a bastion in defiance of the jealous god,
an outpost of refuge for the Queandom.
This is a gay, lesbian, queer and questioning space. Be welcome and beware. Abusers and miscreants will be fed to the troll.
Just in case you don’t know the song, here are some lyrics. "When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way. From your first cigarette, to your last dyin' day.” I realize it isn’t Foo Fighters. Work with me. “When you’re a Jet” is from the Broadway play West Side Story. Book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (yes, that Stephen Sondheim). It hit Broadway in 1957 and ended up playing forever and winning everything in sight including a Tony. You should go to a performance. There’s also a movie version and an untold number of covers, soundtrack remixes and cast recordings. Dig it up. It’s worth it.
"When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way." You're one of "us." In the theme park version of the Queandom just about anybody who isn't Big Peter, one of his burghers or an enabler of the jealous god is one of "us" because we are very clear on "them." Neat. Simple. Clear. Break out the flavored alcoholic beverages. How inconvenient that things aren’t actually that neat, simple or clear.
The Queandom is one of the many metaphorical realms constructed by those of us who want to talk about gay life, queer life, questioning life and other lives that I may not experience directly but seem pertinent and connected. I am not a lesbian so I can only speculate about lesbians or report my observations. The Wild Kingdom jokes need to stop right now. Anyway, the Queandom is a metaphorical space where heteronormativity is not privileged and verbose trolls can make pithy observations about the fleetness of billy goats. This is all in the service of discussing, encouraging and entertaining “our” loves, our lives and our stories. You have to decide if you’re going to journey through the Queandom.
The clamour underbridge isn't the first venture into our fabled land, by the way. The first mention of the Queandom I have found is in a poem by Louie Crew, writing under the name Quean Lutibelle. The poem is called "Hetero Hex or, Purge Yourselves, Darlings!" and it’s dated 1980. You can read it for yourself here. Her royal highness' poem ends like this "Drop hate, drop fear, embrace them all/since nothing you can do can stop them. /Come prance, come dance, englut their gall/so tomorrow you too can hop them! //The queandom is at hand.” I think Luti is talking to Big Peter and the burghers but we’d have to ask to be sure. Anyway, it seems that for Lutibelle it's not so much about knowing who "they" are but knowing we are here and "they" are probably going to be a little freaked out. That's the other aspect of the Queandom that's important. The Queandom is disruptive.
When I was a wee tyke, being disruptive was a bad thing. Principal’s office. Chats with parental units. Not something to seek out. Things have changed. This is a golden opportunity to rush out and tell everyone that the Queandom is all about chaos and anarchy. That’s not true but I guess you could include that under discussion, encouragement and entertainment. Please remember that trolls don’t like chaos and anarchy. People tend to forgot discussion and encouragement in the midst of chaos and anarchy. There may be some entertainment value but it’s probably become farce. Farce is tough. Worse than comedy. Wouldn't you rather stick to discussion, encouragement and entertainment?
So here we are. Denizens of the Queandom mooning the burghers on the walls of Big Peter's Patriarchy and laughing behind our fans at the prudery of the enablers of the jealous god. Come on in. We’re having a good time.
While he is co-pastor of Progressive Pathways Fellowship in Louisville at www.progressivepathways.org, opinions expressed by Father Jim do not usually represent the official policy of the church. Email for Father Jim or Clamour Underbridge may be directed to email@example.com.
Trolls are creatures of romance. Don't laugh. It's true. We're all about romance and the contemplation thereof. It's not like trolls are the sole romantics among the denizens of the Queandom but we do it better and with total disregard for sanity or reality. Pragmatism and conventionality are for too highly valued in straightworld anyway. We aren't like them.
And that's one more troll begot romantic myth; the Queandom is nothing like the Kingdom of Big Peter and the jealous god. It is very romantic indeed to think that we have escaped the Kingdom of Men scot free and may pursue lives of our own creation outside the walls of patriarchy. That romantic notion does no end of harm to my fellow denizens. It gives our imaginings and unwarranted assumptions the patina of vindication just because they’re different. That’s a problem.
Let's look at romance and its oft-presumed sequela, marriage. For some strange reason those who support marriage rights for all often ignore the dreadful mess straight people have made of marriage. It takes staggering toll on heterosexual couples who begin it or end it or would prefer not to be bothered with it. The privileges and prerogatives afforded to those who enter into a legally sanctioned heterosexual marriage make it, for all intents and purposes, inevitable and sacrosanct. It's no wonder the jealous god and his enablers have horned in on the act. Marriage is where the money is.
