This post-Thanksgiving post I am giving thanks to queens. In queer culture, one definition of queen is a flamboyant gay man. Coming of age and coming out in the mid to late 90’s I was surrounded by queens, and I loved every minute of it. The queens I hung out with were fierce and bad ass (they had to be as out gay men in Southeast Idaho). They taught me to throw shade, to use words like a knife and how using kitsch when dealing with oppression can be as powerful as any weapon. Like they strong women mentioned in my previous post, they often spoke truth to power.
From the queens in my life I learned about gay culture, gay history, and practical skills like cruising, plotting revenge and cooking the perfect quiche. We loved each other, fought with each other, slept with each other and supported each other through the loss of careers, parents and lovers. Many queens from my youth I still keep in touch with and consider part of my chosen family. Regardless of where I am in the world (or my own life), I know they are just a text message or call away to offer advice, support and a bitchy comment just for good measure. Their gift of helping me to embrace my inner queen is something I will always cherish.
I love queer kids today. I have contact with a plethora of them as clients, students and just as friends I have met through acquaintances. They are lovely and decent humans and I appreciate their ability to embrace the fluidity of different genders and sexualities. However, I have noticed that many of the gay kids don’t have the same “edge” that the queens of my generation have.
I hypothesize that this is due to the fact that gay kids do not have to summon their inner queen for protection. The gay kids of today are for the most part accepted and have not needed to hone their defensive verbal skills. This thrills me because it means that the world is getting better and easier for gay kids. However, there is also a part of me that is saddened by the fact that by losing our queerness/edginess we are losing part of our culture.
I’m continuing to work on the “Easy Goes It” shawl. It has been a lot of fun to knit up!