Some of us are gay

For Stonewall Day, today, the slogans of my people, most recently one of them celebrating some penguins in the London Zoo:


(Hat tip to Kim Darnell.)

The spheniscid counterpart to the slogan displayed here by Sir Ian McKellen:

(#2) Slogan A: Some people are gay. / Get over it!

Also fairly recent, another slogan, here as a bumper sticker:

(#3) Slogan B: We are everywhere

And an earlier slogan promoted by Queer Nation in the early 1990s — here, in a shot from the Simpsons, S13 E5 “Jaws Wired Shut” (first aired 1/27/02):

(#4) Slogan C: We’re here / We’re queer / Get used to it

The context:

[a gay pride parade is marching past the Simpson home]
Gay men: We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.
Lisa: You do this every year, we are used to it.
Marcher: Spoilsport!

Now: details, details.

#1: little penguins at the London Zoo. (About the big gorilla at the L.A. Zoo, I cannot speak, but I’m clear on these penguins.) From The Independent (UK), “London Zoo celebrates same-sex penguin couples for Pride weekend” by Sabrina Barr on 6/27/19:

London Zoo is paying homage to same-sex penguin couples for a celebration being held during the capital’s Pride weekend.

On Saturday 6 July, the annual London Pride parade is due to take place, passing from Portland Place to Trafalgar Square.

On Friday 5 July, London Zoo is hosting a Zoo Night to mark the occasion, during which visitors can learn about same-sex couples across the animal kingdom, including among penguins.

One of the zoo’s most well-known same-sex penguin couples is Ronnie and Reggie, who have been together since 2014.

In commemoration of their relationship and those of other same-sex penguin couples, a new banner has been placed in the zoo’s Penguin Beach, which reads: “Some penguins are gay. Get over it.”

The banner has been inspired by LGBT+ charity Stonewall’s “Get Over It!” campaign, which was launched in 2007 in an effort to combat bullying of LGBT+ students in school.

In 2015, Ronnie and Reggie adopted an egg that had been abandoned by another penguin couple.

They live at London Zoo alongside fellow same-sex couples Nadja and Zimmer, and Dev and Martin.

#2: Gandalf/Magneto is gay. And matter-of-fact about it. Also #4. From my 7/25/17 posting “A few words from Sir Ian”:

the slogan comes in two parts, together replacing the gay pride slogan of my youth (a few years ago) [slogan C]:

We’re here / We’re queer / Get used to it

The in-your-face first part of the older slogan has been replaced by a simple statement of fact (and modest, too, making an existential claim well short of the universal We Are Everywhere), the second part by a more currently fashionable exhortation. (At least, many people seem to feel there’s a fashion for “get over it”. I haven’t tried to collect data on this version as opposed to “get used to it”.)

Observation: I don’t know whether something is intended by the bold color choice (flaming red and black), and if so, what, but it’s an interesting alternative to more traditional pink or lavender.

Observation: yes, that’s a [UK] Stonewall shirt, here.

#3: Everywhere. From my 4/4/19 posting “Ed (the) Ped”:

We are everywhere is a hyperbolic expression, but it’s the general hyperbole of universal expressions, which are commonly used to convey (merely) a high degree. Dandelions are everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they’re in Antarctica, or on my patio in Palo Alto (though there are some just around the corner).

Still, NOAD thought the ‘many’ understanding was significant enough to merit a subsense:

adv. everywhere: [a] in or to all places: I’ve looked everywhere | everywhere she went she was feted. [b] in many places; common or widely distributed: sandwich bars are everywhere.

Beyond that, though we are everywhere can be understood as a simple assertion of common occurrence, it’s likely to be heard as something more than that: through conversational implicature, it can serve as a boast, warning, or threat (depending on the context). Indeed, any assertion of wide presence, however expressed in words, can carry this implicature. From the tv tropes site on We Are Everywhere (as an idea, not necessarily as expressed in a specific catchphrase or slogan):

“Hi! You’re going to call off your rigorous investigation. You’re going to publicly state that there is no underground group. Or we are going to take your balls. Look. The people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. [pause] Do not fuck with us.” — Tyler Durden, Fight Club

When a malicious group is investigated and busted, a member brags how the group is everywhere. The group member will further claim that their movement is growing, and will rule supreme someday, leaving the heroes concerned that there will be more trouble in the future.

The most common associations are with right-wing militia movements, which became a trope of their own following the militia scare in the media after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Note also that the same claim may be made by the heroes when they are the resistance to a despotic regime. Naturally, the message is inverted this way.

Meanwhile, the specific wording we are everywhere has become something of a formula, understood as asserting widespread occurrence and conveying a boast or warning, and more easily available to the user than other expressions with this content, like we are all over (the place), you can find us everywhere, etc. It’s a catchphrase or slogan, and it’s historically been used by certain groups — lgbt people, in particular — to proclaim the strength of their group identity. In that context, it’s part of the verbal armamentarium of being publicly gay.

Absurd Bonus. One of my totem animals — the first, the penguin — gay-frolics in #1. As for the other — the more recent, the woolly mammoth — we have no living creatures to consider. But we do have some fictional accounts of rampantly queer mammoths in the Tinglesque writings of “Hunter Fox”.

Tinglesque refers to the characteristic subjects and style of the prolific “Chuck Tingle”, author of My Billionaire Triceratops Craves Gay Ass and many similar preposterously hard-core Kindle books (see my 2/2/15 posting “Chuck Tingle”).

The Amazon pages on Hunter Fox’s books tell us that he “is a graduate student at UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television”, with the dirty books (in several genres) as a sideline. Among his brief outpourings from 2014:

(#5) Nyle, a brilliant and eccentric scientist hasn’t been on a date in over five years, losing interest in men long ago. It’s not until his best friend Shelly sets him up with a mini Wholly Mammoth, that Nyle’s heart thaws from [its] Ice Age, finally feeling love again for the first time in what feels like centuries. … This is a 4,000 word hardcore gay erotic short story!

(#6) James is a world traveler, being flown to different countries and cities each week by his financial firm. On his latest trip to Canada, James and his co-workers decide to take a helicopter ride up to the Yukon to see all the gorgeous views from above. As they get close to a large ice cap, it begins to crumble away from the [sun’s] rays, melting and crashing into the large lake below. The helicopter makes a swift and violent turn to get out of the area, sending James falling from the copter and into the icy water below. Trying to save himself, he swims to the nearest beach and finds himself on a deserted icy island… or at least [he] thinks it’s deserted. … This is a 3,700 word hardcore gay erotic Woolly Mammoth novel. It includes anal, oral, cream pies, dub con and more!

We’re here, we’re queer, and we giggle over tales of steamy sexual liaisons with extinct elephantids. And by the way, we also demand our rights, don’t ever forget that. Just because we’re playful doesn’t mean mean we’re not dead serious too.

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