With the summer will come the publication of two opportunistic books aimed at the queer communitythe Vice Presidents daughter Mary Cheneys Now Its My Turn and disgraced exNew Jersey governor James McGreeveys The Confession. My fellow queers, I implore you: If you need to satisfy your morbid curiosity, take these books out of the library. Dont give these two traitors your hard-earned cash.
Yeah, I knowbetter late than never, yada yada yada. The Human Rights Campaign even issued a statement: Marys presences on the national stage is most welcome and has the potential to be a transforming moment for all Americans. They are being far too generous. Im with outspoken queer columnist Sukie de la Croix, who refers bluntly to the title of her book: Honey, you had your turn, and you blew it big time.
Indeed, Mary Cheneys silence has infuriated the queer community for yearstoo long for her to make up for it now (hence de la Croixs comment). It seems clear to me that she wants to have her cake and eat it, toothat is, participate in the most queer-hostile administration since Reagan ignored AIDS for eight years and still have the support of her people.
Her people? Dan Savage may be right when he declares that theres no monolithic queer community, but I believe there is a queer community of some sort, and Im proud to be a part of it. Mary Cheney is not a part of it. If your dad were not Vice President, would you be in this party? ABC asked Cheney. I dont tend to like hypothetical questions, Cheney responded. I have a hypothetical question for you, Mary: Why are you such a spineless wimp?
Cheney didnt ask to be in the public eye, but neither did Maya Marcel-Keyes. The lesbian daughter of the famously homophobic Alan Keyes couldnt abide by her fathers repugnant politics and was kicked out of the house for it. The queer community came to her rescue: almost immediately, the Point Foundation, an academic scholarship program for LGBT teens, gave her money to go to Brown. Like Marcel-Keyes, Cheney was never going to hurt for cash. The publicity generated from her coming out alone would have saved her from the poorhouse. It would be great to have the luxury of being a one-issue voter, but I [dont], Cheney says. Fine. Just dont expect the community that rallies around this single issue to support you.
Far worse is former New Jersey governor James McGreevey, who was forced out of the closet by a lover who threatened to expose him. Sure, thats the kind of role model we want for young gay kids: someone who lied to his constituents and loved ones rather than make the sacrifices braver queer people make every day.
I would understand if McGreevey were simply waiting for the right time to come out, like Rosie ODonnell (love ya, cant wait to see you on The View!), but give me a break. Queer columnist Steve Yuhas writes that McGreeveys coming out was a cowardly attempt to deflect attention from a scandal-laden administration. I dont even give McGreevey that much credit. He came out because he was backed into a wall, then decided to make the most of it by pandering to his new community.
The fact that McGreevey referred to himself as a gay American in his resignation speech didnt bode well. I have never heard another person use that term. While I prefer queer for its inclusiveness, I respect others who choose to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or, well, anything else they care to mention. But referring to himself as a gay American at his wifes side? What were we supposed to infer from that? That one can be gay while in a heterosexual union? Of course, this was before McGreevey and his wife began the divorce process. The ambiguity was so his PR consultants could plan his next move.
I dont consider myself a radical, really. But my fellow queers have been so good to me that I hate to see opportunistic figures like Cheney and McGreevey trying to worm into our ranks. There are plenty of people trying to jump onto the queer-rights bandwagonhell, Paris Hilton led the Pride Parade in L.A. last year, and shes actually homophobic. (Case in point: that eww she uttered at the thought of two men kissing on The Simple Life.) But they can only join our community if we give them our support.
So the next time youre at the bookstore, pass up Now Its My Turn and The Confession. Try Dan Savages The Commitment, or George Chaunceys Why Marriage? or Gay New York. The queer community has never been stronger, and with strength comes buying power (dont forget Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, basically an hour-long infomercial for a manufactured lifestyle). Dont give the likes of Cheney and McGreevey your money.