Sunday, April 13, 2014

Save the redwoods! Love the gays!

One of my guilty pleasures is watching a couple of Fake Housewives of Clueless City shows, because it fascinates me to see how the other half lives. Just recently, one of those privileged female stars said something that provoked this shout from me to the TV: "Are you fuckin' kidding me?"

This is what came out of the pie hole of Sonja Morgan, NYC Legend in Her Own Mind: "I love my gays." That's a verbatim quote. "I LOVE MY GAYS."

Dafuq? Need I explain why I nearly launched myself out of the recliner? Well, I'm going to anyway.

Those four words, uttered with such self-congratulatory gusto, made me sick. Were I a gay man, I would've shouted something else at the TV. Maybe, "I am not yours, bitch. I am not a bragging point. I don't exist to contribute to your public posturing. Nor am I one of your personal accessories, like a hat or corset or boa. Nor am I part of a happily homogeneous aggregate that you treat like a cause du jour. Save the redwoods! Love the gays! Leave me out of your mission, you fatuous, presumptuous twit."

At that moment it was clear to me, a cis-gendered heterosexual female, that possessive modes of thought and expression severely undermine any GLBTQ ally's sincerity, no matter how good our intentions are. They make us look like self-aggrandizing users. And maybe some of us are.

Since watching that episode of Fake Housewives, I've combed through my memories of relationships with people unlike myself. Have I ingenuously dragged them out to use as bragging points? Oh, look at soft-hearted, liberal me with all these black/Indian/gay/lesbian/handicapped/[insert minority group] friends! Yeah, probably (I'm ashamed to confess), at some points in my life. But I can say unequivocally that I never thought of or referred to any of these individuals as a collection or, worse yet, as MINE. And I've never professed my love for all members of any human group. Doing so is the height of either delusion or deceitfulness.

If I learned anything from that stupid TV show, it's the need for constant self-monitoring. Ill-chosen words aren't always innocuous. They can be profoundly offensive and/or indicative of questionable motives. Caring should never come off as condescension. A supportive boost should never be accompanied by boasting. And possessive adjectives and pronouns used in relation to people must be applied with great care.    


Tam said...

I think we've all been guilty to some degree, if not with people on the GLBT spectrum then others. I think sometimes it can be our subtle way of saying "Please don't say homophobic/racist things to me, I'm not that kind of person" without having to warn people off. If they know you attended a same-sex marriage, then they are unlikely (I would hope) to launch into a diatribe, even if they don't agree with your beliefs. However as a general rule "my gays" "my Asians" (unless you actually do have a harem in your basement) or whatever is just weird and rude, and watching our language is never a bad thing. We all need to be aware of what comes out of our mouths and know that we will be held account for it, even if we didn't "mean it that way".

K. Z. Snow said...

Exactly, Tam. Being courageously outspoken is one thing, but glomming onto a minority group to the point where you've asserted a kind of ownership, or special access, is something else entirely. And pretty damned insulting.