The FX series Pose returned for its second season with a very clear message: Silence = Death. Though it's still early (literally one episode has passed), the overall tone of the show has darkened visibly, but not without reason. The queer experience was (and, to an extent, still is) overall negative due in part to treatment from the cishet (cisgender and heterosexual) community at large. The AIDS crisis that dominated the queer community during the '80s and '90s developed into the crisis we know it to be as a result of people (read: Reagan) not treating it with legitimacy as well as seeing it as a plague meant to free the world of the queer community. As if we aren't making everything better.
Part of Reagan's failure to deal with it comes from the fact that he failed to deal with it. HIV/AIDS (and I must make the distinction that they are two different things; while HIV does develop into AIDS, a person is not considered to have AIDS unless their CD4 cell count drops below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood) was treated as a joke by the White House and Reagan Administration as a whole. Like most pharmaceuticals, the price of life-saving drugs has become astronomical as a result of the pharmaceutical industry being able to charge as much as they wish in the capitalist wasteland. In addition to this, the idea that abstinence is the only way to fight the disease, as opposed to condom use, helped to exacerbate the rate of infection. Between these two, the queer community was under attack by its own government and the queer community of color was all but leveled, but I digress.
This episode had a hard focus on speaking up, something that is devastatingly important to everyone, but particularly the queer community. We spend so much of our lives trimming ourselves down to fit into a heterosexual society that by the time we're ready to experience adult life, we not only have to re-stitch and re-hem ourselves all over again, but we must also figure out who we are under all those layers. By expressing our inner thoughts and emotions we can begin to live lives that are loud, proud, and yes, flamboyant.
Too often queer people hear "I don't care if you're gay, but you don't have to be so out there" from people who say that they support the queer community and while they might support the queer community, that statement requires some refinement. If you're dictating how queer people act, what they wear, or even who they are because of what you like well then you aren't really supporting the queer community, you're supporting the queer community that mirrors the heterosexual community. If people can be whoever they want, they can be the biggest queen they want to be and more power to them. When the entire world tells you not to be you, it takes an unprecedented amount of strength and courage to do so.For someone to even attempt to cut that person down is almost as fucked up as attacking them for being themselves. When people are getting attacked on the bus for being in love, it doesn't matter whether or not you think queer people should be as loud and as visible as they want, Sharon, they desperately need to because they spent countless years being told not to. And for the record, the most flamboyant and queer people have more power in their pinky nail than you'll ever have in your "feeling brave" pixie cut with highlights. Happy Pride Month to all the queer people reading this. Speak up and be as gay as you fucking want. You deserve it.