Since the dominoes are falling or the jenga brick has been removed or satan has arrived on earth to damn us all or whatever and gay marriage (that is marriage between two people of the same sex, whose sexual activities are bizarre foreign and probably disgusting to all right-thinking heterosexuals) is becoming legalized and all kinds of movements are insisting on the right of homosexuals to live as though they’re actual citizens and junk, let’s talk about the post-gay world we’re approaching. Once we’ve achieved every major ticket item on the HRC’s list what’s going to happen?
Let’s start with what “post-gay” is. In other intersections of oppression there’s a general understanding that after some gains have been achieved and the movements subside, we as people tend to re-assert a worldview that assumes that we’re beyond those movements. An example: post-feminism. Children of the late seventies and beyond were generationally removed from the struggles of feminism, and as such all of the challenges and victories were firmly placed in the past. Certainly previous feminist rhetorics didn’t have much relevance to their lives, as the decimation of the economy all but guaranteed that every household that wanted to succeed had to succeed as a two-wage household. So feminism was a thing that already happened and was over and women were cool now. Any problems that women still faced were probably due to individual choices in their lives.
Another post: post-racism. There’s a strong understanding that racism is not only placed firmly in the To Kill a Mockingbird past, but that racism that happens today is due to isolated incidents created by individuals rather than a system that actively devalues nonwhites. Thus people who argue against racism or those nonwhites who point out deep systemic problems in our society are seen at best as whiners, subversive “reverse racist” demagogues at worst.
Post-gay is going to play out similarly. The broad assumption across society is that well by gum gays can marry now and there’s some laws against discrimination in place so by George the queers have made it. Queer radicals will be further marginalized and gay rights organizations will become persnickety and superfluous. Individuals who comment that there are basically little more than token gays in media will be dismissed as unrealistic political correctness police. Not just by heterosexuals. By other gays. Eventually we’re going to run into phrases like “I’m gay, but I’m not one of those gays.” Assaults on gays will be chalked up to “well maybe they shouldn’t have been so flamboyant in front of those dudes.” Bisexuality will be totally erased.
Sounds familiar, right? Elements of all of these things exist even today, but the problem in a post-gay world will only be more and more severe, where all of these things will come together and become the overarching norm of gay life rather than disparate issues varyingly expressed. We will come to a clear and well-defined hierarchal organization of homosexual behavior where now we only have bits and pieces of attitudes by a handful of sex columnists. The classes of queer, bi-curious, heteroflexible, metrosexual, questioning, mostly straight/mostly gay, or any other way people define the middle spaces between pure homosexuality and pure heterosexuality will coalesce into a single “mulatto” definition that is interpreted in the direction most convenient for the interpreter’s biases. “Straight-acting” will become not just a weird internal insult but an actual threat.Shit man, maybe we are actually here already.