Occasional unfinished notes on becoming Queer.
There’s a difference between gay and queer. Just like there’s a difference between chocolate and carob. It looks the same, and used the same but tastes completely different.
Queer: sexual minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary
The older I get… the queerer I become.
I’m not even sure what it means. But I’m sure that gay no longer describes what I am.
I am not a married drone operator living with my husband and three surrogate children who secretly wishes he could vote republican… and did… once… because nobody was watching.
Nope. I’m not that and I’m not headed in that direction.
I remain teachable. My wagon remains unhitched.
Listen, I’ve got a secret I want to share with you. One I don’t think I’m meant to be sharing. A secret that might very well discredit my public shift away from gay toward queer as my description of choice.
My description of me.
I feel so let down, betrayed, dishonoured by gay men. Yes… you.
One day in early December this year I will write the genesis of my change.
This intellectual menopause. This change. This perestroika.
Remember: from the very first play, to the very last film I have sought to make entertainment that re-examined, revealed, remade the gay experience.
I have won endless awards doing so.
My crowning moment was being nominated for a British Academy Award.
I was used to being told by straight people that if I wanted a career I should stop telling gay stories.
I was not expecting this: Gay people told me the same thing. In fact, they (with vehemence) told anyone talented and gay to live the lifestyle but don’t expect to tell stories about it.
They said, “You don’t want all your hard work… marginalized.”
They said, “You don’t want to miss out on the big bucks. You don’t want to end up like Derek Jarman? Do you?”
My heart sank. That’s exactly what I wanted. Back then. When I relished telling people I was gay.
Derek Jarman. He was the only film maker I thought worth aspiring too. That’s how it was back then. 1985.
So, I found him. Sought him out.
We sat outside overlooking the Thames. Gray clouds scudding over the greatest city in the whole world.
Gusts of cold grit blown over us.
He bought two cups of badly stewed tea served in thick Styrofoam cups.
“How can I help?” He asked.
I said, “I want to make a film.” I was embarrassed. I was star struck.
He said, “You will. But, you want my advice? Remember this: Never take no for an answer.”
We talked about Tilda Swinton who nobody really knew back then.
He told me about a young tousled man he met in the street. A builder. The builder came up to him on Shaftesbury Avenue and said, “You’re that gay film maker, aren’t you.”
Well, he expected the worst. It wouldn’t be the first time he had been beaten by a stranger but he looked him in the eye, straight in the eye and said, “Yes I am.”
Ten minutes later the beautiful young man was naked, towering over him. Blowing a load.
That’s a queer story. It’s not gay. For a start, a gay wouldn’t have told the truth.
Secondly, a gay would have been too scared to take a big straight acting blue-collar worker back to his prissy apartment.
The gays. God. You were right. It wasn’t worth it. Making those plays, those movies.
Yet, I’m still here. Sitting in my huge bed in California.
Good taste and tenacity will always make you enough money to enjoy a great life. Where ever it may take you.
The gays betray each other. They have no respect for themselves or each other. Perhaps it was me? Perhaps I had unrealistic expectations. You know, mutual respect, support, honor?
I remain curious. Even though I am sure of what I am.
P.S. Tilda Swinton saw my film AKA at Sundance.
My agent threw a party for her and me in some crazy restaurant.
We talked a great deal about Derek that night.
He was right. I never took no for an answer.
I begged and I borrowed and I stole to make a moment in my life that no one can ever take away from me.
Not even the gays.