Song Of The Day 6/13/2016: Bronski Beat – “Smalltown Boy”
Last year during this time I devoted a week to LGBTQ Pride Week. I wasn't going to do it this year. It was a decision made in context of other stuff going on with this blog, scheduling and whatnot. I figured, you know, last year's was great, I was happy with how it turned out, and the last thing the community needs is another week of some straight guy mansplaining -- or I guess that would be straightsplaining -- gay pride.
Then this happens in Orlando and I remember that no matter how many blue and yellow equal bumper stickers there are in my neighborhood there are still people who let either their religion or their insecurity run unchecked through a vacant conscience and decide the most effective way to ameliorate their stunted development is to shoot 103 people who had nothing whatsoever to do with him.
Then I realize that complacency is still not an option for any of us. Someday it would be great if it was, if the matter of people being accepted for who they are and who they love was just a given that nobody need get up in arms about it. But that day isn't now. The difference between now and, say, just 20 years ago are that there are way more straight people for whom other people's private lives are not an affront to their own, that there are many more allies from the breeders' side than there were.
But it's still not enough. Better is good. It's still not enough.
I've written extensively in the past about the gay communities I've lived aside -- in a few cases, outright in -- and the people I met there. How they always had my back when I was in high school burrowing out of a restrictive religious upbringing, and how I've had theirs while they were struggling through so much more. I won't rehash it here but let me know if you need to see it and I'll give you links.
I'll just play this song today. Back in Olympia I DJ'ed at a gay bar called The Urban Onion for a short while. I was OK at it. I always played "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat because I figured it would strike a chord -- a young man running away from a closed-minded hamlet, into a bigger city where there was more of a chance for him to be who he was, away from a contingency of people who more refused to understand him than just couldn't.
It didn't work, though. They always cleared the floor for this song. Nobody danced to "Smalltown Boy." I don't think some of the newer generation knew it. Also, I played the 9-minute extended mix. It can go on for a bit.
Maybe the short version will work today.
I don't have any words to sum up. Summing up is another one of those things, like thoughts and prayers and strategically tied ribbons, that hasn't seemed to get to the heart of the problem. It's still here. We just keep going. We get farther away from the roots, but we don't get far enough. Just know retreat's still not an option, and there are more of us on the road every day.