A LOT OF QUESTIONS NOBODY EVER ASKED: (a.k.a. the Queer No One Reads!)

So I’m completely addicted to two features of the Washington Blade: Bitch Session (guilty pleasure #214c, and no you don’t get a link), and Queery. This latter is a newish thing where they ask the same relatively well-chosen questions to different people every week. And I find myself desperately fascinated. So… I can’t stand this any longer… I will answer, in the hopes of exorcising the obsession. (Or prolonging it. Tomayto, tomahto.) (Don’t you feel for my confessors, right now?)

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I don’t have a great answer to the first question. The intense, abiding sense of difference came very early. Learning the words for “gay” and “lesbian” was such a relief. I felt like I’d named, and captured, whatever it was I’d felt from such an early age. That turned out not to be true, really… but it was a little bit true, at least adjacent to the truth. Coming out to myself did actually help, a lot, even if it turned out not to be the end of the story.

For the second… I was sorry to disappoint my parents (who reacted pretty amazingly, for which I’m deeply grateful). In a lot of ways it’s been harder to “come out” as Catholic than as gay, which is nobody’s fault, just kind of a fact of life.

Who’s your gay hero?
Oscar Wilde. LOL OBVS.

What is Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
The Lincoln Memorial, with a spiked ice cream soda and a friend.

If gay marriage were legal, would you tie the knot?
No need to answer this one, I think.

What non-gay issue are you most passionate about?
Hard to choose, these days, between abortion and torture. I’m agin’ ‘em.

What historical outcome would you change?
This is one of the sillier questions really. Oh, whatevs, the second election of Marion Barry. Or the closing of the Doodle. Whichever.

What has been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Watching Morrissey end a concert by making the sign of the Cross.

On what reality TV show would you fare best?
Is there one for incompetent people?

What item of clothing has been in your closet since high school?
Oh, man. I still have a barely-there black tourist t-shirt from Bourbon Street, acquired at Village Thrift in Laurel, MD. That’s probably the only thing.

If your life were a book, what would the title be?
Sin: A User’s Guide

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I’ve thought about this a bit–although more in terms of whether I should pray for change of orientation, and whether my complete emotional revolt against that concept is actually justified–and I still don’t understand it. So much of my personality would be affected. I would still have the exceptionally useful past experience of same-sex attraction, so that’s good; but I just don’t know who I would be.

Would I have a harder time writing? Would I have a harder time being faithful to Christ? Both of those are really obvious possibilities given the way my dykery has shaped my life.

So I settle for praying for “what God wants for me,” and asking for Oscar Wilde’s intercession (see above!), and generally trying not to claw at myself.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe that objects in the world are words spoken by God.

What would you order for your last meal?
Cheeseburger with butter. French fries. Bourbon on the rocks, and keep it coming!

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Another fairly silly question. I would walk across hot coals for anything really worthwhile which could somehow be attained by my traversing hot coals. The number of possible goals to be attained in this way seems limited.

What gay stereotype annoys you most?
Well, given that it annoyed me earlier tonight, I suppose I have to say the idea that all gay Catholics’ conflict with God is the same conflict.

But actually, it’s the idea that it really, super matters why you’re gay. I don’t believe that and neither should you. If you have problems which play some role in your sexuality, address those problems–not because they “make you gay,” but because they’re problems! If you don’t, then there is no need to obsess about your memories. Everyone has awful things happen to them. Everyone makes bad choices. Address those things because they’re awful and bad, but don’t assume that your sexual orientation is a result of those things.

What is the best gay film ever made?
The Bride of Frankenstein.

Oh, fine: Withnail and I.

Oh, come on, you want a genre movie? Farewell, My Concubine. I bet you’d be satisfied now, if you weren’t crying your eyes out.

What is the most overrated social custom?
Shaking hands at the Kiss of Peace. Like, either kiss, or leave me alone! LOL BOURGEOIS CHRISTIANITY.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The Lambda Literary Award. You think I’m joking.

What’s your advice for gay teens?
Mistrust yourself. Have eros for truth. Love your friends unstintingly. Get out of your own way.

Why Washington?
On the one hand, home is anywhere you hang your head. On the other–this is my beloved city, my district of chaos, my heartbreak city, my hell’s half-acre of home. I love this town.

About Eve Tushnet

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