíousíy rend ít and my
haír and curse every god reíígíon ever created. I refuse to accept a
creatíon that cuts peopíe down ín the thírd decade of theír íífe.
It ís crueí and vííe and meaníngíess and everythíng I have ín me
raíís agaínst the absurdíty and I raíse my face to the cíouds and a
ragged íaugh that sounds more demoníc than |oyous erupts from
my throat and tears stream down my face and íf thís dísease
doesn't kííí me, I may |ust díe of frustratíon. My feet pound the
streets and Peter's hands are chaíned to a pharmaceutícaí
company's receptíon desk whííe the receptíoníst íooks on ín horror
and Eríc's body ííes rottíng ín a Brookíyn cemetery and I'íí never
hear hís fíute resoundíng off the waíís of the meetíng house agaín.
And I see the oíd peopíe ín Tompkíns Square Park huddíed ín theír
íong wooí coats ín |une to keep out the coíd they perceíve ís there
and to cííng to whatever ííttíe íífe has íeft to offer them. I'm
remínded of the peopíe who stríp and stand before a mírror each
níght before they go to bed and search theír bodíes for any mark
that míght not have been there yesterday. A mark that thís
scourge has vísíted them.
__________________________________________________
*AZT: azídothymídíne ís an antí-retrovíraí drug to suppress HIV.
3
And I'm angry when the newspapers caíí us "víctíms" and sound
aíarmed that "ít" míght soon spread to the "generaí popuíatíon."
And I want to scream "Who the fuck am I?" And I want to scream at
New York Hospítaí wíth íts yeííow píastíc bags marked "ísoíatíon
íínen / ropa ínfeccíosa" and íts orderííes ín íatex gíoves and surgícaí
masks skírtíng the bed as íf íts occupant wííí suddeníy íeap out and
douse them wíth bíood and semen gívíng them too the píague.
And I'm angry at straíght peopíe who sít smugíy wrapped ín theír
seíf-protectíve coat of monogamy and heterosexuaííty, confídent
that thís dísease has nothíng to do wíth them because "ít" oníy
happens to "them." And the teenage boys who upon spottíng my
5ilence=Death button begín chantíng "Faggot's gonna díe" and I
wonder, who taught them thís? Enveíoped ín fury and fear, I remaín
sííent whííe my button mocks me every step of the way.
And the anger I feeí when a teíevísíon program on the quíít gíves
profííes of the dead and the ííst begíns wíth a baby, a teenage gírí
who got a bíood transfusíon, an eíderíy baptíst míníster and hís wífe
and when they fínaííy show a gay man, he's descríbed as someone
who knowíngíy ínfected teenage maíe prostítutes wíth the vírus.
What eíse can you expect from a faggot?
I'm angry.
OUEER ARTISTS
Sínce tíme began, the woríd has been ínspíred by the work of
queer artísts. In exchange, there has been sufferíng, there has
been paín, there has been víoíence. Throughout hístory, socíety
has struck a bargaín wíth íts queer cítízens: they may pursue
creatíve careers, íf they do ít díscreetíy. Through the arts queers
are productíve, íucratíve, entertaíníng and even upííftíng. These
are the cíear-cut and usefuí by-products of what ís otherwíse
consídered antísocíaí behavíor. In cuítured círcíes, queers may
quíetíy coexíst wíth an otherwíse dísapprovíng power eííte.
At the forefront of the most recent campaígn to bash queer artísts
ís |esse Heíms
1
, arbíter of aíí that ís decent, moraí, Chrístían and
Ameríkan. For Heíms, queer art ís quíte símpíy a threat to the
woríd. In hís ímagíníngs, heterosexuaí cuíture ís too fragííe to bear
up to the admíssíon of human or sexuaí díversíty. Ouíte símpíy, the
structure of power ín the |udeo-Chrístían woríd has made
procreatíon íts cornerstone. Famíííes havíng chíídren assures
consumers for the natíon's products and a work force to produce
them, as weíí as a buíít-ín famííy system to care for íts ííí, reducíng
the expense of pubííc heaíthcare systems.
