The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Assimilation

We're a right bunch, arent we? By we I mean GLBTI folk or queer folk, although the latter term is proving controversial, judging by the letters pages of the gay press here in Sydney lately. In last week's Sydney Star Observer, a Gregory Franks from Sans Souci (could there be a camper name for a place?) slammed young GLBTI people for using the term queer. These cheeky so-and-sos affiliate themselves with radical political groups like socialists and atheists and then claim to speak for every gay and lesbian around, Franks says. Similar sentiments were expressed in last week's SX by Kendall-Atzlan Horrocks (could there be a camper name for a person?), who called for a total repudiation of the tactics taken by the 'fortress Queer' lobbies and lambasted anyone who considers themselves to be outside mainstream Australian life and culture as 'extremely juvenile'.

To assimilate or not to assimilate? That's the question. Sitting on the margins of society has its advantages: repression often fosters creativity and a sense of specialness; being part of something other can feel rebellious and exciting. But there's a price to pay: no equal rights, being treated as a second-class citizen, bashed. On the other hand, assimilating into the mainstream, becoming 'like everyone else' might offer a slew of equal rights. But there's a price to pay: blandness, and the further marginalisation of anyone who doesn't join you in towing the conservative party line in which individuality is sacrificed for the Holy Grail of normality.

Is it progress when the gossip magazines include stories on the civil unions of our gay icons such as Elton John, or as NW did this week, run a piece about Ellen Degeneres apparent 'fury' at girlfriend Portia de Rossi for spending 'flirty nights on the town' with...wait for it...a man! Our Ellen, who's embraced mediocrity big time with that awful talk show of hers, is sandwiched between bimbo supermodel Kate Moss and her arse of a boyfriend Pete Doherty, and a seven-page spread entitled 'What Stars Really Weigh', complete with pics of female celebrities sporting anything from a pot belly to stick insect frames. All rounded off, of course, with the staple quotes required for trash rags from sources close to the comedian, who say she's 'petrified' of Portia doing an Anne Heche (Ellen's former girlfriend who returned somewhat spectacularly to heterosexuality in 2000, having been found wandering the streets declaring she'd seen aliens).

What with this, and the token gays on reality TV shows, should we be pleased or horrified that we're becoming part of this mainstream? I'm a tad torn on the subject -after all, I'm just as happy curled up on the sofa with my girlfriend and cat watching Chita Rivera play a lesbian on Will & Grace as I am shimmying under a disco ball in a fabulous frock or mooning Her Majesty outside Buckingham Palace. But, given a choice of companion Ellen or transgender punk rock icon Jayne County (see separate blog on Jayne), it's Ms County every single time.

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