Maybe the most beautiful essay on being gay I’ve read this year is from Canada’s Walrus magazine on how life looks to the younger gay generation “post-AIDS.” Author Michael Harris shares how his world looks:
For my friends and me, “post-AIDS” refers to more than a disease. It means post-protests, post-outrage, post-victimization. It touches our entire lives and leaves us with a deep-seated and cruel distaste for the sissy boys who have dominated our representation in films and TV (after all, wasn’t it the bottoms who got AIDS?). It means vainly attempting to make up new ways of talking, walking, and loving, because the old ones carry the stain of disaster. We are the first generation of gay men to grow up free of overwhelming oppression and imminent crisis. Growing up after AIDS means profiting from the civil rights battles it occasioned.
But in some ways we are still hopelessly lost. A generation of men who could have been our mentors was decimated.
It is a must read for Harris’s perceptive insights into what the next generation faces:
Like my dad, whose own father was an orphan during the Depression, my friends and I know what it’s like to inherit a wrecked history and build on rubble, to flail around while trying to create our own culture in the wake of events we cannot overcome.