I was fortunate to attend a glitterati event recently as a VIP guest and saw some local “people-who-appear-on-TV.” To call them celebrities would be a hyperbolic statement. So this person stands next to me with attaché scouring the territory for the meat of the day that will probably be flaunted on the show in a couple of weeks. I will rather not reveal identities or any cues but luckily I do not know the person personally.
Some few metres away stood a couple of Afrikaans gays. They aren’t hard to spot. Actually they were all around so I looked around for a more diverse table and sat at an ethnically mixed table. I think I have more in common with the two ladies and the affable Jozi-native Anglo-Saxon guy. I loathe labelling race ergo going about the issue stealthily.
I heard in the distance: “Vrouuuuu, vat dit jou soooo lank om jou bolla te klits?”
I just chuckled discreetly. For those who do not understand, it is Afrikaans gay lingo translating to: Woman, does it take you so long to do your hair?
I have always been bemused and amused by gay lingo. I wonder about aetiology. Some of the words are strange derivatives of Afrikaans or English and even a confluence. I wonder why this patois is being used. Is it still relevant?
I understand that in the past it would have been an identifier or used to make a statement in a defiant kind of way towards the status quo of the time. I just do not think it serves any purpose at the moment. I find it both funny and annoying.
Okay, we are now more or less equal citizens of Afrique du Sud and although while Zuma and his god squad are plotting their next move to stymie equality and rescind same-sex marriage we live in probably the most progressive country in the world. That is for now.
The revolution came in the guise of act 108 of 1996 better known as the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and further statutes such as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, Act 4 of 2000. The legal foundations were in place alas our dear society is socially conservative and thus in my humble opinion a tad bit backwards.
The evolution came in the “normalisation” of homosexuality. This is open to all kinds of interpretation but refers here to urban society’s acceptance of the LGBTIQ community in some way, be it nonchalance or earnest acceptance and lack of prejudice. Marriage of course being the bastion of heterosexual culture was imported in gay culture as well post-2006. In a sense, mainly in large urban areas, attitudes changed and the gay population was accepted.
The disillusionment came with the post-Apartheid era newbie gays. Nonchalant is a euphemism, I doubt they know the aetiology and even less probably the meaning. Having already written Mean Girls the Gay Phenomenon dealing with the Lindsay Lohan wannabes in our little community I think after some introspection I can declare that I am not especially proud to be associated with most of the gay population.
I have not seen such sheer shameless ignorance in a population as in our dear newly beleaguered one. I am by self-association also one of the post-Apartheid gays as I was 12 years old when Nelson Mandela was elected our first democratically elected president. Yet I harbour an entirely different set of core values.
On 24 September 2009 a guy decided to slate the Joburg Pride board and its involvement with its media sponsor: 94.7 Highveld. The storm in the teacup proved rather more annoying than flustering. Do we really need infighting in our little community? Methinks we can hardly afford it being a soft target.
Another insolent and disturbed human slated another organisation wantonly. Said organisation is one of the few in this country that fights tooth and nail for continued equality and raising public awareness regarding issues that directly affect us as a community. The utterly nonsensical and profane comment was left without a second thought, without taking into consideration that some of “those” people actually dedicate their existence to the betterment of not only themselves but other victimised people as well. So much for empathy, and so much for common decency...
The ignorant amongst us often attack others for being vigilant. Ignorance is bliss indeed and it would take a serious rattle of their cages to get them out of the grip of indifference and self-centredness. Alas I am afraid then it will be too late to salvage what we might have left.
I was horribly shocked in 2008 when an LGBT Internet news service ran a poll just before Joburg Pride and the vast majority rated that the raison d’être of Pride is the after parties. Have we become so apathetic and complacent that we do not care to know our own history and celebrate it? Are we so cosy that we could not care less about current affairs or politics?
Some are so uninformed as to believe that laws are written in stone. All the while we bask in nonchalance the religious right is rallying and gaining an enormous velocity. One has only to look at Uganda and its ties with the U.S. religious right to get a sense of what is quietly happening. Make no mistake, we are all but immune – look at Errol Naidoo and his crusades against the Pink Loerie. Tip of the iceberg...
Alanis Morissette’s 1995 song Wake up (Jagged Little Pill) has a memorable verse applicable to this specific matter: “There's an obvious attraction to the path of least resistance in your life. There's an obvious aversion no amount of my insistence could make you try tonight.”
The disillusionment makes one wonder why we are putting our wellbeing at risk for those who frankly do not deserve an inkling of sympathy. Or am I being harsh?