I've often found myself asking the same question, though I didn't recieve said articles.

The other day found me involved in a heated discussion with the man who my landlord hired to paint my apartment (for the record, you might not want to call M&M painting to do your next home maintenance job -- you're giving your hard-earned queer dollars to a confirmed bigot!) I found myself positively taken aback by this man who made statements like "I totally support an employer's right to fire a homosexual employee if they are disturbing their co-workers with their behavior." When I asked him what this behavior constituted, insuring that he wasn't simply referring to sexual harassment (which occurs just as frequently per capita among heterosexuals, if not more, obviously), he confirmed my suspicion that by "behavior", he was referring to someone's sexual life outside of the workplace -- which clearly has no effect on their worth and productivity as an employee.

I continually asked if he felt the same way when race was substituted for orientation -- that a person of color should be fired because their co-workers were all racists. He insisted that race wasn't "a choice" whereas lifestyle was, resorting to the same old tired argument, and for as much as I insisted that this wasn't the case, a part of me also felt that it didn't matter -- does the fact that heterosexual conditioning insures that many bisexuals don't fully realize their same-gender attractions until they are in their late teens or early twenties change the validity of those attractions? Does the fact that I CHOOSE to pursue women when I could just as easily date men and be plenty happy really matter? I'm not certain that it does, and I'm not sure that biology vs. environment is really a relevant argument anymore (oh boy...I went there!) because the bottom line is this:


Having this cro-magnon in my house was quite frightening...he'd make statements akin to the above, but was also quick to add "...but I find the idea of WOMEN going at it really exciting.." when I told him to be careful, because he was talking to "one of those" gays.

I was quick to tell him, in no diplomatic language, that he was exactly the sort of straight, hypocritical fascist I despise -- a man who believes, ultimately, that all women exist for his very own titillation. Somehow, lesbianism is okay, because it gets him off, but men "going at it" is positively gross, because his pleasure isn't involved in the whole equation.

What a bunch of bullshit.

Indeed, there is a huge difference between tolerance and pride. There is also a huge difference between creating our own sexual niches in the world and assimilating, which is why I'm torn as far as the marriage issue is concerned -- part of me is positively thrilled by developments in Vermont, and part of me wishes that queers weren't so quick to want to adopt a convention that has largely been oppressive to both parties involved, and most specifically women -- a convention that implies love is only valid when the law is involved.

When I came out to my father, a fiery Born-Again Christian, he practically broke down my door as he screamed "I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I LOVE THE SINNER...BUT NOT THE SIN!!!!!" Love had never seen such an angry face in my short life, but I said my piece.

When I moved to Houghton, my delusions that we were living in an increasingly queer-supportive world came to a screeching halt as I encountered daily ridicule and jeering for the fact that I refuse to look like every other woman at Tech, all tight black pants and long hair and parkas. Usually the slurs involved the assumption of either lesbianism or maleness, two things that are (laughably) considered insults by your average Joe Frat.

When I continue to "flaunt" (rather, contextually speak of) my queer tendencies in my everyday life, I'm told not to "rock the boat", "raise a ruckus", or "freak out the locals".

When the only friend I made this summer following my July move said "you're lucky that I hang out with you, most people in this town wouldn't want to be seen with a girl who admitted that she sleeps with women.", I promptly told her that attitude could fuck off.

When I bombard my mom with too much information about my female crushes despite her sighs, say "yeah, that's right" when I'm called a dyke, systematically out myself to any and all employers and co-workers, and challenge my fellow queers' notions that our sexuality is all about BUYING rainbow merchandise, BUYING commercial artists (like the cliched Melissa, KD, Ani, and the Indigo Girls), CONSUMING mainstream media like Xena Warrior Princess, If These Walls Could Talk, and Chasing Amy, I deal with repurcussions.

Let's go beyond coming out. Let's do our part to create a viable subculture that neither mimics nor begs the acceptance of het America. Let's create our own media, our own porn (yes, feminists and women like porn too!), our own ideas of partnership and commitment, and our own goddamn sense of self-worth. When there are enough of us out there doing what we do with finesse and pride (which can't be purchased), they might start to get it.