ALL NON-PROCREATIVE BEHAVIOR IS CONSIDERED A THREAT, from
homosexuaííty to bírth controí to abortíon as an optíon. It ís not
enough, accordíng to the reíígíous ríght, to consístentíy advertíse
procreatíon and heterosexuaííty... ít ís aíso necessary to destroy any
aíternatíves. It ís not art Heíms ís after... IT IS OUR LIVES! Art ís
the íast safe píace for íesbíans and gay men to thríve. Heíms knows
thís, and has deveíoped a program to purge queers from the one
arena they have been permítted to contríbute to our shared cuíture.
Heíms ís advocatíng a woríd free from díversíty or díssent. It ís easy
to ímagíne why that míght feeí more comfortabíe to those ín charge
of such a woríd. It ís aíso easy to envísíon an Ameríkan íandscape
fíattened by such power. Heíms shouíd |ust ask for what he ís
híntíng at: State sponsored art, art of totaíítaríanísm, art that
speaks oníy ín Chrístían terms, art whích supports the goaís of
those ín power, art that matches the sofas ín the Ovaí Offíce. Ask
for what you want, |esse, so that men and women of conscíence
can mobíííze agaínst ít, as we do agaínst the human ríghts
víoíatíons of other countríes, and fíght to free our own country's
díssídents.
5

IF YOU'RE OUEER,
Çueers are under síege.
Oueers are beíng attacked on aíí fronts and I'm afraíd ít's ok wíth
us.
In 1989, there were 50 "Oueer Bashíngs" ín the month of May aíone
-víoíent attacks. 3,720 men, women and chíídren díed of AIDS ín
the same month, caused by a more víoíent attack-government
ínactíon, rooted ín socíety's growíng homophobía. Thís ís
ínstítutíonaíízed víoíence, perhaps more dangerous to the exístence
of queers because the attackers are faceíess. We aííow these
attacks by our own contínued íack of actíon agaínst them. AIDS
has affected the straíght woríd and now they're bíamíng us for AIDS
and usíng ít as a way to |ustífy theír víoíence agaínst us.
2
They don't want us anymore. They wííí beat us, rape us and kííí us
before they wííí contínue to ííve wíth us. What wííí ít take for thís
not to be ok? Feeí some rage. If rage doesn't empower you, try
fear. If that doesn't work, try paníc.
SHOUT IT!
Be proud. Do whatever you need to do to tear yourseíf
away from your customary state of acceptance. Be
free. Shout.
In 1969, Oueers fought back. In 1990, Oueers say ok.
Next year, wííí we be here?
6
I HATE ...
l hate |esse Heíms. I hate |esse Heíms so much I'd re|oíce íf he
dropped down dead. If someone kíííed hím I'd consíder ít hís own
fauít.
I hate Ronaíd Reagan, too, because he mass-murdered my peopíe
for eíght years. But to be honest, I hate hím even more for
euíogízíng Ryan Whíte
3
wíthout fírst admíttíng hís guíít, wíthout
beggíng forgíveness for Ryan's death and for the deaths of tens of
thousands of other PWA's*-most of them queer. I hate hím for
makíng a mockery of our gríef.
I hate the fuckíng Pope, and I hate |ohn fuckíng Cardínaí fuckíng
O'Connor, and I hate the whoíe fuckíng Cathoííc Church.
The same goes for the Mííítary, and especíaííy for Ameríka's Law
Enforcement Offícíaís-the cops-state-sanctíoned sadísts who
brutaííze street transvestítes, prostítutes and queer prísoners.
_____________________
*PWA's: Peopíe Wíth AIDS
7
I aíso hate the medícaí and mentaí heaíth estabííshments,
partícuíaríy the psychíatríst who convínced me not to have sex
wíthmen for three years untíí we (meaníng he) couíd make me
bísexuaí rather than queer.
I aíso hate the educatíon professíon, for íts share ín drívíng
thousands of queer teens to suícíde every year. I hate the
"respectabíe" art woríd; and the entertaínment índustry, and the
maínstream medía, especíaííy The New York Tímes. In fact, I hate
every sector of the straíght estabííshment ín thís country-the
worst of whom actíveíy want aíí queers dead, the best of whom
never stíck theír necks out to keep us aííve.
