The Year in Queer

What Went Down in the Cabaret of Contradictions

These paradoxes make it all the more urgent for gays to reject the right, including gayocons who claim we don't need anti-bias laws. As long as there is something to be gained—politically or psychically—from homophobia, we will need to seek legal redress. The personal is political for us, whether we like it or not. That makes it crucial to distinguish between our true allies and faux friends, and not just in government.

Once the war on terror loses its news value, the media will return to the subject of homosexuality with its usual morbid fascination. Next year's hot queer issue may be the one suggested by the title of a Nightline series that got postponed in the aftermath of 9-11. It posed the trendy question of whether gay life was "a matter of choice."

Sooner or later, we will find ourselves pressed to convey the truth about our identity, and it's not easy to sum up in a sound bite. Homosexual desire is innate, but the decision to build a life around it is a choice. In this respect, gayness is much like a faith. Most of us are raised with a religious identity, but we decide whether to live by it or not. Just as the Constitution protects that choice, our struggle is to extend freedom to the crucial arena of gender and sexuality. That's ultimately what our movement is about: the right to be gay and to express it. As the mayor of Berlin declared when he came out during his campaign: I'm gay und es ist gut so!—"and it's good that way!"

This is precisely the paradox that haunts us: Gay is good—yet it's not.

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