From: (Tim Wilson)
Newsgroups: soc.motss
Subject: Re: Judy
Date: 08 Jul 1997 13:23:26 -0500

In article <> XAOS 

>My whole point has been that I did not grow up in a Judyistic
>world, so that her aesthetic does not speak to me. Arne asserted
>that EVERY GAY MAN should be familiar with her work as a
>performer. That seems to me to deny my experience of growing up
>in anenvironment that did not embrace the Judy aesthetic, and
>tell me that I have to conform to a certain set of tastes. Am
>I simply being unclear, because I feel like I'm repeating
>myself horribly, in slightly different words each time, in the
>vain hope that maybe someone will see what I'm saying.

Sometime in the fall of my sophomore year in high school, a guy named
Mark Dyer from Louisville, Kentucky, showed up at my little out-of-
the-way prep school in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.  I can't recall exactly
how it was that Mark and I found out that each other was queer, but,
within a fairly short time, I was hanging out in his room, telling him
things about myself and who I'd done (that I shouldn't have), and
being a young faggling of the confused variety.

There were big big differences between us: He was urban and urbane and
knowledgable about gay things while I was more of a country horn dog
who just wanted to get into the pants of other boys.  To put it
differently, I was busy building and maintaining my closet, while he
wasn't very interested in closets.  He'd sashay and swish, while I'd
try not to get found out. 

He would lip-sync Diana Ross, and I'd roll my eyes.  He'd talk about
the "Queen Bee" back in Louisville (at whose apartment, I guess, he'd
spent a good bit of time being taught things that I wasn't interested
in learning -- Arne relates an experience similar to Mark's in his own
past).  He dragged me out to the Miss Gay Tennessee pageant when I was
sixteen, but I just didn't/couldn't appreciate what was going on.  In
short, while he was very very comfortable with his gayness and with
the gay culture as it existed in his world, I actively tried to ignore
and get away from that world (even as I learned about tearooms and
rest areas and other aspects of the gay world in ways, I think, that
he never really did.  I'm not sure if I told him about blowing the guy
in the bathroom at Sears in downtown Orlando when I was sixteen or

Several years later, when I was in my early twenties, I got picked up
in a peep show in Nashville by a faggy kind of guy and this little boy
(i.e., youngish man, eighteen or so) who was with him (who was really
the object of my horniness).  I went back to his or their apartment,
which was near the Nashville airport.  The older guy put on some Diana
Ross records, and he started sashaying and swishing and lip-syncing to
them.  I was there to get laid, so I griped about it, saying something
like "Why do you want to do that instead of have sex?"  Well, that
pissed him off, and he threw me out, and he kicked my ass on the way
out the door for good measure.  

My friend Mark believed in his gay culture, and he wanted to share it
with me.  It was something solid for him, something he related to.
Looking back now, I don't believe for a moment that he meant to
*impose* his culture on me, to tell me I had to conform to anything.
He was simply trying to share what had value to him with me.  It took
me a long time to learn that lesson, to develop that construct, a
personal construct that makes it a lot easier for me to get over my
own homophobia, which I used to express by complaining about people
trying to impose *their* culture on me, by saying "Why do you want to
do that instead of have sex?"  I've worried since that day, in some
way, that that was Mark that night that I insulted.  

It doesn't mean that if I don't embrace "Judy culture" or that if I
don't start lip-syncing Miss Ross that I have to turn in my Queer Card
(pry it from my cold, dead, hands, etc.).  It means that I can develop
a context for looking at claims involving EVERY GAY MAN where I don't
let my own hang ups get in the way of someone else enjoying who they
are, even if they're making statements that most likely don't work at
face value.  Take it with a grain.

No one can take away from you that you are who you are, with or
without knowledge of Judy Garland.  Whether or not you are repressed
or upset or can't relate to someone else's suggesting that you're
incomplete without such knowledge is for you to decide.  I think that
once you're not repressed by such comments, you open yourself up to
seeing just what it might be about Judy Garland that lots and lots of
gay men obviously find fascinating, whether you yourself find it
fascinating or not.  But fascinating to you or not, you can't ignore
that it is to many many others that you share something fundamental
Tim Wilson
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