Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just one?

Mr. Kleinheider asks, "Is There A Heterosexual Culture?" in response to a posting about this weekend's 20th Nashville Pride celebration.

Since we're always saying THE gay community or THE GLBT community, I think this is actually a pretty fair question, tongue-in-cheek or not. So A heterosexual culture? No, not just one. In fact, there may not even be much of a gay culture. Its end has already been proclaimed again and again, even by the likes of Andrew Sullivan. The fact that we use 4 or more letters to describe ourselves indicates we're at least in a period of reevaluation.

Part of that reevaluation has resulted in a further marginalization of academic movements like queer theory. Some activists and academics and truly free spirits continue to draw on it and extend its creative powers, but I think it's fair to say that the vast majority of politically active and inactive members of the GLBT community don't know a great deal about it.

The energy in the movement is focused on marriage, family, partner benefits, stopping hate crimes, adoption rights, faith communities, business (consider all the emphasis on corporate sponsorships), and electing candidates who are out. The movement, in other words, has a largely external focus on achievable political and cultural goals of access. The introspective moment is always in the background, though. The idea of coming out remains the kernel that defines our lives...even for those who remain closeted.

But the question was about straight culture(s), after all. So where might one go to find it/them? Second Avenue on a Saturday night? The annual Bellevue community picnic in Red Caboose Park? Tailgating before a Titans game? A Church potluck after Wednesday night Bible study at the local Church of Christ? A bachelor party at Ken's Gold Club? The water cooler on Monday morning in Regions Bank? Saturdays in an old-school beauty parlor? Yes, it seems that you can't throw a rock (not that we advocate that) in this town without hitting straight culture, but the thing is that you'll also find us GLBTs there. Perhaps the end of heterosexual culture is at hand, too.

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