9.24.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

“It’s not going to stop ‘til you wise up.” That’s the song, the notoriously tear-dredging anthem of internalized polar angst penned by Aimee Mann for the film Magnolia nearly two decades ago, that was dragging my internal jukebox into the ground this morning before work. No, it’s not because I’m an alcoholic, or a drug addict, or a cop, or a former child star, or a dying television host, or a survivor of sexual abuse, or a frog falling from the sky – though none of those were lost on me in various moments of central casting, hanging out by the craft service table of existential self-mythology. I’ve been down. I am out. I’ve moved up.

We all have, in many ways. Or so you would think. I don’t want to pussyfoot around the issues of rising ships and incremental gains at this point, because that’s something that implies an apathy that doesn’t necessarily ring with truth: not in this guy, not in this paper. Yes, it is important to mind our tempers as we watch prospective politicians toss our names into the gutter in order to gain base-minded cheers in election years, just as it is important that we scream from the tops of our lungs (and/or social media fingers) at the injustices still lying before us, sometimes in the simple code of Facebook speak.
What really got me going this morning was a response to a response (I know, right?) on Longwood Republican Rep. Scott Plakon’s page regarding his so-called Pastor Protection Act, a fuzzy bit of illogical thinking currently playing at a political theater near you. Plakon was quoted as saying legislation that protects pastors from the coming gay marriage storm hurts no one. I chimed in, as I do at 5 a.m. when I can’t sleep, with a bit of logic calling him out on it. Plakon and I go way back, so it wasn’t an ad hominem attack; he’s a nice guy, and I’ll give him that. Plakon went as far as to point all the way over to Texas and say that everyone there loves it – the exact same superfluous legislation passed in Texas, even with a pansexual representative, Plakon likes to genuflect. But then somebody from Plakon’s base who shall remain unnamed popped up with this bit of pre-coffee bluster.

“Billy Manes, the ‘crusaders’ here are the people seeking to redefine marriage to fit their sexual preferences and trying to ram that definition down everybody’s throat with the power of government. THAT is what is unkind. Nobody wants to celebrate anything, marriage or otherwise, gay or straight, with people who are simply bullies, once we peel off the self-righteous rhetoric. We don’t know if these ‘crusaders’ are doing this out of bottomless selfishness, or a coordinated desire to undermine our society. But it is time to stop tolerating the tyranny. That is what Scott Plakon is doing.”

Really.

Maybe that’s why this issue you see before you is so important to me. The anthill has been kicked and, well, things are getting ugly. We’ve taken mild heat for not being more political in our coverage of Come Out With Pride – which is just around the corner and on the cover of this newspaper! – mostly because there are those among us who fear that we are losing our edge as a culture and LGBT family. Does gay culture still matter? Is it a song and dance choreographed in nothing but the aural bounces of joy and escapism? Yes, it still matters, certainly as long as pastors are playing victims and strangers are calling out our tyranny and throat-ramming.

In this issue, you’ll find compelling evidence of both an evolution of our culture and the need for more honesty, more abrasiveness, even more fun. Former Exodus International head Alan Chambers tells us about ending his reparative therapy racket; we look into the temporal (and brick-laden) collage that is the new Stonewall movie; Michael Wanzie sings the praises of out and loud people at parades; Jason LeClerc (Republican!) argues the worth of sports in the LGBT community; the Come Out With Pride board speaks of a year of rebuilding what has become a behemoth of messaging in a year of adversity; we celebrate some good things going on (a new clinic) and lament some bad things (a gay-bar fire). The scene is still set, and we’re still here, but there are still many battles to win.

It’s not going to stop if we give up.

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