An op-ed column in yesterday's New York Times, "We're Here, We're Queer, Y'all" by Karen L. Cox, is supposed to be uplifting, perhaps, or inclusive, or something of the sort, but as a Southerner by birth, I found it ineffably sad.
Indeed, I've spent a lot of time in Hattieburg, Miss., which is highlighted in the column, and which is where the University of Southern Mississippi is located. It is known down there as the school where the "queers" go after graduating from high school. I know we "Uncle Poodles" of the world are loved by our Southern right-wing families, but just don't ask most of them or most of our neighbors down there to give us any political respect or equal rights.
This article is basically about the virtues of staying in the closet. I thought we had moved past thinking that is a good thing, and yet The New York Times puts its op-ed imprimatur on a column that touts the closet as a Southern way of life. "It's so genteel in there, in that polite, pinched darkness," this column seems to be saying. Personally, I like it better in the expansive -- even impolite -- brighter world. Basically, this writer is claiming that the love that dare not speak its name can be openly silent. It and I would rather speak.