I have been involved in some altercations online recently, due to my use of the phrase ‘Anti Gay’ to describe my opposition to the elitist, conservative club that is ‘Gay’. In doing so I have referred to the book of that title edited by Mark Simpson. Anti Gay was published in 1996, and was one of a few books around that time that presented a challenge to the increasingly homogenous and commercial (and white middle class male) ‘gay culture’ that was emerging in our cities and our media in particular. Canal Street, Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for The Straight Guy, Dan Savage, Pink News, Attitude, Gay Times: they have all contributed to a now dominant version of non-heterosexual life that is bland, boring and often bigoted.
One reason my use of the term ‘anti-gay’ has riled people so much, is, of course that genuinely homophobic and often right wing people also describe themselves as anti gay. Simpson was aware of this fact when he used the controversial title for his book. But also I think he was incredibly astute as in that title he anticipated the polarisation that has since developed between ‘gay rights’ campaigners, including and supported by ‘liberals’ on one side, and ‘anti gay’ campaigners, including and supported by Christian ‘right’ wingers on the other. You have to pick a side. As a gay man, and quite a radical one at that, Simpson used the term ‘anti gay’ as a refusal to pick a side. It is a rejection of the ‘gay’ identity and the ridiculous us and them politics it leads to. An us and them politics that has now got out of hand. It is the ‘you’re either with us or you’re against us’ of George Bush. It’s the way both sides resort to calling each other sick. One of the ironies being, of course, that the liberal left who advocate tolerance of gay people, are being spectacularly intolerant of those who disagree with them.
Anti Gay made Mark Simpson incredibly unpopular within the ‘gay community’ and the liberal media in the UK in 1996. 15 years later, my promotion of its ideas (which may be re-released unto the world in an ebook soon) renders me equally, if not even more unpopular. And this is where my defence of me comes in.
My enthusiasm for Simpson’s work, mainly his theories of metrosexuality, but also his work on sexual identities, sex and gender ‘science’ and internet pornography and hook up sites, has led me to be called his Disciple, an Ardent Simpsonista and many more unpleasant monikers. Underlying most of these names, and some other lengthier ‘taunts’, has been a suggestion that I can’t think for myself. That I am merely a puppet or a parrot of ‘MetroDaddy’, spouting his ideas as if they were my own. That I am a fraud.
These accusations obviously have no merit. If I wanted to pass off Simpson’s ideas as my own, I would not refer to his work and credit him so diligently. And if I were just a ‘parrot’ I wouldn’t have critiqued some of Simpson’s approaches and theories so carefully. How could I if I didn’t have a mind of my own? But even ideas with no merit (especially them?) have a habit of gaining ground and so this is my rebuttal to the false statements made about me.
One of the things gay rights campaigners, feminists and their allies claim to hate the most is bullying. But when it comes to people they don’t like or don’t agree with, they seem to change their tune. Bullying of someone like me, a known ‘anti-feminist’ and ‘anti-gay’ activist is justified. When I had my twitter handle, @quietriot_girl stolen for example, the person who took it said it was because of my ‘transphobia’. Oh, well that’s ok then. And when I speak out about the misandry that riddles our culture, I am just laughed at and/or called a troll.
If none of that shuts me up, the tolerant, liberal, inclusive feminists and gays shut down discussions (especially if I seem to be winning the argument), block me and ban me from their online spaces.
But I am still here. I am still anti-feminist, I am still ‘Anti-Gay’, and I am still a passionate supporter, promoter and critic of the work of Mark Anti-Gay Simpson. Because where I come from, independent, thoughtful and insightful criticism is the biggest compliment you can give a theorist or writer.
The haters are going to have to try a bit harder if they want to stop me. I’m Quiet Riot Girl. I am unstoppable.