Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Radical Queer Punk Skateboarder Nostalgia

It was a quiet weekend. I overspent myself in August, and I had to be a little more restrained in my shopping. Still on Saturday I metroed and bussed out to a suburban mall to look for ear posts and tunnels, since I'm increasing the bore in my earlobe piercings ever so slightly. I confined myself to buying only the posts and tunnels, but I looked around the mall for a few minutes in anticipation of a return. I especially lusted after a Steve Caballero skateboard deck, very similar to the one I had a few years ago.

I spent some time reading, getting through an early Dostoyevsky novella (The Double) and two-thirds of the way through a collection of fiction by John Greyson. He's a Canadian writer and filmmaker, and he involved himself in the "Queer Wave" of film and art in the late 80's and early 90's. Reading the book has taken me back to those heady days of radical queer underground cinema (e.g., Greg Araki's The Living End and Totally Fucked Up) and books (e.g., Justin Chin's Mongrel and Wesley Gibson's Shelter), and the subversive and transgressive feeling I had in the first few years after I came out. (My years of coming out were immediately preceded by my years of punk rock and skateboarding.)

The years leading up to and following my coming out were the most intense years of self-exploration I'd experienced. There were some very rocky, very scary times in there, but there were also some great times, too. Back then, having survived coming out, there were times when I felt that merely continuing to draw a breath was a subversive act. The world is different now, and I see the kids that grow up out of the closet (were never really in it, in some cases) and for all the world to see on tv, on Facebook, on Youtube, etc. and I am so happy for them. My hope back then for a better future for LGBTQ kids has to a certain extent materialized.

Hope is a good thing if it is grounded in reality. For that matter even a little fantasy is okay, provided that one isn't annoying or dangerous about it.

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