Here, at the height of Pride season, and a seemingly unending debate over Gay marriage and general Homosexual acceptance in America, it may not be surprising that I have heard from more than one friend that they are embarrassed by what they see at the Pride events and think that such behavior is damaging the fight for equality. They find the flamboyancy tacky, the leather dated and the nudity simply unacceptable. In a word: Mattachinian.
Ok, it’s not a real word. But it was a real group that is a very important part of queergayhomofagdyke history.
The Mattachine Society was formed in 1950 to protect and improve the rights of homosexuals. Notice I didn’t say ‘fight for” the rights of homosexuals. That’s because their philosophy of gaining acceptance was that they were going to show the straight world how “normal” a homosexual can be. They would protest and they would chair meetings and debates but they would do so in formal attire appropriate to their gender and hair clean and cut the same. No drag queens, no fairies and no bulldykes. Their goals are as follows:
- Unify homosexuals isolated from their own kind;
- Educate homosexuals and heterosexuals toward an ethical homosexual culture paralleling the cultures of the Negro, Mexican and Jewish peoples;
- Lead the more socially conscious homosexual to provide leadership to the whole mass of social deviates; and
- Assist gays who are victimized daily as a result of oppression.
In other words; to help the oppressed while showing the straights we are ashamed of ourselves too. Their work in the first and last point was undeniable. But the emphasis on the second and third would be their downfall. In a post Stonewall world sitting down and acting straight was not going to work. Showing them we could be just like them was not getting us anywhere. It was time to fight, time to shout and time to spill some blood.
I have mixed feelings about this viewpoint resurfacing. Back in tha day I would have been furious about it and, like the Queens, been spinning off some bitch kicks. In the year 2011, is this a return to puritanical faggotry or a desire to simply evolve? Do we need to be so visible when our visibility is being handled by the internet and television? Are we just sick of fighting?
Harvey Fierstein one said “Visibility at Any Cost: I’d Rather Have Negative than Nothing.” and I tend to agree. We ALL make up the GLBT Community. If you don’t like the B’s or the T’s that’s your problem, but, don’t think for a second they wouldn’t fight for you when it came right down to it. Just as you would fight for them. We are all in this together and you may want to waste time turning up your nose at something you find distasteful but, when fist comes to bum, you know you’re gonna throw down.