To celebrate IDAHO Day, my workplace is hosting the "Just Like You" exhibition; a celebratory time capsule of the day-to-day moments of “normal” lesbian and gay couples.
This series of images by photographers Marie-Angela Paino and Sarah Dixey focuses on homosexual couples leading similar lives with similar aspirations to everyone else – you know – the non-gays.
It’s not just in art produced within our community, by members of our community that our normality is a now key message. Although I would like to still think that my gayness is linked to some exceptional, extraordinary and unique fabulousness, the truth is I and my entire posse - sorry to break it to you hootchies - are just like everyone else.
Sameness. It’s an important message in our fight for equal rights. If we are no different, why are we still treated differently?
If popular culture is a mirror into our collective minds, then it appears that society is growing more comfortable with homosexuality at a pace I would have never imagined – even just 10 years ago. No longer being tagged an abnormality, illness or sign of social deviance in pop culture comes as refreshing and liberating.
I myself have become so normal, so like everyone else that I ached for an invite to Mama June and Sugar Bears redneck wedding last week. Their little Honey Boo Boo is a one-child public relations machine for our equal rights campaign.
Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson’s support of her gay uncle Lee “Poodle” has won her praise across the media and from equal rights groups. With one small line "Ain't nothing wrong with bein' a little gay. Everybody’s a little gay" the skettie eatin’ darling of the South marched up and collected her greatest pageant title yet: Little Miss Gay Ally.
“You can’t change the way you are or who you fell in love with… we support Uncle Poodle and all the other poodles in the world too.” Alana Thompson
Unlike other popular culture icons who have voiced their support for the gays, Honey Boo Boo’s words were straight from the heart and not an attempt to collect or connect with a fan base.
Madonna built her career on being a gay icon and ally. Her message was aimed at the gays – it appealed to a sense of camaraderie of being outsiders, a mutual admiration for living outside the “norm”. Honey Boo Boo’s message is completely the opposite and perhaps slightly more complex. The norm is a mix of everything. Celebrate the diversity.
Madonna’s message was I’m on the edge, I’m different. You gays are also out there and different. We’re not part of the status quo, everyday. This is the space where Lady Gaga also plays with her love of the gays and bring her Little Monsters on a journey of acceptance. Still, the underlying theme is that Little Monsters are a special and different clique.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I think everyone is using the gay community to feed their egos or generate cash – it’s just a huge and welcome shift in the framing and audience of the message that we are alright people – not freaks or abnormalities. Honey Boo Boo is not a lone voice. It’s just so powerful when it tumbles unscripted from the lips of a seven year old conservative Southerner. Now, don’t ya’ll get me started on how much of an advocate she is for body image and self esteem. I wish I could bottle what she has in that department!
So quickly, back to Mama June and Sugar Bears wedding… a camouflage dress code. Like, isn’t that every Fetish Bear’s dream attire for hitchin’ day? How about the ruffled hot pink-and-orange floor length bridesmaids’ gowns? I expect to see knockoffs on every queen in the next season of Drag Race - or a little closer to home – on our own Beverley Buttercup!
Here’s to Honey Boo Boo, hell no, the whole road-kill feasting extended Thompson family who've pulled for a higher title. They are my IDAHO Day Ultimate Grand Supreme winners.