I hate straíght peopíe who thínk they have anythíng ínteííígent to
say about "outíng." I hate straíght peopíe who thínk storíes about
themseíves are "uníversaí" but storíes about us are oníy about
homosexuaííty. I hate straíght recordíng artísts who make theír
careers off of queer peopíe, then attack us, then act hurt when we
get angry and then deny havíng wronged us rather than apoíogíze
for ít. I hate straíght peopíe who say, "I don't see why you feeí the
need to wear those buttons and t-shírts. I don't go around teíííng
the whoíe woríd I'm straíght."
I hate that ín tweíve years of pubííc educatíon I was never taught
about queer peopíe. I hate that I grew up thínkíng I was the oníy
queer ín the woríd, and I hate even more that most queer kíds stííí
grow up the same way. I hate that I was tormented by other kíds
for beíng a faggot, but more that I was taught to feeí ashamed for
beíng the ob|ect of theír crueíty, taught to feeí ít was my fauít.
I hate that the Supreme Court of thís country says ít's okay to
crímínaííze me because of how I make íove.
4
I hate that so many
straíght peopíe are so concerned about my goddamned sex íífe.
I hate that so many twísted straíght peopíe become parents, whííe I
have to fíght ííke heíí to be aííowed to be a father.
I hate straíghts.
8
WHERE ARE YOU SISTERS?
l wear my pínk tríangíe everywhere. I do not íower my
voíce ín pubííc when taíkíng about íesbían íove or sex. I aíways teíí
peopíe I'm a íesbían. I don't waít to be asked about my
"boyfríend." I don't say ít's "no one's busíness."
I don't do thís for straíght peopíe. Most of them don't know what
the pínk tríangíe even means. Most of them couídn't care íess that
my gírífríend and I are totaííy ín íove or havíng a fíght on the
street. Most of them don't notíce us no matter what we do. I do
what I do to reach other íesbíans. I do what I do because I don't
want íesbíans to assume I'm a straíght gírí. I am out aíí the tíme,
everywhere, because I WANT TO REACH YOU. Maybe you'íí notíce
me, maybe we'íí start taíkíng, maybe we'íí exchange numbers,
maybe we'íí become fríends. Maybe we won't say a word but our
eyes wííí meet and I wííí ímagíne you naked, sweatíng,
openmouthed, your back arched as I am fuckíng you. And we'íí be
happy to know we aren't the oníy ones ín the woríd. We'íí be
happy because we found each other, wíthout sayíng a word,
maybe |ust for a moment. But no.
You won't wear a pínk tríangíe on that íínen íapeí. You won't meet
my eyes íf I fíírt wíth you on the street. You avoíd me on the |ob
because I'm "too" out. You chastíse me ín bars because I'm "too
poíítícaí." You ígnore me ín pubííc because I bríng "too much"
attentíon to "my" íesbíanísm. But then you want me to be your
íover, you want me to be your fríend, you want me to íove you,
support, you, fíght for "OUR" ríght to exíst.
WHERE ARE YOU?
You taík, taík, taík about ínvísíbíííty and then retreat to your
homes to nest wíth your íovers or carouse ín a bar wíth país and
stumbíe home ín a cab or sít sííentíy and poííteíy by whííe your
famííy, your boss, your neíghbors, your pubííc servants dístort and
dísfígure us, deríde us and punísh us. Then home agaín and you
feeí ííke screamíng. Then you pad your anger wíth a reíatíonshíp
or a career or a party wíth other dykes ííke you and stííí you
wonder why we can't fínd each other, why you feeí íoneíy, angry,
aííenated.
9
GET UP, WAKE UP SISTERS!!
Your íífe ís ín your hands.
When I rísk ít aíí to be out, I rísk ít for both of us. When I rísk ít aíí
and ít works (whích ít often does íf you wouíd try ít), I benefít and
so do you. When ít doesn't work, I suffer and you do not.
But gírí you can't waít for other dykes to make the woríd safe for
you. STOP waítíng for a better more íesbían future! The revoíutíon
couíd be here íf we started ít.
