Friday, July 16, 2004

What is the phrase for a gay “Uncle Tom”?

Uncle Tom
n. Offensive
A Black person who is regarded as being humiliatingly subservient or deferential to white people.

Whether shared (homo)sexuality has – or should have – anything to do with other communalities is an age- (or at least generation-) old argument. It inevitably gets most personal and heated around the particular issue of shared politics.

Here there are, I think, three broad schools of thought. The first is that to be gay and Liberal/Right is to be an Uncle Tom. Justifying this approach is the general truth that the Right are more antipathetic to all policy matters and things gay. Secondly, there is the minimalist position, which denies any necessary correlation between the personal/sexual and the political (in the conventional sense of that word). Finally, there is the position of the gay crusade (or jihad, if you prefer), in which the corrosive vice of Uncle Thomism runs much deeper than voting for the “gayer”/Left-er of the two major parties come election time.

As you would most likely guess even from the rhetorical structure, above – the old “two simplistic opposites, followed by a third way that is more nuanced and syncretic” gambit – I am a gay crusader. Which does not, I stress, say too much quantitively or qualitively about my sexuality, at least. On the contrary, I’m rather abashed at Ken Parish’s blogroll tag of this site calling me “militantly gay” – if Ken knew me personally, I think he’d find the descriptor “militantly wallflower (and gay)” would be more accurate.

But enough of my not getting any. Cutting to the chase, or to Andrew Olexander’s recent demolition derby more particularly, it strikes me that it takes two to gay “Uncle Tom”; the doormat and the foot. Out of what might be termed gay solidarity, I deliberately gave Olexander the benefit of the doubt the other day. Subsequently, it has turned out that Olexander was a car crash waiting to happen, in at least two other senses – the probity wreck,
and the previous job black-mark wreck.,5478,10119532^661,00.html

As to how he glided so smoothly, from being (quite properly) sacked by Ansett in 1998 to being installed as a Liberal member in 1999 would make an interesting tale – although it appears that no one is in any hurry to research and write it. The latter fact I find frankly unpalatable. Similar to David Flint’s holy trinity of homosexuality-as-open-secret, friends-in-high-places, and party-line purity and loyalty – only this time in the GenX “lite” version – Andrew Olexander has compromised his life to an extent that he deserves open and complete ridicule. Yet it appears that he will be left to limp along in semi-respectability, thanks to his being able to use his sexuality as a shield.

No dice, Andrew, at least not from me. If you’ve never brandished your poofter-ness as a sword, you’ve got a lot of nerve to now be drawing down the shutters.

At least one good thing can come out of the whole sorry tale. There does need to be a word/phrase for a gay “Uncle Tom”, and now we’ve got one: “Andrew Olexander”.

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