Civil marriage outside the heterosexual pair bond that lacks the blessing of a functionary of the jealous god threatens that privilege. It is a romantic notion indeed to think that a legal contract establishing mutual rights and responsibilities in the eyes of the secular state has one iota of connection to the jealous god and his prurient interest in what goes on behind consenting adults’ bedroom doors. Yet the good Christian citizens of Kentucky voted to do penis+vagina checks (God’s Plan!) to make sure the jealous god approves all contacts. It's a money and privilege thing. Surely you’re not shocked?
The denizens of the Queandom have this romantic, impractical and preconceived notion that our relationships, if they copy straight relationships, will somehow magically evade all the paradoxes and pratfalls we see made in those relationships and marriages. And you think trolls chasing billy goats are detached from reality?
For the record, denizens of the Queandom do not need the permission of the people of Kentucky to enter into religious marriages. Only followers of the jealous goad are so arrogant enough to believe they can stop other churches and religions from giving blessings to any and all appropriate relationships and commitments. Please tell all your friends. The jealous god is free to torture his church as he pleases. His permissions is neither required nor sought in mine.
Denizens of the Queandom are being mistreated and abused by the people of Kentucky and a cowardly secular government as long as consenting adults are forbidden to enter into binding contracts of mutual rights and responsibilities. Call it what you will. I like civil union. This discrimination is a way to disadvantage those in relationships that can't meet the penis+vagina requirement and allocate wealth and benefits to the people Big Peter and the jealous god have under their thumb. Pretending that someone else's civil union threatens another’s religious marriage is a farce unworthy even of the burghers of the Kingdom of men.
We deserve our romantic notions, I suppose, in the face of such mob bigotry and discrimination. What harm could it do to give valentines and a bouquet to your favorite troll or billy goat? We're inventing what it means to be in a relationship from the ground up under some oppressive and discriminatory conditions. Maybe a few candy hearts are in order.
from The Letter http://www.theletteronline.com/index.html
The point of being boring and predictable is to prove you're older and wiser. Wouldn't you agree? The New Year brings new resolutions, remarkably similar to the old year's resolutions, and shiny new plans for peace, prosperity and happiness. It's all about looking back fondly and looking ahead with gusto. Rhapsodizing about the water under the bridge is all the rage for the moment and then all is forgotten. Trolls know all about predictable, older, wiser and water under the bridge.
That's not to say that being a troll is boring. Not only do we have Big Peter and the burghers in the Dominion to irk but billy goats need chasing and dark corners need examining. Who would the body bigots target for their scorn and derision without us? It might all be the same but it's still different and new and exciting this time around. Water under the bridge.
Being a denizen of the Queandom is not boring either. The bears growl at each other. I think it turns them on. Twinks glide smoothly by. All that waxing and shaving pays off, I guess. Fairies flit from blossom to bloom while liberally sprinkling pixie dust. Things wouldn't have that certain lavender glow without them. There's always a goblin or two sneaking around. They have the log cabin boys to look after their interests. Wouldn't want people that come around to slum with the queers while spending their days stabbing us in the back with the burghers to feel left out, would we? Besides, there are those days when a denizen grows up, grows old and decides to aspire to straightness while still having sex with men. Should we criticize assimilation for profit and conformity? You bet’cha but it's a new year and it's water under the bridge anyway.
Water under the bridge is not boring. It reminds us we were there. We were there in Kentucky when playing the queer card failed to swing a governor's race. We were there when HRC decided that gays and lesbians were as queer as hetworld could stand it and abandoned employment protection for transpeople in the halls of congress. We were there when the people of Massachusetts decided not to write discrimination and bigotry built on religion into their constitution. To bad Kentucky failed that test in a blaze of pious hypocrisy. Being here, being queer and watching from under the bridge is not boring.
Water under the bridge. It changes hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute but it's still water. What's next? Maybe a soldier's willingness to serve will finally mean more than a straight guy's fear of being ogled in the shower. Maybe those confused parents that think a man in a dress can make their kids gay and suffer the delusion that Jesus can make them straight will get a clue. Who knows? The water never stops rolling under the bridge and it never will. Gone but not forgotten. Everything old is new again. 2008 will be water under the bridge before we know it if we let it.
Maybe this year, kayaking!
* O Tempores, O Mores is Latin for Oh the times! Oh the morals! It implies that things have changed and not for the better. It’s the first plea of those that would rather turn back the clock than face the new day.
While he is co-pastor of Progressive Pathways Fellowship in Louisville at www.progressivepathways.org, opinions expressed by Father Jim do not usually represent the official policy of the church.