It Was 25 Years Ago Today

Selections from the Village Voice's annual Queer Issue

Falling For A Guy:
A Lesbian Adventure

By Maria Maggenti

I have been seeing this man for six months already. That's five months and one week less time than I usually wait to tell my mom about one of my new girlfriends. Time to call her. She's cooking dinner; I can hear it on the stove. "I just want to let you know that I'm seeing someone new." My mother stirs something in the pan. "That's nice, dear. What's her name?" I tell her. "That's nice," she replies.


The 25th Annual Queer Issue

  • Beyond the Stepford Queers
    Welcome to the age of do-it-yourself identity
  • I Ruck, Therefore I Am
    Rugby and the gay male body
    Christopher Stahl
  • My Big Fat Funky Queer Marriage
    Forget the rice. (We're on Atkins.) No his-and-his towels. (Nothing matches in our house.) Just give us Viagra—and wish us well
    by Richard Goldstein
  • Transmale Nation
    Remaking manhood in the genderqueer generation
    by Elizabeth Cline
  • The Great Gay Way
    A brief history of Christopher Street
    by Wayne Hoffman
  • Elements Of Style: Chasing Rainbows
    Peace tees, platform shoes, and big pussies get ready for Pride day
    by Lynn Yaeger
  • Listings: There She Is, Miss L.E.S.
    She'll Take the Town by Storm
    by Keisha Franklin
  • Pride Events
  • "It's a man, mom. I'm seeing a man. And before you say anything, I just want you to know this doesn't mean I'm not a dyke anymore, I mean I'm still a lesbian so don't start thinking the past 12 years have been a phase because they haven't. If anything, this relationship is a phase, it's like a small break in my long life as a lesbian." My mother is nonplussed. "Maria, all relationships are phases in life," she assures me. Well at least she's not jumping for joy. At least she's not flying into some wild dance about the primacy of heterosexual attraction. At least she knows who I am—even if I don't. (1995)

    Baby Outs Me
    by Laura Conaway

    As a gay parent in training, I'd been taught that we must defend our right to have children, enroll them in the kindergarten down the block, and take them to the zoo on a family pass. But the day those nurses handed me a squalling Nate, I realized we must also defend our children's lives, sometimes on the level of flesh and blood, more often in terms of their full ticket as human beings. We must give them a deep, unshakable sense of legitimacy that this world can never grant them and therefore can never take away. Sure, lesbians face the risk of being booted from restaurants or stared at on the subway, but for Nate the greater harm would come from my pretending, for even one of his heartbeats, that his mother is not my beloved and I am not his parent....

    For me, defending him begins with putting solid ground beneath his feet on which he can learn to stand. That means giving up the notion of ever passing again. I must be his ima-the Hebrew word for mother that we're having him call me-with store clerks and civic matrons, in his presence or far from home. For each time I let a stranger's reference to my "husband" slide, I let go, however briefly, of my grip on this vulnerable son. This baby has pulled me from the closet where I had sometimes retreated-not by convincing me I'll live better outside, but by showing me he cannot thrive within it. (2002)

    Family Values
    by Patrick Califia-Rice

    Since the baby arrived, there are precious few moments when Matt and I can meet each other alone. The occasions when lust can break through the fence are even more rare. We are oddly shy during these adult—only interludes, as if becoming parents has made us strange to one another. The house is sticky. Piles of clean laundry that we can't find time to put away topple over and get mixed up with the dirty clothes. Yet we continue to be loving and kind with each other and with Blake. . .

    I started taking testosterone a couple of months before Blake was born. While he learns how to grab things, click his tongue, hold his own bottle, and walk while somebody holds his hands, I am going through my own metamorphosis. My hips are smaller, my muscle mass is growing, and every day it seems like there's more hair on my face and body. My voice is deeper, and my sex drive has given me newfound empathy with the guys who solicit hookers for blowjobs. When I think that I can continue with this process-get chest surgery and pass as male-I feel happier than at any other point in my life. (2000)

    Faith, Hope and Sodomy
    By Richard Goldstein

    At the hearing on gays in the military, I watched several senators squirm at the prospect of forcing homosexuals to hide, suggesting that, on some deep-structural level, we're aware that gayness is not just a conduct but an identity centered on belief. Gay people sense this as well. No other group in American society is so devoted to symbol formation. Freedom rings give way to rainbow stripes (in solidarity with gay troops.) The sign-language symbol for love—three fingers raised in a kind of bunny salute—becomes a gay greeting. And every season brings a new accessory: the pinks triangle begets the black triangle (worn by lesbians in Nazi concentration camps), and both are turned upward (to connote hope) or combined to form a Star of David (for gay Jews), or outfitted with a large blue eye (the Masonic symbol updated with the word ENVISION). The power of these signs stems largely from their original meaning as tokens of stigma. By appropriating them, gay people signify their awareness of oppression and their triumph over trauma. Not entirely different from wearing the cross. (1993)

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