To the gay man who tried to lift my shirt at Innuendo,
You know, even though I despise and disagree with it, when straight men are sexist and degrade women, I can understand the motive behind it. Only to the degree that I know it is advantageous for them to do it. Demeaning women secures men's place as top dog not only in society overall, but within their interpersonal relationships with family, friends, coworkers and lovers.
Despite experiencing discrimination for being homosexual, gay men are not about to relinquish their male privilege (or white privilege when it applies) even though it allows them to discriminate against women (and minorities). Gay men are still firmly entrenched in patriarchy; sexism still works to their advantage overall in society. Anyone that questions that assertion need only to visit San Fransisco and compare the Castro neighborhood to the Mission District and see the discrepancies in money and corresponding visibility of the gay and lesbian populations there. Or visit the Log Cabin Republication booth at Pride and see who comprises the gay republication population (hint: they look a lot like Dick Cheney, with his lesbo daughter). A gay republican? Isn't that like a unicorn? A fantasy devised by the Religious Right? Alas, no. But I digress. The irony is that homophobia and sexism are cut from the same patriarchal cloth. Without patriarchally defined gender roles, neither homophobia or sexism can exist in their current forms. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop gay men from being sexist.
Despite knowing all this, you, Mr. Shirt Lifter Upper, caught me off guard Saturday. Here's the scene: A double date with P-funk and friends S1 and S2. S2 and I hit the dancefloor, leaving our comparatively butch girlfriends chatting and having drinks in the lofted seating area that overlooks the bar and dancefloor. S2 and I were soon joined by you, a big bear of a gay man, who seemed delighted to have some lesbians join in the dancing fun. We engaged in some campy disco dancing that would put the Village People to shame; it was all good. Until, that is, S2 left the dancefloor to have a smoke outside. Keep in mind that the dancefloor is in the front of the bar, with floor to ceiling windows on two sides, so that anyone on the street can look in.
[Side note - anyone ever noticed how unusual it is for a gay bar, especially in the midwest, to have a well-lit dancefloor that can be seen by the public? How are all the closeted homos supposed to imbibe and dance if the windows aren't blacked out, non-existent, or the dancefloor located in the back?Well, for all of you shamed gays in St. Paul, you'll be happy to know that this set-up at Innuendo is a temporary one. Once "Rumors" opens up in the back, (Rumors & Innuendo, get it?) the dancefloor will be moved back there where you can get your groove on discretely.]
So I'm dancing by myself and sort of doing a silly dance for S2 through the window when you come up from behind and grab the bottom of my Tee-shirt from both sides and lift it, getting it above my belly button, but not as far as my bra, before I grab his hands and yank down, HARD. You continued to try to lift my shirt even after I started pushing down. At this point, P-funk and S1, who had watched this whole scene unfold, came barrelling down the stairs and quickly surrounded me on the dance floor. When I sought solace in P-funk's arms, you made a confused face and backed off. You even tried to apologize from across the dance floor later.
The interesting part was that you weren't apologizing for trying to blindly and forcefully disrobe me without consent, but that you had mistaken S2 as my girlfriend. So you were apologizing for trying to take my shirt off for the wrong girl (and anyone walking down the 200 block of East 4th in St. Paul), not for treating me as less than a human being. As a gay man you can accept that I'm with someone of the same sex, but can't get it through your thick skull that I'm not the play-thing of you and whomever I'm dating. Women are still property and you'd mistaken whom I "belong" to.
And while I pride myself on being an independent woman who didn't need P-funk and S1 to come to my rescue, it was sort of fun watching you flee at the sight of these two butch dykes thundering towards your sorry ass.
I have another open letter to some other people that irked me this weekend, so stay tuned!