"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, October 9, 2021

In Praise Of Sexual Deviants And The Gender Side Show - Being Straight Is So Boring

Roberta Pollard (formerly Robert Pollard) was a happy woman.  Finally, at long last, and after a long time coming, she was recognized as the woman she had become, not the freak she had been called only a few years earlier.  Now, thanks to the efforts of those political partisans who had championed the gender spectrum, transgenderism, and sexual freedom, she was now called Ms Pollard, had doors opened for her, flowers given, and polite and generous attention paid by saleswomen at Saks.  

She was in her element, free from the constriction of the wrong genitalia, from presumptions about behavior and attitude, and simply, once and for all, her own woman.

Halloween in the Castro, the Bay to Breakers parade, or the Folsom Street Fair – exhibitionist gay pride in full public view – were championed by social activists as the final outing of a long-repressed and –oppressed community.  The raw exhibitionism – whips, chains, leather, tethers, dog collars, and harnesses – was a sign of release, righteousness, and a loud and very deserving fuck you to the Establishment.  

Although Roberta was a woman of temperance and good taste and could never imagine herself in the sexual charrettes of San Francisco, she cheered them on as the avant-garde of the final sexual revolution, the burying of heterosexuality and the final dismissal of those religious and social injunctions against sexual diversity.

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While acceptance of the ‘other’ was becoming the norm in modern America, such gender transformations were still for many hard to swallow.  The snickers and snide remarks would not go away; and as much as Roberta insisted that she paid no attention, she spent thousands of dollars on depilatories, creams, and Hollywood make up.  There was no disguising her oversized and very un-genteel looks, however, and the more she tried to hide them, the more deviant she looked, clownlike, and more side show than Park Avenue. 

It is no surprise that this out-front, aggressive sexuality is American in origin, importance, and visibility.  While other countries may tolerate sexual aberration – India has long accepted hijra, ‘intersexed’, transgender men who are thought auspicious and welcomed at weddings – there is none of the circus atmosphere, spectacularly outrageous burlesque shows, transgender runways, and Las Vegas strip dancing girls increasingly common in America.  There is certainly no such thing in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Singapore, or China. 

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In America everything is subject to radical change or dismissal.  Whether the Bible or the Constitution, who says they are foundational? Nothing doing.  As Derrida, Lacan, and European Deconstructionists have long argued, there is no such thing as inherent or absolute value.  All is relative, subject to the random forces of society and history, and understood only within that context.  Sexuality is no more than a social construct enforced by patriarchy and its institutions of church and state.  Sexual configuration is no more than a historical imperative, necessary to assure the continuation of the human race. If such heterosexuality were to be marginalized in a radical reconfiguration of social norms or better yet disappear through genetic engineering, life would simply be following its own determined fate.

The American public is as fickle as a woman with h many suitors and is happily untethered to any notions of anything absolute (even the Biblical God changed his mind about the survival of the human race, and Job himself challenged God’s authenticity), so as much as traditionalists may howl, the train has left the station.  

In a world of fantasy, illusion, Hollywood, and Las Vegas there is no room for Aquinas, Augustine, Kant, Descartes, or Russell.

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Revival meetings and Barnum & Bailey circuses are the perfect analogies for the anything-goes sexual revolution.  The days of quiet reflection and Puritan penitence are long gone.  The carrels of university libraries are empty.  All is exuberant, unrestrained public display.  

Life is an everyday Halloween, a 24/7 vaudeville act, a bearded lady side show always open for admission.  Televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, and Jonathan Bell are cheap operatic hussies, shameless, and lurid; but such hucksters have existed long before television.  In fact the history of American fundamentalism is the history of wild, tearful, big tent preachers whose performances are no different than those in the Big Top. 

American politics has been just as fanciful, outrageous, and unbelievable.  Who could invent the Reverend Al Sharpton, former ambulance-chaser, racial opportunist, and civil rights groupie turned sanctimonious television political commentator? The suspension of disbelief is extraordinary, the lionization of this racial charlatan incredible; yet this is America where reinventing oneself is a parlor game. 

The lying political opportunists like John Edwards and Newt Gingrich who left sickly wives for younger women are no different; or Bill Clinton who parsed the English language like a a high wire acrobat when it came to the definition of sex, or Mark Sanford who ran off for a tryst with his Argentine firecracker while claiming he was hiking the Appalachian trail all belonged in a bad version of a melodramatic operatic stage.

So, why not bears, Folsom beastie boys, and pick-ups on the gender spectrum?  It is time for conservatives, evangelicals, and Midwesterners to get on the bandwagon, go to the sexual circus, get on the gender merry-go-round, and enjoy the gender-twisted runway shows at the Las Vegas Luxor.

Roberta had been invited many times to adult gender reveal parties, fashioned after the traditional gender reveal parties for pregnant women where family and friend celebrate the sex of the child ‘revealed’ (thanks to DNA testing) by the mother. 

These adult parties, however, have a particular Halloween, Mardi Gras cast to them.  Individual men and women are introduced to a gathering of mixed-gender guests who are then asked to guess the sexual preference of the invitee.  They do this like a game of charades, asking suggestive, leading questions.  

Some of the possible gender categories are Ambonec, Anesigender, Boyflux, Caelgender, Paragender, Vapogender, and Vibragender – all taken from Tumblr’s list of 121.  To hide their true identity, invitees may act in misleading ways, dress counter-gender, or speak in false allusions.

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Gender transformation can be fun, and there is no end to parading, guessing, prancing, swishing, and swaggering at these parties. Straight men and women are invited for laughs, and join in the game.  

Adult gender parties are becoming more and more popular the more the notion of gender fluidity spreads.  There are at least five different television shows in the works featuring gender reveal guests and fashioned after the old ‘What’s My Line’ shows of the 50s.

The more traditional American culture is uprooted in favor of identity, the more anything goes.  In this secular, post-modern world of relative value, text, and historical irrelevance there is room for absolutely everything.  There are no criteria for political office, preaching, or sexual orientation.  

Taken as a whole, American popular culture today is a raucous, disassociated, fickle, and absurdly entertaining phenomenon.  Although progressive activists, politicians, preachers and those in their thrall take themselves seriously, few others do.

For those who have hung on too long to pedantic seriousness and ignored the ridiculousness of absurd claims, a final release, an epiphany, and the happy revelation that none of it matters in a sit back and enjoy the show moment will be welcome indeed. And it will come.  There is no way that such a collective sanctimony will not turn Baroque and Rococo – impossibly filigreed and ornate, turned inward on itself into a mocking self portrait.

So, don’t worry, be happy.  Pick a spot on the gender spectrum and have fun with it.  Stop finding fault, taking umbrage, feeling angry.  Enjoy the doings of Armageddon-believing environmentalists, One World fantasists, and equality freaks.  Admission is free and a good time for all is guaranteed.

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