I find myself feeling a bit like Michael Tolliver, a central character in Armistead Maupin’s hugely successful Tales Of The City saga. I’m thinking of a bit where Michael’s huzband Thack is feeling drawn to activism and wanting to join Act Up and “kick some conservative butt” and Michael says that he just can’t be “some kind of Harekrishna for homos”. I’ve been genuinely disturbed that my post about wearing a pink triangle button in a decade of activism seems to have cost me a couple of friends. And not, in fact, some of my conservative friends who are uncomfortable with gay pride parades or make arguments against gay marriage, but rather some of my queer friends who seem to be in a stage of activism I have somehow grown past.
I’m convinced that I would like to play to a bigger audience than the gay rights movement. Like Michael Tolliver I find that I want to explore what I have in common with people I meet and simply not discuss or focus on the issues that divide us. I literally spent all of those years working for the rights I now enjoy and it seems to me it really is okay for me to move on to speaking more inclusively and including in my circle people who may not agree with me about the political underpinnings of my basic human rights, yet may have real truths to share with me and whose experiences and perspectives may help me to see the world around me just a little bit more clearly.
Speaking with and learning to become friends with people who disagree with me does not in my considered opinion, negate anything I’ve ever argued about the rights of gay people, nor any of the other political positions I have (at times vociferously) defended over all these years. Shhhhhh. Please don’t tell my mother. But I think just maybe I am growing up enough now to need to see the world through other perspectives. While I try my darndest to hang on to as many of the friends I’ve made along the way as I can. Even while knowing that some folks will be with me for only a moment. Others only now and then. And that I can’t know until I get there, just whom my lifelong friends or most important ones will turn out to be.