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 “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has been repealed, and marriage equality seems to have won the day, prompting more than one blogger to note that it’s fashionable to support gay marriage.