It isn’t enough that all Americans had to run out and create their own Disaster Supply Kit. For gay men, that included not only the usual duct tape, toilet paper, and drinking water, but also more important things like extra batteries for vibrators, hormonal supplements, 300-count silk sheets, a make-up mirror, CD dance music, and a personal cappuccino machine. Not to mention the complete Martha Stewart library, a Mary Tyler Moore aerobic workout video, lubricant, and designer drugs. Unfortunately, now we are getting some unwanted attention from a government anti-terrorist campaign dubbed “Rainbow Threat Alert.”
Due to pressure from fundamentalists high up in the White House, the Homoland Security Advisory System has expanded its color-coded Threat Conditions, co-opting the colors of the gay rainbow flag. With little success in apprehending terrorists both here and abroad—and feeling a need to justify a foreign war and multiple First Amendment infringements—the government has decided that the true threat to our national security is from within, from those who undermine our moral and cultural values and leave us all weak and unprepared for a unified resistance: homosexuals. But since no one has a better sense of color than gay people, the officials are treading on precarious territory here.
The following are excerpts from the government’s plan for the Rainbow Threat Alert—from low-risk purple to high-risk red—followed by the “Queer Counter-Response” to combat, baffle, or manipulate it as only we can.
Purple (Normal Threat). “This is the predominantly popular color of homosexuals, known to incite gaiety and exuberant behavior, particularly noticeable in public parades in June. Officials should be aware of seemingly innocuous but dangerous conduct, particularly alluring to children and innocent youth. Train extra patrols in the art of flamboyancy.”
Queer Counter-Response: Don’t forget your heritage: purple is the color of royalty and wit. Men, give up the dresses and wigs to the lesbians for some gender confusion, and pull out the uniforms, boots, military paraphernalia, and cigars, and come on to the government forces as real men should.
Green (Low Threat). “The granola / Gap demographic. Use this opportunity to train officials in the art of camp, infiltrating homosexual campgrounds, dance clubs, and so-called ‘circuit parties’; experiment with the recreational drugs they use for brainwashing and recruitment of our children.”
Queer Counter-Response: Green is the color of a well-balanced personality—and calls for a suitable response. Fill your pockets and flood the streets with all those well-intentioned but legal supplements, diet pills, discarded cocktail drugs, and countless other health-related capsules, and “out” politicians and power brokers who, as citizens of the Prozac Nation, consume drugs from A to Z.
Blue (Guarded Condition Threat). “Expand the undercover operations to include the burgeoning homosexual Bear Community, same-sex couples with children, and the nebulous transgender communities known as ‘trannies.’ Equip all computer stations with webcams and provide costumes, uniforms, and erotic accoutrements for subversive simulated and real encounters.”
Queer Counter-Response: Blue is the color of intuition. We sense that our job is being done for us—once they get a taste of honey!
Yellow (Elevated Threat). “Who but Rosie O’Donnell would choose yellow as her favorite color? Were her shows subliminally sending homosocial messages? Homoland officials take this threat seriously, activating a government analysis of such shows as Will & Grace, Six Feet Under, and the Teletubbies.”
Queer Counter-Response: Trust Rosie’s take on yellow: “It’s magic. It’s real…” Organize a massive call-in to jam Homoland Security tip-lines, complaining about the homosexual content of all TV shows such as women’s golf, the NBA, NFL, war coverage, all “reality TV,” The Golden Girls, I Love Lucy, and all reruns, but especially religious TV shows, which offer the young souls a nonstop education about homosexuality.
Orange (High Condition Threat). “We must sabotage meeting places and make them unsafe for homosexual terrorist organizing: redesign public bathrooms to inhibit homosocial behavior and the entrapment of youth and young police officers; recognize and attack bareback sex clubs and weblogs as fronts for the dissemination of biological weapons of ’ass destruction.”
Queer Counter-Response: Show your true orange colors of courage. Lure them into bi-sexual and “lesbian” porn sites where masculine men always like the attention of other men. Take pictures.
Red (Severe Threat). “The movers and shakers of the homosexual community must be rounded up—small business owners, CEOs, popular artists and writers, actors, movie stars and theater people, hairdressers, and all who usually live in affluent urban ghettos, artists’ neighborhoods, and historic districts.”
Queer Counter-Response: Red, the color of passion and determination. On a given Saturday evening around club time (midnight), lesbians will descend on gay neighborhoods in U-Hauls filled with hundreds of working-class blacks, Latinos, Asians, and whites, with ghetto blasters, in a street party mood. The reserved gay gentry will pile into the U-Hauls to be whisked away to their vacation homes and country estates, confusing and subverting the government’s Red Alert Rainbow strategy, provoking mass defections.
The best we can do is be our vivid selves, colorful, sometimes tawdry, but always proud to show our true colors.
Jay Critchley, a writer living in Provincetown, is the founder of the Swim for Life, an HIV fundraiser.