Sunday, March 19, 2017

Where Have All The Good Guys Gone?

You know what keeps me up at night? This. This song is what keeps me up at night, aching to do more, to be more.

Mika’s “Good Guys” is at once an homage to the queer creative geniuses of the past—Alfred Kinsey, Cole Porter, David Bowie—and a call to action for the queer creative geniuses of tomorrow. Mika looks to the bold flamboyance of Warhol, the peculiar wit of Wilde, the eloquent masculinity of Whitman, then looks to the heterocentric creative landscape around him today and asks, “Where have all the gay guys gone?”

The music video’s choreography emphasizes the debt Mika owes to his gay predecessors, as every step he takes is literally made possible by the supporting dancers lifting his feet. When Mika is shown in a prison cell, recalling the horrendous fate of Oscar Wilde, from whom Mika borrowed the chorus of the song, I can’t help but feel that debt myself; the privilege I enjoy, living my upper middle class life as an out gay man with a husband and five kids, is only possible because of the queer pioneers who went before me, many giving their lives for my freedom. A hundred, fifty, twenty, even ten years ago I could not have lived the life I live today. The weight of this realization overwhelms me.

This is where Mika’s call to action comes into play: How can I, a privileged gay man with means and talent, take this beautiful gift that has been given to me and not use my means and talent to pass that gift on to the next generation? How can I not answer Mika’s question by standing up and shouting, “Here I am! I will be one of the good guys!”

Living in super-conservative Utah Valley, I am all too aware of the lack of positive LGBT role models for queer youth around me. I do my best to be visible in my community as an out gay man, volunteering at my kids' schools. I need to do more. I need to take the talent and means I have and use those to create something that will inspire generations to come. We may all be in the gutters, as Wilde and Mika remind me, but I will be one of those looking up at the stars.

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