Thursday, March 09, 2023

L.A. LGBT Center CEO: 'You're Here. You're QUEER. Get Used to It'

Well that didn't take long. Less than 24 hours after posing the metaphysical question about what a dead gay man might think about being posthumously identified as "queer" did I get an answer for my alive and kicking self.

Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center -- which happens to be the largest facility in the world providing services to LGBT people -- had this to say in part about elected officials in the city of Huntington Beach, Calif., barring the Pride flag from flying over City Council during Pride month:

“The Greater Los Angeles area is for everyone and yet Huntington Beach officials landed on a cliche and reductive approach to making headlines: marginalizing queer Californians … sending us a clear message of hate and shamelessly putting young, queer lives at stake. Huntington Beach’s officials are taking a cue from the political playbooks of extremist politicians across the country -- using their hatred of queer and trans people as launching pads for their careers. …”

Hollendoner is correct that what HB is doing is abhorrent. But some 33 years on since the formation of Queer Nation, I have yet to figure out how using the term "queer" to represent all LGBT individuals -- a tired and forced attempt at provocation -- does anything but alienate people outside and INSIDE our community.

Keep reading BELOW.

But, hey: The leader of this massive LGBT organization has spoken. So even though the center's own name and website do not even use the Q or the + when mentioning LGBT people -- much less singularly calling us queer -- I guess it's time for me to just accept something I've known for years: I'm a big queer. (Deep down, I've always known I was a lot like Andrew Cuomo's youngest daughter.) 

One question though: Hollendoner speaks of "hatred of queer and trans people." Does this mean trans people aren't or cannot be queer? I guess they'll just have to wait to hear back from Joe.

By the way, if you think I'm focused on the wrong thing -- "Slowly but surely Our community doesn't have the luxury of in-fighting over terminology," a friend told me gently -- consider this. When I saw this headline about the Pride flag being under assault, I honestly thought it was yet another complaint about the so-called "progress" flag that has replaced Gilbert Baker's iconic original -- you know, the one that has been exposed as a profit-making grift. So don't think these calls from inside the house aren't giving conservatives just the openings they're looking for. I may be a crank, but you don't see me NOT voting religiously for Democrats, unlike all these "queer activists" who couldn't be bothered in 2016. 

It wasn't that long ago states that passed those disgusting anti-trans bathroom bans were ostracized by major sports leagues and businesses from around the country, and people who spewed hate paid a price. Yes, the Trump administration derailed some of what eight years of Obama achieved for LGBT people. But Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch "led the way on one of the most sweeping LGBT rights rulings in the court’s history, protecting gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination" and a bipartisan Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act. And these red states have always been controlled by the far right -- which forces me to believe there's got to be more to this sudden backlash against us. 

Now if I'm bristling at being called queer, raising my eyebrows at a 10-year-old drag queen who took a break from marching in Pride parades to do glitter makeovers at RuPaul's DragCon and am utterly astounded by gender-identity zealots -- while even the greatest "queer" athlete of all time has a fatwa on her for not wholeheartedly agreeing with the most extreme views on transgender athletes -- and I could go on -- it's hard not to conclude that this "they're gonna hate us no matter what we do" theory only holds so much water. 

Ever heard of death by a thousand paper cuts? 

If anyone is Photoshop-friendly and would like to convert these to "queer," I'd appreciate it. I was 22 when people first tried to make queer happen -- and I was just as against it as I am now. But it's time for me to embrace my new identity. 


GC said...

interesting view. I was recently speaking at an event and someone asked me how I felt about the word "queer" and I said I didn't like it for me. That did not go over very well, which didn't shock me. But when I try to explain that it was a pejorative (and continues to be in many spaces) so it doesn't feel or sound right to me. I understand that some may be just fine with it. To your point (I think), many feel they are being social justice warriors but are not taking the time to listen to other perspectives. Rational debate has gone out the window.

das buut said...

I am not a queer and refuse to answer to it. People getting pissy over the pride flag and it's bastard cousins being banned from government buildings have too much time on their hands. Some of the best advice given me was "Pick your battles."

And if you think voting Dem religiously will save us, honey, I have some bad news for you. There aren't a whole lot of sane people left in D.C., and they aren't bound to party affiliation anymore.

das buut said...

Didn't mean for that to come across as assholish as it did. The problem with being online verses in person is not hearing until you read it aloud.

What I mean to say is that I have no faith in symbolic gestures. Generations of politicians and activists promising one thing and delivering a turd sandwich with a rainbow flag has left me burned out and cynical. Raise it or lower it, it means nothing if they aren't actively voting against bad policy. Gay days, pride month announcements, that's nice on a purely shallow level, but it means nothing. The White House also has prayer breakfasts and Easter celebrations, it doesn't mean they're going to suddenly start burning witches and enforcing doctrine.

Between the chaotic evil twits like AOC and the manipulative greed of Pelosi, the Democratic Party has lost its way. I don't know of any politician I would vote for in the next election in any party. They've proven they're all unworthy to hold office and it will take a great deal of effort to convince me otherwise.

Suber said...

It seems now some people in our community don’t insist on changing which part of the alphabet they want to be but also want to decide who you and I want to be…and that’s what is queer…

AB said...

Oh boy, there you go again. It’s part of the far left having to mention trans for everything, even when it suggest that they’re not a member of the community. It’s the same bullshit with the flag. We now have three colors for trans people, one color for Black people, because apparently they’re not as important, one color for brown people, even though nobody knows who that actually is, and the other colors represent everybody so Black, brown, and trans. People get represented twice, Asian get nothing, lesbians, gays, and bisexuals get nothing, etc.

The entire movement is fucked. The far left is trying to take over the Democratic Party, and they already took over movement. And yeah, we should talk sometime about trans athletes, because it’s insane to have somebody who grew up with a male body, and testosterone, until age 20 then participate in female sports, it’s entirely unfair.

Jaradon said...

I lived through the "We are queer. We are here" era but at least that had a purpose. I will always refer to myself as a gay man just like a Latino I will never use the ridiculous Latinx nonsense.Yes call me boomer but this idea that everyone needs their own letter in the LGB-whatever we can think of next alphabet soup has gotten out of hand.

BOQ said...

Yeah, I think they messed that up.

Lately, the only thing I hear from the center is requests for money

Crank E. Guy said...

I think a lot of people don’t care, a lot of people know it’s not safe to speak out, and a lot of people, younger people, oral brainwashed by this crap now. Including all the bullshit about 52 genders.