Life This One Goes Out to the Mormon Church
posted by November 4 at 12:56 PMon
Another distraction, this one courtesy of Slog tipper Drew: Tracey Ullman singing “They Don’t Know”…
That song—from the summer of 1983—got a lot of us through the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic; it was a particular comfort for guys like me who had just come out, as teenagers, right as “gay cancer” was morphing into GRID and then into AIDS. My young gay friends and I used to joke, darkly, that we’d missed the party but somehow got the hangover with everybody else. Then my young gay friends started dropping dead. And for a minute there in ‘84/’85 it looked like we were all going to die, or be rounded up and sent to internment camps—excuse me, “quarantined.”
I haven’t thought about this song in years, Drew, but these lyrics really spoke to us then:
They say we’re crazy but I just don’t care. And if they keep on talkin’, still they get nowhere. So I don’t mind if they don’t understand when I look at you and you hold my hand. Because they don’t know about us. And they’ve never heard of love.
Why should it matter to us if they don’t approve. We should just take our chances while we’ve got nothing to lose.
For a while it felt like we had everything to lose—our families, our freedom, our lives. And yet we came out anyway, we had sex anyway, we fell in love anyway. And the haters kept on talkin’ and our families thought we were crazy. Sometimes we thought we were crazy. But we had faith in a future that, at that dark time, seemed anything but assured. So whatever happens today in California—and Florida and Arizona and Arkansas, which also voting on anti-gay ballot measures (gay marriage ban, and gay foster/adoption ban, respectively)—remember this: We’re going to get through this and we’re going to win.