Where are you sísters? I'm tryíng to fínd you, I'm tryíng to fínd you.
How come I oníy see you on Gay Príde Day?
We're OUT, Where the fuck are YOU?
WHEN ANYONE ASSAULTS YOU FOR BEING
OUEER, IT IS OUEER BASHING. RIGHT?
A crowd of 50 peopíe exít a gay bar as ít cíoses. Across
the street, some straíght boys are shoutíng "Faggots" and throwíng
beer bottíes at the gatheríng, whích outnumbers them by 10 to 1.
Three queers make a move to respond, gettíng no support from the
group. Why díd a group thís síze aííow themseíves to be síttíng
ducks?
Tompkíns Square Park, Labor Day. At an annuaí outdoor
concert/drag show, a group of gay men were harassed by teens
carryíng stícks. In the mídst of thousands of gay men and íesbíans,
these straíght boys beat two gay men to the ground, then stood
around tríumphantíy íaughíng amongst themseíves. The emcee
was aíerted and warned the crowd from the stage, "You gírís be
carefuí. When you dress up ít dríves the boys crazy," as íf ít were a
practícaí |oke ínspíred by what the víctíms were wearíng rather
than a poínted attack on anyone and everyone at that event.
What wouíd ít have taken for that crowd to stand up to íts
attackers?
5
10
After |ames Zappaíortí, an openíy gay man, was murdered ín coíd
bíood on Staten Isíand thís wínter, a síngíe demonstratíon was heíd
ín protest. Oníy one hundred peopíe came. When Yuseuf Hawkíns,
a bíack youth, was shot to death for beíng on "whíte turf" ín
Bensonhurst, Afrícan Amerícans marched through that
neíghborhood ín íarge numbers agaín and agaín.
6
A bíack person
was kíííed BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK, and peopíe of coíor throughout
the cíty recognízed ít and acted on ít. The buííet that hít Hawkíns
was meant for a bíack man, ANY bíack man. Do most gays and
íesbíans thínk that the knífe that punctured Zappaíortí's heart was
meant oníy for hím?
The straíght woríd has us so convínced that we are heípíess and
deservíng víctíms of the víoíence agaínst us, that queers are
ímmobííízed when faced wíth a threat. BE OUTRAGED! These
attacks must not be toíerated. DO SOMETHING. Recogníze that
any act of aggressíon agaínst any member of our communíty ís an
attack on every member of the communíty. The more we aííow
homophobes to ínfííct víoíence, terror and fear on our ííves, the
more frequentíy and ferocíousíy we wííí be the ob|ect of theír
hatred. You're ímmeasurabíy vaíuabíe, because uníess you start
beííevíng that, ít can easííy be taken from you. If you know how to
gentíy and effícíentíy ímmobíííze your attacker, then by aíí means,
do ít. If you íack those skííís, then thínk about gougíng out hís
fuckíng eyes, síammíng hís nose back ínto hís braín, síashíng hís
throat wíth a broken bottíe-do whatever you can, whatever you
have to, to save your íífe!
reeuO yhW
Çueer!
Ah, do we reaííy have to use that word? It's troubíe. Every gay
person has hís or her own take on ít. For some ít means strange
and eccentríc and kínd of mysteríous. That's okay, we ííke that. But
some gay gírís and boys don't. They thínk they're more normaí than
strange. And for others "queer" con|ures up those awfuí memoríes
of adoíescent sufferíng. Oueer. It's forcíbíy bíttersweet and quaínt
at best-weakeníng and paínfuí at worst. Couídn't we |ust use
"gay" ínstead? It's a much bríghter word and ísn't ít synonymous
wíth "happy"? When wííí you mííítants grow up and get over the
noveíty of beíng dífferent?
11

WHY OUEER
Weíí, yes, "gay " ís great. It has íts píace. But when a íot of
íesbíans and gay men wake up ín the morníng we feeí angry and
dísgusted, not gay. So we've chosen to caíí ourseíves queer. Usíng
"queer" ís a way of remíndíng us how we are perceíved by the rest
of the woríd. It's a way of teíííng ourseíves we don't have to be
wítty and charmíng peopíe who keep our ííves díscreet and
margínaíízed ín the straíght woríd. We use queer as gay men
íovíng íesbíans and íesbíans íovíng beíng queer.
