There’s No Right Way to Be Queer
In my new book Camp, a romantic comedy that takes place at a queer summer camp, the campers have a once a week queer history lecture. One of these is about The Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, two pre-Stonewall queer activism groups who have been active in the US since the 40s and 50s. There’s a story that’s told and which is told in the book, of a lesbian, who wore jeans and leather jackets. But the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis didn’t like that. They thought assimilation was the best way to achieve equality. They took the woman dress shopping. They bought her heels. The first meeting she walked successfully in heels, they all applauded. The kids in my book all agree this is bad, but they wonder about Hudson, the protagonist’s boyfriend, who describes himself as Masc4Masc – someone who acts “masculine” and is only interested in men who do likewise. The protagonist, Randy, a theater kid with a love of nail-polish and unicorns, has decided to win Hudson’s heart by playing the ultimate role – “masculine.” He hopes Hudson will fall in love with him, and then he can go back to being himself. But he wonders, after hearing about the applause for the woman in heels, is Hudson liking “masculine” guys a preference, or something deeper? Does he think “feminine” guys are somehow below him?