I was watching television. Nothing special, whatever was on when the power button got pressed. In this case it was an episode of Law and Order:SVU- the one with Ice-T in it. The episode was about a cop who’d shown up dead- and in the twists and turns of the show it turns out despite having dated Mariska Hargitay’s character, he was gay and HIV positive. His end came in relation to a circle of black men who were on “the down low.” When he fell in love with and threatened to “out” one of them, he got killed in response. Ice-T got the dubious honor of explaining the concept of “the down low” to the TV audience.He framed it like being out and gay in the black community was neigh impossible and so gay black men are undercover as a result. Then when he confronted one of them he threatened to “out” them blackmail style in order to get his cooperation and in the process, says something like- “you have sex with other dudes- that makes you gay- period.” And at home in the comfort of my living room, I thought well- that’s not entirely true though. I mean, I’m sure there are black men living a lie due to cultural pressure and all, but some of those brothers are Bi too, and that complex possibility wasn’t mentioned.
Hence perpetuating the misassumption that any man who has sex with men is gay and that bisexual men don’t exist. LAME.
I actually saw a headline on Nerve.com that claimed, “Bisexuality exists,” and was attached to some new scientific study. You don’t say….So I was a little sad to realize that something so obvious could be still up for debate but then again in some places we’re still arguing over evolution, when we share 98% of our DNA with a chimpanzee, so I don’t know why I’m surprised at all on another level.
Anyhow, my day was saved by the commercial that came on afterwards.
It was a Tide commercial, featuring a mother who’s got a child she can’t seem to keep clean. The outstanding part comes in that the child is a “tomboy” and the mom comments as to her acceptance of her child’s lack of gender normativity. It was something like, “She’s never going to be the kind of girl who plays with dolls and keeps her clothes clean and I love her the way she is.” That was the message if not the exact wording. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to being brought to tears by a detergent commercial. I might even forgive myself and switch from my hippie version back to Tide and finally have laundry soap that works. The point is- when did TV get so Gay?
When the Daily Show declared that San Francisco was no longer the Gayest city in the country and in fact had lost out to the milder Minneapolis, I thought it was funny. Watch it here! But the sad truth is, California is really lagging when it comes to the Gays. I am thrilled that Gay marriage has been legalized in New York, but like a single bridesmaid, there is a little jealousy too. When will it be our turn? When will the queens I hang out with have to give up their bitterness towards weddings because they could have their own? Huh? California? Huh?
And in another moment of disappointment, Dollywood has failed me too. I love Dolly Parton and her wacky amusement park both. I took a pilgrimage there in 2008, where I admired a musuem full of her outfits,a bald eagle perserve,and I reproduction of the one room schoolhouse she attended. It was international week at Dollywood and so a thin veneer of multicuturalism was spread atop the woodsy americana environs. One could buy a pupusa on grounds that week though few people seemed to know what one was. I felt especially sorry for the troupe of African singers whose vision of America would be Smokey Point, Tennesse. I honored the occasion by buying a sparkly pink pony t-shirt meant for a girl much younger than myself.
This cherished memory of a near perfect place was tarnished recently when I heard that Dollywood had forced a lady to turn her shirt around because it said “Marriage is so Gay.”
It is especially sad because that shirt is wicked funny. Hilarious, in fact. I’d wager that if she hadn’t been identifiably gay herself, it might gone down differently too. Dolly- WTF? I know Dolly Parton herself is a great ally for the gay community, so I am saddened she hasn’t extended her attitude down the line. I am hoping the answer will come in the form of a queer protest in which we all wear gay t-shirts to the park, because that my now be my only excuse to enjoy a return visit.