Tuesday, March 07, 2006

straightback mountain

I've not written about the movie Brokeback Mountain. In this country, every queer has seen it, talked about it, felt hurt and understood it and, eventually, written about it.

I had difficulty putting all my thoughts down together. For me, as a queer woman, I can completely relate to Jack's inner destruction when someone he loves cannot take on the struggle of love. I can see Ennis' role in denying a label which brings with it so much responsibility and pain (even now in queer-"tolerant" spaces). Somewhere in the middle we carry the homophobia that was fed while still young, while knowing we were different but maybe not having the name for it.

I remember meeting my tia, Osvaldo, in Miami for the first time. I was eleven and loved him. He was so comfortable in his body. Long nails, housecoats and slippers. He was not a woman. He did not identify or want to be a woman. He didn't even take "gay" as his label. He called himself, and most others, maricon.

This was in the early 80s, before AIDS was fully realized, before gays were normalized - whitewashed - sanitized. He just knew what made him comfortable - and comfort included a young boyfriend who wore t-shirts with the Superman emblem (deserved, I'm sure) - comfort included red velvet curtains gathered at the floor, and a room reserved for countless animals of all species.

I knew I was more like him than I was like my mother. I may have had my mother's female body typing but physicality doesn't carry our presence. I was more maricon than I was wife and mother. Still am. I wanted that incredible force of love that was indefinable, which carried no markers and refused to be easily defined. I felt that potential for groundbreaking that was in me because I was like my tio.

All this to say that, just as people of color have had to see white people portray us on everything from tv commercials to feature films, there is a courage associated to straight actors who have the guts to portray queer characters. And queers go running to see films that have queer characters because there are so few. We are sold some illusion of our community, our history. I am not saying we should not see these films. I do, however, wonder how much gay-oriented movies are truly for the straight majority. For reasons as diverse as allowing them to show their politically-correct side to being labeled risque, straights manage to take on gay films and look holy for their acceptance.

Here's a great article I found that touches on some of this.

No comments: