Reclaiming the G-A-Y

It’s gone!

I don’t know if somebody snuck into my bedroom while I slept and stole it, or if I have just forgotten where I put it! Checked the spare room. Not there! Checked under the house. Not there! Even checked the dog kennel, but no, not there either! One day here, the next day – gone! And just what is this mystery that I am running around, trying to find? well, I hate to admit it, but somewhere along the line I have lost G-A-Y. I’m really missing it, so if you do happen to see it, PLEASE grab it for me, and bring it back. I spent the majority of my life putting G-A-Y together, making it a thing that I showed off with immense pride. Indeed, some said I flaunted it. And as quickly as it was gained, so it has disappeared.

Just as an example of how serious losing G-A-Y is, I tried this morning to do a very G-A-Y thing – swish my hips. Now, this used to happen naturally. I’d take a step – swish! Take another step – swish! Do a little mincey run – swish-swish-swish-swish. Didn’t have to ponder it. It just was! But today….they wouldn’t swish! To be honest, it looked as though something very uncomfortable was stuck up my bum! Like that horrible bum-creep you get from badly cut undies. In fact I couldn’t even get them to do a jiggle. But as much as this was bad, worse was to come. I tried to limp my wrist. I even hunted down a photo of both Boy George and Quentin Crisp to make sure I was doing it right – now how fucking bad is that. Even thinking I need to learn it is really serious shit! Now, you know the limp I am talking about; that flourishy thing that true queens are really good at! Well, it just didn’t happen. It just looked as though I had a broken wrist, or worse still that I had just dropped a handful of small change. And let’s not forget the lisp, something that even Ita has never lost. That slight but obvious distortion of the S sound, making it more like STH, as in sthweetie. Yes, I know, I know – I never had a lisp. My plum-in-the-mouth way of speaking was the result of a private education – absolutely nothing to do with the G-A-Y gene!. But I should at least have been able to fake a lisp! FFS I’m G-A-Y!

I was distraught! How could this had happened, how could it have snuck up on me so quickly, like an unwanted dose of the flu. It was bad enough that I attended a nightclub a couple of weekends ago, and thought the constant thump of instrumental music was abysmal. “Whatever happened to vocals!”, I screamed at my partner over the bass. Well, whatever happened to handbag when it comes to that! We did try to dance; Even my father could have done better. Fuck, now I’m doing dad dancing. Very sad! But then you can’t outrightly dismiss things. You have to give them a go. But a shuffle isn’t a dance. On top of all this we had taken an ‘E’ that had very much decided that it was not going to kick in – well, not this week anyway. We wandered back to the balconies.

To make things worse, there were some very sexy men roaming around without their shirts on. Now I have to admit to a twinge of jealousy in having to acknowledge, to myself, that there was not even a remote hope in hell that one of them would even throw me a glance,, let alone try to pick me up. That’s one sure way for an ageing queen to feel really unG-A-Y.. It’s not that I’ve lost the ability to be a slut – hell, that comes naturally to all of us – it’s more a matter of never being caught up in the gym culture, and though certainly not overweight, I’m definitely not a six-pack on legs.. And watching them, one has to wonder just what significance do brains have for these torqued bodies anyway? Are they taking each other home to solve “Scrabble” grids, or watch Q&A on the ABC? I think not! Who needs brains when you have a body.

I had a lot of G-A-Y in my younger days. I’m sure there are those who would say perhaps too much. I was both singularly and plurally – a nightclub pig; a minor druggie – though more so if there was good acid around; a big slut; no, a very big slut; a party animal; a clone; a pseudo leatherman; – and would take any opportunity to dress G-A-Y; speak G-A-Y; act G-A-Y; eat G-A-Y and just generally be…G-A-Y.

I would attend protest rallies for all things G-A-Y – though as often as not be there just to cruise (refer to my note on being a big slut). I would attend any group or party, and read any paper that was said to support anything G-A-Y. I have done gutter drag. I have supported and done my fair share for all things HIV/AIDS…and herein, perhaps, lies the crux of the matter, pointing the way to where G-A-Y disappeared to.

Twenty years of – being; living; fighting; writing; reading; talking and surviving – and don’t you dare rob me of the use of that word – HIV/AIDS has in some part stolen that iota of me that was G-A-Y. Let’s be honest about HIV/AIDS – it wore us all out. It was at our throats day and night. We lived it, and breathed it, day in and day out 24/7. We nursed it, cajoled it, hated it, and then hated it even more as we buried it. And Instead of being G-A-Y males who just happened to be HIV+, we became HIV+ males who just happened to be G-A-Y.

So back on track in my search for G-A-Y. Oh sure, I still read the papers – takes me all of five minutes these days – and if the parties were still even basically G-A-Y I might, at least on occasion, attend one or two. But they are not, nor ever will be again. The days of la grande party are over. Just as our streets and clubs have been sacrificed to the straight community in the name of political correctness and assimilation, so the community has slowly sold itself out to other, less G-A-Y concerns. Some say the day of the G-A-Y ghetto are over, and I’m not going to argue that, as all things mature and evolve. But did we really need to annihilate it!

Even if I wanted to revert to the G-A-Y stereotype of old – not that I object to that stereotype – I doubt anyone would recognise what I was attempting to do. A sad attempt to regain that which I had had, and lost in the wake of a greater cause. The only way I can really try to regain the G-A-Y in my life these days is to have a fashionable home – seen only be close friends; dress a little bit twink – I just get away with it; have my hair spiked – yes, I still have it all and it is not dyed; and throw dinner parties – again, which only close friends attend. As far as everything else goes – well, now it takes me a week to recover from a night out on a single ‘E’; I love modern dance music – especially Trance – just don’t ask me who the artist is, I can enjoy bars still – if I can get past the bouncer on the door; I get cranky at Mardi Gras trying to be ‘big business’; I’m sick of the sight of standoffish six-packs on roids; and I want to go to bed at midnight. What sort of G-A-Y person does that!

Perhaps the secret is not to get G-A-Y back. Perhaps the memories and my few remaining friends should be enough to reminisce with about what G-A-Y used to be like. Perhaps once having lost G-A-Y you can never get it back! Fuck, now there is a terrifying thought! Or perhaps I just heed to step back from it all for a while. Ruminate on where I fit into it all now. One thing I do know for sure…having been spewed out of the arse-end of HIV, I no longer view it all through rose-coloured glasses.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I don’t hate G-A-Y. But neither does it hold the great fascination that it once enthralled me with. I don’t want to be a 50-year-old G-A-Y man trying to look – and fit into – a 20-year-olds world. That would be just fooling myself. I want to be able to be just who I am; with those who think like me and act like me and are also now…old and G-A-Y. I hate feeling cut off and alienated, and that is not a road I am walking alone. The truth is that G-A-Y has not been lost. G-A-Y has in fact been found. G-A-Y has metamorphosed.

G-A-Y has come home

So perhaps the best I can hope for is – NOT to end up like my parents! Now that would be reclaiming G-A-Y!

Tim Alderman
Copyright ©2001

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