When your sense of identity and personal validation come from being an oppressed victim, it’s hard to make friends. It turns out being a gay ally might not be all it’s cracked up to be in practice either. Recently, actor Andrew Garfield, currently starring in the London stage production of Angel in America, a 1990s era play about HIV/AIDS, innocently expressed his affection for gay culture, only to find himself the target of outrage. Andrew mused that to prepare for the role, he immersed himself into gay culture with gay friends and joked that he was essentially now a gay man who didn’t have sex with men. He even went so far as to explain how open he was to new sexual possibilities, but at this point in his life, he just wasn’t attracted to other men. “As far as I know, I am not a gay man,” Garfield says. “Maybe I’ll have an awakening later in my life, which I’m sure will be wonderful and I’ll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I’m secluded to my area, which is wonderful as well. I adore it.”
Imagine a straight man admitting that he is perfectly comfortable with open sexual exploration but finds he still prefers women being such a controversial statement. Naturally, LGBT instantly erupted in nauseatingly indignant disgust, as captured in a Washington Blade article. “Straight tourists who try on oppression for kicks make me so tired. Andrew Garfield and James Franco... guys... you will never understand.” And, “Andrew Garfield is "gay without the physical act" because he watches RuPaul. - Rich Straight White Men Try To Be Interesting Vol. 53.”
Always creative with their justification for maintaining outrage, I personally was lectured on Twitter about how the deep sociological implications of a straight man starring in a play about AIDS and fighting ‘gay shame’ could shame the act of gay sex by personally not participating in it, while still profiting off of gay men and so on. Layers upon layers of nonsense designed to satisfy an emotional preference for negativity over reason. It simply feels good to be judgmental and superior.
The Left, once defined by its obsession with diversity and inclusion, now seems focused exclusively on tightly regulated tribal silos in which only the purest of souls can enjoy. LGBT has decided that their collective, imagined experience is somehow sacred, and under the adamant belief they are oppressed, feel offended that a privileged straight man would dare think he was like them. They have glorified the noble victimized minority who, in self-righteous hostility, demands a well-meaning member of the oppressor class offering gifts and friendship be dismissed. They prefer to imagine themselves as downtrodden and marginalized, and the reality of widespread social acceptance offends their sense of uniqueness.
The truth here, of course, is that a straight man taking a gay role in a classic LGBT play, openly associating himself with gay friends and inundating himself in gay culture is evidence of open and honest social acceptance. For him to jokingly refer to himself as a gay man is itself proof gays have reached a position in our society of respect and even admiration. He no doubt felt comfortable enough to assume his uninhibited exploration into sexuality and identity would be welcomed. Isn’t that what LGBT has preached for decades now?
Sadly, he did not anticipate the power of victimhood and was unprepared for the howls of condemnation he is now receiving from his would-be social justice brothers and sisters. It seems LGBT would prefer to be surrounded by hateful enemies than open and friendly allies comfortable enough to enjoy their precious culture. It has become a side effect of the Progressive mindset towards minorities in recent years that highly restricted culture be protected from the unclean.
In an article dripping with indignant, victorious vindictiveness, HuffPost Queer lamented in an absurdly titled article, Thanks To Andrew Garfield, I Now Have The Courage To Identify As Straight (Without The Physical Act), “All my life, I knew there was something different about me. Identifying as gay felt hard. Sometimes difficult. Sometimes I felt unsure, uncomfortable… unwelcomed, even. Also, I really like woodworking! If it weren’t for Andrew Garfield’s recent announcement, I’m not sure I’d even have the courage to break it to myself that I am a straight man right now, just without the physical act.
I just feel like myself now, and it’s all thanks to my hero, Andrew Garfield. Before him, I had no idea I could exempt myself from all of the negatives of being a part of the LGBTQ community. I look forward to no longer feeling fear, shame, and prejudice. Hooray! And to Andrew, I’m sure you’ll fare better with it than I did. (I will say, however, you are missing out on the best part!)”
What do LGBT liberals imagine this sort of response will accomplish? Something the Left has never mastered is the awareness of consequence or long-term planning. When you angrily shout at people attempting to be nice to you over and over and criticize their every thoughtful action as offensive, you will soon run out of nice people. LGBT are forever complaining about not being fully accepted or appreciated, and yet devote an absurd amount of energy into chastising well-meaning straight people who cross invisible and arbitrary lines. ‘That is for us! Not you!’
LGBT gained the most acceptance from the general public when they opened their world to everyone and encouraged the majority to take part in their culture. Average people developed protective and sympathetic associations with LGBT largely due to the availability of LGBT culture flowing into the mainstream. People just love the gays. But today the LGBT world seems to want to close its doors and shun anyone not considered ‘queer’ enough.
Ironically, I see a conflict on the horizon as gender and sexual fluidity become dominant trends, and LGBT can’t assert authority and ownership over their movement any longer. Andrew sounds sexually fluid. I imagine it will become far more common for young, hip men and women to identify themselves as some level of ‘other’ sexually if only to feel part of what appears to be a highly diverse and progressive movement. Most likely the majority will never fully identify as homosexual, but I bet most will feel perfectly entitled to whatever identity they land on. Will LGBT be sternly scolding them for cultural appropriation too? Will LGBT even have a say by that point?
Outside the bubble of identity politics, I can roll my eyes and laugh at this nonsense. But I can also recognize consequences. People don’t like to be lectured about how insensitive and bigoted they are all the time. If this trend continues, LGBT may create the self-fulfilling prophecy of intolerance they have been screaming about for so long now. They currently live in a world of open admiration and friendship, but they soon may find themselves uninvited to the party. Who wants a group of frowning, easily-triggered, overly offended, whiny children ruining all the fun?
I grew up in the version of gay life that welcomed straight people as brothers and sisters with absolute joy in their adoption of gay cultural artifacts. My grandmother loved the Ellen show and Will & Grace. My coworkers love RuPaul’s Drag Race and go to the gay bars sometimes on weekends just for fun. Straight guys at the gym wiggle their butts to Lady Gaga and all the absolutely enjoyable parts of gay culture are seen as pure fun. When I affect my gay voice people burst into laughter and delight. That’s the way culture should be.
Culture is not something you hold tightly in your hand and hide from the world, jealously lashing out at any interest or curiosity. And the one thing that made gay culture fun was its ability to laugh at itself. Now, all it can do is frown.
For more from Chad, visit chadfelixgreene.com and follow him on Twitter @chadfelixg.