I really have to learn that I don’t always have to answer my freaking’ cell phone just because the damn thing chirps.
“Isn’t it fabulous?” my friend Gregory shrieked on the other end.
“Justin Timberlake’s really a big ole’ bottom?” I guessed, fussing with my iPod and trying to keep cool in my non air-conditioned piece of crap car as I sat waiting to get through a tollbooth.
“Don’t be ridiculous! If he were queer he would totally be a top. But that’s not it. Ellen and her girlfriend are getting married!”
“Well, good for them,” I replied absently, becoming more and more irritated as the minutes passed with the traffic at a complete standstill, and I, a fella of ample proportions, began basting in my own juices.
“I thought you’d be excited?” Gregory asked, sounding a tad bit disappointed and defeated.
“Honey, I’m thrilled, it’s just I’m trying to get home, no one is moving, it’s a hundred fucking degrees in this deathtrap I’m driving and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to surgically remove my balls from the driver’s seat because I’m a sweaty, hot mess in here. Ellen who?”
“Ellen Degeneres, silly! Ellen and her girlfriend Portia DeRossi are getting married! Gay married in California! I can’t believe you hadn’t heard!”
“Oh that,” I replied dismissively. “I heard.”
“Gregory, I don’t really care,” I answered.
“That is so unpatriotic!” he shrieked into my earpiece.
“Excuse me?” I asked. “What the hell does two celesbiens getting hitched have to do with patriotism?”
“Its gay patriotism, you ass. Anytime anyone stands up and does something for our rights and promotes equality, we need to be excited. It’s the least we can do for these people who are…um…you know, are, what’s it called?” he asked.
“Blazing trails?” I offered
“Yes! Exactly!” Gregory agreed.
“Honey, right now the only thing that’s blazing is the skin between my giant thighs, so I have to go. Love you. Call you when I get home.”
It’s a good thing cars started moving, because I was moments away from leaping out of mine and pitching the world’s biggest tantrum in the middle of the New York State Thruway. I was hot (I believe we have established that at length already), delayed, and was in no mood to be lectured at by a twenty two year old twinkie on how I’m setting the gay movement back by being glib about a gay celebrity wedding. I was here and queer and screaming at people to get used to it when he was still playing with G.I. Joes and Barbies. Seriously, WTF?
Several miles and twenty minutes into listening to a Gay Pimpin’ with Jonny McGovern podcast later, I was reasonably calmer, collected, and in jollier spirits (Jonny and his co-hosts Linda James and Martin Beauchamp can soothe even the most manic homosexual). I shut off my iPod and started to do some serious thinking about my conversation with Gregory.
Maybe he had a point. Maybe it is our job as members of the gay community to celebrate and support the people and things that make it just a little bit easier to be who we are. And though I might protest the relevance a celebrity’s actions has with my life as an average Joe, perhaps it’s the point that when someone who is extremely visible and gay is putting a face to issues that have or will effect me at some point on my journey, that’s what I should really care about. After all, it’s the Ellens and the George Takeis of the world that are using their public platforms to show people that gay couples are worthy of the same equality and treatment as straight couples, not me.
Perhaps my ambivalence about such matters stems from my number one problem with being a rainbow flag waving, staunch supporter of all things queer or queer related. We’ve got youth groups, marriage initiatives, support for our brothers and sisters in the T community; you name it, we’re on it. But I ask you, who rallies specifically for causes that represent me? Who stands up for the common man or woman who doesn’t identify with any of the things his or her community is championing?
I know. Bad Robby. I’m being selfish. It’s not supposed to be all about me. I need to broaden my horizons, open my heart, and focus on the bigger picture, which is what our community should be about. It takes a village, poor defeated Hillary would say. I suppose if I support mine, they will eventually get around to supporting me.
So maybe the next time someone calls me with a big gay celebrity’s big gay news, I will do the right thing and respond like I give a shit. And maybe I’ll even mean it.
If, that is, I bother to answer my cell phone.
Essential Download: "Hymn 4 My Soul"
Artisit: Joe Cocker
Available On: Hymn For My Soul
Originally published in the August 2008 issue of The Empty Closet, New York State’s Oldest Continuously-Published LGTB newspaper since 1973, through the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.