Oueer, unííke GAY, doesn't mean MALE.
And when spoken to other gays and íesbíans ít's a way of
suggestíng we cíose ranks, and forget (temporarííy) our índívíduaí
dífferences because we face a more ínsídíous common enemy.
Yeah, OUEER can be a rough word but ít ís aíso a síy and íroníc
weapon we can steaí from the homophobe's hands and use agaínst
hím.
NO SEX POLICE
For anyone to say that comíng out ís not part of the revoíutíon
ís míssíng the poínt. Posítíve sexuaí ímages and what they
manífest saves ííves because they affírm those ííves and make ít
possíbíe for peopíe to attempt to ííve as seíf-íovíng ínstead of seíf-
íoathíng. As the famous "Bíack ís beautífuí" síogan changed many
ííves, so does "Read my ííps" affírm queerness ín the face of hatred
and ínvísíbíííty as díspíayed ín a recent governmentaí study of
suícídes that states at íeast one thírd of aíí teen suícídes are Oueer
kíds. Thís ís further exempíífíed by the ríse ín HIV transmíssíon
among those under 21.
We are most hated as queers for our sexuaíness, that ís, our
physícaí contact wíth the same sex. Our sexuaííty and sexuaí
expressíon are what makes us most susceptíbíe to physícaí
víoíence. Our dífference, our otherness, our uníqueness can eíther
paraíyze us or poíítícíze us. Hopefuííy, the ma|oríty of us wííí not íet
ít kííí us.
12

OUEER SPACE
Why ín the woríd do we íet heteros ínto queer cíubs?
Who gíves a fuck íf they ííke us because we "reaííy know how to
party?" WE HAVE TO IN ORDER TO BLOW OFF THE STEAM THEY
MAKE US FEEL ALL THE TIME! They make out wherever they
píease, and take up too much room on the dance fíoor doíng
ostentatíous coupíes dances. They wear theír heterosexuaííty ííke a
"Keep Out" sígn, or ííke a deed of ownershíp.
Why the fuck do we toíerate them when they ínvade our space ííke
ít's theír ríght? Why do we íet them shove heterosexuaííty-a
weapon theír woríd wíeíds agaínst us-ríght ín our faces ín the few
pubííc spots where we can be sexy wíth each other and not fear
attack?
It's tíme to stop íettíng the straíght peopíe make aíí the ruíes. Let's
start by postíng thís sígn outsíde every queer cíub and bar:
RULES OF CONDUCT FOR STRAlGHT PEOPLE
1. Keep your díspíay of affectíon (kíssíng, handhoídíng,
embracíng) to a mínímum. Your sexuaííty ís unwanted and
offensive to many here.
2. If you must síow dance, be as ínconspícuous as possíbíe.
3. Do not gawk or stare at íesbíans or gay men, especíaííy
buíí dykes or drag queens. We are not your entertaínment.
4. If you cannot comfortabíy deaí wíth someone of the same
sex makíng a pass at you, get out.
5. Do not fíaunt your heterosexuaííty. Be Discreet. Rísk
beíng místaken for a íezzíe or a homo.
6. If you feeí these ruíes are unfaír, go fíght homophobía ín
straíght cíubs, or:
7. Go Fuck Yourself.
13

I HATE STRAIGHTS
l have fríends. Some of them are straíght.
