We’ve made gigantically fabulous strides in terms of visibility, rights, and acceptance over the last several decades, but that’s mere pocket change compared to what awaits in the gay future. Sometime in the great beyond, all the things we still struggle to attain will be achieved and taken for granted, and stuff we never even dreamt of will also be served, as we enjoy a delicious reversal of the way things were traditionally known to be.
First of all — let’s start with the important stuff — there will be drastic changes in pop culture. Even with all the advances we’ve seen in terms of showbiz’s gay inclusiveness, romantic plot lines in TV shows and movies today are still overwhelmingly straight, and the mass audience generally doesn’t question that, accepting it as the status quo and a fair reflection of reality. But that point of view is a bit presumptuous, since so many other gay plots could permeate the big and small screens and still not shake up the hetero-majority rule. Alas, old-school alarmism prevents people from realizing that. Too often, when new gay premises and characters pop up (whether it be on shows like Modern Family or on HBO), you continue to hear the old “They’re taking over!” moans, along with cries that the LGBTs are seizing the world by force, as if we were on some tyrannical crusade aimed at world domination.
Well, in the future, none of these arguments will have to be shot down, because they won’t even be made in the first place. People will just accept LGBT stories as easily as they will straight ones. (We’re already halfway there, but we’ll get all the way to the finish line.) At some point in tomorrowland, audiences won’t equate attempts at increased visibility with some kind of dictatorial agenda. As a result, no one writing a script will feel forced to assume that a man-woman scenario has to be the main thread of it, let alone the only thread of it. What’s more, proposed movies will no longer be short-circuited by studios because they’re “too gay,” entertainment reports about dating will actually cover some same-sex couples, and game shows will welcome a much broader spectrum of contestants to come onstage and thank their loved ones. (Also, 99% of the songs you hear won’t be a he singing about a she, or vice versa. “Love song” won’t automatically equal heterosexual love song. And we still won’t be seizing the world by force!) In fact, thanks to evolving ideas and dissolving prejudices, things will become so enlightened that when one more husband-and-wife sitcom turns up, the masses will start squealing in outrage, “This is ridiculous! The straights are taking over!”
It will also be a wacky reversal when real people turn out to be gay, and no one will care enough to bat a lash about it. When someone comes out to their mother, the feared response will turn out to be either “Duh,” or “Thank God.” (Or maybe even “Join the club!”) When you hear that the guy you just met at a networking event — who didn’t “seem gay” — is indeed gay, you’ll just go, “Oh, OK.” And eventually, everyone will drop their presumptions about what might or might not signify gayness. Things will actually go so far in the other direction that in the gay future, people will assume that everyone is gay, and they’ll be completely thrown when it turns out someone isn’t. If someone isn’t.
And these sweeping changes of attitude won’t limit themselves to gay men, mind you. In the future, all queer types will be accepted — even by the community itself. Trans people, lesbians, and bisexuals won’t be greeted with popping eyes of disbelief or arched eyebrows of disdain. They will mix, banter, marry, and carry on, and all kinds of people will have no problem dealing with it. Trans people won’t even be called trans people — they’ll be “men,” “women,” or anything else they want to be called. And bisexuals will also be free of pigeonholing attempts, just as lesbians will be happy to see gay men, and vice versa, in a world where it’s realized that the community that loves itself gets the most approbation from others.
Perhaps most shockingly of all, no one will have to get hitched in order to keep up with their community. There will be more wiggle room to establish an individual identity and not cloak it in ceremony, if you don’t feel like it — though there will be plenty of gay rice to toss at those who opt for a more traditional route. And those altar dwellers can procreate in ways that won’t be looked down on or considered to be somehow inauthentic. People will be people, families will be families, and if gays want to play roles that were in the past only allowed for straights, they won’t be demonized for grabbing at the chance.
Gay rights will keep coming, along with the gay rice, and shockingly enough, eventually it will be OK to be unfashionable. Your tinted lenses will no longer have to match your handbag, and your ensemble won’t have to even match itself, as you parade around, a proud “trashionista” with no idea of what the de rigueur thing is to wear. You might not even have to have the slightest affinity for Broadway musicals or piano bars — though I realize that I am now getting into truly credibility-stretching territory here.
The future might actually be a bit boring for gays, because — when you put all my above expectations together — there will be very little element of surprise left. Everyone will assume you’re gay and be OK with it, and you can all sit around and watch your gay media together. But what media! Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will be in charge of all network programming, Laverne Cox will appear on every single channel, and Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka will talk about their family on every…Oh, they already do? Never mind. I guess the future has come sooner than expected. But there isn’t a Liza channel yet, so we definitely still have some ways to go.