M. and I watched the movie “Cabaret” the other night, commenting on its timeliness to not only 1972 when it was released but also to life today. As you most likely know, it is set in decadent ’30s Berlin (Germany) as the Nazis begin to take hold of the country. The fluid sexuality (but predominantly homosexual) of the main character played by Michael York was one many men in 1972 at the dawning of gay liberation could understand.
It also brought up the issue of gay marriage rights (not in the movie, but between M. and I) because the ideal of a loving relationship between two people evolving into marriage is so ingrained in our society that it’s hard to separate what the initial gay rights movement was after and what it’s evolved into today.
I’ve been reading what the New York gay intelligentsia has been writing; dissecting the Hegelian from the Nietschean all served with a dollop of Camus Existentialism (don’t forget the Solipsists!) [Actually they reference Kierkegaard, Emerson and Foucault, but really, darlings, how about referencing real life instead.] You can decide for yourself by reading the responses here at n + 1.
At Vice Magazine, one author laments the new ‘gay seriousness’ which in a way I can certainly appreciate. Although it seems obvious to anyone with a brain (and a heart) that gays deserve equal rights in all aspects of American life; when the revolution began, I’m not sure that marriage is what we were after. It seemed to me at the time that we eschewed all things heterosexual, particularly what we viewed as the repressiveness of long-term heterosexual partnering.
But during those early years, when I was a young man in Chicago, having a partner, or long-term boyfriend was the ne plus ultra of gay identity. The dichotomy was striking. My friend, T.S., turned to me once and said, “poor B., unlucky in love and so desperate for it at the same time.” How could we ever foresee that long term relationships were an important part of our crusade? That equal rights included the right to marry or that it would be the flag behind which we stood in 2009?
Of course, 28 years into my own relationship with M., observing the 36 year relationship of our best friends, R & B; we realize that all along that it was the goal. Loving who you will when you want without the opprobrium of the state and society.