Has the gay community lost its sense of fun and irreverence?

2021 needs a good dose of post-pandemic humour but I suggest that it won’t be a gay-led recovery. Except for some of the Mardi Gras signage carried by the more colourful and vocal groups and individuals, I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud and said that only the gay community could make such a statement.

Let’s assume the ‘gay community’ is a business. In the late 1980s/90s that business was just getting started. It wasn’t just an idea that a sexually diverse group wanted to sell itself as worthy of equality in every aspect of Australian life, it was a committed energy force that was not afraid to make fun of everything the straight world offered.

Like all new business start-ups, there was energy and passion, there were long-term goals aimed at acceptance, equality, and diversity. We found media spokespeople, we formed health education communities and in the eyes of the straight community, we were an interesting group to be associated with. We had the best dance parties, Mardi Gras became a celebratory festival for the whole community, gay comedians emerged, we were outrageous, we were fun to be with, we were newsworthy. With humour and passion, we began to attract allies.

 Like all successful businesses and products, there is a defined growth pattern from the initial start-up, through growth, to boom, to mainstream acceptability, to maturity.

I suggest that today’s ‘gay community’ has reached that mature stage. And as such has become mainstream. We’re no longer always newsworthy. We’re beholden to governments for financial handouts that allow us to establish Pride Centres, support health projects, lobby for law changes. We no longer dare to take the piss out of archaic government thinking, religious rantings or, the stupidity of others. We don’t bite the hand that feeds us. This loss of edgy community identity seems to have also deprived us of laughter.

Why did so many heterosexuals become our allies – because we took them with us to somewhere more exotic especially via that laughter and flamboyance. And now we’ve killed that very spirit, the essence of who we are. We have conformed to the norm.

In 2021 we should again use laughter to bring joy to a dull world. Let’s re-discover our colourful, flamboyant selves and re-invigorate the ‘gay community’ business model to a more prominent and relevant position.

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