When Queer as Folk started, I had such hopes for the series, that it would echo the experiences I have had as a gay man in America. While it has had its moments, I've always felt that it fell shy of the mark, that I myself was too marginal a subdemographic of gay America to have my voice represented. Even though it wasn't 45 minutes of catharsis every week, I still came to love the characters with all their gifts and faults. Given all this, I was pleasantly surprised tonight to have Mel (who was my first "favorite" character on the show) give voice to exactly how I feel about living here at this point in history.
Mel has a line in tonight's episode, the gist of which is that she always believed that hard work and perseverance would eventually bring about equality for gays in this country, but she was starting to have serious doubts given the current climate. I started crying over this quote as it was a perfect summation of how I've been feeling since the last election. As much as I want to pretend that my grief is solely over Bush, I have to own that my biggest problem is that I'm living in a state that didn't choose Bush, but still made the statement that being gay is a such a horrible thing that we have to make a rule against it in the state constitution. Almost a year later, and I'm just now realizing that I have to deal with feeling betrayed by people who I normally share political and moral values with, that they drew a line in the sand just shy of me on an issue. I really should join a melodrama 12-step group.
So then I'm left with what to do with these thoughts. The counselor in me is rejoicing over this unexpected opportunity for dealing with held grief (because having my thoughts reflected back to me has comforted me greatly), but the gay man in me is thinking of taking the advice of a redneck's bumper sticker: America-Love it or leave it. At what point do you withdraw from the battle and retreat for safer territory? I guess I'm scrappy enough that I still want to fight, but I have to acknowledge that I've done almost no fighting since last November. Sure, I've sent a couple of emails to my legislators when the HRC did all but wipe my ass to make the process easy, but I've really spent the time hiding. I'm a deer in headlights, just waiting to be run down by conservative America. The deer, should it come to its senses, would run to the forest to save itself.
I can't stay stuck in the middle, the deer in the headlights. To mix my nature metaphors, I need to come out of this cocoon I've been hiding in, and either become the deer completely, relocating myself to the nature preserve (Canada) where I can live in peace with others of my kind, or I need to use this cocoon to become a predator, something that won't go down without a fight. I'm not going to be so stupid as to commit to either of these roles in this moment, for I know that this decision will require significant life change no matter which path I choose.
May the creator guide me along this path, wherever it takes me.