Just returned from seeing X-Men: The Last Stand. While I enjoyed the flick, I found it the worst of the three X-Men movies. Unlike the other two, it introduced a fascinating issue, but never really explored its meaning.
And this issue is one which should concern gay people. In the flick, Warren Worthington (Michael Murphy) develops a serum which will cure mutants of their difference. Some mutants choose to take it. Others do not.
Those who take the cure do so because they’re tired of being different. They just want to fit in and lead normal lives. I know the feeling. When I first came out, I met no other gay people like myself. Not a single one who believed that romance was possible. Those living the type of life I imagined for myself were all heterosexual, in long-term relationships with someone of the opposite sex.
Perhaps, I thought, if I could just redirect my sexual/emotional longings toward women, I could find what they found and live a happy life. I wrote to Dr. Charles Socarides, “the psychiatrist famous for insisting that homosexuality was a treatable illness” who recommended a colleague in Washington, D.C. where I was then living. The irony is that while that therapist did not “cure” me (indeed, I was on my way to one of my last sessions with him when I read the words which sprung the closet door), he did help me deal with my parents’ divorce. (I had previously pretended it hadn’t affected me.)
Since reading Carl Jung’s words on that subway platform, I’ve learned that that “unusual powers” did indeed come to me when I learned to take things, including my own feelings, “as they are, and not as I wanted them to be.” Today, even if someone developed a “cure” for homosexuality, I doubt I would take it. (I even outlined a short story to this end.)
What I have since learned is that we best find happiness in this world not by fitting into the herd, but by being true to ourselves. It seems that I gained so many of the strengths I now have by coming to terms with this aspect of myself which differentiates me from the norm. I doubt I would be as good a writer as I am if I were not gay, doubt I would have conceived the ideas and stories that I have had I not seen the world from the perspective of this difference.
It’s too bad this latest X-Men film didn’t fully address the important issue that its very story raises. Indeed, this one didn’t go as deeply into the power (and difficulty) of the mutants’ difference as did the previous two films. Maybe that’s because, unlike those two films, this one didn’t have a gay director.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com