Blog Archives

Is Voting a Responsibility?

Readers, I am sick and I am tired.

I’m sick and tired of people shaming those who don’t vote in this country, attacking young people for failure to get involved in politics, and saying that a decision not to vote is a vote for the “other side.”  For many of us, there is no “other side.”  The political atmosphere in the United States doesn’t offer truly opposing viewpoints on many issues, and hasn’t for a long time.  Politics is not a sphere of creativity, activism, and problem-solving.  It’s a charade.  And I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that a vote for a Republican necessarily is worse than a vote for a Democrat who will do nothing.  I believe that both choices are appalling.

In school, we’re all indoctrinated into the ideal of “democracy.”  In a democracy, we’re told, political participation is the right and the duty of every citizen.  Political participation includes voting, campaigning, and writing letters to our Congressperson.  Those are the boundaries of participation, and if we do not choose to exercise our rights in these neatly delineated ways, we are not participants and we have no right to object to what happens in our nation.

I call bullshit. Read the rest of this entry

Johnny Weir Comes Out: Why We Need a Queer Movement

“We’re here, we’re queer, get over it!”

This used to be a rallying cry for the gay and lesbian liberation movement, but I think it’s high time we appropriate it for something different.  “Liberation” is supposed to be a lofty goal, a formative moment in the life cycle, but in fact it’s become a prison cell.  The more I hear from the gay and lesbian movement, the more disillusioned with it I become.  It’s time for something new.

Johnny Weir Comes Out, Gay Media Pitches Fit

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  For years, the gay media has been annoyed with American figure skater Johnny Weir for refusing to self-define as gay, while mainstream journalists can’t say one sentence about Weir without a cutesy comment about fashion or mannerisms–all code for “wink wink, he’s a big ole homo.”  In fact, I’m looking over my shoulder right now, waiting for the Associated Press to issue me a fine for not including the adjective “flamboyant” in front of Weir’s name in this blog post.

Yesterday, Weir finally “came out” when selections from an upcoming issue of People magazine were leaked.  What did said gay media, waiting all this time for Weir to finally stand up and be counted, feel about this revelation?  Well, relief, of course, because Johnny Weir coming out means that the gay media can  finally “write about [and] appreciate” him.  After all, without making a public statement about his sexuality, “[h]ow could he be considered a role model?”

Talk about damning with feint praise.  What I find so insidious about that After Elton article, and others like it, is that any closet around Johnny Weir is entirely constructed around Weir by the same gay media that criticizes him for not coming out of it–as well, of course, as the mainstream media that describes his competitors’ talents and masculine strength in an Olympic report while only mentioning Weir’s love for Lady Gaga or his hairdo.

It’s important to note that Johnny Weir never said he was in a closet.  He never said that he was straight or gay.  He consistently uses quotation marks around the word closet, and in response to the leak he Tweeted the following:

I don’t remember ever pretending to be something other than I am, nor do I remember living with my coats inside a wardrobe. I just live.

In a world where heterosexual is normal, queer celebrities are necessarily “in the closet” if they don’t discuss their sexuality in public.  When a celebrity says nothing, the assumption is that he or she is trying to imply straightness. What I find such a shame is what Weir said in the People article about how he was talking about his sexuality now in part because he wants to be a role model to the queer adolescents that are considering suicide.  I find it devastating that someone would have to use the word “gay” to be a role model, but I also see exactly where he’s coming from.  Kids are raised in this black and white, homosexual/heterosexual world.  Even bisexuality is misunderstood, not to mention pansexuality, queerness, and differing gender expressions.  Weir is out there being himself, doing what he wants to do, being a role model for kids–but society’s blinders say that he’s closeted, send a message to adolescents that I doubt Weir himself would ever approve.

Johnny Weir has become one of my role models because he does blur lines of gender and sexuality.  As a genderqueer person coming to terms with my own gender, it’s wonderfully refreshing to see a public figure being so defiant, refusing to let others put a box around his neck.  I love the way he demands that the focus be put on his interests, his projects, his creativity, and not his identity labels.  Even in the People article that tries so hard to fit him into a typical coming out narrative, he stirs that up a bit by talking about different aspects of himself, the things he loves, the traits that transcend a simple gendered picture.

Again: we’re here, we’re queer, get over it.  It’s time for those of us who don’t fit in boxes to start our own movement.

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