After former queer community icon, Michelle Shocked, drove fans away with an on-stage anti-gay rant that included telling the San Francisco audience “You can go on Twitter and say Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.” Which not surprisingly is exactly what the audience did. Most fans simply walked out and since then a number of venues have cancelled the performer.
Michelle Shocked’s “coming out” interview in Outlines, May 1990
Shocked’s not so apologetic apology for her recent hate speech is simply to insist that the remarks weren’t meant to be anti-gay. The apology sent to the press can be read here: http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/03/20/michelle-shocked-damned-sorry-for-san-francisco-remarks-about-gays/
But the best thing to come out of the bonfire of ticket returns and betrayed fans is impassioned queer responses like this one from Margaret Cho.
From Margaret Cho’s official blog
March 20th, 2013
Well, Michelle Shocked, I am actually totally shocked. What the hell?! It’s freaky to me, the whole business of going from a queer icon to someone who would actually say that God hates us. When the shock wore off, I found people were super angry but I just got scared. I think that as a queer person of color, I have been scared my entire life, and I get over it bit by bit, enough to get by and live, but then something like this happens and it’s like that feeling of getting gay bashed all over again.
When people say that God hates fags, there’s this idea that it’s okay to kill us, it doesn’t matter if we die, because if God hates us, the supposedly one loving force in the world, the one who is supposed to love everyone and everything, the one, the only whatever whenever, if he hates us, then how are we to exist? Also, if he hates us, why did he make so many of us?
When someone like Michelle Shocked, formerly a beloved 90s alt queer muse and maker decides that it is ok to hate us and lets us know that God does too, I am truly sickened, as she of all people should know what this means.
I made many mixed tapes with that song “Anchorage” – which was always for me a lesbian anthem. That song played in the big old car with an 8 track cassette converter, this gas guzzling behemoth of a Buick I used to peel out of a dirt parking lot behind a country roadhouse, with tall corn and grass on all sides, to get away from this scary dude who suddenly appeared out of the dark shadows of the cornfield wielding nun-chucks, or it might have been a belt with a heavy buckle, or maybe it was a tire iron.
Fear clouds my memory, because when you are being chased by a crazy man calling you and your girlfriend “you fucking dykes” and you are just a teenager, in the middle of night and nowhere and he is whipping something around, knocking the “ick” off the “Buick” on the back of your car, it’s hard to remember what was in his hands, because you are not looking at him, you are looking to get away. I didn’t turn back, I kept going, maybe to keep this girl safe, as I might be butch after all, but really because I was too scared to turn back.
If you ever are terrorized like this – RUN. Don’t look back. Don’t be a hero. It’s not like the movies. Just get out of there. Hatred and homophobia can never be underestimated. And the effect of someone saying “God hates fags” can never be underestimated either. It’s a license to kill. It’s a death sentence. It’s not funny. It’s not ok. It’s not something I can let go easily because I know what it truly means.
The violence and hopelessness behind the statement keeps me up at night and will haunt me just like the tragic memory of a young gay man who was murdered in front of my family’s bookstore in the 70s. He was beaten to death – because these men who were never caught nor punished believed that God hated him, and in my nightmares I find his teeth all over the ground and I try to save them and they keep falling out of my hands and pockets and then I realize that he is dead and has no use for them anymore and I wake up sweating, my screams waking everyone in the house.