The perception that marriage equality was a poisoned pink chalice persisted up to the 2008 election, when even Obama was careful to clarify that he wasn’t in favour of gay marriage…Yet in this year’s debates between the ragtag pack of Republican presidential nominees, the usual rhetoric denouncing gay marriage has been noticeably absent….
What changed in those few short years? In many ways the transformation of attitudes has been ongoing for decades, accelerated in large part by the impact of Aids, which reconfigured gay identity around community and relationships. In TV shows such as Glee and Modern Family, gays are no longer comic stooges or punchlines, their relationships treated with the same respect as those of their straight counterparts. … To young gay men and women today the idea that they will be able to marry and raise kids no longer sounds outlandish or controversial. It sounds axiomatic. …
…Looking back it’s clear that this dramatic metamorphosis, from poppers to paninis, represented a broader shift in gay culture, or – if you believe the commentator Andrew Sullivan – the “inexorable evolution” towards the end of gay culture itself. …When I became editor of Out, it seemed pertinent to ask what function a gay magazine would serve in a world that, if not yet post-gay, seemed to be heading that way.
…One of those small internet anecdotes that suddenly go viral came to my notice. It was a conversation between a mother and her six-year old son about the TV show Glee that had been posted on her Tumblr account, and it went like this:
‘”Mommy, Kurt and Blaine are boyfriends.”
“Yes, they are,” I affirm.
“They don’t like kissing girls. They just kiss boys.”
“Mommy, they are just like me.”
“That’s great, baby. You know I love you no matter what?”
“I know…” I could hear him rolling his eyes at me.”‘
I find myself thinking about that conversation a lot, and how much it would have meant to me growing up to have role models that offered a template for what I might expect from life. And what it might have meant for the straight kids around me to see homosexuality not as something strange and peculiar, but as something familiar and equal. That six-year-old boy might grow up to be gay, or he might grow up to be straight. Either way, he will hopefully grow up without ever thinking it necessary to emphasise the distinction. Then we can truly talk about post-gay.