December 14, 2011

Queer Issue: A Christmas Wish List on the Future of Queer Cinema

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.
-Mahatma Gandhi

It's easy to rant and rave about what one does not want to see in films, but all the ranting and raving will do nothing in the end towards creating a robust and thriving Queer Cinema. That is not to say that I wish to discourage any anger directed towards the movie industry regarding the lack of diversity and inclusiveness on the silver screen. There are huge problems when there is a near total absence of queer youth, queer people of color, and feminine traits are used almost universally to denote evil. Although, I must add that on a micro level there is nothing wrong per se with an overly feminine antagonist. The problem is one that exists on the macro level, when nearly *every* movie ever made will take the time to point out the macho manliness of the hero while highlighting the lisping femininity of the limp wristed bad guy.

And so I decided that I wanted to create a Christmas Wish List to make clear what I want and what I believe the movie industry should be doing. I am not looking merely to vent, but to make a statement of what should be.

Dear Santa,

This is a wishlist of what I want for the future of Queer Cinema.

When it comes to queer cinema, I want more of everything. I do not want erasure, I want exposure and truth. I want cinema to depict honestly how queers have been integrated into the full history of human culture. I want to see the stories of how queer sexuality was accepted by some societies, ignored by others, and oppressed by far too many. In short, I want it all.

I want more stories with gays, lesbians, asexuals, bisexuals, pansexuals, and omnisexuals. Deliver to me characters who are transgender, transsexual, gender queer, intersex, and do not forget the flaming drag queens and kings. I want to see depictions of those genderfucks who ate the livers of society's gender paradigms with fava beans and washed them down with a nice Chianti.

I want the film industry to tell me the stories, as Clint Catalyst would say, in praise of the prancy boys, as well as the tales of butch dykes, of femme lesbians, and of the manliest of gay men. Show me the stories of leather daddies and leather mommies. I want the celluloid closet to be destroyed utterly and completely.

I want to know the stories of queers of every religion, of every culture, and of every race and color. Show me queers who are Atheist, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Deist, Animists, Taoists, or Agnostic. Tell me of queers who are African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino, Hispanic, European, or Native American. Give me the chronicles of all the different queer peoples of color.

Give me queers in space, battling evil empires and boldly going where no queers have gone before. I want to be able to unravel queer mysteries with fabulous detectives. I tell you, do not skimp on tales of queer cops and robbers, queer monarchs and peasants, and queer cowboys and Native Americans. I don't know why I cannot quit any of them. Give me myths of fairy godfathers making offers that cannot be refused. Give me the story of the spy who took her martinis stirred, not shaken.

I want romantic comedies about queer protagonists who search desperately the whole movie to find love and at the end do so. But tell to me also the stories of those queers who reject "love" believing it to be an invention of an oppressive heternormitive society.

Give me narratives with angry inches, at least 20 centimeters, boys who cried, and those who like it hot.

Create for me legends and fantasies of queer wizards and demons, of queer witches and warlocks. Tell me the tales of queer vampires and ghouls. Try and scare me with tales of queer psycho slashers stalking hapless victims through showers and dreams.

Give me queer heroes and villains, queers who can fly and queers who fall, queer saints and sinners. Give me the good, the bad, and the ugly of all things queer. Feed me the queerest soylent green you can find.

I want desperately to see a queer on the bow of the Titanic, screaming defiantly into the wind, "I'm the QUEEN of the WORLD!"

Show me the money of the queer wealthy, but please do not forget the suffering of the queer poor and homelessness.

Give me tales of queer youth and queer seniors. Do not hesitate to tell the stories of queers who are disabled. I want narratives with queers who are fat and thin and of those queers who are handsome or beautiful and of those who fail to meet their society's standards of good looks.

I want stories of queer couples who stayed together in pure monogamy until death bid them part. Then show me the chronicles of the queer sluts, whores, prostitutes, gigoloes, and porn stars. Do not forget those queers that never found love, the unlucky virgins, or those who willingly took vows of chastity.

Tell to me the tales of queer artists, for I want to know the experiences of queer poets, writers, painters, composers, sculptures, actors, actresses, directors, authors, and musicians. They are the stuff dreams are made of.

Show me the stories of queer scientists, professors, academics, thinkers, philosophers and journalists. But do not ignore the stories of queer idiots, morons, and dunces. They all had me at hello.

Give unto me, queer firefighters and arsonists, queer athletes and qeeks, queer teachers and students, queer doctors, nurses, paramedics and the queer patients they treated.

There are stories of extraordinary queers to be told and of those queers who were extremely ordinary. So give me queers who coulda been contenders.

I wish to know the stories of queer radicals, liberals, and conservatives, of joiners and rejecters.

Spin for me the stories of queer warriors, soldiers, and generals and of those who committed brave feats in battle. But tell me also of those queers who protested the unjust nature of war and of those who committed even braver acts of civil disobedience.

I want to be told the stories of queer politicians and leaders, of queer activists and social reformers. Tell to me of those whose impact throughout history is so great as to be immeasurable and of those who lived in obscurity their whole lives. I want queers who cared passionately about worthwhile causes and those queers, who frankly my dear, didn't give a damn.

Tell me the stories of queer marxists, socialists, and capitalists. Queers who are completely selfless and queers who believe that greed is good. I want to see queers screaming, "you are not your bank account!" I want the first and second rules of Queer Club to be that you do not talk about Queer Club.

Tell me the sagas of the queer working class, of queer farmers, factory workers, waiters, waitresses, airplane pilots, train operators, ship captains, postal workers, and tollboth collectors. I want to know the experiences of queer secretaries, administrative assistants, bureaucrats, tax collectors, telemarketers, childcare workers, personal aides, and taxi drivers. And, yes, *I* am talking to you.

Since I am greedy, spin for me myths of queer weirdos and freaks, and of rainbow flying monkeys.

Tell for me the histories of queers who accept the fate dealt to them and those who are now mad as hell and ain't going take it any more.

Document, I beg you, the stories of Sylvia Rivera, Glenn Burke, Ernst Röhm, Ruth C. Ellis, Georg Joachim Rheticus, Margaret Mead, John Reith, John Maynard Keynes, George Washington Carver, Alan L. Hart, Alan Turring, Bayard Rustin, Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, Solon of Athens and too many other queers from history to list here. I want them all to be as widely known as that of Harvey Milk.

May not want a single story go untold because we were too afraid tell them.

Thank you.

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