When I came out, at 16, in those fashion-​​challenged late 70s when tweedy jackets and pinky rings had to do hard labor in sig­ni­fying les­bian iden­tity, my (lib­eral) mother sent me to a shrink before she began her queer re-​​education and joined the cause, right­eous pink tri­angle pinned on her ample bosom. I knew not one other gay kid, there were no sup­port groups in my high school, and I felt so very alone until I bliss­fully dis­cov­ered gay bars, gay book­stores, and the gay move­ment. Now my 19-​​year-​​old daughter (after a high-​​school career of being the “s” in gay-​​straight alliances) seems to imagine she gains street cred by claiming queer prove­nance and goes to a col­lege where gender bending is just another day and cre­ative pro­nouns busi­ness as usual.

In truth, I couldn’t have imag­ined the world we live in now—some of us, that is, here in America. The changes have been well doc­u­mented. In media, Orange Is the New Black reigns, and queers increas­ingly pop up in everyday dramas and award-​​winning come­dies. In pol­i­tics, more gays and les­bians are in local and national office, and anti-​​discrimination laws are de rigueur for the For­tune 500 and some munic­i­pal­i­ties. In our pri­vate lives, earnest het­ero­sex­uals declare their sup­port for gay rights and their fond­ness for their gay friends, neigh­bors, family mem­bers. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has been repealed, and mar­riage equality seems to have won the day, prompting more than one blogger to note that it’s fash­ion­able to sup­port gay marriage.

Read the article at Chronicle of Higher Education →