Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Best we forget
There are several times of the year when I am utterly embarrassed and ashamed to be Gay ... and right up there at the top of the list is Anzac Day.
I've actually never identified with "Gay" as a label. When people ask me if I am "Gay", I always tell them that I am not: I am Homosexual. They protest, like most ignorant people, about there not really being a difference. "There certainly is!" I usually sneer, before falling back on the old "There's nothing gay about being a homosexual" quote ... and besides, I prefer Poof to Gay ... and Faggot above all else.
After all, it's my misery ... and I'm entitled to identify with it and call it whatever I fucking well like.
Every year on Anzac Day, some blindly opportunistic promoter or two will seize the, well, opportunity, to promote a "Gay Dance Party" on, yes, you guessed it, a military theme. Like sex in public toilets, it is one event on the otherwise glittering and character-building "Gay" calendar that is bound to lose the "Gay Community" friends. And respect.
I, for one, always hang my head in shame.
As a pacifist and the child of a generation who lost too many throughout the years of conflict, I find the rituals surrounding the remembrance of our war dead a little complex to even pretend to understand. I've never been up in time to attend a Dawn Service. I don't buy the stick-pins, but I have been known to pin the odd poppy on my lapel. One of the many unfinished plays of mine is one about the Second World War. I spent many years researching, but when it came time to write the play, I realised that I needed to find a way to reach a greater understanding about what we lost in the process ... or perhaps what we gained. All that I had in its place was purple prose and borrowed observation.
War was always a 'male thing' when I was growing up. Men, men, men ... so many men. Brothers, Fathers, Sons ... and it wasn't until I met Greta, who had been a Driver for the Australian Defence Forces in Singapore that I was introduced to something other than my, previously, naively considered total sum of the catastrophe. Greta urged me to read about the stories that were told from the female perspective ... so I did. It fried my brain.
This year, there is a dance party somewhere in Sydney. I saw the full page ad in a "gay newspaper". Front, centre in the foreground is a muscled, shirtless stud in his camouflage pants - his jocks strategically peeking out over the top of his waste, sorry, waistband. Around his neck are the standard gay fantasia "Dog Tags". His smug, self-satisfied "Come fuck me/be fucked by me ... no, not you fatty" eyes, peering down at us. Behind him, in the distance, the whirring helicopters. And the sunset. The promise of a new day ... off. The drugs ... the pecs ... the muscles ... the abs ... the booze ... and the sex. Oh, yes! With him. Be my fuck-pig! Grunting, sleazy, stinking, sweaty, cum-soaked sex.
Call me old-fashioned, but I find it impossible to reconcile the great sense of loss and epic tragedy that are these wars and their dead we remember tomorrow, with this base, unacceptable and entirely disrespectful display of narcissistic, soul-less, cock-obsessed and ultimately meaningless pursuit.
I wonder if these people have any idea of what "Dog Tags" were/are used for, once the wearer of them had/has been killed. Now that's a dance party ticket seller of a snapshot if ever there was one! Or just how well a dance party might sell with an image I have firmly imbedded in my mind from a particular memoir I read: the soldiers who found a group of about six Australian nurses on a beach somewhere in Asia-Pacific who had been gunned down on the spot, and whose breasts had been severed and placed strategically on their heads, where their eyes had been.