Much virtual ink has already been spilled over Mary Cheney’s recent publicity blitz. Many bloggers have had smarter things to say than me. “Wait, GayProf,” I hear you saying, “We must know what you think about Mary Cheney. We have declared you the most desirable man on the blogosphere.” Okay, maybe you aren’t saying that. You are just thinking it quietly to yourself.
Oh, Mary, you are not merry, Mary. Yet again the mainstream media has singled out a gay conservative as the face of the queer community. Liberal queers (who are the majority of queer folk) are nowhere to be found on Good Morning America. Yet, we are learning much about how Mary takes her coffee and where she buys her furniture these days. USA Today even gushed about her appearance, reporting that Mary “dressed in an expertly tailored bright pink jacket and black trousers. Her makeup and hair are done simply but carefully.”
She has a new book that is about to drop entitled Now It’s My Turn. Her turn? Wasn’t she raised in a wealthy elite neighborhood? Didn’t she have the option to attain any education she wanted? Doesn’t she make more money in a year than most of us will see in our lifetimes?
When hasn’t it been your turn, Mary? What’s the matter? Isn’t AOL paying you enough to keep federal regulators off their back?
From early reports, Mary uses her book to do a great deal of whining about Democrats and those pesky gay activists during the 2004 campaign. We all recall that the Republican party used the anti-gay Marriage Amendment as a means to mobilize their base. During that time, a counter-campaign started called “Where’s Mary?” that asked why she didn’t speak out against the amendment. In her new book, Mary says that Democrats declaring her sexuality fair game “was outrageous.”
No, Mary, I don’t think so. Being tied to a fence post and murdered because of your sexuality is outrageous. Dodging shrapnel from a bomb in a gay club is outrageous. Being asked to defend people like yourself is not outrageous. That’s a call to arms, Mary.
Now I understand Mary faces some of the same mundane problems all of us queer folk face in our day-to-day lives. She probably gets caught in traffic driving to work. When she comes home, she and her partner, Heather, debate about where to eat dinner. Sometimes she argues with Heather about installing that stripper pole in the bedroom like Mary wants. In other words, despite the wealth and prominent parent, she is just a regular person. So, why do I expect more of her?
Quite simply because I expect more of all queer folk. I am just a guy with a blog, but I am tired of the mediocrity of people who present themselves to the press as queer, but not leaders. If you have a place in the national spotlight, you must use it to defend us. I am tired of queer folk who only care about themselves and don’t even think about their fellow queer brothers and sisters.
Mary Cheney understands that the conflict between her sexuality and her conservative political background will sell books. Queer folk will buy the book, wondering how she will justify her betrayal of us. Those on the right will buy the book, thinking her a good daughter, even if she is that way.
To sleep at night, Mary depends on a presumption that her actions don’t have any implications for people other than herself. In truth, she simply doesn’t care about other lesbians or gay men and feels no common bond with them. All she cares about is her own selishness. As long as she and Heather can be happy together, why should they care who else is suffering? Any tears she may create will never be her fault.
At the same time, though, Mary paints herself as just a hapless individual who got wrongly picked on by mean “activists” with their “gay agenda.” All Mary wanted, she claimed, was to live life in her sedate multi-million dollar mansion. Then those nasty gay folk kept pointing out her hypocrisy. What could they possible want from her? After all, Mary even promises to vote against the anti-gay amendment currently pending Virginia. Gee – Thanks.
Mary has a comfortable life because her political connections and economic privilege allow her to live comfortably. Her experience is far removed from the reality of our queer lives.
I have no pity or patience for Mary Cheney. Believe me, I understand bucking your family about queer issues might have been tough in the middle of an election campaign. I mean, on a good day, Dick Cheney shoots his friends in the face. Just imagine what he might have done had his daughter bolted.
None of us, though, have had an easy time with our families. In most circumstances, our parents grew up desiresing relationships with the opposite sex. They simply do not understand our experience.
For that reason, we queer folk don't have the luxury to think of ourselves as strictly individuals. We all must imagine a unity of purpose and community. Unlike Mary, we can pledge ourselves to be there for each other. We will demand better representation from the media and we will win against the homophobia that plagues the United States.
Yes, Mary, I criticize your blatant selfishness and depraved indifference to the suffering of people just like you. Yet, I would also defend you and try to prevent you from being placed on a truck because I understand you. We share a common bond. In the end, I expect the same support from all of my queer brothers and sisters.