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Something @Victoria Smith and @Sonia Sodha talked about last night made me reflect about how the dominant idiom of contemporary progressive culture is an attenuated version of the idiom of male gay subculture, & about the degree to which this is a kind of loss & a kind of theft.

It's notable to me that a significant culture wars flash point right now is drag queens story hour (in practice often acrobatic displays ormusical performances, rather than necessarily no-reading). It's not "butch lesbian power tool use hour". Or "ironing with granny" hour.
Cultural conservatives, especially in the US but also here in the UK, can be very consistently relied upon to react in comically hysterical ways to gay men, & in our own unacknowledged version of "triggering the snowflakes" & "owning the libs", we've turned gay men into a totem.
Gay men in female fetish gear performing overtly sexualised acts are the end point of the arms race to drive SCs completely apoplectic with outrage. But we can't admit that's what we're doing - we're the good guys! - so we have to pretend like there's an intrinsic value there.
I don't think there is an intrinsic value there. A drag queen getup adds nothing to storytelling, or no more than a clown costume would. Drag queens can't even juggle (usually). There's also little value in small children at Pride, posing with men in puppy fetish costumes.
Little value to the children, that is. Normalising gayness or effeminacy in boys can be & is done in more productive educational ways. And breaking actual gender norms is not served by any of it at all. For that, I refer you to "ironing with granny" above.
So what we have is a situation where we - the progressive "we" - instrumentalise a particular sexual subculture for the sake of sticking it to the cons, & we pat ourselves on the back for being ever-so-virtuous about it. That's the theft bit.
The loss bit is where, in order to keep up the pretense that everything progressive, broad-minded & inclusive resides in men performing as female sex industry workers, we have to pretend that that is all there is to homosexuality (we even call it "queerness", to distinguish it).
[Sidebar to say that the other version of that is male gay couples throwing themselves baby showers for babies gestated & birthed by anonymous female incubators, but that is, funnily enough, not triggering at all to conservatives, so we don't hear about it as much.]
The other, & to me sadder, loss is that all this stuff erases lesbians completely. There is just no room for them in this world picture. Sensible shoes, practical haircuts & DIY skills are just not as sexy (pun intended) as a grown man twerking while standing on his head.
Considering everything else lesbians have been gradually deprived of in recent decades - their bars, their nightclubs, their right to exclusive same sex attraction - this erasure seems to me to be extraordinarily cruel.
And it's also extraordinarily patriarchal - in the pimroces of normalising homosexuality, & in the arms race to drive conservatives berserk, we've restored the male default to a previously genuinely transgressive part of the culture. "Gay" equals young sexualised man now.
We've drawn out a very particular kind of young male gayness & rainbow-washed all of progressivism with it, whether it likes it or not; and with the other hand we gradually pushed female gayness aside, until it ended up, for all intents & purposes, back in the closet.
Yes, and lesbians became the collateral damage on our end of it, because that's the way the patriarchal cookie always crumbles.


I hate to be so difficult, but I'm afraid the truth is that I am.
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