“A bitch with a drug habit and you’re anybody’s. Marlene and Judy rolled into one I suppose” – Edina Monsoon.
I really hate being a cliché, but that line could have been written to me, or to soooo many gay men. Today I’ve spent a huge proportion of my awake time listening to and reading about La Lupe, the Queen of Latin Soul. PLEASE, go on youtube and look up La Lupe’s recordings of Cualquiera, Puro Teatro, Que te pedi, or Si vuelves tu, among many great cuts. It’ll be the most remarkable voice you’ve heard all year, if you don’t already know her work.
We love the tragic heroines of the stage, we gays, or so it would seem. La Lupe is one to add to the pantheon. But can I just say, that this is not just because their personae so often play up to a kind of campness, but because I, like many, am not threatened by women wearing their hearts on the creative sleeves, unlike our heterosexual brothers. In fact, for many gay men there is nothing that we want more than the kind of closeness to our women friends that women nurture between each other. Despite what some people say, gay men love women. We do. And more than that, we recognise their talents in ways that the heterosexual male mainstream does not. We love them.
I’ve spent the other half of my day watching Germaine Greer videos on youtube, one of my favourite pastimes. It’s interesting to me how youtube could become a kind of oral history of our culture. More interesting still by the fact that it can obviously only show cultural products made in the photographic and video ages, therefore anything from times before could be lost to time in memoriam if youtube were all we had left to go by. Just like any history it begins at the point that the format is conceived and leaves out anything that came before. The Bible is one example of this, we know so little about human society before the Old Testament, so it is lost to us until archaeology gets lucky and finds some evidence. The two documents are not so dissimilar. All of this has happened before and will happen again.
Finally, watching Germaine Greer briefly skirt on the issue of gay liberation, it is a chilling thought that our liberation as LGBTIQ people might have set back the liberation of women. The equality we fight for is just, it is essential and it is a struggle. But by normalising ourselves into patriarchal society, have we just made it harder for women to change it? Certainly our struggle has had a lot more publicity and public support than women’s liberation, and yet we’re a small minority of people. Has our plight distracted from the essential feminist goal of putting an end to war? It’s not a subject that is brought up in LGBTIQ activism, is it? Have we set back the vital aspirations of feminism. One answer is that if we have, it has been in the service of acquiring our basic human rights. That cannot or should not be taken away from our movement. Another is that any group or collective is only capable of fighting so many wars for its own survival, and Lord knows that LGBTIQ have had and still have a global campaign on our hands. But maybe it’s time to use our privileged position as LGBTIQ citizens in Western, tolerant societies to help fight for women’s liberation, in the knowledge that eventually the rest of the world will follow, just as it is slowly following us on our rainbow rights. The eradication of homophobia and the eradication of violence against women are battles in the same war – the war against patriarchy and masculinism. And if we really are to achieve the close sisterly bonding with the women that WE LOVE SO MUCH, we’re going to have to stand on the front line with them hand in hand.