Culture

Jack McFarland Is a Faggot and So Am I

collage2Several times a week people tell me I look like Sean Hayes. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Random person: You remind me of that guy from Will & Grace.

Me: Sean Hayes? (Blank stare.) Jack? Just Jack! (I make Just Jack hands.)

Random person: Yeah. No offense.

No offense.

It’s always there.

Why?

Let’s break it down into two parts, shall we?

1. I resemble Sean Hayes.

I’m guessing “no offense” doesn’t come from people thinking I look like him. He’s certainly good looking enough not to be offended by the comparison. No, it’s not quite like looking like James Garner in The Americanization of Emily, but it ain’t like being told I look like Bobcat Goldthwait either. I’m perfectly happy to look like Sean Hayes. It’s a compliment.

2. My humor, my mannerisms, my jazz hands, the limp of my wrist, possibly even the sound of my voice ~ all remind people of the character Sean is most associated with, Jack McFarland. Just Jack.

That’s where “no offense” comes in. “No offense” is, point blank, homophobic. Apparently it’s offensive for people to think that you’re a gay man. An obviously gay man. A flamboyant, gay man. A faggot.

Well let me tell you something, I am not offended by the comparison. I am offended by the thought that it might be offensive ~ by the thought process that dictates that being gay is somehow less than.

If you think I’m a big ol’ queer, what the fuck do I care? I am a big ol’ queer. And not one who measures his worth by how I rate on your masculinity scale. I am a man, with or without your approval, whether my manhood flies in the face of your definition or not. (Frankly, I probably think your definition of manhood is somewhat regressive ~ and that’s if I’m feeling generous. How much time are you planning on wasting being offended by that?) I don’t feel in the slightest bit demeaned if you find me effeminate, because I don’t find being effeminate demeaning.

There were many things in Jack that I loved and admired. He viewed the world through Rose Nylund colored glasses. He thought being gay was a gift. The greatest gift that could befall a man. And therein lay the humor that Sean Hayes played so wonderfully ~ the laying bare of the bullshit idea that to be straight is some sort of gift. Turning the tables on that particular train of thought always made for a good joke. A pointed, thoughtful joke. One that challenged us. We let Jack in because he seemed innocuous. He was a clown. And then he told us some serious truths about how we think about gay people. He was a court jester alerting us all to the fact that not only did the king have no clothes, he might very well be a queen. Brava, Jack, brava!

I’m proud to remind people of this particular gay man (even if he is fictional). He had not one ounce of apology in him. He did not feel compelled to re-imagine or remake himself so that others might feel comfortable. My greatest heroes – my teachers from afar, and some, remarkably, from up close – are men who simply are what they are, or were what they were. From writers to football players to war heroes to those limp-wristed fairies who simply can’t refuse a pair of heels and some lashes. And just so we’re all clear, these categories aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

By now you’re thinking ~ But you’re gay and you are a queen! Of course you wouldn’t be offended. But what if you were straight? Wouldn’t it be offensive then??? Nope. Still not offensive. Thinking a straight man is gay may be inaccurate, but it is in no way offensive unless you believe that being gay is somehow less than being straight. To be clear: inaccurate is inaccurate, offensive is offensive. They can overlap, but they don’t have to.

So thank you to the creators of Jack McFarland, to all the writers who put words in his mouth, and to Sean Hayes, for playing him fearlessly and hilariously, for delivering the medicine with heaping spoonfuls of pink, glittery sugar.

In conclusion, if you see me and I remind you of Jack, feel free to let me know. I think it’s fabulous. I see nothing wrong with being one big ol’, unapologetic, Cher worshiping, obscure musical referencing, occasional football watching, figure skating loving, gym going, Designing Women quoting, cock sucking faggot.

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15 Comments

  1. Vikki Reich says:

    Fierce, unapologetic and entertaining queers are my favorite kind. Love this.

  2. As always, perfectly stated. Sing it loud!!!

  3. Jackie Anglin says:

    Loe it and you too (bitch) :-) !

  4. Jackie Anglin says:

    Love this!

  5. The only thing this post is missing is a Venn diagram of the possible, but not necessary, overlap between inaccurate and offensive!

  6. Well since Jack didn’t know his father maybe your a his half-brother or something. “Just Roger!”

  7. Well, in my case I let Jack in because he was a lot like me and my friends, and then he told me some crap about women and other disempowered groups that he shouldn’t have.

    But to the point – very much agreed, and yay for fags! :) And if some straight cisgender dude is offended for being compared to a fabulous queen, he doesn’t deserve that compliment!

    Shine on, you flaming diamond!

  8. In my darker lipstick days, I often got a qualified comparison to Sandra Bernhard. I was always hugely flattered because she is hilarious and talented and sexy. She was loud and wrong and not conventionally pretty, but I forgave those who thought I might take offense. They clearly had little experience with outspoken Jews.

    You know, Sandra made a guest appearance on Will & Grace. That means you and I should hang out and be faggy wrong together.

    • I’d be honored to be faggy wrong with you. And if course, I LOVE Miss Sandra! I still know pretty much every word, verbatim, to Without You, I’m Nothing. I literally wore that tape out.

  9. Okay, first, this is fabulously written. Second, it would never occur to me that you are the least bit reminiscent of Sean Hayes OR Jack. (No offense.)
    And third, I fucking ADORE Without You I’m Nothing. Oh and fourth, sorry it took me so long to get around to reading this.

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