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Cultural relevance and the AIDS anger piece

I feel like an anthropologist when watching something like Angels in America, telling myself that I have to think about it from the time in which it was created, in this case the early nineties.  I know I read it in high school(it had just been published), the good little closet case that I was, devouring every piece of gay-related reading I could get ahold of, but don't remember a thing about it. There was no separation then, the world painted was the reality of the situation. It's much like my bible, Becoming a Man by Paul Monette, so quick to spew hatred at those in power, so quick with the idealistic silver lining that is the future. 

Tonight, as I prepared to distance myself from the piece, to look at it as a past moment in time, I began to question why I was doing that.  We can't say that this amount of anger isn't still warranted. Maybe I typecast the work as a way to avoid feeling guilty, because to admit that this level of rage is still justified requires that I admit that I am not doing enough. Somewhere I bought into the concept that living my life openly was activism, opening the eyes of people ignorant of what real gay people are like.  Is it enough?  Do we still need to scream to be seen as human beings equal under the law? 

I'm confused, so much so that I pulled my bible down from it's shelf, looking to see if PM has any advice for me. While I see the similarities in the pieces, I still am far from a conclusion. 

So I turn to you. Any thoughts?  What's on your mind? Whatever song lyric, poem, or life experience you are feeling right this second may be just what I need to get this to gel. 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
paideia
Dec. 15th, 2003 07:34 pm (UTC)
Does one have to be an activist in every aspect of life in order to be an activist? Must one always scream in order make progress? Why is activism important to you? Can you articulate it?
hapgood
Dec. 25th, 2003 01:23 pm (UTC)
sorry for taking so long to reply after you went to the trouble to comment. I wanted a day to think about it, and then forgot in the hullabullew of the holiday season.

The image that keeps coming back to me is a comparison that someone made once between people and zebras. Zebra herds, when being preyed upon by lions, will scurry a short distance away and settle down again to graze, often in sight of their fallen comrade. The lion, when finished with the downed Zebra, only has to make the small jump back to the herd, where they once again will move a small distance away from the victim, and continue to go about their lives as if nothing was wrong. They do nothing to help the fallen zebra or to protect the herd from further attack. People often act similiarly.

So while I don't feel that my entire life has to be entirely built around activism, I sometimes wonder if I'm doing enough or just being a zebra. I also wonder why I'm not doing more; is this because I really don't have time or energy to be more involved, or is this some piece of self-hatred left over from my closet years? I know that I'm done being the fag others expect me to be, doing what I SHOULD be doing in their eyes. It's just something I struggle with.

Activism is important to me, as I still don't feel safe as a gay man in the United States. Until I know that people who choose to hurt me or those I love will have to face consequences equal to their actions, I will always worry that to be true to myself is asking for attack. It's not enough to make me hide again, but it is enough to make me speak up and stand out. Not exactly a Mother Theresaesque motivation, but there it is. I just want to live my life.

Hope you are having a great holiday. You're in Georgia, right? One of my roommates leaves for there tonight.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )