Now that many in America's homosexual community have hocked their gay cards in order to purchase some final shreds of dignity and personal freedom, blatant political activism has seemingly given way to crossing one's fingers and hoping that the inevitable isn't as bad as it might be. The nation has spoken, after all, and what it has said comes with a bitter aftertaste of "Back to the closet, ladies" and "Stay away from my babies."
While Bush's Big Gay Amendment may have failed legislatively, its symbolic effect of winning the election based on knee-jerk, conservative hatred is singing way louder than the proverbial fat lady. It's over. Do we concede?
According to Jeremy Hooper, 25-year-old "president, founder, creator, publisher" of the recently launched blog GoodAsYou.org, out of New York, the jig isn't up just yet. This is the time to pull things inward, shift to the intellectual side of the human rights agenda and squeeze tightly until the grassroots show. The blog-site, launched in early January, primarily focuses on exposing the absurdity of minor anti-gay legislation and discriminatory community efforts springing up throughout Middle America, and does so with a much-needed dash of humor.
"Sometimes it's so bad that you really just want to roll over in disgust and give up the fight," Hooper says on the phone from New York. "We're trying to package `the site` using humor, some sassiness, a cute photo to make people say that, yeah, I can read it in this form, and I can be inspired to not get defenseless to go out there and say that this makes me angry. We're more about mental activism. We're not out to get rallies or protests or things of that nature. We're more about exposing things that haven't been reported."
Hooper knows the enemy. Many of his entries are sourced from anti-gay websites, where he claims the quotes are juicier and stories that usually slip through the cracks find their fungal home. Stories are as simple as the difficult plight of those forced to live beneath the fey nomenclature of "Gay Road" in Marquette Heights, Ill.:
"Some residents of Marquette Heights, Illinois are tired of living with the 'gay' burden, so they've pressed the City Council for help. Last night the council met to consider a monumental decision that could free these poor people of their torment," GoodAsYou reports. "You see, these folks are all forced with the day-to-day struggle of living on 'Gay Road.' They're tired of the teasing they face because of their geographic choice, and wanna see the name changed."
Other stories go all the way to the more pressing agenda of anti-gay lobbying by religious groups:
"Our beloved New York Times has obtained a letter, intended for Karl Rove's eyes only, written by a coalition of conservative Christian groups known as The Arlington Group. The group is threatening to withhold support for Bush's Social Security plans, unless the President aggressively backs an amendment banning same-sex marriage ..." goes the entry. "Those behind the literary masterpiece include Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Family Association, Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich. Can you imagine how long it must have taken this motley crew to come up with creative ways to say 'we hate queers and wish they would be eliminated from society,' without just saying it?"
What's most refreshing about Hooper's site is what isn't included, and just who is. Preceded by a gay media drowning in HIV drug/insurance advertisements and their polar opposites, images of scantily clad male models, GoodAsYou.org strips issues down to their motivations, aiming away from naughty or too serious reflexes (although there are text-only ads for singles sites listed).
"We're not going to permit any sexual content. We're not going to include any ads for HIV drugs," says Hooper. "They're everywhere in the gay community, and we're trying to present some new imagery into the gay community."
And the straight. Working under the moniker of the GLBST community the "S" meaning straight Hooper hopes to involve as many people as possible into his quiet activism.
"We're less 'gay' than we are 'anti-bigotry,'" he says. "Obviously our main focus is on gay issues our only focus is on gay issues but personally, I have as many straight friends as I have gay friends. My straight friends are just as angry about the things they read on here as my gay friends. We want to truly be inclusive.
"We understand the symbolic nature of the pride flag and things like that," he says. "But we're all not just Queer Eye guys."
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