Come Out, Come out, Wherever You Are…
A response to "Where Have All the Good Gays Gone?" by a disgruntled gay lady.
Do you know what Harry McCarthy, author of the controversial “Where Have All the Good Gays Gone?”, should do?
Join the LGBTQ society. He should get his friends to join the LGBTQ society. If you want outrageous photos of socials, or banter about Edina and Patsy then surely isn’t the best way to incite it of your own accord?
Rather than “get yourselves out there”, I suggest that you get yourselves in there.
I sympathise with him, I really do. I remember last year getting into Exeter, scouring the LGBTQ page, going to the Freshers’ fair table and ultimately being more than a bit disheartened with what I saw. I, too, wanted to get my (metaphorical, lesbian) rocks off.
But unlike Mr. McCarthy, I actually went to one of their socials. I met lovely people at the RAM, and again at Pitcher and Piano, and then danced to my baby-dyke heart’s content at Vaults. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to be accosted by a second-year student, however I did make some friends and definitely saw potential.
Whilst I didn’t get the ‘happy ending’ I was searching for, and was still disappointed with the lack of numbers in the LGBTQ Soc, I decided to persist because from the first moment I met the members, they embraced me with open arms.
And before this article was published, that’s what they did to Harry McCarthy too. In fact after requesting votes for new Student Guild Trustee Charlie Griffin on the LGBTQ Exeter Facebook page, one of the members thanked him in person for being active on the group. Why he requested votes from “weird” “outcasts” on a “sparse page” in the first place is beyond me.
And since I brought up Charlie Griffin, I would like to examine one of his many offensive quotes:
“For the typical Exeter man who doesn't fancy cross dressing but is in fact gay…”.
If Mr. Griffin is not already aware, the “typical Exeter man” is not gay (at least, not publicly). Also perhaps he doesn’t realise that a gay man can also cross-dress. These two, presumably white, upper-middle class, gay men are hegemonizing homosexuality instead of advocating for acceptance of all sexualities and identities, which they (as identified minorities) should be doing.
In other words, they are saying that it’s okay to be gay in a way that is socially acceptable to straight people, but not okay if you are diverse in any other respect. [See the LGBTQ Exeter page for more on why “Queer” is not “superfluous]
This is similar to the recent comments on cross-dressing by the Student’s Guild. Instead of embracing diversity they succeeded in re-establishing traditional gender binaries that we must all fit into. Conservatism prevails once again. Even the admonishing responses came in the form of “it’s only a bit of fun”. Now you don’t need to tell me that it’s fun; I spend an unusual amount of time in my Elvis costume. But it’s not only fun. It does have a wider social implication. By cross-dressing in any way we destabilize gender binaries and hierarchies and fight a pervasive heteronormative, sexist society. I won’t go into it, just read some Judith Butler. Or watch Will and Grace. One or the other.
I don’t want this to come across as an attack. And even if it is hailed as such, it’s certainly a lot less of an attack than the original article.
Instead I would like to use this as an opportunity to welcome Harry McCarthy, Charlie Griffin, and any other queer-identified people, gender-bending folk, or straight allies into the LGBTQ Society. If you don’t want to talk about your feelings, then don’t go to an office hour; if you don’t want to watch queer films, don’t go to the film screenings; if you don’t want to sit around and talk with a friendly group of friends, don’t go to coffee. I certainly don’t do any of that!
Like Harry, I like my feather boas and Absolutely Fabulous. So I head along to Vaults, or the RAM, and pretend that I’m Diana Ross like any self-respecting lesbian does. And if more people joined, it’d be a hell of a party.