Are We Gay?by Daniel Scheffler / 27.07.2010
Another fiery night in fast love city where identities are crafted with the exactitude of a masterful artisan. It is here that we question the power and the prowess of gay and gay identity. Thus questioning being gay, finding pride in gayness, identifying as gay or even the articulation of the concept. The word gay is by no means a word. It is an attitude, a choice, an entire massacre of philosophy and igneous politics.
We are now beckoned to question, are we post gay? Or in true honesty are we pre-post gay? In a post gay society homosexuals should be able to define their identities by something other than sexual preference, and heterosexuals will identify gays not by their stereotype. The fight now, or struggle as some emit it, is against a monolithic culture that is gay. The stereotypes are to be butchered in an attempt to expose the reality of being gay and not hiding within the acceptable, undemanding characters that society has crafted homosexuals to fulfill. These reflect and cultivate in so many different arenas we engage with daily, almost momentously: real estate, film, music and politics.
Rumor has it that once the gays arrive in an area it stands no chance of being unchanged, unshaped and unwound. Just look at local towns like Barrydale and Arniston who now have flourishing tourist seep and delicatessens alive with activity fueling economies and employment. From a world influence perspective, in Paris the famous Marais area was just a disregarded marsh, a dead land where the impoverished monks sulked and set up domicile to be close to the most famous church in all of France, the Notre Dame. Today, the Marais is an oasis of gay culture and everything associated. The homosexuals identified an area with massive potential, a helm if you have it; the combination of riverside space and cheap real estate of course encouraged this diagnosis. A bijou camp was set up by gays from across the globe. The enlargement of this tiny establishment and its true dexterity is evident in the sustainability of this as the top tourist area (arrondisement) in all of Paris. And naturally executed flair with rebellious fashion boutiques selling too much leather bondage and nasty sweet pink perfumes, vintage shops carrying heavy blazed Chanel and brazen Yves Saint Laurent, bookstores with forbidden gold, cafes serving cassis and of course the cocaine. Not dissimilar is New York’s Village and Cape Town’s De Waterkant. An undesirable precinct with substantial eritage cruised by the virtuous gay and artfully turned into a retreat for all. In a colourful South African real estate context: inner city developments and rejuvenation of the ancient downtowns of Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town is certainly also the focus on this decade for some homosexuals. So therefore the question flairs, does Johannesburg downtown have the ability to be turned into the next bustle? With Manhattan style eateries and neo-contemporary galleries like Arts on Main filling the streets and nouveau apartments kissing the sky one can certainly see the potential. Yet no one roams the streets, no one bombards the avenues with strides of ownership. Unlike Cape Town, where the gays have bought into the next area of competence: the Bo Kaap. With better views than anywhere else in the Mother City, unbiased and kaleidoscopic heritage and a derelict disposition it serves as the perfect idiom of adroitness and cunning forgiveness.
To further explore post-gay, contemporary film carries certain proficiency. With the fiery onslaught of gay films where pornography has been a demanding focus a new genre of gay film has skillfully arrived. Where it is no longer seen as ‘arty gay film’ but rather as ‘contemporary film’. Starring Annette Benning and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple with sperm donated kids the film, The Kids Are All Right tactfully demonstrates the transient novelty of the sexual identity. The focus instead is on relationships and complexities associated with them in all capacities.
As with music, Adam Lambert being a star in his own right not based on the homosexual identity he does not split from himself, the musician. So fighting the stereotype of gays starts with fighting the prejudice of the whole. Thus the support of the former Archbishop of Cape Town and a Nobel Prize winner, Desmond Tutu giving his name in the fight against homophobia and prejudice against gays is crucial. He describes homophobia as a “crime against humanity”. Reminding the world that discrimination is an easy evil cul de sac in prejudice. As the Anti Homosexuality Bill is passing in Uganda we can then see that progressive developments may be taking shape in cities across the globe but the world is still pre-post gay. Evident in the arrest and imprisonment of the Malawian gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeva who consequently have broken up and chosen not to be gay.
Not everyone is rosily comfortable, not every gay is aiding in the fight, not everyone is partaking in a post-gay society and with no doubt not everyone is an evangelist.