Reimagining Queer for the End Times
As I sit down to write on this crisp Halloween afternoon, instead of doing what all Queers should be doing at this exact time every year — opening champagne leftovers from Halloween brunch, putting on our favorite 90s R&B mix and finding drugs and shiny things for our favorite queer holiday — I find myself quarantined, tussling with an imaginary Queer future that could start as early as next week.
What if Republicans pull off the coup they’ve been telegraphing for months? What must Queer become in a world controlled by caricatures of joyless middle-school principals driven mad with the power and money of lizard popes?
Well, my beloved Sodomites, shit’s about to get even weirder. Maybe you’re getting sucked in by the polls, making spritzers from optimism and your box of pinot grigio and doom. I’m down. It’s going to be a bumpy night and all that, bitches. Perhaps the Democrats will forgo performative normativity long enough to salvage democratic institutions. Maybe Elizabeth Warren’s golden retriever, Bailey, has trained to be an elite scrotum assassin, and will be released on the Senate floor in the event of a contested election.
Or, just as a backup, maybe we should embrace the Jerry Springer universe we live in now. Fuck it, let’s have another bump, and foam party on the crazy train. Biden’s campaign bus was just highjacked outside of Austin, the Trump administration has been soliciting ex-military and retired police officers for months to be “poll watchers,” and Trump started talking about the 12th Amendment out loud at rallies, without ever having read the Constitution. (If neither candidate achieves 270 electoral votes, the election heads to the house where each state gets one vote. Trump would likely retain office by one vote in this scenario.) This has been one colossal, Republican incel, D&D script for thirty years and they think it’s finally Thunderdome time.
What will the Slytherin takeover actually look like? We will not even be able to assess the wreckage of the last four years before the next protracted disaster begins. Gird your loins stable Queers, they’re coming for you first. The Supreme Court will overturn marriage equality as fast as they can shove a new case through the court system. I’m predicting June, 2021, because of course they’ll want to rub it in during Pride. Welcome back to the fringe. Roe will fall by the end of the next year. Let’s stockpile Plan B and refamiliarize ourselves with the Jane Collective. They’ll reintroduce sodomy laws in 2022. Then they’ll still be in power and likely won’t bother with further elections.
Maybe this scenario is unlikely, but you know you’ve thought about it. When Lindsey “Ladybug” Graham said recently “I want every young woman to know there’s a place for you in America if you are pro-life, if you embrace your religion, and you follow traditional family structure,” was he referring to current or near future America? Does that tired old queen think he knows something we don't?
For Queers, there has only ever been one successful response to this kind of creepy horseshit. Be more Queer. Be way more Queer.
We’re not going back to simpler, more wholesome time. That’s a Conservative shit sandwich gratuitously included with every Happy Meal across the country. A lot has changed since mainstreet America and the “Moral Majority” rallied around the anti-gay hysteria during the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s. Most people like us now. Nobody even cares that Ellen is mean.
We are also not “going back to normal.” That’s a DNC fantasy served at elite wine cave fundraisers and that delusion is the only reason we’ll be staring down semi-automatic rifles at polling locations for the privilege of voting for Joe Biden.
The pandemic is still raging. Unemployment is still catastrophic. Wall Street’s everything bubble that’s been feeding on degregulation and an unprecedented deluge of public corporate welfare like an alien tick orgy will burst. Police keep killing Black people.
It is crucial we all quit bitching at each other. It’s time to pack up and make alliances, nerds. Except with Gay Republicans. Please always punch those Log Cabin fascists in the dick and never have sex with them again. Queers must work harder now to make our movement more intersectional, more inclusive. The only reason we ever achieved marriage equality is because fifty years ago, a bunch of poor Trans People of Color stopped tolerating police brutality and started a riot. That’s Queer 101. If you are not a poor, Black Transwoman, the next time one is murdered, take the time to carefully assemble the direct, demonstrable interconnectedness between the precariousness of her safety and the precariousness of your relative comfort right now. Amy Coney Barrett’s terrible eyeliner portends doom for us all.
The Disneyfication of America’s cities has led to a precipitous decline in Queer culture. Trump has also promised to continue to cut off federal assistance to our lawless, radical, Democratic urban areas. Young Queers haven’t been able to afford rent in cities for twenty years. They are the ones who make the art, the music, the dances, the new hairstyles and fashion. When the housing market takes a dump, and Trump tries to bring back ghettos, it’s time for our rich gays to step up and buy property for us. Also, there is no reason we shouldn’t start occupying all those brand new empty condo developments. The millenials making $75,000 a year already lost their jobs, moved to the suburbs, or back into their parents’ basement. How great would urban, Queer compounds be?
We shouldn’t just take over cities. We are going to need systems of allied rural and remote Queer sanctuaries and resources. Hey, old dykes with hobby farms and goats, let’s get you some interns and set up food networks. Young gender warriors with survivalist aspirations, let’s get you some celebrity funding for your Ewok treehouse villages. You never know when we might have to hide from Nazis in an Oregon forest. Radical fairies, I know you already have mystical fae worlds hidden from mortal view. Won’t you please reveal your mysteries to us city Queers if we promise to be nice? How hot would an armed Bear sleuth with bullet proof kilts be? Drag Queens, you are perhaps our most powerful wizards. You are our link to bachelorette party straight women. We may need you for safe passage through Texas some day.
We can do this, Queers. We might even rediscover how fabulous we are. Our existence is proof of human evolution. I know those heavily armed dipshits with dad bods in camo are scary, but most of them are just old bullies, easily deflated by their own cowardice. Every sissy and tomboy that ever lived through high school is tougher than any one of them. Our resilience is legendary. We’ve got to be Patrick Swayze in Red Dawn as if he were also Patrick Swayze in To Wong Foo.
Let’s get weird. Let Freddie Mercury’s shine flow through you. Let that rainbow light fill you from both ends. We’re not going back to anything. The Queer apocalypse is here.