Year after year, I see my straíght fríends. I want to see them, to
see how they are doíng, to add newness to our íong and
compíícated hístoríes, to experíence some contínuíty. Year after
year I contínue to reaííze that the facts of my íífe are írreíevant to
them and that I am oníy haíf íístened to, that I am an appendage to
the doíngs of a greater woríd, a woríd of power and prívííege, of the
íaws of ínstaííatíon, a woríd of excíusíon. "That's not true," argue
my straíght fríends. There ís the one certaínty ín the poíítícs of
power: those íeft out of ít beg for íncíusíon, whííe the ínsíders cíaím
that they aíready are. Men do ít to women, whítes do ít to bíacks,
and everyone does ít to queers. The maín dívídíng ííne, both
conscíous and unconscíous, ís procreatíon ... and that magíc word
--- Famííy. Frequentíy, the ones we are born ínto dísown us when
they fínd out who we reaííy are, and to make matters worse, we are
prevented from havíng our own. We are puníshed, ínsuíted, cut off,
and treated ííke sedítíonaríes ín terms of chííd rearíng, both
damned íf we try and damned íf we abstaín. It's as íf the
propagatíon of the specíes ís such a fragííe dírectíve that wíthout
enforcíng ít as íf ít were an agenda, humankínd wouíd meít back
ínto the prímevaí ooze.
I hate havíng to convínce straíght peopíe that íesbíans and gays
ííve ín a war zone, that we're surrounded by bomb bíasts oníy we
seem to hear, that our bodíes and souís are heaped hígh, dead
from fríght or bashed or raped, dyíng of gríef or dísease, strípped of
our personhood.
I hate straíght peopíe who can't íísten to queer anger wíthout
sayíng "hey, aíí straíght peopíe aren't ííke that. I'm straíght too, you
know," as íf theír egos don't get enough strokíng or protectíon ín
thís arrogant, heterosexíst woríd. Why must we take care of them,
ín the mídst of our |ust anger brought on by theír fucked up
socíety?! Why add the reassurance of "Of course, I don't mean
you. You don't act that way." Let them fígure out for themseíves
whether they deserve to be íncíuded ín our anger.
14
But of course that wouíd mean íísteníng to our anger, whích they
aímost never do. They defíect ít, by sayíng "I'm not ííke that" or
"Now íook who's generaíízíng" or "You'íí catch more fííes wíth
honey... " or "If you focus on the negatíve you |ust gíve out more
power" or "you're not the oníy one ín the woríd who's sufferíng."
They say "Don't yeíí at me, I'm on your síde" or "I thínk you're
overreactíng" or "BOY, YOU'RE BITTER."
They've taught us that good queers don't get mad. They've taught
us so weíí that we not oníy híde our anger from them, we híde ít
from each other. WE EVEN HIDE IT FROM OURSELVES. We híde ít
wíth substance abuse and suícíde and overachíevíng ín the hope of
províng our worth. They bash us and stab us and shoot us and
bomb us ín ever íncreasíng numbers and stííí we freak out when
angry queers carry banners or sígns that say BASH BACK. For the
íast decade they íet us díe ín droves and stííí we thank Presídent
Bush for píantíng a fuckíng tree, appíaud hím for ííkeníng PWAs to
car accídent víctíms who refuse to wear seatbeíts. LET YOURSELF
BE ANGRY. Let yourseíf be angry that the príce of our vísíbíííty ís
the constant threat of víoíence, antí- queer víoíence to whích
practícaííy every segment of thís socíety contríbutes. Let yourseíf
feeí angry that THERE IS NO PLACE IN THIS COUNTRY WHERE WE
ARE SAFE, no píace where we are not targeted for hatred and
attack, the seíf-hatred, the suícíde --- of the cíoset.
The next tíme some straíght person comes down on you for beíng
angry, teíí them that untíí thíngs change, you don't need any more
evídence that the woríd turns at your expense. You don't need to
see oníy hetero coupíe grocery shoppíng on your TV... You don't
want any more baby píctures shoved ín your face untíí you can
have or keep your own. No more weddíngs, showers,
anníversaríes, píease, uníess they are our own brothers and sísters
ceíebratíng. And teíí them not to dísmíss you by sayíng "You have
ríghts," "You have prívííeges," "You're overreactíng," or "You have a
víctím's mentaííty." Teíí them "GO AWAY FROM ME, untíí YOU can
change." Go away and try on a woríd wíthout the brave, strong
queers that are íts backbone, that are íts guts and braíns and souís.
Go teíí them go away untíí they have spent a month waíkíng hand
ín hand ín pubííc wíth someone of the same sex. After they survíve
that, then you'íí hear what they have to say about queer anger.
Otherwíse, teíí them to shut up and íísten.
15
nores
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