Part of what I love about my people is the humor we have about being gay. OK, not everyone all the time, for sure, but c’mon… we get huge credit for the fun and laughs we have at our own expense.
Gay prankster humor hit global politics this week with the Singing Sailor, a response to months of Russian nuclear submarines violating territorial Swedish waters. A group called ‘Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society’ (SPAS) responded to the famously homophobic Russians with a neon sign depicting a sexy sailor with the message: “Welcome To Sweden, Gay Since 1944.” 1944 was the year Sweden made homosexuality legal.
And in case any passing submarines miss the sign, it also pings out Morse code into the surrounding waters spelling out the message “come this way if you are gay,” a message no submariner could miss.
So how does this help playfully funny art project help explain gay people?
Well, there is an ancient tradition of pranksters in many religions, the unexpected wisdom that subverts the rigid thinking of the day, and as gay people we often appear like unsettling pranksters. Unlike pretty much every other minority group gay people pop up unexpectedly in every family, community, religion, and culture. So at our best we sometimes play this role of sacred prankster, something like Bugs Bunny who managed to make the guy with the gun look the fool by not taking himself too seriously.
Responding to territorial incursions by nuclear submarines with the timeless icon of a gay sailor? Genius.
And just to be clear how friendly this all is, Daniel Holking of SPAS clarified in an official statement:
If there is a submarine down there and there is a crew member who hears or sees the sailor, they are welcome to join us in the Pride Parade on August 1 in Stockholm.
I love my peeps.
…for more background, and to see the sign dance: